Monday, February 4, 2013


I had another exciting week in Sevilla getting to know the city better and better with each day. Thursday's arts and monuments class we walked down the street to the Lebrija palace, once home to the Countess of Lebrija. The palace is a beautiful building hiding literally in the middle of downtown Sevilla and is filled with the Countess's collection of historic artifacts such as Roman mosaics. Her historical collection is viewed as controversial among Spaniards who believe the objects were not hers to take, but I found the palace to be an amazing safe haven for the unique art and sculptures produced by generations of Spanish inhabitants.

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

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