Granada and The Alhambra
12 October, 2010
I had a wonderful couple of days in Granada. It is a busy city surrounding the amazing fortified hilltop palace city of “ The Alhambra” dating back to the… 9th century, I think, but don’t quote me! The original builders were Muslim rulers… several different dynasties… who were ousted by the Catholic monarchs Fernande and Isabela in 1492. Fernande and Isabella signed the agreement with Christopher Columbus IN the Alhambra palace in 1492 giving him the right to search for a western route to “India”… and exploit the riches he found there. The agreement had been predicated on the monarchs taking the Alhambra, which had huge symbolic value as a trophy to the Catholic monarchs. No Alhambra, no voyage to the “New World”! One can only imagine how history could have been different!
Building and expanding in the Alhambra continued under Christian rule adding the Renaissance style of Charles V. Napoleon tried to blow the whole place up, but succeeded in only destroying a portion of the “workmen’s” quarter. The place has an AMAZING history to equal it’s AMAZING architecture! I’m very glad I saw it! I picked up a good book on the history and architecture of the place and look forward to studying it in more detail!
Granada was a nice city. It has a big cathedral… I AM getting rather “ho-hum” about great big cathedrals. You know, you see a dozen or so great churches and they all tend to run together after awhile! I only had two nights in Granada because hotel space was limited over a big four day holiday weekend coming up. I was told pretty much the WHOLE country had a four day weekend and EVERYTHING would be booked!
So, I decided to return to Seville where I had managed to book a efficiency apartment for 4 days about 8 km outside the city. It turned out to be a private “dorm” style room for a nearby University… which was available because the school is closed for the holiday. The holiday… I realized only yesterday… is Columbus Day! Of COURSE they would be celebrating the “discovery” that gave their nation SO much wealth and power!
I had a VERY interesting time getting from Granada back to Seville. I took a train… normally a three hour trip, but it RAINED cats and dogs along the way and washed out the railroad tracks. We had to be bussed around the obstruction… a two hour delay… and my thanks to a woman and her daughter sitting near me for translating and keeping me informed!
Once we got to Seville, I hired a taxi. I made sure (as had been suggested) that the taxi had GPS to help find this out-of-the-way location of my new room. He got me to where the GPS was telling him my room SHOULD be, but the GPS kept taking him around in circles without actually FINDING the place. So, he assured me it was NEAR where we were and dropped me off in some residential area. I walked to the nearest bar… and asked for help! The people in the bar tried REALLY hard to help me, but they had NO idea where I should be! They finally decided to call me a LOCAL cab… and tried doing this, but their number for a cab was outdated and no longer in service. They were about to look up a NEW cab number when they saw a cab just “cruising” by… they hailed it down! It turned out to be MY cab! He had realized he had dropped me at the wrong place and had returned to find me! Really… that was kind of him! He apologized profusely and took me to the PROPER address… about 2 km away… for no additional charge!
I find that I meet nice, good and warm hearted people EVERYWHERE I go! This is just one example!
So… I have spent the last 4 days (tonight is my last night) in a small “dorm room”… I’m assuming there is a university nearby, but I haven’t explored the neighborhood that much. I’ve caught up on laundry at the coin machines in the basement and spent a few days being able to make my OWN breakfast in my efficiency kitchen (two burner stove, a convection oven and a mini fridge!). Oh, the joys of an egg sandwich and tea for breakfast instead of something SWEET! Spaniards don’t really BELIEVE in eggs for breakfast! They would rather have just some toast LOADED with butter and marmalade or a sweet pastry.
There is a bus into Seville and I have taken it in each afternoon, but it was nice not to be in any rush and to enjoy some “down time” from the usual rushing around that I have been doing. This has been a nice break!
Tomorrow I head for Cordoba… known for the “Great Mosque” there… of course, now converted to a Catholic Cathedral!
Life IS a trip!
See my pictures of the Alhambra at: