Granada continued...

Granada Travel Blog

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Flower on the path to the Alhambra
We spent the bulk of today in the Alhambra.

We had to take this tiny bus (all the buses were pretty small in Granada since the streets are so skinny... I always felt like we were going to run into a wall or squish someone against the side of one) up the hill to the entrance. We got off in the wrong place, as usual, and had to hike up another hill to get to the gates. We got in pretty quick since we’d gotten tickets ahead of time through some stupid touristy pass we had to get in order to get to see it at all (when everyone’s blogs on here say that you need to get tickets to the Alhambra waaaaaay in advance, they are NOT kidding).

It was a bit of a walk from the entrance gates to the actual Alhambra. Once you go through the gates it’s like you’re in a whole new little world.
Someone else was already taking this picture. Ha. Pretty, yeah?


The Alhambra is pretty incredible. I can see why it’s claimed to be one of the most important things to see in the world. The views from the top of the city and the snowy mountains were beautiful. The intricacy and detail of the design is unbelievable. The way the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish influences all affected the architecture was incomprehensible. To live in what feels like such a divided world, and to see that at one point it, perhaps, was not, is very bizarre... yet, inspiring.

We didn’t buy any kind of tour, but did our best (true to my fashion) to hitch onto as many tours as possibly pick up bits and pieces of learning (English, French, or Spanish, as sometimes one of us could translate). A few of the tours talked about how the Alhambra was built in stages over many years.
preeeeetty flowers
I suppose that explains why it is so detailed.

We took a break to eat. It was hot, so I got some ice cream. Then we went in some touristy shops and I bought a bracelet. We went to the restroom in some super fancy dinner club place we snuck into. It appeared that there’s a tiny hotel IN the grounds of the Alhambra. Random.

Afterwards we went to seek out the gardens. It was a bit strange to see so much green in such a dry, hot place. They were beautiful, and would have been a wonderful place for a day of sitting.

Moral of the story: extremely impressed. So whatever you can to see this if you plan to be in Granada.

We’d just missed the bus so we waited for the next one for a VERY long time on a bench in the sun on a hill.
Ceilings


After we got down the hill we made our way over to the Granada Cathedral (or, the Cathedral of the Annunciation). Then we waited for a really long time to get into this church. I guess they have really weird hours. Watch out for that if you go. We walked around a little bit to waste time. It was difficult to take pictures of the outside because it was ENORMOUS and very close to other buildings. Josh had a run-in with a gypsy trying to take his money. I thought it was pretty funny. He lost 15 euros, I think, so he did not. At least he got a branch of rosemary out of it. We went back and waited by some orange trees with a whole bunch of other tourists. It was nice to have some shade.

The inside was, overall, very impressive. It shows how much the Spaniards (at least, at one point in time) care/cared about religion.
Views of Granada from up at the Alhambra
Wikipedia says it took 181 years to build. I believe it. The celling was my favorite. The section above the altar was covered in stained glass and painted gold stars, to remind people to look to heaven. Seeing the tombs of Isabelle and Ferdinand in the next room was surreal. You have to go down into this tiny room underground below the church.

We were set on seeing flamenco tonight. I still really wanted to go find those caves I heard about, but that whole fantasy was pretty uncertain. When we submitted to the fact that we probably weren’t going to find the gypsy caves to see flamenco in there, we scouted out some flamenco dancing in town. In the meantime we decided, in typical Josh and Maureen style, to go all out for dinner, since it was our last night in Spain.
more of the same
We went to a restaurant that had seating outside in a plaza, and ordered... octopus! Josh did not care for the octopus too much, so I manned up and ate the rest. Yes, the tentacles were chewy, and that was a little awkward, but it still tasted good. They had it seasoned with... paprika, perhaps? We got another paella here too. It was REALLY frickin’ good. Ours had a bunch of clams and mussels in it. It was nice to be able to eat outside at night while we were in Spain, as it’s usually too cold to do this in England. I don’t think I realized how much I’d missed the sun. And there were dudes playing Spainsh music, which was hot.

Then, on back out to search for a flamenco club. The place we ended up going to was still very much LIKE a cave.
Beautiful intricacy/details on doorways
.. The room was pretty small and could only seat about thirty people in it. The stage was very small as well. Sitting around before the performance started, we met this woman from Australia who had her foot in a cast. She chatted with us for a while and told us that she had come with a few friends that were dancers and that they were going around Spain to better their flamenco skills. It’s kind of exciting talking to people you’ve never met and know you’ll never meet again.

The whole show was amazing. They had a guy playing great guitar and another youngish guy singing stuff in Spanish. Flamenco singing is very stylistic. It’s got a rather Middle Eastern flair to it. They played together for quite a while before the dancer even came on stage.
pretty!!!
They also had a person they brought up there to help with clapping, alongside the singer. Clapping is very important in flamenco. They are hardcore. Finally the dancer came out in traditional dress. Lot of frills. The dancing was also really hardcore. Parts of it reminded me of tap. It was a lot of stamping and stomping. Very passionate. The dancer had this really powerful look on her face the whole time, like she was telling some story about how she or her country had been wronged... or something else romantic like that. The performer in me is sooooo happy that I get to see performative arts in their native countries.

We went to sleep early because we were totally beat after a long day. Well, a long week, really. 
londonstudent says:
I love the idea of hardcore clapping! Great blog :)
Posted on: Feb 29, 2008
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Flower on the path to the Alhambra
Flower on the path to the Alhambra
Someone else was already taking th…
Someone else was already taking t…
preeeeetty flowers
preeeeetty flowers
Ceilings
Ceilings
Views of Granada from up at the Al…
Views of Granada from up at the A…
more of the same
more of the same
Beautiful intricacy/details on doo…
Beautiful intricacy/details on do…
pretty!!!
pretty!!!
fountain
fountain
courtyard
courtyard
Kitties!
Kitties!
Cute!!!
Cute!!!
soooooo cool...
soooooo cool...
pretty Granada hillsides
pretty Granada hillsides
Yay tourists
Yay tourists
If I remember correctly, all those…
If I remember correctly, all thos…
the city below
the city below
Who put that there?
Who put that there?
Look! A frog!
Look! A frog!
I love this one. These are the gar…
I love this one. These are the ga…
more gardens
more gardens
View of the Alhambra from the gard…
View of the Alhambra from the gar…
Hi Josh
Hi Josh
Me trying to be cute
Me trying to be cute
Me trying to be cute again
Me trying to be cute again
A lizard!
A lizard!
Cotton, I think?
Cotton, I think?
Some kind of acqueduct or old brid…
Some kind of acqueduct or old bri…
The Cathedral
The Cathedral
More cathedral
More cathedral
It is frickin huge
It is frickin huge
And there is neat stuff all over t…
And there is neat stuff all over …
There are orange trees everywhere.…
There are orange trees everywhere…
Josh is SO mad! He wishes he hadn…
Josh is SO mad! He wishes he hadn…
Inside of the cathedral... it is s…
Inside of the cathedral... it is …
The altar
The altar
Heaven
Heaven
A fountain by the plaza where we h…
A fountain by the plaza where we …
Music to accompany dinner
Music to accompany dinner
Oh yeah. I ate the octopus. I am a…
Oh yeah. I ate the octopus. I am …
Flamenco singer dude
Flamenco singer dude
Flamenco dancer
Flamenco dancer
Yeah, its blurry... it was very d…
Yeah, it's blurry... it was very …
Hardcore clapping
Hardcore clapping
We finally resorted to flash. Some…
We finally resorted to flash. Som…
Granada
photo by: Chokk