Friday morning we were up early to take the three hour bus ride to Granada. The drive to Granada is lined with mountains, villages, and fortifications unlike anything I've ever seen driving throughout the US. We arrived, dumped our stuff at the hotel, and left for the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a magnificent structure constructed in 889 as a fortress, and converted to a royal palace for the Sultan in 1333. The Alhambra sits high on a hill and offers a breathtaking view of the city of Granada and inside is filled with endless Muslim architecture Before entering the building we took a walk into an unfinished palace once intended to be the home of Los Reyes Isabel and Fernando III that, while remaining unfinished and roofless, now serves as a place of performance because of the phenomenal acoustics. After explaining this to us, our tour guide also explained that she heard someone in our group is a vocalist and would be performing to demonstrate these very acoustics Although I was originally mortified about being called out in the group, I feel blessed to be able to say I have sung in one of the most magnificent structures in Andalucia, an experience any vocalist would be proud to have. The rest of the day we spent walking around the Alhambra and taking in the amazing architecture and remaining in awe of the view.
Saturday we were up early again to hike up to the Gypsy village! This walk gave us a view from the other side of Granada, this time allowing us to see the Alhambra as a part of the landscape. We were also able to see a few modern Gypsy homes which happen to be built into the caves on the side of the mountain. The rest of Saturday was spent wandering around the city, taking a siesta (of course) and sampling tapas in the streets of Granada (free tapas with each drink!). Overall it was an exciting, albeit exhausting, weekend.
Mosaic (Part of the Countess of Lebrija's collection)
Cabeza sculpture (Palace of Lebrija)
Stunning stairwell and ceiling (Palace of Lebrija)
Unfinished palace intended for Los Reyes
View of Granada from La Alhambra
Ceiling in La Alhambra