Granada was on my top of list of things to see in Spain. I was so excited to see the city that still had so much influence from Morocco and northern Africa. We got to our hostel in the afternoon, and thankfully a girl who worked there saw us on the street and showed us the way, otherwise it would have been complicated to find (like EVERY other place on our trip!) The hostel was an old Riad like we had stayed in Morocco, and it was very nice. They were making a dinner that night for around 5 euros, so we headed out for a quick bite to eat in the afternoon because we decided to eat in our hostel for dinner. We again found a sidewalk cafe to sit for a couple hours in the afternoon. Our hostel had a bar in it as well, so before dinner we sat in there and talked and had a beer. For dinner we had paella and an avocado/tomato salad, all of which was really good. The following day we went to the bus station first thing because we decided to take the overnight bus to Valencia, that way we would save a night's worth of accommodation. After we bought our tickets, we headed to the Alhambra. It was quite a steep climb, and there were a ton of people there. It was quite impressive however, the place was huge. Again, there were Arabic influences in the buildings which were amazing, however we had just come from Morocco, so were kind of over that type of architecture. I think I would have appreciated it much more if I had gone at the beginning of our trip, or at some other time. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, but that I wasn't as over-awed as I might have been at a different time. The Alhambra was started in the 9th century by the Moorish Nasrid Sultans, and was taken over in the 15th century by the Christians and slightly altered and added to. After a quick dinner out, we headed back to our hostel to wait until our bus left at 11:30pm.
Taking an overnight bus sounded like an excellent idea. We had to pay to take the bus anyway, so why not get our money back from our hostel in Granada for the second night? It takes at least six hours to get from Granada to Valencia, so we thought we would get a decent amount of sleep. Ha ha! It was the worst bus ride ever! We had to sit in assigned seats, and the guy behind me smelled like smoke which was awful. Not to mention, we stopped every HOUR. Some of the busses we had been on, didn't have many stops, so we thought since it was an overnight bus, there would be minimal stopping. So wrong. I think we stopped the most on that bus than any other form of transportation our entire trip. The bus driver was pretty fast, which meant we were thrown all over the place also. It really sucked. We arrived in Valencia a little before 7 in the morning, and headed off to find our hostel. The sun wasn't even up yet. The guy at our hostel wasn't very friendly. We knew we couldn't check in until the afternoon, but knew we could leave our backpacks there for the day. He didn't even offer to let us rest for a bit or use the toilet. So we walked down the street to sit in front of the Starbucks until it opened. Finally, we went in and grabbed a drink and something to eat. We decided to go to the cathedral because it was close and we new it would be open early. Upon entering the cathedral, I basically lost it. I was so exhausted that all I wanted to do was end my trip and go home. I had no sleep, and I was tired of travelling every couple of days and staying in hostels. I literally couldn't function I was so tired. I was like a zombie for five minutes in the cathedral before I told Alissa that I was going to go back to the hostel and beg for them to let me rest in the common room. I was miserable. Poor Alissa, I wasn't the best travel companion at that point! When we got to the hostel, two girls were there who were much nicer than the previous guy. We went up to the common room, and I took a nap on the couch for a couple hours.
In the afternoon when I felt like a normal human being, we decided to go back to the cathedral because it was really beautiful and worth really admiring. A lot of it was re-done in the Baroque style, which is not something I have seen too much of, especially in England. There were some really beautiful relics and pieces of church art. There was a withered arm from a saint that was good times. Also, the cathedral in Valencia has a holy grail. In fact, it is the only holy grail that has been approved by the Vatican, so its kind of a big deal.
After enjoying the cathedral, we grabbed some ice cream and went exploring. We found a contemporary art museum, and spent the rest of the afternoon there. There were lots of really cool exhibits, and it was free! For dinner, we decided to get tapas, so we headed back to the hostel to shower and freshen up. One of the girls in our room was travelling alone, and she was really nice so we invited her to dinner with us. There was a restaurant near us that had really cheap tapas. It is self-serve, so the tapas are set up at the bar, and you go grab the ones you want. Each tapas has a toothpick holding it together, and you are charged by the number of toothpicks left on your plate! The restaurant was in one of our guidebooks, and a lot of locals were there. We ordered a bottle of wine and experimented with the cuisine. They were really good, and for a euro fifty each, well worth it! I also ordered a cheese platter because I had been craving some Spanish cheese. After dinner, we went and had a beer at a bar nearby.
The following day was reserved for the beach. We invited our new friend Beth to come with us. It was pretty nice out, a little bit chilly, but nothing was going to spoil our beach day. We set up camp and hankered down to spend the day. About mid-day, we went and had sandwiches for lunch before setting up our stuff at another part of the beach. We saw a few topless women, which was interesting. Like an idiot, I didn't put sunscreen on my legs, and since it wasn't very hot out I didn't think it was a big deal. I meant to put some on at some point, but forgot. So I ended up burning the crap out of my legs. They were some serious lobster legs. They were swollen and a bit painful. After an interesting shower, Beth, Alissa and I went to go eat paella. Valencia is the birthplace of paella, so we had to eat it there! We found a restaurant with tables outside which was lovely. I picked out a bottle of wine, which I thought was red, but turned out to be rose. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't really good either. We ordered a couple of delicious appetizers and shared Valencian paella. Valencian paella has rabbit and chicken in it. The rabbit was not very good. But at least we tried it, and now we can say that we had real Valencian paella in Valencia! After dinner we headed back to the hostel to meet up with a couple other girls from our room, and we drank sangria. Cat and Rachel found box sangria at the store for one euro fifty, so that's what we were drinking! Again, it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't very good either. Luckily, the girls had bought some sun cream that day, so I lathered up my legs which relived them a bit. We turned in kind of early because we were all leaving the next day. In the morning, the five of us went to grab a bite to eat before going in our respective directions. It was nice to meet such friendly girls. Alissa and I were off to Barcelona!