Spending a week in Andalusia culminating with a magical visit to the Alhambra definitely had me thirsty for my favourite alcoholic tipple. No, it’s not Sangria and Tinto Verrano, which I’ve drunk copiously in Spain but Caipirinhas that I developed a taste since Parati in Brazil.
So what better way than to search for the famous Portuguese drink in the Old Arabian quarter of Granada that we were about to explore – The Albayzin, a world heritage site since 1984. What can I say, I’m just a sucker for history and culture. And also Caipirinhas but that goes without saying.
From the religious quarter, where we hung out with an ice cream watching the gypsy palm readers unsuccessfully reaching the tourists, you can soon find yourself immersed in the Albayzin. But first, do check out the Cathedral and churches that dot the grandest area of Granada. I say, grand because it’s the cleanest and widest streets I’ve seen so far!
Walking into the winding streets of Moorish Medieval past, not far from the town centre, I knew I had reached a special place where we would be spending all day in. Drinking Caipirinhas. Okay, I am addicted to them. Sorry. I’ll stop talking about that drink…for now. Walking past several eateries based on North African food, remains of an arab bath complex, and the Church of San Salvador, I was rather impressed at the Moorish houses that scattered from the river that coursed through at the bottom of the hill of which the quarter resided upon.
Yet, El Albayzin was similar and different to the Sacremento Cave quarter, where the Gypsies congregate to wow us their flamenco skills. We had been to a free local Flamenco show in Seville but this time, with compliments of The Granada Backpackers Inn, we were taken to an exclusive show run by a local gypsy family over 3 generations! Even a little girl, who must have spent all her life training in the art of fancy footwork, gave us a rousing performance.
The Sacremento Caves had a more…well ‘cave-y’ feel whilst Albayzin was more a busy bazaar. The smells of spice permeated the air with the jibber jabber of pseudo-espanol mingled with arabic punctured the sounds. I truly felt this was as most Moorish I was going to be. Traffic was non-existent as it was controversially banned by the Mayor of Granada as he wanted to improve tourism in the area much to the expense of the locals.
Getting lost and wandering the packed streets of El Albayzin, I began to see the street art, celebrated in Spain more and more, creep into this old district in Granada.
Hearing a rising roaring commotion as we walked near to the river, we were soon thrusted in the bazaars of the Albayzin selling all kinds of moorish food and tat. The houses pressed in close to us, so close that 2 people cannot possibly walk side by side.
But of course, my attentions were drawn to the food.Feeling my rapidly expanding stomach thanks to the Tapas in the last 2 weeks, my mouth suddenly turned to lather.
Okay, I need to get out of here. It’s time for that Caipirinhas by the river. So off we went exploring but also marvelling at the sites of the river bank. It can get a bit touristy with the courtyards and terraces but keeping walking to the fringes and you’ll see the best local prices.
Soon, the day was nearly over, and also it meant that our time in Granada would be nearly over. We were leaving the next day after a night out with some of the staff from the hostel. It also meant that it was time to leave Andalusia to go back to Madrid. Sad face. Packing my bag before we went out, I pondered. Granada has indeed been the highlight of my Andalusian tour. Even as we travelled through local like Cordoba, grand Seville and awesome Granada, I felt more of a connection with this city. Perhaps, it was due to the fusion of cultures, or perhaps the Alhambra, or perhaps the tapas here was the best I’ve tasted. Who knows? But all I know is, I’ll definitely be returning here.
Wait, I bet you’re thinking, so what happened to that Caipirinhas in El Albayzin? Did you find some? Well….what do you think?