|Gardens went on forever. All over the site|
at Alhambra and Generalife.
For a variety of reasons I have been negligent in updating this blog over the past month or so. Mostly because once we left Aguadulce there has been no sharing of internet access aboard S/V BeBe. The only internet access has been on the main computer at the nav station and that seat is too uncomfortable for my arthritic hip for me to sit there longer than 10 minutes. Plus, we have been kind of busy for a change!
|Bill was freezing for the first few|
hours at the higher elevation.
But it warmed up nicely once
the sun was high. He is using
2 hand dryers to warm up.
We enjoyed the marina at Aguadulce. It was less expensive than most other marinas along the Med coast of Spain; our berth was out in the middle of the marina so the loud music at the bars all night long on weekends was not too troublesome; and, most importantly, it provides excellent shelter from heavy weather from any direction. It is a perfect place to tuck in for a week or more. And a perfect place to leave the boat for a day trip to Granada. We shared a rental car with Dennis and Virginia on S/V Libertad who had arrived in Aguadulce a day or 2 after us and headed inland up the mountains for a long day of touristy sight-seeing.
|Virginia and Dennis of S/V Libertad with Bill in|
front of main entrance to Palace of Carlos V
First stop was the Alhambra. Confession time: we had never heard of Alhambra until other cruising friends ahead of us mentioned it in their blog this summer. And it supposedly is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of Europe! It is imperative that one purchase advance tickets online before visiting Alhambra, or be prepared to stand in a ticket queue for average 2 or more hours. Even with tickets purchased online it can take 45 minutes in the queue to exchange the online purchase voucher for the required paper tickets. When I first checked online in early September there were no tickets available until 1 November!
Dennis suggested that maybe they open up more tickets just before dates to visit and he was right. On 21 September Virginia was able to purchase 4 tickets online for us to visit on 23 September, although on the previous day it was shown to be sold-out until 1 November. So, if you cannot purchase tickets just keep checking daily and something might become available. Worked for us. We also purchased separate tickets for the Nasrid Palaces which are inside Alhambra. Only a limited number of visitors are allowed into the Palacios Nazaries per hour in an effort to control crowds. We visited in late September and it was still crowded. During summertime it is even more crowded.
|Gate to the Alcazaba. These entryways|
are called gates. No idea why.
I am writing this blog on a laptop without internet access as a Word document and will upload it once the very limited internet access is working again, so I can provide no historical details about Alhambra – just whatever I remember from the audio guide. And our visit was 3 weeks ago so memory likely is incorrect about details. Here are a couple of links for info about Alhambra for those who have interest:
|Exterior of Alcazaba from inside Alhambra. Only 1 small|
entry door and then inside the entry passageway winds
many times. If attackers gained entry they would have
had a difficult time getting to the occupants.
|Weird interior of Palace of Carlos V. No roof over center|
|Note the large cracks in this tower. We did not walk|
to the top of this one.
After a brief visit inside the Palace of Carlos V next up was the Alcazaba section of Alhambra. The Alcazaba was the defense or military section of Alhambra. There were at least 3 towers, 2 of which were for defense and the remaining 1 was where a prince or emir lived or sought refuge during attacks. The ‘king’ tower had some major structural cracks in it. Seems like those should be addressed if they are going to continue allowing millions of visitors up there each year.
|We did walk to the top of this tower. It|
looked more structurally sound.
|Pretty views from top of a tower in Alcazaba section|
of Alhambra. Dennis, Virginia & Bill.
|The cathedral in Granada. Viewed from the tower top.|
|Dennis & Virginia inside Alcazaba|
|Exterior part of Alcazaba facing|
|View of the military housing ruins inside Alcazaba as seen|
from a nearby tower. Great security up this high.
|See how high we were in the top tower! This view|
looks down onto another tower of the Alcazaba.
We did not walk up to the top of the tower where the king once lived but we did walk to the top of the other 2 defense towers. One had a spectacular view of the mountaintop valley where the city of Granada is situated. It was easy to see how the topography made this such a desirable area.
|One of a thousand arched passages in Nasrid Palaces.|
Next up was our scheduled tour of the Palacios Nazaries. The Nasrid Palaces were home to a minimum of 4 Arabic princes or emirs of the Nazarid family (or however they spelled it; the mixture of Arabic and Spanish and English creates some strange spellings). There might have been 5 princes or emirs or even more who resided here before the Moors were forced out; I do not remember.
|Beautiful detailed door|
|One of the beautiful walls|
The lower 3 to 4 feet of all interior walls were covered in ceramic tiles or porcelain tiles, often in geometric patterns and always brightly colored. This was done because it is always the lower sections of walls that suffer the most wear and tear of occupancy. The upper walls and ceilings were covered in elaborately ornate plaster work. Almost every room and hallway had plaster with Arabic script flowing around windows and doorways. The audio guide stated that this would be religious in nature. It created a beautiful design effect.
|One of the pools inside Nasrid Palaces|
Inside the many interior courtyards were fountains and gardens and sculptures, each more beautiful than the last. These seemed to go on forever, but maybe that was because of all the crowds making progress slow. According to the site map the palaces encompassed approximately the same square footage as the Alcazaba but the palaces seemed much larger.
|Incredible plaster work on upper walls|
|Such intricate details in the plaster|
|A window seat in tile. Note how thick is the plaster and detailed.|
|A particularly beautiful small room.|
|A courtyard fountain supported by statues of lions|
And then there were more gardens. And more gardens. And even more gardens. This place must have quite the staff of landscapers working every day!
|Small part of the Hall of the Two Sisters|
The last building we looked at inside Alhambra was the Hall of the Two Sisters.
|Rather than type this out to be part of this blog,|
here is a photo of the description of this building.
|After seeing this cathedral from the top of the tower|
in the Alcazaba of Alhambra, we searched it out when
we drove down to Granada. This is the main entry
which opens onto a tiny square.
|Basilica of San Juan de Dios,|
St. John of God
|Main altar inside basilica|
|One of 6 or 8 alcoves along sides of basilica|
Gold, gold, gold and more gold! Flash photography was not allowed so my photos are terrible of this ultra-richly decorated basilica as it was quite dark inside.
|Interior of basilica|
|Another view of interior of basilica|
We had never heard of the Order of San Juan de Dios, but the tour info stated that this is an order of the Church like the far better known Jesuits. But they did not tell us what the focus was for this Order. An online search revealed that he had been a shepherd, farmer, soldier and bricklayer before devoting his life to helping the poor and sick; and the Orden de Hospitalarios (Hospitaller Order) was founded. The first hospital for this Order was founded in 1578, and later a college was established in 1913. Today there are several hospitals and welfare centers established by this Order around Spain and in the Philippine Islands and a few other locations.
|Remains of San Juan de Dios|
|These particular jellyfish were clear or translucent. |
But others we have seen have been dark blue.