Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Granada: Home of the "Moors Last Sigh"

Granada would also be my last stop in Al-Andalus - just as it was for the Moors.  Upon the re-conquest of the Alhambra in Granada, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella succeeded in reuniting Spain and driving the Moors back to North Africa.

First on my agenda was to locate my host family in the Albayzin - an area of Granada where I wanted to stay since it was the old Moorish area of the city.
My host family was an Italian couple, Dario and Gloria, from Rome. They were both completing their doctorate programs at the University of Granada while raising two children. At the very least, it was a very busy and bustling home.

As with my other stays, they pulled a map and showed me where all things to see in Granada were located. From their location, it was an easy walk to the shops, the farmers' market and the El Mirador de San Nicolas - an amazing viewpoint. The next day, I took in all three.

If you ever go to Granada, be sure to include the vista of the Alhambra provided by the view. It is breathtaking. I could not photograph the entire Alhambra in a single shot. What a sight! And to realize that soon I'd be touring that very place.

Not only was there a spectacular view, but also the large plaza surrounding the viewpoint was a place of entertainment. There was a wonderful Flamenco guitarist accompanied by a woman selling castanets. She had a wonderful sense of rhythm. What a pleasure it was to take in the view while music played!

To go to the Alhambra, tickets must be ordered in advance. I had ordered mine online from USA. I had only to take the bus to "Plaza Nueva" to pick up my ticket and head to this famous monument to Moorish ingenuity. Well, honestly speaking, I much prefer the train or the subway.

Buses have a way of weaving through a city until I don't know where I am. Usually, the drivers tell me, but in this case, he did not. However, a passenger had heard my request and told me it was time to get off  and so I did. However, where was the Plaza from there?

As I usually do, I stopped and asked a woman - a woman with sprigs of rosemary in her hand. She handed me one and insisted on seeing my palm. Oh, no! I was in the web of a Gypsy!
After reading my palm about long life and a return to Granada, she demanded 5 euros. Five euros! That's a lot of money. I gave her 2 euros and got the Evil Eye.(My car broke down the day I returned to USA. It would have been cheaper to give her the other 3 euros.;-)) I still needed to find the Plaza.

I asked two taxi drivers and got 3 answers. Finally, I found the bookstore where the reservation is changed for a ticket. One of the taxi drivers was right! Next was to find the bus that goes to the Alhambra. By now, my mood was not good.

Beyond a ticket for the day, there is also a time when you can enter the Palace Nasrid. Before that time, you can enjoy the extensive gardens. As I walked up to the top portion of the gardens, I found that the tree-lined paths and stream gurgling down the side of the path did wonders to calm me. How peaceful it was! All the tension left and I was free to enjoy this beautiful place.

Finally, it was the time to join the line to enter the Palace - another spectacular experience! As with the Alcazar in Seville, the images I post here only represent a small portion of the total.

The next day I left the land of the Moors and  caught the plane to Barcelona. I had only a few days left in Spain and they would be spent in a big city - something I didn't want to do. Ah, but Barcelona had some surprises for me. 


  1. Your blog is beautiful and wonderful to read! Thanks for sharing and I will forward to my daughter. Deborah

  2. The last two images are especially intriguing to me in the way a hard substance can be made to appear light and lacy. sz

    1. I know what you mean. That and the beautiful calligraphy are so hard to take in as being made of anything so lacking in pliability.

    2. Beautiful and breath-taking. Great pics! Amazing journey!

  3. Really enjoy the blog and beautiful pictures - it must have been difficult for the caliph to leave it all behind. Jackie

    1. I found the gardens so peaceful. I'd have gladly stayed. I can only imagine how hard it was for him.