Alarm goes off early, grunt, groan and finally get up so we can be at the Alhambra early to get in on our timed ticket.
Breakfast early, very nice, stomachs groaning we make our way up the hill to the Alhambra.
Going green and groaning up the hill via our own feet, we arrive at the imposing gates and enter. This palace/fortress was especially designed to conceal its access points and beauty from marauding hordes.
X hundred years later, it has done the same to us, we are in the wrong effing gate. Signs would have been useful, we thought, as we had to navigate our way out to the real entrance gate which was nowhere near or frankly nowhere near as imposing. Didn’t the internet ticket count? Apparently not, you had to exchange it for one that does. Where is the ticket place? – aha behind the cordoned off area, guarded by heavies. You have to ask the heavies to move to get in to swap your tickets. Aarrgghh, then you’re advised to make your way quickly to the Palace as you haven’t got much time….
The Alhambra is beautiful, but today was really really cold, and after an hour all four of us had lost feeling in our hands, so we duly retired to a nearby hotel lobby for a warming drink.
This was the Fawlty Towers of modern times. On one of the coldest days of the year the front door was wide open to attract Alhambran refugees, like us. The back door was also open to ensure you could enjoy the Moor inspired courtyard. You could also endure, sorry, enjoy the Arctic winds rushing through. We made a beeline for the cosy corner, the one with the radiator in it – plugged in at the wall. This however, like the intricacies of the Moorish design in the Alhambra palace, was just an optical illusion. The radiator was cold, the thermostat didn’t work, and heaven help the staff, who were bundled up against the cold, the whole place was as warm as your average salad crisping drawer in the fridge.
Undeterred, we ordered coffees and hot chocolate. We were told the chocolate had run out so would cocoa be okay. At this stage hypothermia was a distinct danger, so we said yes cocoa would be fine. It was a diy affair, the waiter who I shall refrain from calling Manuel, brought in the coffees and jug of hot milk with two sachets of cocoa.
At this juncture the four of us were giggling away, as Mr JCR and I tried to froth up our cocoas. And every new order from a guest for a cocoa caused us to giggle more. We needed to use the bathrooms, which were, you’ve guessed it, outside in the Artic courtyard, without heating, hot water or heated hand blowers. After that visit we were back to being as cold as we were when we first arrived. My recommendation, visit the Alhambra in summer, or wear thermals and carry a flask of coffee and a hand towel…
After that interval the visit to the palace continued, pretty much without incident, but we were very cold. So a return visit to the tapas bar called. We took the edge off the day and meandered home merrily, no grunting or groaning this time.
This however, is not exactly pre -running preparation at its best. So a prevaricating snooze later I eventually got out to run, having missed the snow flurries. It was cold and slippy underfoot, I had in mind to run just 5k, in and around the town. My GPS kept falling out, so my tracking wasn’t great, but I did realise I had been running downhill way too much and that an uphill return would be necessary. In the end a sneaky 7km, and whilst I started off groaning at the thought of going out, it was lovely when I was out there.
Lost in France – Bonnie Tyler
Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc
Penny Lane – The Beatles
Vienna – Ultravox
Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles
Massachussetts – Bee Gees
Boston Tea Party – Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
Africa – Toto
Wonderful World – Sam Cooke
San Francisco – Scott Mackenzie
Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow
Average Pace 7:42 (mins/km)
Kms to date 474.7
Kms to run 1543.43