By Nancy Todd
Oh, shopping is fun and there are bargains to be bought in Granada. Your holidays in Spain are not complete without a trip over to the charming Alcaicería Neighborhood for tea and bargain hunting.
Efficient shopping happens as stores are clustered together so it is easy to compare. The Scoopometer says shop in these four areas and you will have your gift list covered.
1. Cuesta Gomerez Street – Take your time on this street, across from Nueva Plaza, as it is three or four blocks long with colorful houses and bouganvilla cascading off balconies. I was more impressed with the architecture than the shops. Cuesta Gomerez Street ends at the wooded grounds of the Alhambra and at this juncture there is free entry to the woods only. Unusual tourist post cards, fans, and trinkets with some good exceptions line this street. Manuel Morillo Castillo is a craftsman who makes marquetry boxes. The store is his studio and shop and you can watch him cut and glue his intricacies. His wife keeps an eye on the till. Artesania Morillo has chess sets, tables, and music boxes. I loved the ceramics here that popped with colors, not found in other stores in Granada. Bowls, sangria pitchers, platters are in hot oranges, lemons, and greens.
2. Alcaicería Neighborhood – A small area of tiny lanes with shops packed tight with colorful clothes, shoes, and lighting. Fun, noisy, crowded. The original bazaar, which was a silk market, burned in 1843. Being a sucker for silk, I was disappointed to find there is not a scrap of silk for sale in the market today. Fun to meander even if most stores carry the same stuff.
3. Albaicin or Albayzin – This is the city’s old Moorish quarter and a wonderful place to meander. Shopping is colorful, cheap, abundant. You can barter. Jewelry is inexpensive to reasonable. Most products are from India or Morocco. Stained glass lamps, small tables, shoes, slacks, scarves, mirrored boxes. When buying Indian or Morroccan fabric and leather, smell it. If it is not fully processed, it smells a dead chicken and you will never get it out. A friend bought a wall hanging and it stunk and she finally had it dry cleaned. Still smelled. I bought a silver ankle bracelet with red beads, four euros. No smell. A street vendor will write your name in beautiful Arabic script. Kids run about, dogs wander. Bright skirts and blouses billow in the breezes hung high in shop doorways.
4. Fajalauza Pottery – My favorite Granada pottery is flowery with cobalt and aqua green glazes. All hand painted. Hop on the red bus #31 to the top of the hill in Albayzin. Ask the driver to let you off at Fajalauza Pottery. This pottery started in 1640 and is run by the same family. I said to Miquel, 1640? (wondering if my faltering Spanish was hearing correctly). Yes, 1640. Amazing. Miquel Morales Moreno, a descendant of the original family, showed me where the potters work making homewares and construction stuff like roofing tiles. Flower pots, huge bowls, holy water dipper things (just what I need), platters, pitchers, the works. This pottery sings forth with Spanish joy. I loved it.