Spain & Portugal Blog 04
Wednesday May 22, 2019
On Saturday afternoon we kissed goodbye to colourful Cordoba and travelled by coach into Spain’s south-east corner, stopping in Granada, mid-sized provincial capital of Andalucia. It’s springtime here now, but there’s still snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains that form a stunning backdrop to this city.
Our first surprise was the super-posh Alhambra Palace Hotel – our luxury home for the next two nights. And, next morning, after breakfast, the surprises just kept coming.
We started with a shortish walking tour of Granada’s historic centre, including the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) to see the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella … and El Albaicin, the ancient Arab Quarter, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, in the afternoon, we headed uphill on foot to explore the majestic Alhambra – a mountaintop palace-cum-fortress described as “Granada’s love-letter to Moorish culture”.
It started life after Roman times as a walled citadel, the Alcazaba, before going on to become the opulent seat of the region’s Nasrid (Arab Muslim) Emirs. At one stage its mosque was replaced by a church … then, later, Hapsburg emperor Charles V had one wing demolished … and, later still in the 19th century, Napoleon tried to blow the entire place up. (Thank goodness he failed!)
The serene gardens of the Generalife (on the Alhambra’s northern side) feature the elegant Escalera del Agua water staircase and the Cypress Patio, once the secret meeting place for the wife of Sultan Abu-I-Hassan and her lover. They also provided a refreshing counter-balance to the centuries of history/politics/culture/architecture we’d been hearing about.
A big day? For sure! And another wonderful chapter in the enduring story that is Spain’s …
COMING UP: Our road-trip from Granada to Seville takes us through the heart of Andalusia, home to stunning mountain landscapes, idyllic photo-spots, and the region’s most famous pueblo blanco – dazzling whitewashed villages, with their jumble of tightly-packed houses, narrow alleys, and quiet squares. Come on, join us for the ride!
Yours bloggedly – JOHN
P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (If the speech bubble isn’t there, click on ‘home’.) Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.