We caught a number 3 bus into the centre of the City.
Our plan was to have no plan, just to roam around anywhere that took our fancy. The weather was warm and sunny though I doubt it was the 28 degrees advertised on an electronic screen.
We got of the bus and noticed many people were carrying sprig’s of Olive branch a foot or two long. Many people seemed to have their best clothes on, like they were going to a wedding.
Gypsy women were stood at the corner of the alleys at led to the cathedral selling sprigs of ‘Lucky Rosemary’ to passers by.
We wandered down one of these alleys and followed a few twists and turns and found ourselves at the Plaza Pasiegas where more people were crowding around the door to the cathedral clutching what looked like long fawn coloured bullrushes or some thing that looked like a large corn stalk with a series of fancy knots tied into it. Clearly there was a service of some sort taking place in the Cathedral and we remembered speaking to a couple in the bar last night who said whole villages were closing down for the religious service on Sunday.
Jaki snuck in to take a peak whilst I stood and watched what looked like a Bishop ( move 3 paces diagonally) lead a procession in through another door.
We continued our meandering and our next stop was at Plaza Bib-Ramblas where we watched some ‘Hippies’ making huge bubbles, much to the delight of the children who had gathered whilst Mum and Dad sat at one of the Bars around the square.
A small Merry go Round with carved wooden animals was powered by a bloke ( a very fit bloke) on a push bike. This simple ride was swamped with kids wanting to have a turn and they couldn’t sell tickets fat enough.
We crossed the Reyes Catolicos and went into the Tourist Information centre on the Plaza del Carmen to get a map.
When we did we heard singing from the courtyard behind.
There was a Brass Band, Full Choir and a Soloist dressed in full Traditional Spanish costume performing in front of a crowd of people packed onto the terrace around the edge of this little square. With the added acoustics offered by the building the sound was sensational and we stayed there till the end. When I asked in Tourist Info what was going on I was told it was the local band and they just felt like putting on a concert.
We walked then all the way up the Carrera del Darro, which runs along the Bottom edge of Alhambra following the path of the Rio Darra.
This was fantastic.
The road was lined with Tapas Bars and Restaurants on the left and the river on the right but being in a valley the rocky walls of the Fort towered over the river and on our left a village with steep cobbled streets climbed skyward.
The bars and shops were far more eclectic here, lots of Moroccan influence and in one shop I tried to buy a coat for Glastonbury but even the Extra Large was too tight.
We stopped and had coffee whilst three street performers entertained with songs a accompanied by a Spanish guitar (obviously) a Ukulele and a girl on a pretend trumpet. €1 well spent.
We also bought a tiny boot for €1.5 which will look great on our Christmas tree.
At the top of the road Passé de Los Triste we turned around and headed back toward the bus stop.
When we got there we waited for about 20 minutes before realising the road was very quiet and there was almost no traffic. In fact the road had been closed at both ends to allow a religious procession to March up the street and into the cathedral. So we set off on foot again.
When we got to Jardines del Triunfo we stopped as the front of the parade became visible, though we’d heard the bands music for some time.
Eventually a brass band led the procession out of a side street and onto the main road ( and our bus route). They were followed by a huge gold float with some palm trees and a sort of Egyptian themed tableau carried by a load of blokes who must have volunteered for the task when they’d had a few cause it was bloody heavy and they had to keep stopping and taking a breather, which slowed the whole procession to a crawl.
When they went past the road was reopened and we caught a bus home.
Unfortunately the supermarket was closed so we were unable to buy any provisions. Supper was made using anything we had left in the cupboard but after 6 hours of walking, it tasted great.
The only sour note was our new German neighbours who refused to speak to us or even acknowledge our existence when we said ‘Hi’.
Still, we won the 66 World Cup.g