Tales of the Alhambra

Trip Start May 19, 2007
Trip End May 26, 2007

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our departure from Arcos meant slowly navigating down the steep and narrow incline at 10 mph until we reached the main road for Granada and the Alhambra.
The American writer, Washington Irving (same author of 'Sleepy Hallow'), while ambassador to Spain, wrote a book entitled 'Tales of the Alhambra' that described his journey to Granada and visit to a great Moorish palace called The Alhambra.  We would also on our journey to Granada have a few tales of our own.
Our first tale almost meant missing our designated time slot to visit the Alhambra.  Everything was proceeding to plan until we hit central Granada.  We had precise hotel navigation instructions which normally is a good thing.  However, upon entering the city of Granada we quickly realized that there were no signs telling us what street we were on.  After a hour of looping around and stopping for instructions, we called the hotel to get clear instructions.  After a right turn, a left turn and a right turn onto a narrow cobblestone road we finally spotted our hotel.  There was no way that any sane foreigner would be able to find this place!  We also later learned that Granada streets undergo frequent name changes - hence a reason for no street names being posted!  Urgh.
We made it to the Alhambra for our predetermined entrance time (as only a limited number of people are admitted each hour).  The earlier navigation troubles soon were forgotten as we moved through the palace. 
While Sevilla has beautiful Moorish architecture, the Alhambra is the crown jewel.  Its scale and grandeur was unbelievable with its intricate, inlaid wooden panels and wall to wall ceramic tiling.  Yvonne walked around with a big smile while constantly gazing at the archways and stucco ceilings.  Topped with its gardens and water features, the Alhambra is an oasis and a wonder of the world. 
Our tour was proceeding nicely until the weather changed.  It started with a light rain, then it poured followed by a torrential dump and finally pebble sized hail that covered the courtyard we were in.  20 minutes later, the thunder and lightening passed and the sun came out for the remainder of the day as we strolled through the remaining gardens and ruins. 
The next morning we decided to get a jump on the morning traffic as we wanted to avoid repeating our driving adventure from the previous day.  So off I went to pick up the car at the garage just down the street.
Things were going well, until...............................
'Pssssssst'..... and the our early departure plans instantly were deflated.  Oh no, we had a flat tire!   Not the best way to start the two hour drive to the Mediterranean Sea coast.  After a few minutes of letting some steam release and uttering of some choice words, I rolled up my sleeves and replaced the flat.  
Finally, we were off and out of Granada - it certainly was a memorable visit both for its sights and the car tales. 
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