Jun 06, 2019

Two full days in Granada

Our first full day was spent at the Alhambra. You need to book your ticket as far in advance as you can and tickets go on sale exactly three months ahead of the date you want to visit. It was four in the afternoon in Mazatlan and midnight in Granada and I had both computers ready to go. It took about ten minutes before I could get into their computer system.  I wasn’t the only one wanting to get tickets. There is a general ticket for sale but you need to specify the time that you want to enter the Nazrid Palaces. They open at 8:30AM and so many people are let in every thirty minutes.  You can stay inside as long as you want so eventually the area will become crowded. We wanted to be first in so that we could get a feel for the palaces and of course better photos without the crowds.  Alhambra sits high above Granada so we took a taxi up for 5 Euro to the Puerta de la Justicia which opens at 8AM. You need to do your homework or you could waste your time. The main entrance to Alhambra is a good twenty minute walk uphill. The Puerta de la Justicia is a fairly level five minute walk to the entrance of the palaces. Six hours later when we left we walked downhill back to town. I ended up putting over 10,600 steps on my Fitbit in those six hours.

Colin in front of the Puerta de la Justicia.

Alhambra is the reason tourists come to Granada.  The Dar al – Mamlaka comprises what we know today as the Nazrid Palaces, each identified with the sultan who ordered its construction. Palicio del Mexuar: Ismail 1 (1314-1325); Palacio de Comares: Yusuf 1 (1333-1354) y Muhammad V (1362-1391);  Palacio de los Leone’s: Muhammad V (1362-1391).  The palaces are beautiful with intricately carved patterns on the walls, actually three dimensional. The colours, decorative doors, windows, ceilings and fountains make this a worthwhile place to visit. After all where else can you walk through a sultans palace?  Muhammad XII-Boabdil was the last sultan of the Nazrid dynasty.

Needles to say hundreds of photos at Alhambra. Here are the ones taken in the Nazrid Palaces.

Detail from the door above.

The rooms were huge.

These are all the original colors, nothing has been restored.

The Hall of Lions is the most stunning courtyard as is the fountain. Each lion in the fountain is different and was  carved from one piece of marble chosen to portray various features of each lion. The Fountain of the Lions is the greatest  example of Nazrid contributions to Islamic art.

There are some gardens within the walls of the palaces.

This was my favorite.

But this is just one part of the huge area called Alhambra. Between 1492-1516 Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon incorporate the Alhambra into the crown as a royal house and assign it military functions. This area is called the Alcazaba. Carlos V added a grand imperial renaissance palace between 1500-1558 to stamp the Christian identity onto the Alhambra after the conquest. There is also the Partel Gardens complete with various ponds over the terraced area as well many archeological structures. The final area is what it called Generalife consisting of more gardens and fountains and a recreational building used by the Sultans.

The fortress, Alcazaba. Note the view of Granada below.

Those are the Sierra Mountains in behind which were tipped in snow, though hard to see in this photo.

The city from the top of the fortress which towers over the city.

This and the next photo are from the Portal Gardens, not far from the palaces.

We walked from the Alcazaba to Generalife yet The Generalife was the sultan’s closest rural estate to the Alhambra and they road horses there.

We are in The Generalife gardens and that is Alhambra behind us.

The Alhambra was declared a National Monument in 1870. In 1984 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee declares the Alhambra and Generalife World Heritage. One final piece of trivia, in 1829, American writer Washington Irving traveled to Granada, where he was inspired to write “Tales of the Alhambra”.

Fortunately it was cooler in the morning and later only warmed up to 23C.  We had no idea how long the visit would take us, I had read that 2.5 hours was average.  We certainly exceeded that. By the time we walked down the very steep path which was partly in the shade, we were ready to sit and have something to eat. If you recall from the photos above, it was quite the walk down. As we descended we were surprised to see so many climbing up, they looked hot and tired and there was so much more climbing ahead of them. Too bad they didn’t know about the Puerta de la Justicia.

We stopped here for a cheese omelet. The street was slanting downhill and if I leaned back my chair would tip over.  It was a challenge keeping the orange juice from sliding off the table.

There were a few guitar making shops in the area. The guy in here ( his shop founded in 1875 ) was not interested in talking to Colin until Colin told him about his associations with some of the worlds best guitar players. He actually has met many of these guitarists. His tune ( pun intended ) quickly changed and Colin was an invited guest. His guitars sold from 500 to 3000 Euro.

After brunch we headed back to the apartment where I took a well deserved nap. Colin went out and explored the area we were staying in.  Granada is fairly small with 237,000 citizens. I was so worn out that I did not want to get up.   Colin had found a very restaurant with an outdoor seating in the Plaza Nueva, mere steps from the apartment. Our location was so central that it was like living just off of Times Square.

Some photos from Colin’s wanderings as I napped.  Here and in Toledo large clothes are hung to create shade.

The main Catedral in Granada. It is huge.

From his walk along the river.

The next day (yesterday) we slept in and did nothing much all morning. I got caught up with my computer and Colin played. I had started new medication the afternoon of our Alhambra visit and took something different at night to help with the constant coughing, which seemed to be helping.  I just wanted to stay put but made an effort for  Colin’s sake and we went out looking for lunch.

It was a warm 27C and we walked and walked and discovered that the place we were going to eat at was closed. We were happy to find a sleepy quiet square next to an old church that only had one tiny restaurant that appealed to us.  We ordered wine and they brought us a free tapa but it was meat and so we sent it back as we have been doing.  Except this time the waiter came back with a cheese and bread and marinated mushrooms in tons of garlic and olive oil.  It was delicious bit oy the garlic. The rest of our lunch was great.  We have to learn to start sharing a plate.

Our entertainment was watching these busses turning into the extremely narrow streets. Many of them have dents and scratches along the sides.  This one ended up driving up onto the sidewalk.

Later after my nap and after we started packing we headed out for dinner and were surprised at how cool it had become but kept on walking enjoying the ambience. At one point we passed a restaurant that looked really good and decided to eat there instead. Nice to be spontaneous. We can always check out the other one next time we visit. Yes we will be returning to Granada. It appeals to both of us and I missed a lot of it. So far this will be our only revisit, from this particular trip. From our trip last spring we plan to return to Barcelona at some point and would love to visit Naples again just for the pizza but life is short. Part of the reason for so many destinations this trip is to check out where we would want to spend more time in the future.  Sorry for so many photos but I am covering two important days in Granada in this one post.

We are off to the next destination in the morning. In fact I have written this post on the bus while Colin edited the photos from the past few days. Stay tuned for the reveal of our next stop.

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Two full days in Granada”

  1. Yvette says:

    Oh, don’t apologize for all the pics, I am enjoying every one, lol

  2. Maxx Trails says:

    The photo’s are stunning, thanks for sharing each and everyone of them. Granada looks like a wonderful place to visit.

  3. Kathryn Tycho says:

    Beautiful photos…as an avid gardener I would love the gardens. I can see why you would want to return to Granada.

  4. Dolores says:

    But what did they DO with all those huge rooms??
    As always, beautiful, beautiful pictures…

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