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Discovering Lorcas Granada

Federico García Lorca, the poet, playwright and a member of the Generation of 27, was undoubtedly one of the leading figures of 20th-century Spanish literature with worldwide acclaim. He is the artificer of such magnificent works as Gypsy Ballads, Poet in New York, Blood Wedding, The House of Bernarda Alba and Yerma, among others. The biography of Federico García Lorca is closely linked to the city of Granada and to some villages in the surrounding Vega of Granada. Just as these lands left their mark on his work, so has Lorca’s influence lingered there over time. We now retrace the footprints of this magnanimous artist.

The Lorca route sets out from Fuente Vaqueros, a small town on the Vega de Granada where the poet was born. The house where he was born, located at 4 Calle García Lorca, which has been turned into a museum, provides visitors with an idea of his first steps in life.

Near Fuente Vaqueros lies the town of Valderrubio. Apart from being the first place to grow Virginia tobacco brought from the Americas, it was here that Lorca spent his holidays during his infancy. Prominent places of interest include the house of Bernarda Alba, on the Calle de la Iglesia, which was next door to García Lorca’s family home. As you may have gathered, it was the source of inspiration for one of his most widely acclaimed stage plays, The House of Bernarda Alba, with its mordant portrayal of life in the Spanish heartland. The old family abode has been turned into a House Museum, with some of the poet’s personal belongings on display.

In 1909, the Lorca family moved to Granada, where our route continues. His first home in this city was at 50 Calle Acera del Darro and the second, at 31 Acera del Casino. In 1914 he started a degree in Law and Arts at Granada University. During that period, he began to frequent what was one of the most celebrated meeting places of young intellectuals, the Café Alameda, which is now the Restaurante Chikito. That what where the conversational circle known as “El Rinconcillo” used to meet. The group was made up of artists of different disciplines whose common aim it was to promote cultural renewal in the city. The Centro Artístico y Literario de Granada (CALC) and El Polinario – also a famous flamenco tablao– were other spots frequented by Lorca.

An upshot of these gatherings was that Lorca struck up a friendship with Manuel de Falla, also a member of “El Rinconcillo”. Together they organised the first Cante Jondo de Granada contest – also a first in the whole of Spain – which was held in the Plaza de los Aljibes at the Alhambra.

The second-last stopover on our itinerary, just two kilometres from Granada, is the town of Huerta de San Vicente, the family’s summer residence from 1926 to 1936. Set in a beautiful park, it became a retreat for Lorca and it was there that he was able to relax, and draw inspiration to write. It was also the place where he spent the last few days of his life. The home has now been turned into the Federico García Lorca House-Museum, with furniture, personal objects and photographs of Lorca on display.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out in the summer of 1936, Lorca was forced to seek refuge in the family home of the poet, Luis Rosales, although this did not prevent him from being arrested on 16 August 1936. Our final stop on this itinerary through Lorca’s haunts in Granada is an olive grove located between Vízcar and Alfacar, where Federico García Lorca was executed by firing squad in the morning of 18 August. This subsequently became a park named after the poet. In it stands a monolith in memory of the victims of the Francoist repression during the Civil War.

Good reason to book your Vueling to Granada and follow the Lorca trail through Granada.


Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Alfons Hoogervorst, John Levin

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Enjoying tapas in Granada

Many comments have been made following the post we created on 21 June entitled Enjoying tapas in Granada 
on the Facebook page of Vueling People. You have suggested various places and other cities besides Granada for enjoying tapas in style so we thought it would be a good idea to gather all this information and try to create a tapas trail around Granada for Vueling People. Without further ado, here is the first trail you have created with your comments. More will surely follow. Your contributions are always welcome and we will try to publish them on myvuelingcity.com; the website for discovering the well-kept secrets of Vuelingdestinations.

Ardilla Feliz has suggested Borsalino of Granada. In Borsalino, they give you a free tapa when you order a bottle of beer – standard practice throughout Granada. Very close to the bus station, the residents of Borsalino (the name given to the patrons of this bar) remember this place for the quality of its tapas and the friendly welcome from its owners.

Eli Moreno added more information about Granada by suggesting the La Chana district for enjoying some great tapas at D’cuadros, Doña Rosquita and Torcuato. Besides a great variety of exquisite tapas, Casa Torcuato boasts spectacular views of the city from its location in the heart of the Albaicín district. It is always full but you never have to wait long to get served and, as is customary, you get a free tapa when you order a beer. Better not to let the alcohol go to your head from an empty stomach!

RM López Rodríguez has suggested the Velilla Cafetería Celeste and Los Diamantes. Los Diamantes is another of those bars packed with people but where they offer some amazing ‘pescaíto frito’ or ‘fried fish’. Located on Calle Navas, it is a classic among tapas-lovers in Granada and one of the establishments with the longest history behind it. This is corroborated by Cristina Jimenez, who also says that “for some tapas in great surroundings, the Albaicin district (Plaza La Larga, Plaza de San Nicolás, Torcuato, Mascarones…) and the city centre has millions of places with good Spanish ham and good wines, like Casa de Enrique “the Elephant” next to the cathedral…”. Casa Enrique is at first-sight a rather humble bar but is known by everyone for having some very good cold meats, including Spanish ham.

Cunini is another of the famous places suggested to us by Esther Arribas. It can also be found in the historic city centre, close to the Cathedral, and features an excellent offer of fish and shellfish. Just like most places in Granada, it is usually full and hard to get a table – but if you do, your stomach will certainly thank you for it!

Still in the centre of Granada, Antonio S. Zayas recommends the Bodegas Castañeda in the area near Calle Elvira. Many people rate its tapas and cold meats among the best in Granada but absolutely everyone agrees on the quality of its wines, some of which are home-made such as the “castañeda” and the “calisacas” not to mention its vermouth.

Africa Alemán sends us to the bars in Plaza del Aguaor and Begoña Benito says we really shouldn’t miss La Bella y La Bestia or El Reventaero in Granada, on Camino de Ronda. “Reventaero” means “bursting in Spanish and with such an abundance of tapas it is easy to see why.

Both Consuelo Martos and Anna Calero point us in the direction of the Bullring where we can find La Ermita; a restaurant with a fine selection of reasonably-priced tapas and good Spanish ham, just as it should be.

We will conclude this Vueling People tapas trail around Granada with the recommendation made byManuel Bega to discover the bars of Gran Vía in Granada and to explore other town in the province of Granada, such as Motril.

Continuing with tapas theme, more Vueling People users have suggested other places like Calle Laurel in Logroño – one of the suggestions made by Fátima Cabañas and Pilar Darder. Others, such as Cristina Prat and Yorkin Beriguete recommend we visit the old part of Bilbao and particularly the unique Victor Montes – first-class tapas in northern Spain.

Many of you have suggested various places throughout Spain, such as Zaragoza, Almeria, Leon (particularly, el Húmedo), Barcelona (Ca l’Arturet in Castelldefels), Avila, Seville (el Eslava is apparently unmissable) and Linares.

Ramón Torregrossa reminds Shiro Takiki of a great place for tapas in Madrid called Bar Scrum at 7 Calle del Sol and Vicent Stronger recommends the Viña district of Cadiz.

We will soon be bringing you another Vueling People tapas trail around another one of our destinations. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Catch you later and bon appétit!

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Granada, A Music Capital

Sometimes you just have to burst certain stereotypes which seem to hound some cities. Our case in point is paradigmatic. In effect, Granada has such a lot going for it, apart from the legendary Alhambra and the first Renaissance cathedral to be built in Spain, the imperial Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación (both of these must-visit landmarks, although not the sum of the city’s attractions). Located on the banks of the river Genil and towered over by the Sierra Nevada, the capital of Granada is one of the focal points in Andalusian culture, a university city where the old and new come together. Local traditional music – flamenco, cante jondo – ring out side by side with pop music and contemporary rock (all related to independent music).

Granada has fewer than 250,000 inhabitants, but is an inexhaustible academy of artists and bands. Enrique Morente, Los Planetas, Lagartija Nick, 091 and Lori Meyers, to name just some of the more famous among them, emerged from the city’s streets and corners and went on to write some of the most celebrated chapters in Spanish music. Being a small city, you can walk through it comfortably. All you need is a pair of good trainers and, above all, motivation. So, if you’re eager to find out about more than just its historical landmarks, here goes a few musical slots geared to discovering a different Granada.

As mentioned above, the old and new come together in Granada. What’s more, those two currents have merged, thanks to the work of some of the aforementioned artists, like Enrique Morente and the incombustible Largartija Nick. The first must-visit spot on any tour of the city’s vibrant music scene is Sacromonte, the cradle of Granadan folklore. Situated in the Sierra de San Miguel and with a privileged view of the city, the area is brimming with caves blessed with excellent acoustics where the gypsy community organises recitals of cante jondo and flamenco. The performances are generous and varied. Apart from Sacromonte, it is well worth strolling through the district of Albaicín – also on the upper side of the city – another cradle of Granada flamenco and one of the most acclaimed gastronomic enclaves. In the streets of this district lies one of the most celebrated flamenco schools in the country, the Instituto de Flamenco Flora Albaicín.

Moving on to wholeheartedly modern currents, Granada is the land of independent rock. It boasts a rich fabric of clubs and concert halls with programmes that also open up to styles beyond Indie (electronic, mestizaje). One of the most venerable spots is Planta Baja, a veritable cultural institution in the city which, apart from hosting consolidated bands, also gives emerging local talent the chance to make their mark. Located in downtown Granada, near the Basilica of Juan de Dios, the Monastery of San Jerónimo and Granada Cathedral – you guessed it; you might as well do some sightseeing before visiting it – it offers activities from noon onwards and DJ sessions at the weekend. Some of the big names that will feature on stage at Planta Baja in the coming months include Sex Museum, Soledad Vélez and Carlos Sadness. Another club which deserves a pilgrimage if you’re into pop and rock is El Tren, located on the outskirts of the city.

A place with so much musical activity could not fail to have a good number of record shops, too. One of the best is Discos Marcapasos, just a few metres from Planta Baja. Located at 6 Calle Duquesa, it is the nerve centre of Granada’s music scene, also offering a generous stock of CDs and vinyls covering sixties years of pop music. It provides advance ticket sales for concerts at Planta Baja, El Tren and other venues in town as well. The store also hosts such activities as ad hoc DJ sessions, record signings and acoustic concerts. Another of the city’s institutions well worth considering is Discos Bora Bora, a small store with a large selection of vinyls.

Book your Vueling to Granada and discover its music scene.

Text by Xavi Sánchez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

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Beyond the Alhambra Moorish Granada

The Alhambra is Granada’s landmark par excellence – no one disputes that. That’s where we usually fix our gaze, be it from one of the viewpoints or cármenes thronging the Albaicín quarter, or when scouting its interior and being carried away by the marvels it holds, particularly the gorgeous ornamentation of its Nasrid palaces. While the Alhambra is the iconic symbol of the Moorish presence in the city, it is not the only vestige in Granada that points to its rich cultural heritage. The following routes are designed to encourage you to venture along some of the city’s streets in search of the Moorish footprint, which has survived the passage of time.

Route 1. The Albaicín

Separated from the Alhambra by the river Darro, and one of the best vantage points from which to view that monument, the Albaicín quarter reveals traces of its Arab past wherever you wander. Its narrow, winding streets, where you are certain to get lost in search of the famous San Nicolás viewpoint, contain traces which clearly reflect what was once the Medina of Granada. The cisterns, tasked with storing and distributing water throughout the city, which you will come across all over the Albaicín, are the first signs of the quarter’s Moorish legacy. Our first stop on this itinerary is the Carrera del Darro, opposite Cadí Bridge, the site of a small gem known as El Bañuelo. These 11th-century Arab baths are made up of three rooms which still preserve their original vaulting with octagonal and star-shaped skylights, as well as columns with Roman, Visigoth and caliphal capitals.

Just a stone’s throw from El Bañuelo, in the Portería de la Concepción, stands the Casa de Zafra, regarded as one of the finest examples of Nasrid domestic architecture. Built in the 14th century and now reconditioned as the Centro de Interpretación del Albaicín, its interior still features remains of the original murals.

Linking up with the Carrera del Darro again and continuing along the Paseo de los Tristes as far as Calle Horno de Oro you will come across the Casa Horno de Oro, built in the late-15th century. Yet another example of the architectural harmony associated with these homes, characterised by a rectangular patio with a cistern, with the rooms arranged around the lower side of it. The next stop on our tour is the road to Sacromonte, up the hill known as Cuesta del Chapiz, the site of the Casa del Chapiz, a Moorish house now converted into the School of Arabic Studies, the gardens of which afford magnificent views of the Alhambra.

Further up the Cuesta del Chapiz you come to Plaza del Salvador, where the High Mosque of the Albaicín once stood, the site of which is now taken up by the Church of El Salvador. Built in Mudéjar style, preserved in its interior is what was once the patio of ablutions of the former mosque, accessed from Calle Panaderos. A prominent feature of this peaceful backwater are the white-painted horseshoe arches, which stand out against the greenery of the lemon trees adorning the patio.

Having got this far, we recommend you take the opportunity to visit a classic landmark – the Mirador de San Nicolás (San Nicolás viewpoint). Enjoy the amazing views of the Alhambra, take a selfie for posterity and recoup your strength for the last stop on this itinerary, Dar-al-Horra Palace. Built in the 15th century on the site of a former, 11th-century Zirid palace, this was the retreat of the sultana Aisha and mother of Boabdil, the last king of Granada. This palace encapsulates the essence of Nasrid palaces, comprising a central patio with a water well around which the rooms are arranged, as are two porticoes along the shorter sides. Noteworthy is the north portico, boasting a viewing platform with splendid vistas of the Cerro de San Cristóbal.

We recommend rounding off the itinerary by having a cup of tea in one of the numerous tea shops studding the Calle Calderería Nueva. You will be forgiven if you get transported to some Arab city as you stroll along this street.

Route 2. “New Granada”

The neighbourhood known as Nueva Granada is laid out around Granada Cathedral, built on the site of the former High Mosque. The route starts at the Corral del Carbón, once a hostel for merchants which comprised an area for depositing their wares, rooms for resting in and stables for tethering their horses. From there we head to the Alcaicería, the former silk exchange, which still bears some resemblance to an Arab souq, despite having been gutted by fire in 1843 and rebuilt in romantic, neo-Arab style. It has now been reconditioned mainly as a venue for selling souvenirs of Granada.

Book your Vueling to Granada and venture along its streets in search of the city’s Moorish past.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

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