Alhambra

Today was the day we had got tickets for the Alhambra, but it was raining, and raining real hard. In fact I can’t tell you how close we came to giving up before we started, however, we are so glad we persevered and waited in the teaming rain to catch the bus into Granada from the site.

First though, we had to stop at our patisserie to have our morning coffee and snack (and to miss the deluge that came down). Then we wandered through the lanes by the cathedral as I wanted to buy another pashmina, my feet were soaking, only having worn trainers (it was that or sandals), and I was slipping and skidding over the wet marble pavements; so we went into H&M and bought a pair of ankle boots, hoping against hope that being new wouldn’t be a problem.

First, coffee and croissant..

The main entrance is at the top of a very long, very steep hill; but we choose to walk and increase the step tally for today.

The start of the hill

We can see a stamp size bit of blue sky, Wahoo! Maybe the sun will shine on us.

We don’t have to wait in queues as we already have tickets so we are allowed straight in.

First impression it is amazing, but The Lonely Planet does a much better job, describing the Alhambra as “Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture, a place where fountains trickle, leaves rustle, and ancient spirits seem to mysteriously linger.”

This is exactly right. The Alhambra isn’t just a palace – without a doubt it’s something more … it’s magical. We hope we’ve been able to capture a tiny bit of that magic in these photos.

Entrance passageway into Generalife

 

Patio de Arrayanes (or Court of the Myrtles)

The delicate arches surround the whole courtyard and the floor is (what I assume to be) marble, giving the whole space a sort of … shimmer. I can only imagine how it would feel to have this space all to yourself (and to be a princess of course!)

Then it’s up the watch tower – and we are rewarded with this view looking back towards the Alhambra.

Looking back from Torre de la Vega

And this view, looking forward across Granada.

Granada
View of Cathedral from above
Towards the Sierra Navadas

From up here the rest of the city seems a world away and it’s one of those magic travel moments, when you feel grounded, grateful and perfectly at peace.

Next up – the gem of the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces. All visitors are allocated a set time to see the Nasrid Palaces; ours is 1:00pm and we can’t be late.

Photos don’t come close to capturing this space either: the Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions)

Court of the lions
Intricate arches
Another viewpoint in the Court of the Lions
D’oh… photo bombed again

Our time comes and as we enter the Nasrid Palaces the mood changes. It’s hard to explain … but it’s like you can feel the weight of history weighing down on you. I feel small.

But there is a good reason for this. What we learn about the palaces is they were built to impress – and I can say without a doubt they succeeded. Every single inch from floor to ceiling is intricately decorated in gorgeous tiles or delicate plasterwork.

Ornamental ceiling
Looking skyward… you are not me…
Mosaic passageway… who needs carpets?
Canons guarding the Alhambra
The Elephants were tied up here
One of many courtyards
An intricate carving detail
Turreted walls

Alhambra is huge and we only saw half of it, as we ran out of time and puff. We never managed to see the Generalife Gardens (pronounced I think like hen-ner-ra-lif-fe), but rationale suggested that it would give us an excuse (that’s if one was needed) to return one day in the future.

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