Nasrids for the win !
Granada Travel Blog› entry 9 of 12 › view all entries
July 15th, 2007 – by: Pearl510
Sunday today and so all the supermercados are closed. That meant a simple picnic wouldn't do and we had to find ourselves a place to eat. Luckily, we didn't had to look long. At the corner of our street there is a delicious breakfast bar with great prices. We got two toasted baguettes with tomato and cheese, coffee and freshly made orange juice for only 4 euros.
The forenoon was really laid back, as we could enter the Alhambra only from 2pm. The Alhambra has a weird way of selling tickets, due to the UNESCO visitors restrictions made to preserve the buildings.
Then, after eating a huge ice cream for lunch, we started our climb to the mighty Alhambra. The most beautiful walk is the one through the Cuesta de Gomérez, so that was the route we went for. At the start of the street there are again many souvenir shops that delayed our journey, but we arrived at the ticket counters still way too early. I expected huge queues here, as there were some years ago when I fist visited, but we only had to wait a few minutes. As on a low budget trip, we then hired one audio guide for all three of us, and that made me the guide of the day - bound to translate everything the miss and mister in the headphone told me.
Yet an audio guide in the Alhambra is a MUST. It gives you a thousand times more info than you could ever collect yourself, and even with a good guidebook or well made preparations such a guide has priceless added value to offer. I think I read the whole official Alhambra website three times back and forth, and still the guide told me facts I didn't know yet. It is available in many languages and easy to carry around, so there really is no reason not to take it with you.
I could write pages and pages about the Alhambra, as it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life.
The Alhambra consists of many parts. First there is a walk over the old entrance road and the main streets of the old villages. You can view ruins of the old Medina and Arabic baths on your way as well. The oldest remains are the walls and towers of the the Alcazaba or fortress. They offer majestic views over the Sierra Nevada and the city of Granada, as well as over the Alhambra and the Generalife.
The Nasrid palaces are the, in my opinion, most beautiful part of the Alhambra. They are the old palace of the Sultans, well preserved and full of artwork, marble, wonderful architecture, ponds and fountains, inscriptions, amazing ceilings, views over the Albaicín,... and so forth and so on. If you have seen some pictures of the Alhambra on book covers or something, it probably will have been pictures of the Nasrid palaces. The most famous parts of the Alhambra, as the patio de liones and the patio de los Arrayanes, are part of it. Since this is the most fragile and at the same time most visited part of the Alhambra, you have a entrance hour on your ticket. You get thirty minutes to enter (no earlier, no later), but once in you can stay as long as you want.
A third part of the Alhambra is the catholic palace of Carlos V, never finished and build in a completely different style than the rest of the Alhambra: renaissance. I never really liked it, but yet it is worth a visit too.
The last thing to see are the gardens or the Generallife (I would write it down phonetically as you definitely do NOT pronounce it the English way, yet I don't know how to do it correctly so I rather don't). They offer great views too, and are a nice ending of a long visit. Hanging around the shades, between the plants, sitting down to watch over the valley, walking through the summer palaces,... A lovely ending of a memorable visit.
We stayed in the Alhambra for about five hours, long enough to get a good impression of all the different parts. I think a shorter stay doesn't provide enough time to see all the details and to store all the impressions properly.
We left around 7pm and walked back down. This time we actually bought some souvenirs and had a rest again at Plaza Nueva. We were just sitting on a bench when the wedding parade came to the Iglesia de Santa Ana. One by one these beautifully dressed couples arrived, mostly by foot. It was a real fashion defilé, so fancy it was. We saw dresses in all lengths and colors, with shoes, purses and fans, all in matching tints. Ever the husbands had ties and accessories that matched their wives outfits. It was gorgeous to watch them saunter by. Last but not least, of course, the bride appeared.
We had dinner again at Plaza Bib Ramblas, and as promised, had tintos de verano afterwards at the local OhLaLá. Live music was being played by street artists, and they set the tone completely. We had about three or four drinks (the last one being a HUGE bowl of tinto de verano), and got just as many wonderful tapas. The perfect ending of our night. So when we returned to the hotel we were a little bit drunk and basically couldn't stop laughing. I hope we didn't wake too many people. I can't even recall what was so funny... but it must have been a lazy joke.
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