First pictures alert!
The alarm went off at 7.15 a.m., still early for us, but at least not as horrific as 3.30 a.m.
Made it down to a desultory breakfast buffet, with the usual problem of trying to find the butter/milk/marmalade/whatever in a new establishment.
We boarded the bus to take us to the Alhambra in very thundery conditions. At no time did we have torrential rain, but an umbrella or waterproof coat was an absolute must.
Like a complete idiot, I forgot my phone, so the following pictures are all Jean’s work.
Our QuietVox-enabled guide was a lady whose name I didn’t catch, but she was only about 4’11” tall, so following her within the huge crowds at this HUMUNGOUS palace was trying in the extreme. It must have been very stressful for her, but she remained markedly imperturbable, even when some of our group got detached and left behind.
There is absolutely no way I could convey the history and magnitude of this place here. Wikipedia do their usual magnificent job at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra, which I really commend for your attention. It is an absolutely extraordinary edifice. I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. It was started by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, at the time when Moslem areas in Spain were converting, like it or not, to Catholicism. It was also here that Christopher Columbus met the Emperor to gain approval for his 1492 expedition.
These were a small selection of the pictures Jean took of the main complex.
The next phase was a visit to the Generalife Gardens on the same site. No, not an insurance company, but named after Yannat Al-Arif, which means “Garden of the Architect”.
Extremely impressive, and no amount of pictures can do it all justice, but the rain and crowds combined to take the gloss off it rather. Ironically, the weather for the rest of the trip looks absolutely glorious!
We’d planned to walk back to the hotel, but the rain forced us to go back to the hotel on the coach for a well-earned rest.
Once recovered, we exited the hotel and, within 100 metres, found lunch in a tapas bar where we attempted the Menú del día. As their English was marginally better than my virtually non-existent Spanish, this took some sorting out, but we ended up with two beers, chicken soup and roast pork with potatoes. Dessert was basically a chocolate Magnum for me and an ice cream tub for Jean. Cost – 24 € in all. Very nice and remarkably inexpensive.
Suitably fortified, we decided to investigate Granada further, so we took the 15-minute walk into the centre, picking up some Euros on the way.
Granada is a very cosmopolitan city of around 300,000 population. Some nice shopping streets, full of bars and restaurants, but the main attraction here was the huge cathedral.
Entry to this was a modest 5 € each, but the ticket included a QR code allowing one to download an app with an audio guide. This was a fantastic resource, as it included the script as well.
Some more pictures, this time taken by me as I had remembered my phone:
This huge edifice was founded in 1523, just as Catholicism began to take over from Islam.
I listened, fascinated, to the audio guide. If you want to find out more about this very important and historic cathedral, I really would recommend you download the free Catedra de Granada app. This might seem like overkill, and in some ways it is as it’s very detailed, but, although I am in no way religious, the significance of this place was brought home in a very powerful way. I have no truck with the excesses of the Catholic Church, but the presentation, particularly of the chapels, is simply magnificent.
As we got back to the hotel, the rain stopped and the sun came out.
The day finally finished with a decent enough buffet dinner, but as we had an 8 a.m. start in the morning, we decided to get a relatively early night. At least the aircon works a treat in this room and the bed is comfortable.
We leave Granada tomorrow and head for Cordoba. Hope you’ll join us for that.