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  • Alexis Beard

A plunge into the heart of Spain. Destination: Granada.

In Andalusia there are several routes to travel and villages that are ready to inspire us with their beauty. To know Andalusia is to let ourselves fall in love and be willing to return home with a sigh in our heart. Even though my life consists of traveling, visiting Andalusia is an unparalleled trip.

Internationally revered for its lavish Alhambra palace, and enshrined in medieval history as the last stronghold of the Moors in Western Europe, Granada is the darker, more complicated cousin of sunny, exuberant Seville. Granada, where the soul of Andalusia is present in every alley and old building.

The Alhambra and the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs are the pride of Granada. The city rises majestically from a plain onto three hills, dwarfed—on a clear day—by the Sierra Nevada.

Endowed with relics from various epochs of history, there’s lots to do and plenty to admire in Granada: the mausoleum of the Catholic monarchs, old-school bars selling generous tapas, bohemian teterías where Arabic youths smoke cachimbas (hookah pipes), and an exciting nightlife that bristles with the creative aura of counterculture.

In Granada I stayed in the modern Hotel Carmen, whose contemporary style offers absolute comfort. The Cathedral of Granada and the Fountain of the Battles are a few steps from the Hotel; The Palacio de Congresos and the famous Alhambra Museum are within walking distance. This hotel has two different types of rooms, the 'new' and 'old', where some are decorated with upholstery of rich colors and pastel walls and others in a late 70s style with a green carpet and walls in a dark green hue.

In the evening, I enjoyed an unparalleled show in the caves of Granada: the Temple of Flamenco. Located in a cave in the neighborhood of Albaycín, this magnificent show is directed by Antonio Vallejo, a talented singer. Following the gypsy tradition, the cast of the flamenco group is a single family, in whose veins flows born talent and infinite passion.

The next day I visited the Alhambra, the emblem of Granada and a real wonder. This a palace complex was formerly a fortress, built in 889 on Roman ruins. Later it was converted into a wall, palace, royal court and is now a museum, where my visit was incredible thanks to my magnificent guide Patricia Ortiz.

A few steps from the Alhambra is the restaurant Carmen de Jardines de Alberto, where in a divine outdoor patio we can enjoy the sun of Andalusia and typical food of the area. El Carmen, called Karm by the Muslims, is a type of typical Granada house that begins to build after the Christian conquest in the 16th century and in the style of the restaurant.

Granada is a fantastic destination, widely regarded as the epitome of España profunda: deepest Spain, where traditions hold firm, flamenco echoes around the whitewashed streets and the people speak the most impenetrable form of Castilian.

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