As the son of an orchardist I am always interested in orchards and today I was just gob-smacked!
From Salobre we headed to Granada via Baeza and Jaen. I mentioned in my previous blog that Salobre was set in the mountains surrounded by olive groves. Well that continued all the way to Granada. That’s 270km of olives as far as you can see on both sides of the roads. Let me say that again 270km of olive groves and that’s just on the road we were on. It was truely staggering. And it wasn’t just on the easy to get to land, it was up and over steep hills. Unbelievable.
Doing some research and it turns out that Spain has 2.5 million hectares of olives and the region we went through was the prime growing region.
For further information please see the following website.
The labour requirements to manage, run and support this magnitude of cropping must be very large. I wonder if that’s what all these towns and villages support?
To find our accommodation in Granada we were provided with detailed instructions on the best way to get there as Granada can be a bit tricky to get around and you can’t always trust your gps. However due to a misunderstanding on where we coming from we were provided with the wrong instructions. This quickly became evident! So armed with the address and gps how hard could it be?! It’s just an address.
People complain about the narrow streets in the new suburbs being built in my home city of Canberra. Well they are positively motorways compared to the steep, narrow, cobblestone streets that we negotiated. At one point with no way back I had to fold the mirrors of the car in just to get between the buildings. Or due to the narrowness back up to let other cars creep past with mirrors folded. These streets were not designed for cars.
Many of the cars of Granada showed signs of being too close to walls at some stage, some with broken mirrors.
And we got lost. Very lost.
After finding a park we just stopped. Looked at the map. And tried to figure out how to connect the dots between where we were and where we wanted to be without getting ourselves wedged between buildings. It was crazy!
After a few email exchanges with the owner, they came and rescued us.
With the car safely secured in an underground car park we set off to explore being careful not to get lost for the second time. Then we sat and enjoyed the bounty we picked up at the markets in Albecete.
Using the proven formulae of the hop-on hop-off bus (well train in this case) we were taken from our hillside accommodation to the city below where we spent the next couple of hours wandering the city on a free walking tour both of which are run by the Granada City Tour company. I would recommend both as they give a very nice overview of the city and some of the history behind the city. In fact it nearly gets to the point that you get history overload. So we have tried to balance getting to know the city with different tours and taking it easy by wandering around and looking at shops or sitting drinking coffee and participate in the age old hobby of people watching.
We are told that the one must do (that we didn’t) was visit the palace Alhambra on the top of the hill. While there are public areas that are free to visit the Palace you need a ticket Which you generally need to book a month in advance. As we really had a day in Granada we opted to take in the other sights of Granada.
Our time in Granada was finished off in fine form – spending time with the gypsies in a cave watching a flamenco show, and then eating out Spanish time (11pm) at a restaurant that the apartment owner recommended which was just amazing!
So now we have to pack up and head to our next stop, Jerez. However while I am getting a bit daunted by the amount of history that is around I would really love to spend much more time in Granada as it is such a nice little place and we only sampled a little bit of what it had to offer. The other thing I’m finding is that all these narrow twisting alley ways have been throwing off my sense of direction. I think I’d need a few more days getting lost before I could start getting my bearings.
Maybe next time on a bike as a bike would be much less stressful on these roads!