DAY 5 BEGAN in sunny Seville, with a walk along the Guadalqivir River, past the 200-year-old bull ring, below, to Triana, a working-class neighborhood that is home to several ceramics places I had read about in guidebooks and (you’d think I’d know by now) was looking forward to checking out.
Was disappointed to find the pottery mediocre in the extreme. Nothing worth buying; all very commercial. The tiled buildings housing the old factories are better than the wares they’re turning out.
I did a quick circuit of shops I’d visited the day before to pick up items for my Budget Travel shopping story, including a great find in the Santa Cruz quarter called Populart, which sells terra cotta urns and 19th century tiles salvaged from demolished local buildings.
Then back to Seville’s Santa Justa Station, below, for the 3-hour train ride to Granada through fields of olive trees, toward the looming Sierra Nevada mountains.
We arrived in Granada after dark and taxi’d to Plaza de Carmen, where we found ourselves a grown-up restaurant (as opposed to a flourescently lit tapas bar, though I like those too) where the salad was gorgeous (white asparagus, olives, mango, among other things), enormous, and very satisfying. They’re big on ham here in Andalusia, which I don’t eat, so I’ve been making do with eggs, potato, tuna, anchovies, machego cheese, and salads, which is fine with me.
Here’s my travel partner Irvina (at left, below) and me in an even more grown-up restaurant a couple of nights ago at the grand Hotel Alfonso XIII, built for Seville’s 1929 World’s Fair.
Our hotel for two nights is a converted convent on Granada’s main drag, Gran Via Colon, with high coffered wooden ceilings, brick walls, arched windows, Euromod decor, and very fine breakfasts. The concierge sent us to a very cool tapas bar, below, with a faded 1930s mural above the bar, a collection of old bottles in the window, and noisy college students (Granada’s university has 60,000 of them) all in black, smoking up a storm.
One more thing: I’m guest blogging for Garden Design magazine’s website; my first post for them, which I filed from Seville yesterday, is here, if you want to take a look.