I’m heading to Spain in a few weeks. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months, researching places to visit and things to do. I love that kind of thing.
One of the hardest aspects of this travel planning is the restrictions I have on time. I only have three weeks to see a country I could easily spend years getting to know. A month would be too short, but what can I do? Gotta work for a living, and I’m lucky that I have a job I enjoy that’ll pay for these weeks. Enough whining.
One of the best aspects of travel planning is figuring out what I like. I know, that probably sounds weird, but it’s a form a self-discovery. Travel guides are great tools for exploring the options, but I don’t always value the same experiences that the writers do. And I certainly don’t always agree with hotel reviewers, either.
For instance, I’d rather not have a TV in my hotel room. I’ve come all this way to explore another culture, not to sit in my room and watch TV. At the very least, if I’m faced with TV watching, I’d prefer it to be local programming. It’s okay if I don’t understand the language well enough to follow, it’s the exposure I like. I’m boggled when I read a reviewer complaining that there were no English channels on the provided TV in the hotel room. I just don’t get it. Why did you travel to a foreign country in the first place?
For my upcoming trip, faced with a large country and a small window of time, my big challenge was deciding between Catalonia and Andalucía. I know it’s possible to see both in three weeks. But possible doesn’t feel preferable to me. I want time to see the smaller towns, move slower and soak up the details.
It was a hard choice made easier by the idea that I could go back for Spain 2.0.
So for this trip, Spain 1.0, I chose Andalucía. Because Alhambra.
Some time ago I read a lovely tale set in the Alhambra Palace. I have no idea what the book was called or remember much about it at all, except that I looked up the Alhambra when I learned it was a real place. I fell in love with it through the photos online. I’m sure I’m not the first person to do so, right?
And that, right there, is the snag I ran into today.
Both paper guidebooks and the interweb recommend getting tickets to see the Alhambra in advance. It’s a popular place, you know. So I look at the calendar and think, “Yep, I’m about a month out from Granada. Time to book the eye candy.”
It’s all sold out. Every day of April.
But I see on the alhambradegranada.org website that “aûn tengo otra oportunidad!” I could book a guided tour. Sure, it’s an addition 50 bucks, but hey! I’ve been dreamin’ of this place and all…but no. Todo agotado – It’s all sold out.
And the funny thing is, I’m still waiting to feel upset about this. I poke and prod at my feelings, but really, it’s ok.
Because I’m going to freakin’ Spain!