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The drive from Valencia to Granada, was long (500kms) but not arduous. It provided a fascinating view of Spain’s every changing topography. I felt really satisfied as we left Valencia because its history was like a book standing open in front of us, and we got to read some of the pages in that book.

While we chose not to go down to the harbourside on the advice of our hostess, we did drive down to view it on our way to Granada, and perhaps in hindsight it may have been worthwhile to have taken an stroll around there for a couple of hours – some of the modern architecture was simply stunning – in particular the building shaped like a conquistador’s helmet, which is reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House. This area had many outstanding modern buildings in contrast to what we had been seeing in the old town.

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The best shot I could get from the back seat of the car …

I decided it would be worthwhile, just to keep snapping away as we drove to try and capture the varied landscape in this vast country which changed constantly as we drove by, often on long and straight toll roads. One minute we were seeing verdant orange, apricot and lemon groves, the next minute it was gravelly hills, huge open plains extending right up to the foot of enormous mountains, or even a pine forest as we came closer to Granada.

Initially, after leaving Valencia we saw churches, tiny run-down houses and graffiti-covered huts, but we saw less of these as we moved along through huge plains, and desert-like expanses.  We passed around the outskirsts of Benidorm and Alicante where huge apartment blocks headed skyward- they looked very cosmopolitan and cramped from our perspective and certainly not attractive places to stay, although I imagine the beaches are beautiful.

What did appeal were some of the white villages we could see in the distances as we came into Andalucia. As we passed via Guadix, we even saw troglodyte cave houses- very unexpected and the closer we got to Granada, the landscape became less arid and unforgiving.

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As we entered Granada and drove the one-way system of winding streets, I could see this would be another place to love. Pulling up to the hotel was exciting- situated high on the side of a hill, it has an impressive facade and is located right beside the Alhambra.

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The interior of the hotel is no less impressive. It is elegant and very grand with a significant moorish influence in the decor. Our room is quite small and looks toward the Alhambra, which is hidden behind shrubbery – our terrace has to be seen to be believed – it is huge and services only our room. Our friends have a lovely junior suite on the other side of the hotel looking down to the town – no terrace but large and quite opulent.

The terrace on ground floor level provides a panoramic view over the city and as we were tired after a very long drive we decided to relax there with drinks, and ended up having a very simple dinner too.

At sunset the city looks beautiful – the light of dusk is very pretty and we are keen to see so much more of it.

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Sunset view on the town side of the hotel