The Alhambra

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 10, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Monday, December 5, 2011

After a lovely breakfast at Hotel Anacapri, we were fortified for our walk uphill to the Alhambra.  We were so taken by the view up the hill, we missed the sign for the Alhambra and walked a block too far, but retraced our steps and then started hiking up the hill.  They put the entrance at the very top of the site, so we were not spared any exertion.

After getting in and going to get our tickets that Juliet booked on-line, we set off for the Nasrid Palaces where we had tickets for 10 am.  We were early so we walked around and then came back, only to find that the line had snaked way off and we had to wait a bit.  We entered the Palaces and were very impressed by the architectural detail - the ceilings were elaborately decorated; the walls had beautiful calligraphy with inscriptions from the Koran and other designs.  We later learned that the originals were in color; most of the colors have faded but occasionally you can still see some of the blue.  There were different designs in each of the rooms - the walls and ceilings, the doors all decorated.  Interspersed among the rooms were courtyards with fountains spouting running water.  One of the most famous - the Court of the Lions - was under construction so we really didn't get to see it.  All the running water might have been very pleasant and cooling in the summer but the overcast day kept us cold and we were soon chilled to the bone.  I could hardly press the shutter release on my camera at one point.

We finished the Palaces and went on to some of the gardens.  There were some persimmon trees and orange trees with fruit still on them.  There were more fountains and pools.  Then we went to the Al Kazaba, or fort, where we had some great views of Granada, even though it was still quite overcast....and cold.  In the Palace of Carlos V, the Museum of the Alhambra is closed on Mondays but some of the other museums were open, including a special exhibit of Owen Jones - he studied the Alhambra, especially the colors used in its designs.  After that we checked out the Generalife.  It has another Palace and gardens with lots of water features.  I think the pools and running water in canals are the best part of the site--in addition to the tall, pointy cypresses.  There were some koi in some of the ponds.  After the Generalife gardens, we went back to see if we could get into the Escher exhibit - which we did and which we enjoyed, especially the short films with Escher's work.

All this time, we were suffering from the cold.  I had a coffee at one point to warm me sort of did, but not for long.  We pretty much saw all there was to see...or that we were allowed to see...sometime after 5 pm and started heading back to the hotel.  We stopped in some souvenir shops and saw the inlaid wood handicrafts which were quite nice.  We also checked out the outside of the cathedral.  The cathedral is huge.  The streets surround it quite tightly so it is hard to get a decent photo because you are so close.  I need a wider angle lens for it.  It was starting to get dark but the xmas lights weren't on yet.  I wanted to get some pics but don't feel like going out again with my camera.

We went back to the tapas bar that we were at yesterday.  Today we ordered a combination plate with lots of cheese, some salmon, salami-type stuff and a basket of bread.  It was great but I was stuffed half way through.  Nonetheless we managed to eat most of it, after dispensing with the bread parts.  We also tried the drink the retired grandfather recommended yesterday:  it was sweet and went down fast, especially Juliet's.  Then we had 2 glasses of rioja apiece to help the food go down.  We got a table - we had been standing at the bar - and Juliet saw a family she thought should get our table when we vacated.  We tapped the father on the shoulder and offered it to them, but the waiter told them "no" and put a reservado sign on it.  We felt bad but they thanked us.  By the time we left, they had gotten another table.

We are now in the basement of the hotel using internet.  I wanted to put up some photos, but I have to get my camera...or sd do it.  Maybe I can go up now while Juliet is plugged into my computer to charge her Iphone.  I did and downloaded a bunch, of which I picked ten.  I was disappointed with the shots of the Alhambra since it is so impressive.  I wanted my photos to do it justice, but they don't.  Oh, well.


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