Granada and the Alhambra

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jul 20, 2008

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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Granada is the most fantastico place.  Like Sevilla it has an Analusian character all its own.  The feel is very bohemian.  Language is noticeably different and harder for us to understand. Architecture and decoration has a distinctively Moorish aspect.
We wandered up hills of cobbled streets in the Albaicin - an area settled by gypsies/new age travellers. Houses were cave-like, white-washed and dug into the hills.  Found a wine bar (window in a house) for cerveja and tinto.  Inbetween serving us the owners and their guests were getting up to some sus. activities -  lots of singing ensued afterwards! 
On our 2nd day here we queued to see The Alhambra - the reason everyone comes to Granada. This is the only surviving large Muslim palace in the world. The Alcazaba  is made up of fortresses, ramparts, towers and dungeons.  But the jewel is the Nasrid Palace with the Palacio de los Leones(Lions). Its surrounded by the Generalife - magnificent planned, sculptured gardens, where water is an art form.  I think this is where the inventors of Zen or Feng Shui got their ideas!
The snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains form an impressive backdrop to it all.
On our 2nd night we seriously got into tapas-bar hopping and perfected the system we had been practicing.  Had some great falafel and baklava over our time there.
After Granada we bussed to Alicante for a night, then trained to Barcelona.
to be contĘd
Machu Picchu - Alhambra - Machu Picchu - Alhambra - Machu Picchu - Alhambra. Ahh, we have been spoilt but its difficult to say which is the best. Both amazing structures built in similar times by amazing craftsmen, engineers and landscape gardeners. Apart from the magnificent buildings and decorations, the Moorsh people were incredibly creative with water throughout the extensive gardens. May see some creative changes to Parkes Lane in the future - about 5 years in the future after we have paid our travelling debts.
By the end of two days of solid walking in Granada we were both complaining of aches and pains in the knees and ankles, but that didn't stop us from bar hopping into the early hours. Crook sleeps in our hotel because the Spanish dont sleep - they drive around the streets all night it seems on little motor scooters that sound like chain saws and then walk up and down the corridors of tourist hotels talking at the top of their voices at 3.00am. Well, it seemed like that!
Bus trip to Alicante took us through arid countryside that was never the less being farmed. Must be something good going on though because building development is going through the roof in this part of Spain, cranes as far as the eyes can see, high rise in outpost towns. Must be money in growing olives.
Spent our first night with a hospitality host, Jean-Francois. He took us to a hip bar in the city to soften us up for the night in a single bed. Hmm, ..... cosy. A nice guy who has frequent guests in his penthouse.
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