Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Granada - Unexpected Dream Destination

View of the Alhambra, Granada from El Albaicin (Old Arab Quarter) - the only photo not taken by me

An ancient Ibero-Celtic settlement, Granada has been successively occupied by the Greeks (in the 5th century BCE), and then the Romans, the Visigoths, the Byzantines, and finally the Moors in the 8th century ACE. With the Arabs being overcome by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.

And then we formed part of the tourist invasion of 2003.

There are two totally and seductively attractive parts of the city - the Arab garrison fort of the Alhambra and El Albaicin, the old Arab quarter.

The latter sits on the razor back of a ridge of hills opposite over a ravine from the former ...

I loved the small scale of everything - after living in Madrid for a couple of months.

And the folksiness. Like the stall markets set up for each morning in the streets. With their hand-written signs ...

I don't know about where you live in the world, but here in Australia the counter culture and its denizens are now pretty much extinct - or have been transmuted into New Age counterparts (pun, sorry).

So there was that incredibly desirable pang of nostalgic seeing it all still alive and well in this Spanish city ...

One of the best things to do in Granada (I think) is simply hanging out in the Moorish salóns de té ...

It's surprising how long you can happily do this and just how many coffees you can drink. Let it just be said we were usually vibrating when we finally made our way back into the street!

But of course the big deal here is the Moorish fort of the Alhambra. Which is visible from just about everywhere.

You make your way up along a rather grand leafy pathway ...

... dotted with ancient and ruined buildings, seemingly put there to set the right mood ...

And then there's the imposing entrance - and beyond.

Apart from the Moorish buildings themselves and the later Spanish additions ...

... what was particularly seductive about the Alhambra was the gardens, bursting with the new fragrant life in late spring ...

... and the various views out - over internal courtyards ...

... and the city ...

... and the Sierra Nevada mountains ...

The best finish to an Alhambra day is walking back down to the city at dusk.

I was so over-whelmed by the sensuous beauty of the place that I think I took the worst photographs of the four month trip (or of my life) - a paradox if ever there were!

But I'm still enjoying the nostalgia they excite - maybe, and so sadly, at your expense.


  1. Al-Ham-Bra

    Sounds like a support garment for my man boobs.

    Alan down in Florida

  2. maybe you have spanish blood you're unaware of - i think a topic for morning tea!

    maybe dancing round the room with castanets, to (my suggestion) the gypsy kings' 'Baila Me' - and see if she winces with 'remembrance of things past'

    tho there would be other ways of extracting a confession!

  3. I've been a tour guide of a house-ca1870-designed in part on alhambra. Interesting. Wit.

  4. hey wit

    yeah, there's so much out there to visit - and so little time to see much of it

    as a kid visiting France, i thought i'd visit everywhere and, looking at a map, realized how impossible it would be

    take care


  5. hey wit

    did you take any photos?

    what features of the Alhambra did they use?

    sounds great

    take care


  6. I'll meet you in the morning tearoom for some teabagging and other less than polite imbibing.

    Alan down in Florida

  7. hey alan

    i'm there already - waiting for you

    lip-tongue's tea of course!

  8. Absolutely beautiful place, from a dream!

  9. hey anon

    yes, it is and hard to resist the temptation to go back - soon!