August 7, 2005

8/7/05 Granada Spain

Day trip to Granada

Not sure what I'm expecting, at the meeting place for the bus to Granada, but it certainly wasn't the 250 Spanish language students all waiting to get on the five buses. Most of the kids on my bus were from Germany, including one blind girl. Took about an hour and a half to get to Granada from Málaga. Our bus/group leader was Daniel, who tried to explain everything in Spanish first, then sometimes translated it in English. The ride was totally in the mountains. If I understand correctly, the second highest mountain in Spain is near Granada. It had the furthest south ski slope in Europe. A new airport was built to handle the increase in tourists. But in the last few years, it has stopped snowing on the mountain. Looks as if Spain is slowly becoming the next Sahara. Global warming again.

Granada

We started with a walking tour of 'Albaicin', the old Jewish quarter of the city. Then we headed toward the city center. They gave us about 90 minutes of free time to wander the narrow side streets and maybe get something to eat. But always, above the city, you see 'Alhambra'.

Our guide tells us that Alhambra was a palace, a citadel, a fortress and home of the Nasrid sultans from the 13th to 15th century. Difficult to describe where we went, but first was the gardens. Just amazing, even in this heat. You could spend a few days here. The amazing thing is how all this 'Moorish' architecture survived after the reconquest of Spain by the Christian armies of Rome.

The only bad part about the day was the heat. The temps were hovering around 45°C (113°F). Add to that walking all day outside, and you're describing a miserable day. I would love to come back some day and see the place at dawn.

The highlight was the visit to the Nasrid Palace. It was so beautiful. You could just imagine Muslim men resting in the shade of the courtyards discussing religion or relations with the Christians and Jews of the city below. But it was a whirlwind tour with thousands of people on the grounds. Alhambra is a national treasure of Spain. Even President Bill Clinton has been here.

Lots of fountains


The Nasrid Palace


Just amazing!