Spain – Mar ’14 (Part 2 – Granada > Sierra Nevada)

From Madrid, we took a night train to Granada. Our plan was to explore the town and then headed to the Skiing resort at Sierra Nevada. All the necessary coach bus tickets were bought the moment we reached the town.

Alhambra is the complete form of which was Calat Alhamra, is a palace and fortress complex. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

Granada Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Incarnation is the cathedral in the city of Granada, capital of the province of the same name in the Autonomous Region of Andalusia, Spain. The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Granada.

The Gate of Elvira is an arch located in Granada, Spain. It was declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1896.

The Royal Chapel of Granada houses the remains of the Catholic Monarchs.

As we cycled downtown, there was a protest by University students and it was actually so fun.

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Street protest

From the main town for Granada, we took a long distance bus to Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the region of Andalucia, provinces of Granada and Almería in Spain. It contains the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacén at 3,478 metres above sea level.

When we planned for the trip, we did not hope there was still snow. So we prepared tent and picnic mat for hiking instead. When we were on the way, we were so happy to see the icy mountain caps.

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The icy mountain cap from afar

We settled in a nice studio apartment with small kitchen and bath-tub. And we prepared a lovely meal for two with soya milk replacing red wine. 🙂

After a nap, we decided to walk around the town. Skiing only opened until 4pm everyday because night time came early. The town was quiet as March was the end of snowing season so there was not a lot of tourists around.

We trekked all the way from the Square to the mountain top. It was a breath-taking scene of snow white and blue sky.

At night, the temperature got to -15 degrees and it snowed heavily. The whole town was covered in snow just like a magical new world.

We walked up from the cold and got so excited. We started rushing to the Square and ready for Skiing.

We walked around a few stores to rent equipment and figured out the way to Skiing venue. The locals and tourists were very helpful as they guided us to ticketing counter and recommended good places to rent. So we got the day pass which allowed us to take unlimited cable car and ski lifts. We also got a full set of skiing gears (snow goggles, skis and boots)

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Ready!

From the Square, we needed to take cable car to the Skiing venue. As we looked down, the whole thing was totally white, covered with snow. We met 2 Spanish professional skiers and we had a good chat about some techniques and all.

The moment we arrived, we can feel the cold through layers of heat-tech clothing. It took us awhile to get back our bravery and step outside.

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Chilling cold

Liyang really enjoyed his first skiing session and he was so brave to try. I tried a few strokes and I kept falling down until the butt got so painful. Our gloves were not so good and my hands started to get numb. But it was indeed memorable time we had.

As guided by the service staff, there were different skiing routes and venues. So we tried to find the correct ski lift to a amateur venue. It was scary to sit on the ski lift as there was no belt or horizontal bar in front of us. We needed to hold the side tightly as the lift ascended.

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Ski lift

And the problem was, we took the wrong ski lift to the professional skiing area, which was the highest tip of the mountain when visibility was nearly zero. When our ski lift reached the top, the two security guards asked us ski down. We were frozen and shook our heads violently in fear. They realized we took the wrong route and quickly asked us get down to go inside their hut. I cannot feel my hands at all, the temperature should be below 20 degrees or so. We sat flat on the floor and the guards were so nice offering us the entire heater to warm ourselves.

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Numb hands

And the guards called for emergency rescue team. We were then escorted back down by 2 snow automobiles which were guided by 2 huge snow dogs. I thought we would get scolded, however they were super nice and friendly towards us.

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Emergency rescue team

The ride was actually great! Such a mischievous act but we had fun anyway.

We went back to the amateur area and played there. Each point was connected by a tunnel that would bring you up the slope and allow you to ski down. From there, we can see a lot more skiers, especially skiing classes that taking place.

After a fun skiing day, we descended down back to the Square. It was the best day we had.

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Great time!

 

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