Granada, Spain

Trip Start May 14, 2006
Trip End Sep 29, 2006

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006

I am so far behind with Rachael being here, Im not even going to attempt to recap and summerize our stay in Granada. Instead, I am going to paste what Eric wrote without even reading it. Enjoy.

Granada is a large city that has lots to offer but is really only known for one thing, the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a Christian stronghold that was captured by the Moors and converted to a Muslim mosque and then recaptured by the Christians when they pushed the Moors(or Moops for the Seinfeld aficionado) out of Spain. It is considered one of the wonders of the modern world and it didnītīt fail to impress.

I do have to start this thread with the description of what it took to get to Granada. It was a 14 hour day of nothing but travel. It was hellacious. We had to take 3 busses, 2 trains, and a FERRY to get from the southern tip of Portugal to Granada. It was our worst day of travel by far to this point and it left us exhausted by the time we got to Grenada. We were welcomed to Granada by a nice Aussie who ran the hostel we were staying and a free beer to relieve us from our long day of travel. The hostel was clean and offered free Internet and a great open air courtyard that had hammocks to lounge in should a mid-day siesta be required. Ryan and Racheal had their own room and I was forced to stay in a room with three cute girls from is so tough. I told them of my plans the next day to visit the Alhambra and they informed me that if I didn't already have tickets, I should plan on getting there at 7 AM otherwise I might not get in that day. I was blown away by this and it worried me to the point that I was willing to limit myself to 4 hours of sleep to get up at 530 AM and get to the Alhambra at 630. It was well worth the early wake up but I lost Ryan and Racheal along the way who were still exhausted from the huge day of travel.

I got the the Alhambra and was the third person in line for tickets that morning. The girls were right because at 7 Oīclock people started pouring in and the line grew exponentially. I got my tickets and then was almost first inline to enter the compound when it opened at 830. As soon as the gates were opened, I ran past everyone to the star of the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palace. The I had the whole place to myself as everyone streamed in through the entrance I got some great unimpeded pictures of the great sultans palace. It was so cool because if I had gotten their 15 minutes later, it would have been overrun with tourists. The one bad thing was that I rushed too quickly through the palace and accidently left the grounds without realizing it and wasnīt let back in. I didnīt get the time to appreciate it like I would have wanted but having the run of the place all to myself was worth it. I spent the rest of my 3 hours touring the grounds, the old fortress, and the Sultans private gardens. The coolest part of the Alhambra is the use of water throughout the whole palace. It is used everywhere because the Sultan wanted it to represent what heaven is like as it is described in the Koran. The Alhambra is a once in a lifetime building and I was really glad I had a chance to visit it.

Afterwards we struggled with more transportation issues. We have realized that there are almost no trains that run through the south of Spain and we were unable to get from Grenada to Valencia like we planned. This forced us to make the decision to take an overnight train to Barcelona that night and skip out on Valencia. It actually worked out great because we had time to spend in Granada to explore the rest of the town and then we wouldnīt waste so much time traveling because we could just sleep through it. We spent the rest of the day in Granada exploring the old town which has the feel of a middle eastern town with tea houses and small alleyways around every corner with merchants selling fabrics and hukkas. It was fun to see that sort of Moorish influence still permeates the community even after hundreds of years. By the end of the day, Iīd had my fill of walking around and was so exhausted that I immediately collapsed upon my bed when we got to the train. I woke up just in time to see the sun rise as we pulled into Barcelona for the second time.
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