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  13. Spain: Granada, Andalusia –...

A museum dedicated to a dark time in Europe's past and flamenco dancing, a dramatic Spanish tradition

Palacio de los Olvidados – Spanish Inquisition Museum

Whilst in the Andalucian city of Granada a local attraction had caught our attention; a museum of the Spanish Inquisition. I could not help but be reminded of the Monty Python sketch – after all, “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”. The museum itself was small and filled with a multitude of torture and execution accoutrements – and not a cushion or comfy chair to be found! It was a true testament to the creativity of the medieval Spaniards to see the range of ways they found to inflict pain on those unfortunate to come to the attention of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition. The tribunal was set-up in 1478 by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I and was intended to maintain the catholic orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam to Catholicism but was expanded to purge Jews and Muslims from Spain. Amazingly, it was not until 1834 that it was finally abolished and during that time 150,000 people were charged with crimes, with 3000 to 5000 being executed. As we toured around the exhibits and read the descriptions of the various methods of torture and punishment, which usually involved some form of mutilation, often of genitalia, we winced many times.
Guillotine and executioner
Instruments of torture
A skeleton on a wheel
Imagine where the pointy bit goes

Afterwards, we decided to get some more pictures of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolas, the best viewpoint in Granada. To get there we had to climb our way through the winding streets of the Albaicin. This is the oldest district in Grenada and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was originally occupied during by the Iberians and Romans, but its major expansion happened during the reigns of the Emirs of Granada. The Moorish influence can clearly be seen in the winding narrow streets, which formed a part of the defence of the city of Grenada. The Romans preferred straight streets; probably because they thought they were invincible and no one would dare attack them. The climb up to the Mirador was steep, made all the harder in the hot afternoon sun, but it was totally worth it. The views across the Alhambra and the distant Sierra Nevada mountains were stunning. The ideal photo opportunity!

Looking across to the the Alhambra

The rest of the day was spent “just chilling”, but Karen and I decided to fit in one more cultural experience to end our visit to Granada. Just across from our hotel was a very small theatre specializing in flamenco, called the Casa del Arte, which seated a maximum of 30 people. It made for a very intimate experience! I had seen flamenco a few years back, but it did not prepare me for what I was about to see. The stage was tiny, but they managed to squeeze on a guitarist, a singer and the dancers. The singing I can best describe as frenetic but that would not adequately cover the explosive exuberance of the singer – in fact, it was quite scary the way she contorted her face and expressed saliva in every direction. If the singing was high energy it palled into insignificance compared to the dancing. There were two dancers one lady and one man. The lady entered looking immaculately groomed, but by the end of set her hair was everywhere and she was dripping with sweat and our ears were ringing from the loud stomping of her feet on the stage. We had a short guitar interlude before the male dancer pounced on us. Flamenco is a rhythmic dance, but the movements are rapid and sharp, and if I tried it I would probably pull every muscle in my body. They must have been exhausted after they had finished the performance. By the time it was all over we were worn-out and shell-shocked – it was difficult to say whether it had been enjoyable, but we were glad we had done it.

About Palacio de los Olvidados

Address: Cta. de Sta. Inés, 6, 18010 Granada, Spain
Website:https://palaciodelosolvidados.es/
Telephone:T: +34 958 10 08 40
Hours:
Monday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fees – Museum
General Admission: € 6.00;FAMILY / FAMILY (2 Adults + 2 Children / 2 Adults + 2 Children)

Getting to Granada

If you want to fly to Granada airport, you need to catch an international flight to Barcelona or Madrid and then a domestic flight to Granada. There are many more flights to Málaga so many people fly to Málaga and then catch a bus or hire a car

It is best to use public transport to get to Granada. The bus is faster than the train. Buses leave from Málaga bus station and arrive at Granada bus station. The journey takes between 90 minutes (11.56€) and 120 minutes (13.86€). The price of a return ticket is double the price of a one-way ticket so there is no saving in buying a return.

Remember that the only point in having a car in the centre of Granada is for going on excursions. Once you are in the centre of Granada you can walk everywhere or get a taxi. Parking your car in a public car park will normally cost at least 25 euros per day but a new car park has opened which costs 40 euros per week.

The Spanish road network has improved a lot in the last 20 years and there are good roads to all other Spanish cities. It takes about 5 hours to Madrid, 11 hours to Barcelona, 90 minutes to Málaga

Best time to visit Granada

The best time to visit Granada is in May and June as well as September and October. From May to June, temperatures are cool, flowers are fully bloomed and some of the city’s biggest cultural events fill up the calendar. Though summer in Spain may sound like a romantic idea, Granada’s position in the southern tip of Europe yields daily temps in the 80s and 90s during July and August, making for a potentially uncomfortable getaway. Winter is an option for those seeking off-peak deals, but with the nearby skiing available at the Sierra Nevada Mountains, prices may vary depending on where you’re staying. In addition to May and June, September and October are also ideal times to visit. These months boast temperatures similar to those seen in spring but come nightfall, temperatures from October onward get cooler and cooler. 

Where to stay in Granada

1. HOTEL PALACIO DE SANTA PAULA

An upscale option for your stay in Granada is the Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection is on Granada’s Gran Vía, a main street through the historic centre. It occupies the former 14th-century Casa Morisco, and 16th-century Santa Paula Convent, with its impressive cloister.

The hotel is a protected building, which retains features from the past, mixed with luxury modern facilities. It has a gym, sauna and Turkish bath.

2. HOTEL CASA 1800 GRANADA

Ideally located in the Albaicin district of Granada, Hotel Casa 1800 Granada is located a few steps from San Juan de Dios Museum, 350 feet from Albaicin and 1,300 feet from Granada Cathedral. With a shared lounge, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi.

Popular points of interest near Hotel Casa 1800 Granada include Paseo de los Tristes, Alhambra and Generalife and Basilica de San Juan de Dios.

3. ECO HOSTEL & CO-WORKING

ECO Hostel & Coworking is not just accommodation, it´s an experience. A place made by and for travellers and families. Designed for digital nomads and adventurers who want to socialize and enjoy the vibes of a hostel but with spacious, cool rooms and private areas to rest, enjoy or work. Big common areas with plenty of different options to spend your time in a funky and relaxing environment making it easy to connect with travellers, combining ECO-friendly accommodation and social hostel atmosphere ECO Hostel & Coworking is located in a beautiful 1900 Modernist building completely renovated but preserving the essence and soul of the house. An Andalusian jewel that has 4 floors: on the ground floor is the front desk, a cafeteria, a patio and a beautiful Coworking space.

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