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48 Horas en Granada

48 Hours in Granada

I go on a pilgrimage to Granada every winter. It would be a crime not to do it, since we live in Almería, less than two hours away. Despite living in Spain for six years, I still feel the thrill of being able to drive to a place as beautiful and exotic as Granada. I often wonder if this is where my love story with Spain and Andalusia began. When I was fourteen we spent our summer holidays near Malaga in a nondescript beachside development, but my mother, who always made history and culture a part of our lives, took us to Granada for a day trip. She dazzled me. Touring the Nasrid palaces and the Generalife gardens was like being in a fairy tale. I thought it was the most exotic and enigmatic place I had ever been. Possibly, it is not by chance that he lives so close. So I go every year for at least one weekend and I always, always visit the Alhambra. It's an escape from daily life, a snapshot of a world long lost, and a glimpse of another time in history. This year, it has also inspired a Nomad Style collection and I want to share with you everything I like to do in the city.

Preparing a trip with children is never easy. In my case, I have a two-year-old boy and two dogs to organize. The week had been hectic and I had left packing to the last minute, something I never do, and we left Almería in a bit of chaos, leaving the dogs with their sitter and making several last minute stops along the way. When I finally got on the A92, I took a deep breath and began to let go of the tension built up over the week. The route between Almería and Granada through the interior is spectacular. It first crosses the Tabernas desert and then caresses the Sierra Nevada, leaving aside modern windmills placed like sentinels that watch over the hills and endless fields of almond trees. When the almond trees bloom in early spring, you drive through fields of white flowers with the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada as your backdrop. You then arrive in Guadix, with its cave houses and soft sandstone minarets before passing through the passes and pine forests of the Sierra de Huétor Natural Park and descending towards Granada.

I always stay in the Albaicín, the oldest neighborhood in Granada, with views of the Alhambra and with the mountains behind. It may seem intimidating at first, since entering by car is not easy, but our landlord has given us very precise instructions and the house has free parking. Once in the city, you shouldn't need a car. Our rental house is literally a stone's throw from the Mirador de San Nicolás, the famous square where people gather to listen to flamenco and watch the sun set behind the Alhambra. From the conservatory and roof terrace we can hear the crowds and buskers and the views are stunning. With a small child, it is worth spending the money on good accommodation. We can't go out at night, so we make sure we stay somewhere where this doesn't become a penance. We settle down and rest; We have a busy weekend ahead of us and a long way to go.


Although I occasionally miss those weekends where I could get up late from my pre-maternity days, I've always been a morning person, to the point of being a nuisance to the people around me, so the fact that that my son wakes up at 7:30 every day I see it as a blessing. We take our time over breakfast and are already hitting the cobblestones just past 9.I have found a guide to the secret Granada in the house and I really want to discover some hidden corners of the city This morning our goal is a modern section of the old Ziri wall designed by the architect Antonio Jiménez Torrecillas in 2005. In fact, there were I had been very close to it on my previous visit to the city, when I climbed San Miguel el Alto on the hill of Sacromonte, but I did not know it was there. The climb to the hermitage is worth it in any case; It takes you through endless alleys of the Albaicín and Sacromonte. The final climb is up a granite block staircase, bypassing the cave houses, and is not for the faint of heart. For the final stretch, I carried my son on my shoulders. Good exercise right?
As an extra treat we met a man riding a horse at the top of the hill, which brought indescribable joy to my son, who is a HUGE horse fan.

The wall section itself doesn't look like much from the outside and caused quite a bit of controversy when it was built. It is an architectural intervention on an old structure executed with sensitivity and the quality of light and space in the hollow interior is impressive. On the other side of the wall, we appear in an olive grove, and crossing it again you can see all of Granada at your feet, the whitewashed Carmens of the Albaicín clustered together, the hill of the Alhambra, the modern and bustling city center on the plain below and , above all, the snowy peaks of the mountains. We wandered back through the gypsy neighborhood of Sacromonte to the streets and squares of the Albaicín, now full of life as people began their journey. It's very touristy, of course, but incongruously it's also just another Spanish neighborhood with its pharmacy, fishmongers and fruit stalls. We had worked up an appetite and stopped for coffee and churros in the Plaza Larga, where musicians, beggars, and even a street poet tried (and managed) to get a few euros out of the tourists and neighbors who were having breakfast.

I bought fruit at one of the stalls and went into the fish market to get some fish for my son's dinner. The place was full of women talking. It fills me with happiness simply to be listening during the wait, while they chat about nothing in particular in a way that only the Spanish know how to do. I like to plunge into normal life when I travel; you can learn as much about a place at the fish market as you can at a church or museum. On the way back we crossed the Mirador de San Nicolás, where my son was fascinated by the flamenco guitarists. One of them told me that my son would be a musician. "I hope so," I replied. We leave the bags of food at home and rest a bit before heading down to the center.

The Albaicín descends towards the Darro River between cobbled streets and stairs, squares, fountains and parks. As you walk you can glimpse behind the gates lavish gardens with palm and orange trees and on every corner there are musicians playing classical or flamenco guitar. We linger down the Cuesta de San Gregorio, which winds its way down the hill to Calderería Nueva, Granada's little Marrakech, a narrow street lined with bazaars and Moroccan patisseries. Where the street forks, we stop at the church of San Gregorio. The nuns were in prayer and her hypnotic recitation of the Ave Maria is haunting and beautiful. We sat for a moment immersed in the sound. It is as if we are suddenly in 16th century Spain, their white robes and headdresses bathed in light from the stained glass windows, and the effect is overwhelming.

Back on the streets, we are once again in Al-Andalus, or at least in a 21st century version intended for the thousands of tourists who travel to Granada every year. I love walking down this street full of life and colour, although the shops are not to my taste. I stop at my favorite patisserie, the Andalusian patisserie Nujaila and buy some baclava to enjoy later on our terrace. Calderería Nueva ends abruptly at the Gran Vía de Colón, one of the main arteries of Granada. One of my favorite places nearby is the Los Italianos ice cream parlor, both for its magnificent original decoration from the 1930s and for the ice creams, but lunch time is near and we leave it for another day.

We pass by the imposing cathedral and the classic tourist spice stalls and head to the main shopping area of ​​Granada. The entire area between Calle Recogidas and Calle Tablas is full of shops, squares, bars and cafes and is well worth a visit. This time I discovered a new gourmet destination, Locos X El Gourmet, on Darrillo Magdalena Street, whose Argentine owner is passionate about craft beer and hot sauce. I bought some amazing local cheese for a sunset picnic and hot sauce made with chiles grown in the Alpujarras.

This time I had booked a new restaurant, and we took a short walk through Recogidas to Calle Rector Morata, a small street off the main road, to the Alameda Granada restaurant . I've read good reviews about this place, and it doesn't disappoint, with well-crafted contemporary Spanish food served in an elegant setting. You can watch the cooks prepare your food in a glass-enclosed kitchen, and the dishes are delicious and surprising. We ordered roasted aubergine with flakes of bonito that came dancing and moving on top of the hot aubergine, which made my son scream with joy. The roasted shoulder of lamb is served with a sprig of rosemary burning on top, fuming, causing me to yell “Fire!” repeatedly, much to the delight of the other diners and my embarrassment. It may be gimmicky, but the quality of its cuisine speaks for itself. We will definitely be back.

After lunch, we took a taxi to go back home and take a well-earned nap. Again my son sets the schedule, and it's fine with me. When he wakes up, I take him to a nearby playground and then we go back to prepare our picnic for sunset. The Mirador de San Nicolás is full of people, since it is a classic to see the sunset in the city. Our rooftop is like a little private VIP version, and we sit down to watch the colors of the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada change from gold to pink and purple as we enjoy our Granada feast. When it starts to get cold, we go into the solarium and hug each other until the last set of colors fades and the sky turns dark blue.


I had managed to get tickets to the Alhambra, by sheer luck or stubbornness, I'm not sure. He had left it for very late, so we had to get up at dawn and take a taxi to be among the first to enter the complex. Our entry into the Nasrid palaces, which is the most beautiful part of the visit, was the first of the day. The good thing about this is that it was still relatively quiet and the other visitors are groups that tend to congregate, so we can enjoy parts of the palace in complete peace. I never get tired of coming; the complex symmetry of architecture always leaves me speechless. For me, these palaces are one of the most magical buildings in the world.The Throne Room is a masterpiece of intimidating architecture, its soaring vaulted ceiling designed to create awe The Courtyard of the Lions is all water and light, with an almost spiritual energy. For a designer, it is a feast for the senses. Everywhere I look I see colours, shapes, textures, motifs and atmospheres that are going to shape the inspiration for a Nomad Estilo collection for this spring.

From the Nasrid palaces we walked through the gardens to the Generalife, the summer palace of the Nasrid kings, and although less ornate and extravagant than the palaces, it has its own quiet magic. The ornamental gardens lead you through a maze of hedged arches and tunnels, along with fountains and water channels, to a modest villa, with a long landscaped courtyard filled with flowers and water. From here you can look back at the main buildings through a small valley. But for me, the stars of the show here are the plants: orange trees, jasmine, amaryllis, clematis, lilies, and hyacinths. The main garden is a burst of color and aromas arranged around a long central pond with water jets that play and splash, another magical corner full of inspiration.

We spend time enjoying the gardens before heading back home for a pre-lunch break. Being a person of habit, I have my own traditions when I revisit my favorite destinations. In Granada that always means eating at the Mirador de Morayma, a restaurant nestled in a beautiful Carmen with a beautiful garden and spectacular views of the Alhambra. The tables on the terrace are shaded by a trellis, and the garden is dim and cool on the hottest days of Granada's summer. There is a well and a fountain and, with the garden, it is a perfect example of a traditional Albaicín house. The food is generally good, but in this view the first courses were a bit disappointing. But the second courses of pork secret and seared bluefin tuna were excellent. We enjoyed a long meal and then walked up the small hill to the house and a much-needed nap.

Our hosts had allowed us to leave the house at any time of the day, which was a luxury. I dozed off on the glassed-in rooftop terrace and heard all the sounds of the city, flamenco from the Mirador de San Nicolás, marching bands practicing for Holy Week in the old city below, and bells ringing throughout the city. Granada is a city with its own soundtrack.

It was time to pack up and head south, until next year. I will never get tired of you, Granada. Lope de Vega, the poet and playwright of the Golden Age, was right: I don't know if I called this land I walk on heaven, if this below is paradise, what will the Alhambra be, heaven?

See the photos of our trip here

Where we left off:

We stayed at an Airbnb which you can find here.

To eat:

The Italians
4 Gran Vía de Colón Street

Andalusí Nujaila Pastry Shop
9 New Calderería Street

Locos X El Gourmet
Darrillo Magdalena Street 10

Alameda Granada Restaurant
Rector Morata Street 3

Morayma Viewpoint
Pianista García Carillo Street 2

Visit the Alhambra:

You can buy Tickets here.

Soon we will present our new collection inspired by this wonderful journey.

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