Adventure Travel McColls (ATM$) 2017-2018 travel blog

Entry to the Carmen de los Martires Gardens

Our first view of the Sierra Nevadas

The Generalife gardens are outstanding

An ancient aqueduct

Thee Generlafe view across to the Alhambra fortress & palacebu


It’s only a cottage after all


Some cottage that is

It’s nice to see an old tree getting some TLC

The fascade of the Charles V Palace

Main entry to the Charles V Palace

An eagle makes a nice change from the ubiquitous lion motif

The abandoned & roofless interior of Charles V’s Palace

The Puerto de Vin takes us towards the Nasrid Palace & into...

Puerto de Vin detail

Every room was eye candy

Typical seating against typical wall finishes

The breathtaking beauty of the reflecting pool

Another gorgeous design

Each small segment is an individual tile

Tilework below and detailed plasterwork above is the norm throughout

The lion fpuntain is a particularly famous feature of the Nasrid Place

Gorgeous celings with intricate window ventilation

Ceiling detail

Incredible vaulted ceiling of plasterwork

The Catholic Royals also left their mark

The plasterwork in the palace is incredibly detailed

Pretty little doorways

Tiles below and plaster above is the typical wall covering

The views are beautiful too

The tallest of the three fortress towers overlooking the Darro river

About 15cm of snow fell on this Sierra Nevada ski resort the...

Our Granada hotel was right beside the massive cathedral in this frame

Another beautifully carved cove ceiling in Nasrid Palace

Doorways are delightfully aligned for optimal effect

An example of the water channels to cool the gardens & palaces

The foundations of military barracks within the Alhambra’s fortified walls

This is the first & last artistic piece you see when visiting...

Before we entered the vast Alhambra complex, we opted to continue above it the Carmen de los Martires Gardens, a lovely green space. The “small” mansion (now there’s an oxymoron) on the property had an artsy photography exhibit and provided a few minutes of entertainment, but large=scale collages of small photos are not really our thing....unless of course it’s the photograhy of family and friends.

Then, we took advantage of the nice weather to hike up the hill behind the house as high as we could access (815 m) to take in the view.

Upon arriving at the Alhambra ticket office, we were not at all surprised the Nazrid Palace tickets were sold out - we had checked online and accepted that there would be zero tickets available - access to the palace often sells out months in advance.

We were, however, pleasantly surprised that we could purchase day-of tickets to the Generalife, which functioned as the Alhambra’s Summer Palace. By today’s distances, it seems odd that the Generlife was build to be a cool haven for the sultans during the summer. It seems barely higher up, so I’m guessing it was a combination of wind and elevation that worked for them. Additionally the Generalife was designed with cooling pools and channels of water throughout. It also has exquisite gardens, which combined warrant the separate ticket.

After the gardens we wandered through the no-ticket-required areas within the Alhambra fortress walls.

One highlight is the abandoned and unfinished Charles V Palace. He was the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella. In 1526 Charles V initiated construction of a royal residence in Granada.

Charles V chose the circular Roman style and built it amidst the Alhambra fortress as a reminder of Catholic supremacy over Islam, not so much with the intent of actually living there. Not only was it unoccupied, it was never finished. Roofless until 1957, the Charles V palace now houses two museums. One is the Museum of Fine Arts, with the usual display of religious paintings and works, these of course by Granada’s master painters.

The other is the Alhambra Museum. Besting the various historical artifacts on display such as Roman columns is, in my opinion, the tile exhibition. The exhibition began with the mathematics used to design the diverse geometric patterns applied on the Nasrid Palace - and throughout the Islamic world. Then it moved through the techniques used to shape, colour and lay the small pieces of tile into vast fields of colourful walls.

As a fan of mosaic art, I was glad to have visited the museum. Though it did elevate my disappointment that Duncan would not see the Nasrid Palace, which I visited in 2009 with my sister Vicki and her husband Anil.

So, with zero expectations, I checked online again and surprise!!! There must have been a block of tickets turned in by a tour company as we were able to get in for Nov 1.

We happily marched back up the hill on Nov. 1 and with a greater appreciation for the laborious tile makers and setters enjoyed the Nazrid Palace, a site made famous through Washington Irving's book Tales of the Alhambra and featured in Salman Rushdie's book, The Moor's.

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