Spain (Day 7, Part 1)

October 27


Day 2 in Granada would be all about the Alhambra . . . 

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[Unfortunately, the weather was not going to cooperate . . . ]

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[Photo op while waiting for tour commencement . . . ]

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[Our goal . . . ]

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[The Alhambra map – no, I do not know the photo bomber . . . ]

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[The Super, Anne, and Bill with our tour guide, Anna . . . ]

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[As good a place as any for:  The Alhambra (“The Red One”) is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia.  It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century.  After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered in the Renaissance style.  Alhambra’s last flowering of Islamic palaces was built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain during the decline of the Nasrid dynasty, who were increasingly subject to the Christian Kings of Castile.  After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the buildings occupied by squatters, Alhambra was rediscovered following the defeat of Napoleon, who had conducted retaliatory destruction of the site. The rediscoverers were first British intellectuals and then other north European Romantic travelers. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well-known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories (Wikipedia).]

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[The Alhambra covers 35 acres . . . ]

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[The Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens are high up in the hills, overlooking the city of Granada. It’s a great place to just walk around and enjoy the views. The outer parts of the gardens include fruit trees (figs, pomegranates, walnuts, and more) along with a vegetable garden (]

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[There’s some obvious logisitics in play.  How many, and when, tour groups assault the facility, because the Alhambra attracts two million visitors annually.  And watch out for those pokey things on umbrellas . . . ]

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[Column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional complexity. In every case, the exterior was left plain and austere. Sun and wind were freely admitted. Blue, red, and a golden yellow, all somewhat faded through lapse of time and exposure, are the colors chiefly employed (Wikipedia).]

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[Spectacular views in even the absence of sunshine . . . ]

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[A Granada sighting in the distance . . . ]

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[Anne and Bill stop for a photo op . . . ]

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[The Generalife Gardens include the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel or Water-Garden Courtyard), which has a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions, and the Jardín de la Sultana (Sultana’s Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress). The former is thought to best preserve the style of the medieval Persian garden in Al-Andalus (].]

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[Church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra . . . ]

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[Palacio de Generalife (“Garden of the Architect”) . . . ]

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[Arch views abound . . . ]

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[And here’s where you had to be careful not to get separated from your group . . . ]

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[The detail of the arabesques . . . ]

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[Granada, the city of . . . ]

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[Anne and Bill looking up at where we were for the Granada overview shot . . . ]

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[The rock design walkways highlight the area designed as a public park.  Why yes, it is unusual to use “design” twice in one sentence . . . ]

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[The ladder of water, access to the highest area of the Generalife . . . ]

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[Photo ops before climbing the stairs . . . ]

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[And now we’re up top with views down on the gardens . . . ]

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[We’re walking back down while the troops gather around Anna . . . ]

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[Looking back up from whence we came . . . ]

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[This would be our ultimate exit from the Alhambra (Part 2) in pouring rain . . . ]

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[Archaeological excavations . . . ]

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[More areas of archaeological discovery . . . ]

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[Parador de San Francisco is a tourist accommodation belonging to the national network.  It is located on the old site that occupied the Convent of San Francisco from the 15th century, inside the site of what is the fortress palace of the Alhambra.  It was built by the Catholic Monarchs in 1494 Royal Street above a Nasrid palace where important remains are still preserved (Wikipedia).]

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[Walking down hill to a “break area,” that’s Palacio de Carlos V at the bottom on the right . . . ]

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[The Super pointing at – a hitching post for tall horses? – on Carlos V Palace . . . ]

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[The Palace of Charles V is a Renaissance building in Granada, located on the top of the hill of the Assabica, inside the Nasrid fortification of the Alhambra.  The building has never been a home to a monarch and stood roofless until 1957 (Wikipedia).]

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[The Super is enjoying what we were hearing from Anna – I wish I could remember what it was?]

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[Architectural details as we exit the palace . . . ]

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[The Alcazaba, a fortress, is one of the oldest part of the Alhambra, as is the case of the Vermilion Towers (Torres Bermejas).  It is thought that before it was built and before the Muslims arrived to Granada, there were already several constructions in the same area.  The first historical reference to the existence of the Alcazaba dates from the 9th century and it is believed that it was then built by Sawwar ben Hamdun during the fights between Muslims and muwalladins [Christians who converted to the Islam and lived among the Muslims (]

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[Anna explains the finer points of its construction . . . ]

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[The Torres Bermejas (Vermilion Towers), on Monte Mauror, are a well-preserved Moorish fortification, with underground cisterns, stables, and accommodation for a garrison of 200 men.  They predate the Alhambra, and their origins are unknown (]

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[And here we’re climbing up for even better views . . . ]

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[We’re going up there?]

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[More excavations . . . ]

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[And this is plumbing – a public sewer system . . . ]

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[But I repeat, we’re going up there?]

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[And early pizza oven?]

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[Isn’t this high enough for overviews?]

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[Well, actually not . . . ]

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[Great view of the Granada Cathedral . . . ]

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[Why yes, we are going up there . . . ]

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[The view across the city to Sacromonte, sometimes also called Sacramonte, a traditional neighborhood in the eastern area of the city.  It is located on the hillside and in the valley of Valparaíso, opposite the Alhambra – emblem of Granada. I t occupies both banks of the Darro River, and is traditionally the neighborhood of the Granadian Gypsies, who settled in Granada after the Christian conquest of the city in 1492 (Wikipedia).]

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The Super took lots of photos here.  It’s time to feature some of her work.

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[And we’ll continue from here in Part 2.  I can’t recall if I mentioned previously that I blew out my left shoulder hefting luggage on the train ride from Barcelona to Madrid?  Well, that’s why in this signature pose I can’t lift my left arm any higher than this.  When I got home, the medical establishment diagnosed the problem as an impinged bursa.  After three weeks of physical therapy, I am able to move my arm everywhere – but 3+ months later it’s not completely healed.  But thank you for asking . . . ]

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How lazily the sun goes down in Granada, it hides beneath the water, it conceals the Alhambra.  ~  Ernest Hemingway

Up Next:  Part 2?

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