Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Granada, Spain

From the coastal town of Cadiz, I will catch a train and travel to the city of Granada. Here I will visit the famous “Alhambra” which is on the
UNESCO World Heritage
list. I have read that the Alhambra is considered to be “the most exciting, sensual and romantic of all European monuments. It was the palace-fortress of the Nasrid sultans, rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom, and in its construction Moorish art reached a spectacular and serene climax. But the building seems to go further than this, revealing something of the whole brilliance and spirit of Moorish life and culture. There's a haunting passage in Jan Morris's book, Spain , which the palace embodies: "Life itself, which was seen elsewhere in Europe as a kind of probationary preparation for death, was interpreted [by the Moors] as something glorious in itself, to be ennobled by learning and enlivened by every kind of pleasure."—Destination Guides

The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means “red or crimson castle”. But there is another more poetic version, evoked by the Moslem analysts who speak of the construction of the Alhambra fortress “by the light of torches”, the reflections of which gave the walls their particular coloration. Created originally for military purposes, the Alhambra was an “alcazaba” (fortress), an “alcázar” (palace) and a small “medina” (city), all in one. ---Andalucia.com

I took the advice recommended by Slow Travelers and booked my tickets on-line with reservations to visit the Palacios Nazaries. The Palaces of the Nazaries was constructed by Ismail I, Yusuf I and Muhammad V (1312 to1391 AD) during the Nasrid dynasty. I have read that there are some amazing architecture and beautiful gardens here and I am really looking forward to this visit. I also purchased tickets to visit the Alhambra at night which Slow Traveler, Doru, also recommended in his trip report. Very cool!

Other sights I hope to visit will include: the Cathedral which is located in the center of the Muslim area and dates back to 1523; and also the famous old Moorish quarter of the city, El Albaicin, which is located on a hill facing the Alhambra. There are apparently these dramatic views of this area from the Palace’s famous rose gardens (which I have also booked tickets for).

I will have 4 nights in Granada and will also try to experience some of the night life (a couple of Tapas Bars with live music and maybe even another Flamenco show, who knows). I think I will really enjoy my experiences in Granada a lot and I can’t wait to get there!

For more on the history surrounding the "jewel" of Andalusia (The Alhambra), check out this YouTube. Kind of touristy, but it has a great explanation of the Alhambra. I, of course, will do a really cool YouTube of my own when I return! :)


  1. This sounds so exciting! I'm so glad you found out about that Alhambra at night tour - I bet that will be awesome.

    I've been thinking about Maria and Anne today, imagining them strolling around Venice. I know they are having a blast.

    And I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic but I can't help but think about how wonderful it will be for both of us to go to Europe with a new President that people over there actually respect (knock on wood!).

    Hope you're having a nice holiday weekend. We don't get Columbus Day unfortunately.

  2. Hi Annie, yes, I think it will be very cool to be able to see the Alhambra both during the day and at night. I'm really looking forward to my visit there.

    I've been thinking about Maria and Anne lately too and can also totally imagine them strolling around Venice and having a wonderful time.

    Also, (knock on wood) . . . it would be so great for both of us to go on our Europe trips with the outcome that we want. I recently watched that video that Girasoli posted on her blog about a long time Republican voting for Obama-Biden! So there is hope. I pray that there are more of him out there and also the majority of the independent voters who feel the same too.

    I didn't realize not everyone got Columbus Day off. I have today off too, so I was lucky to enjoy a nice long weekend.

    I was thinking about Maria the other day when you posted an update on her recovery status. It's great news that she is doing fine and resting well. Pretty soon she'll be a whirlwind again! :)

    Have a great week Annie!

  3. Kathy, I can't wait to hear your impressions of the Alhambra, and see your photos. I've always wanted to see this fortress, it sounds so beautiful and exotic!

    Last winter, I read The Constant Princess, about Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine (Catalina) of Aragon, who grew up in the Alhambra. Her descriptions were so evocative.

    For years, I've been planning to read Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra -- and now I'm really going to do it.

    You must be getting excited, the clock is ticking down until your trip begins!

  4. Hi Sandra, until I started planning and researching for my trip I honestly did not know anything about the Alhambra. After reading Doru's wonderful trip report, I started to become more and more interested and put Granada on my must see list based on the Alhambra. I heard of Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra and can you believe that I have not read it yet, but I plan to read it when I return. It would be interesting to read The Constant Princess too. Thanks for mentioning it to me.

    I think that I will really enjoy exploring the Alhambra and will have some kind of impression of my experience visiting it that I will hopefully be able to write briefly about while I'm there. I can't remember if my Granada hotel has internet. If not, maybe I can find an internet cafe.

    When I first went to Prague I thought to myself . . . how different everything was and felt from the other places that I have been, but I totally loved it there. In researching Spain, I almost feel the same way. It's unique, different, diverse and in your words beautiful and exotic. I feel like a kid looking at the wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree and waiting to open it to see what's inside . . .

    20 days . . .


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.