Monday, January 20, 2020

Porto Barcelona Day 16 - Alcala La Real - Granada

The terracing terrain of Alcala la Real from the castle down to the small town of a population of about 21,000 people. A place that could be considered to stay for retirement.
Casa Grande is one of the many old buildings built hundred of years ago with a sub level where our Bromptons were kept.
A short distance to the bus terminal from Casa Grande and we were waiting for the bus.
Some of the places that are connected to Alcala la Real by bus as seen on the wall. Another time for a re visit Spain with all these places to explore.
I got a fantastic view sitting next to the driver.
As we were approaching Granada, I saw a similar practice back home where a man was peddling to sell stuff at a traffic light juncture. It's really tough making a living in almost everywhere. Be blessed in what ever we have and let's live simple.
Why I was sitting at the assistant driver's seat, the bus company over sold its tickets. A few were asked to take the next bus and I was offered the front seat instead of sitting at the aisle. 
There was a stop before the final halt at the terminal, nearly half the load ended their journey here. I had to get down the bus to make way for the passengers to disembark.

All I know about Granada is something to do with a Korean movie and the word Alhambra continuously ringing to me. I shall find out more in the next few days in Granada. Let's set up our bicycles and see Granada. Location of the bus terminal is at GPS :
37.199836, -3.613198

The main entrance of the Bus Terminal of Granada and yes we have arrived at one of the famous tourist spots of Spain, Granada. Most visited place by tourists from all the world and we were here to add on the statistic. 
The long time capital of Moorish Andalusia is awaiting us to explore and at the same time we shall get to know a bit of its history.
The distance from the bus terminal to our next accommodation was about 5km away.
The apartment for the next three nights in Granada called as Campo  Del Principe (meaning the Prince's Field) located at Calle Escutia GPS : 37.172384, -3.592590
It's nice to see one of the two bags couriered from Porto has arrived at the apartment. The other bag was couriered to Barcelona. The bags for our bicycles when they need our folded bikes to be bagged and flown in a plane.
Time for a lunch at Papaupa Retrofusion Food at Calle Molinos, GPS : 37.173242, -3.593106
The food was good so was the strength of the wifi.
I was beginning to get the hang of eating the olive taste. Taking the irresistible preserved seed at almost all our meals. This one came together with a tapas.
A beer with no stick on label. Alhambra was founded, as you can imagine, in the Andalusian city of Granada in 1925. Today it is the signature brand of this city, and one of the most widely consumed beers in southern Spain. Easy to drink, this is an outstanding example of a European lager. Golden amber in color, with a full bodied flavor developed over a slow, controlled fermentation of roughly 60 days. Mild grassy hop aromas along with hints of grain malt. Medium-light bodied and lightly carbonated. Perfectly balanced, with notes ranging from bitter orange to a slightly caramel finish. 
After the lunch we took out our bicycles and went roaming around the neighbourhood. Coming down the steep road from Alhambra Palace Hotel along Cuesta del Caldera street we stopped at a wall mural for  photography. Location GPS : 37.170374, -3.588664
A popular fountain of the Granadas with a bronze sculpture by Grenadian Ramiro Megías. Where is the water? GPS : 37.169352, -3.595767
The Genil River flowing through the city at a green park in an elongated shape. Wonder why it so dry in Granada?
Taking a welfie with a mascot from a pastry joint (I am just guessing) he was fun and friendly.
Another iconic fountain at the Plaza del Campillo was dry too and it is known as Fuente de las Batallas. Situated at Calle Acera del Casino, GPS : 37.172118, -3.598660

Next to the fountain is this attractive sculpture and one for the album.
Fenn sent her bike to check on her break at Bicicletas La Estación, Brompton bikes are sold here and for the first time I saw a e-Brompton. They did not charge Fenn for the checking. Thank you for much.
Abutting each other is Iglesia del Sagrario, a Catholic church and the Royal Chapel of Granada on the right. Behind them is the huge Cathedral of Granada. Location GPS : 37.176047, -3.598568. I enjoyed the songs and music sung by the busker while some went in the church.

That was the last place we visited for the day and left the historical place at this lane named as Calle Oficios.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Porto - Barcelona Day 15 Zuheros - Alcala la Real

Buenos dias (good morning) from Hacienda Minerva and the weather was superbly great.
Collecting our Bromptons at the garage and setting out a leisure morning cruise at the highland.
We were ready to ride on the path that we missed yesterday and eagerly wanting to check out the place with such a good weather.
The green path of Subbetica where car & motorcycles are prohibited.
It is known as the Subbética Greenway that runs for 58 km through the south of the province of Cordoba following the route of the old Olive Oil Train.
Today this trail, between the river Guadajoz near the town of Luque and the village of Navas del Selpillar, that allows cyclists and walkers to enjoy the beautiful landscapes.
The Greenway passes close to picturesque towns and villages, such as Luque, Zuheros, Doña Mencía, Cabra, and Lucena and is dotted with majestic castles and one or two mysterious caves that we have no chance to explore.
 Isn't it amazing and incredible with such a beautiful landscape of this Greenway.
We only could do a tiny portion of the route, our folding bicycles are not suitable for this mountainous terrain and most of all we do not have the luxury of time in Zuheros.
Hello, what is this mini bike doing in the mountain? Any way have fun and enjoy your ride.
A truly good section of eco tourism for Spain which is getting popular globally and towards a healthier lifestyle.
Hola! have an enjoyable ride and a wonderful day.
It is in deed a good move to convert the disused railway lines into cycling and walking routes. 
I like the clean and cooling atmosphere, how nice if I could ride on and on as much as I can.
A special way to travel in a country with extraordinary scenery, amazing valleys, mountains and bridges of more than a hundred years old.
We like the new adventure and surprises, Zuheros is one of them and away from the bustling cities.
Zuheros shall be one place we shall remember even though it was only for a short spell.
A viaduct over a valley of Zuheros which leads to the village centre and part of the Greenway.
Adios, we have to leave now and hope to come back if we can. 
8 folded Bromptons at the trailer while the 8 riders sitting comfortably in a hired MPV to Alcala la Real.
The driver's name is Jose (in Hokkien we call him "Hosay") who is a fun guy even though we had a communication problem, thanks to Google Translate we managed to get some connection. 
Relax and we will be in Alcala la Real soon.....
Goodbye Jose, thanks for the ride and wishing you good luck.
All set and let's look for Casa Grande.
The place we will be putting for a night in Alaca La Real at Casa Grande, Calle Martínez Montañés, GPS : 37.462137, -3.925625. With the owner from England Jade and her mum Linda.
Our lunch at Taberna El Quinto de Cabildo was just next to this square, Plaza Arcipreste de Hita. GPS : 37.463499, -3.924801. The restaurant was packed and noisy but the food was good and it was worth the waiting. Buen provecho (enjoy your meal).
We then took a slow and relax hike to visit the Fortress of La Mota or the castle of Alcala la Real. 
It is located in magical surroundings at 1,033 metres above sea level, this walled enclave was the gateway, guardian and defender of the kingdoms of Castile.
Here we were visiting the castle. One of the must do things when you are in this neigbourhood. The ticketing booth/office was quiet when we came in. Alcalá la Real is also known as the frontier city, a medieval city perfectly fortified and defended once upon a time.
 A set of watchtowers that can be seen throughout the municipality, highlights the importance of this space in the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern age.
The word Alcalá means fortified city in Arabic. Its geographical location confirms the enormous strategic value it has had over the centuries. Abbey church known as La Iglesia Mayor Abacial, built in 1530.
The majestic sight of the Fortress of La Mota provides travellers with a visual indication of the historic importance of this frontier city. 
In 713, with the Muslim conquest, the city is renamed Qal’at, an Araba word for a fortified population. It is around the year 1000, when the watchtower of La Mota becomes a real fortress, appearing as one of the most important nuclei of Al-Andalus under the aegis of the Banu Said family. Subsequently, after the dissolution of the Caliphate and its split in the Kingdoms of Taifas, Qal’at became a stronghold of the Nasrid kingdom from which numerous incursions were made against Jaen and other Castilian borderlands. Finally it was conquered in 1341 (century and a half before the fall of the Nasrid kingdom) by Alfonso XI, who granted the title to him of La Real that since then it appears in his toponym. From this moment on his shield is a key, symbol of its strategic importance. In 1432 King John II granted him the status of a city.
Dinner at Restaurante Casa Pepe
at Calle Espinosa,GPS : 37.464769, -3.924031 for some interesting and delicious tapas. Tomorro's destination with be Granada. 

By the way, Alcalá La Real is a land of wine, olive oil and cherries. The well-known Etnosur Festival takes place in this city, a multi-ethnic cultural fair held in mid-July.