|April 16 - Granada and the Alhambra
From the port of Malaga, Spain, [home of Pablo Picasso & Antonio Banderas] on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) we motor coached for 2 hours to Granada located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (with a fresh coat of snow from last night!) There was no wind today and the cooler temperature was comfortable for those of us from the Pacific Northwest.
The Alhambra is a complex of buildings, palaces and gardens on a hilltop built between 1230 and 1354.
The royal palace and citadel are considered the finest examples of Moorish architecture in Spain. The palace's interior of alabaster and glazed tile is adorned with geometric detail and intricacy! Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra helped revive interest in preservation of the buildings starting in 1862. Also on the hilltop are a 1526 palace for Emperor Charles V and the summer palace of the Moorish rulers.
With our 14.30 Euro ticket (which we didn't dare lose as it was checked about 5 times during our 3 hours) we walked up and down many(!) steps to see what we could along with hundreds of other tourists. They said 7,000 people come here every day! Our guide gave us headsets which helped us tremendously as we walked through buildings, corridors and gardens. It was a huge and confusing tangle of amazing sights yet Ivan and I didn't feel it was as breathtaking as we expected. We are very happy we were able to see it, and perhaps if we'd had more time we would better appreciate...
At the conclusion of the tour we had another very nice buffet lunch at a nearby hotel before boarding the bus for the return 2-hour ride. As our trip took 8 ½ hours there was no time to see much of Malaga other than from the bus. It think it would have been a lovely city to explore, too.
Note: We learned that only Switzerland has more mountains than Spain! and there are more than 70 varieties of olives. The harvesting of the olives can be quite labor intensive and they can't be eaten right off the tree – too bitter.