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In route with Joe Strummer to Granda and Almeria

It is more than 10 years since Joe Strummer left us. This artist, famous for his punk period with the well-known The Clash, was in love with spanish poet Lorca, Granada and Almeria coast, where he spent lost of time during his lasts years.
This is something which can be surprising for lots of people, but not for the ones who really knows him drinking rhum and coke at the famous Silbar – at calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón in Granada- or for those ones that digg into his discography.

It was in the squat where he lived in London – despite being a world-renowned artist- living together with two girls from Málaga and a guy from Navarra, where Strummer once said that he wanted to set up a hardware store in Andalusia. Hence the documentary’s name by Antonio Jesús García and Javier Navarrete where he explains how the singer took refuge in Granada and Almería in search of anonymity and Carlos Prats directed under the title “I Want a hardware store in Andalusia “. All kind of anecdotes are explained in the documentary by his widow Lucinda Garland, vocalist of the band 091 José Antonio García a.k.a. ‘Pitos’, his first band drummer Richard Dudanski and Jem Finer, The Pogues’s component.

Another documentary about his stay in Spain is “I Need a Dodge ! ” by British director Nick Hall, that inquires about the location of the car he loved and he left forgotten in a garage in Madrid . By buying this Dodge, he wanted to go to Víznar, a population at 8 kilometers from Granada where Federico García Lorca was shot to death , with the crazy idea to buy a shovel at a hardware store, locate his grave and dig it up .

The fact is that Joe had great interest in the Spanish Civil War and Federico García Lorca. Thereby he wrote “Spanish Bombs” in his honor, one of the most emblematic The Clash’s songs . In 1984 he settled in Granada and spent long periods of time searching for himself and looking for disconnection in southern Spain’s land. Ten years after his death, the city he loved gave its name to a small square in the heart of Realejo, the old Jewish city’s quarter.

Joe Strummer Square

Due to the popular demand from fans on Facebook asking for Joe to be a part of the city, the City Council of Granada has ended up dedicating him a small space close to the Alhambra. In addition to his first wife, Gaby Slater, and his widow, Lucina Garland,an emotional concert in acoustic remembered the influential figure of the leader of The Clash. The features some Jose Antinio Garcia and Antonio Arias of 091 to which Joe godfather for “Más de 100 Lobos”, Paul Cook of The Mescaleros, Jem Finer of The Pogues or Richard Dudanski of the 101 ‘ers have done a review on some of the artist’s repertoire, without forgetting classics such as “Spanish Bombs” or “London Calling.

Las Gabias – Granada

 In this village a few kilometers from the city of Granada, Joe Strummer was hosted at Gaby Contreras’s home, a radiologist nicknamed ‘the mad doctor’ by Joe and who was also close friend to Sid Vicious.

San José – Almería

During his long stay in southern Spain, Joe Strummer settled for a time in the small picturesque village of San José, in the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Nijar. Bought a house to spend the summer and enjoy Mónsul and Genoese beaches. He spent the nights at Jo’s bar, the Red Fish that is now the Pez Azul – and . Fan of cantaor el Niño de Olivares, Strummer went regularly to Fernan Perez’s flamenco club to attend his performances.

In summer and coinciding with Joe’s birthday on August 21 they continue to schedule concerts in his memory at Jo’s bar in San José by Richard Dudanski’s band Doghouse -former The 101′ers’s drummer and whom Joe Strummer made his first foray into the world of music.

Desierto de Tabernas – “Straight to Hell”’s filming

Tabernas Desert is located about 30 kilometers from Almeria, in a desert area with a low rate of rainfall that becomes one of the driest in Europe. Although it has a tourist charm for having been the scene of the shooting of many spaghetti westerns like Death was priced or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and many others

Here the film Straight to Hell Alex Cox was filmed in 1987, starring Joe Strummer and the cameos by Dennis Hopper, Courtney Love, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Jim Jarmusch and members of bands Amazulu, The Circle Jerks and The Pogues. The Irish Pogues’s travel to Almeria inspired them in one of their most famous “Fiesta”. Straight to Hell is a parody of spaghetti westerns that was written in two or three days and was shot in four weeks.

I am Francisco Vasquez Garcia
I am welcome to Almeria
We have sin gas and con leche
We have fiesta and feria

Why not take a trip to Almería? Have a look at our flights here!


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Touring the Albaicín

A maze of cobbled streets where you can easily get lost; white houses, prominent among them the traditional cármenes (Moorish-style houses); historical vestiges which transport us back to their Moorish origins, and what are possibly the best views of the Alhambra, make the Albaicín a must-visit quarter for sightseers in Granada. In short, while on one bank of the river Darro stands the main reason for visiting this beautiful city – the Alhambra and Generalife – on the other bank lies the other reason for coming here – the Albaicín.

Our first piece of advice when visiting this quarter of Moorish Andalusian origin is that you should take things leisurely, as it is packed with captivating, inspirational nooks and crannies that need time to soak up. Not for nothing was it designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Traces of its Moorish Past

Its steep, narrow, winding streets, where you can easily lose your bearings, is one of the first signs of the quarter’s Moorish past. But, there are many other reminiscences of what was one of the Albaicín’s periods of greatest growth and splendour – the Nasrid dynasty. These include the 11th-centuryZirid Wall,which runs between the Albaicín and neighbouring Sacromonte, the entrance gates, like those of Puerta Nueva (New Gate), Arco de las Pesas (Gate of Weights)–located in the Plaza Larga –Puerta de Fajalauza,on the Cuesta de San Gregorio Alto, and Puerta de Elvira, on the street of the same name. Similarly, the 11th-century Arab Baths, on the Carrera del Darro, known locally as the Bañuelo or “Little Bath”, and the Palace of Dar al-Horra, the 15th-century residence of Boabdil’s mother and queen. Even some of the local churches feature surprises from the past, as in the Church of San Salvador, located in the Plaza de Abad, the interior of which features an ablutionary font from the former Great Mosque of the Albaicín.

Also from those times are vestiges of former water distribution channels and the aljibes (cisterns), of which twenty-five still remain, notably the Aljibe del Rey (King’s Cistern), located between the Zirid Wall and the Placeta del Cristo de las Azucenas.

Another of the Albaicín’s traditional buildings are the so-called cármenes granadinos, which also date from the Nasrid period. This type of Moorish house is typically free-standing and surrounded by a high wall, with a small orchard or garden inside. A noteworthy example is the Carmen de Aben Humeya, on the Cuesta de las Tomasas, which is now a restaurant.

To round off this venture into the past, we recommend visiting the streets of Calderería Vieja and Calderería Nueva, in the lower part of the quarter. They are lined with shops and tea houses with a special charm that will transport you to the lands lying south of the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Finest Sunsets in Granada

One thing you simply must do in this city is head for one of the miradores or vantage points in the Albaicín to watch the sun setting, as the views are really stunning. The two best and most popular lookouts are the Mirador de San Cristóbal, said to afford the finest vistas of the Alhambra and Generalife, the Vega of Granada and the Sierra Nevada, and the Mirador de San Nicolás, which became popular after a visit to the city by Bill Clinton. However, be prepared for the crowds, as throngs of people tend to come here to enjoy the dusk sights.

Succumb to the charms of one of Granada’s most beautiful quarters – check out your Vueling here.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Rocío Garro, Alper Çuğun, Isa Ruiz, Julia Kostecka, Esteban Chiner


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The Lookout Point of San Nicolás

One cannot visit Granada without witnessing the beauty of the Albaicín district, with its steep winding streets, maze of patios and hidden squares, its magic and, of course, the Mirador de San Nicolás. 

Every afternoon, when the sun starts to go down, the Mirador de San Nicolás becomes a place from where to watch perhaps the most beautiful sunset in the world as many people have described it. Only then, bathed in the warmest rays of the sun and with a wonderful view of the Alhambra, can one truly understand why the Nazari sultans called their most refined work in Al-Andalus “The Red Castle”. This place also offers the purest of Flamenco from the local people who add a soundtrack to this spectacular moment in return for a few coins.

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!


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The best gardens in Europe

It's possible to travel to a large city and find cosy and quiet corners to sit down and relax. If you're looking for peace and relaxation in a natural environment, you'd better check out some of the best gardens in Europe. This list is full of charming and magical places, and some of them are right in the centre of the capital cities. These are our recommendations!

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