This morning we concluded our visit in Valencia, and headed on our way to Granada in southern Spain. The drive was expected to be about five hours. Not far into the drive, we found ourselves climbing through winding mountain passes and becoming surrounded by plateaus and mesas. We saw large mountains up close and at a distance, but we also saw many more agricultural plantings of Citrus sp., Olea sp. (olives) and some other crops such as pineapples, avocados, and grapes. It was fascinating to see how the Spanish people made excellent use of their land. Some growing techniques we observed during our travel were; terracing on mountainsides and large fields/orchards that were weed free and cultivated well between the rows. It was surprising to see how well the plants were growing, especially on the terraced mountain sides, where the soil is expected to be shallow and uneasy to work with. We had seen areas like these on our way to Valencia, but noticed an increase in land usage on the mountainsides on our way to Granada.
Granada is located in the middle of the Sierra Morena Mountains: Morena translates to Nevada. It was very interesting to see the mountain range which aside from the agricultural crops were also covered in , Poppies, Agave, many various grasses, and several species of Pines and Palms. There were also the remains of many castle-like structures, some of which were built into mountains sides. To our surprise, as we approached Granada, we were met with a beautiful view of a snow-capped mountain! We were all trying to explain why there would still be snow on a mountain top, in June, when the temperature was approaching 90 degrees F, and we found as we came closer that the mountain was much higher in altitude than it appeared when we first saw it.
Andalucia is one of the seventeen autonomous regions located in southern Spain. It is one of the most populous communities and is divided into eight seperate provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and Almería. The city has a heavy Iberian/Moorish influence and a rich history which we are all very excited to learn more about. The streets are cobblestone and extremely narrow and the homes are charming and well kept with many plants on their balconies and patios.
Please enjoy some pictures taken around our hotel (Hotel Zaguan del Darro).
Tomorrow we will be visiting the Alhambra!