We took the 8:00 am Sunday morning train to ancient Moorish- influenced Granada to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Alhambra. The train and bus were relaxing and the peaceful Sunday morning walk from the bus station to the hotel gave us the time to explore without having to dodge selfie-sticks.
Our hotel Navras was located in the heart of the city with lots of lovely restaurants, bars and cafes just below our hotel window. (Spain is a late-night country but we’re pretty good at sleeping through anything)
We spent most of the day walking to all the important sites including the outside of the Alhambra. We learned that it’s almost impossible to get tickets to see the inside unless you plan months in advance or want to stand in line at 7:30 am for a handful of tickets.
We choose to take the advice of our favorite rural farm hotel owner at Las Piletas near Ronda and sleep in. She said, “Don’t worry. The inside is over-rated. And, the internet has made getting tickets very difficult. The Alhambra is beautiful from many different places and alleys in the city.”
We took her at her word and photographed the Alhambra from the perspectives of 11 miles of walking up and down hills, through alleyways, and from balconies.
We even spent 9 Euros each for a sangria at a bar with a view high on the hill above the Alhambra. I figure that’s 2 Euros for the sangria and 7 Euros for the view which is probably still cheaper than tickets to see the inside. PLUS we got to sleep in the next morning.
Even though several tour blogs said it was not important to spend more than one day in Granada, we actually loved being in a bigger city with tree-lines streets, good food available even during siesta time, and a really fun market that reminded us of the eclectic bazaars in Turkey, the start of our crazy overseas adventures. www. pjinturkey.blogspot.com
I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between the conquests of Constantinople and Granada. The Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453 and renamed it Istanbul thus ending the Roman Empire and dealing a serious blow to Christianity and strengthening the Ottoman Empire.
Mohammed XII handed over the keys to the Alhambra Granada in 1492. Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon took their job seriously of uniting what would become modern day Spain and strengthening the Catholic Church.
I probably learned about these two conquests in high school history class, but drawing time lines, coloring maps, and memorizing dates didn’t t do justice to the significance of the people, land, power, and money actually involved in these battles/conquests.
I couldn’t help but think about how both Constantinople (Istanbul) and Granada were flourishing, sophisticated civilizations with palaces, castles, forts, weapons, armies, art, music in 1492 when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand gave Christopher Columbus permission (the money) to sail and accidentally discover America.
I wonder if I could make history come alive for students?…..hum…..
One last note on Granada….we went to a flamenco music/dance show which I loved. The dancers and the guitar player were so skilled that I my cheeks hurts from the huge grin I had on my face the entire show. Wow…just wow!