Thursday, May 31, 2012


Granada; Gypsies, Grungies and Grandeur
I have to say it, I just have to: the Alhambra puts the A in amazing! I was literally enchanted by it's beauty, it's intricate details and the serenity it exuded. Even in the mist of preteen drama, four year old freak outs and a stoic seven year old, I thoroughly enjoyed my two visits.
I could not stop taking pictures, even as the sun waged war against my American persistence to capture every moment on film. It shown fiercely in my camera lens, casting shadows over every angled I attempted. I surrendered to the unconquerable goliath and gained a lesson. I could never with a hundred shots capture the grandeur of the Alhambra. It breaths in the alma of Andalusia and exhales heavily it's convoluted history, singing, in the soul stirring style of flamenco, about it's heroes, heroines and heady adversaries.

Palm trees, flowers and snow capped mountains in the distance

I stopped taking pictures (for a little while, I'm no quitter :) and tried my best to be present. I took deep breaths of floral scented air and tried to imagine life there 600 years ago. I strolled along the Sultan's orchards and admired his breath taking palace, got a glimpse of the Gypsy cave retreats and marveled at the Moor's Albayzin and I could swear I heard the faint strum of a guitar in the distance. I was bemused by the beauty of that timeless place.
We visited the actual palace by moonlight. The craftsmanship was awe inspiring. I had never paid much attention to Muslim architecture before coming to Spain and now in in love with it. The actual structures are so beautiful you don't need to fill them with decorations or other art work. I imagined the Sultan and his family lounging on low pillows enjoying fragrant teas and warm dates. I could see how his wife would feel perfectly happy not venturing outside of the palace walls as she sat in her inner court yard near the reflecting pool gazing down at the full moon in the star-filled night sky. I read that upon leaving, Boabdil, who surrendered the Alhambra to Ferdinand, looked back and wept. I walked the corridors of his magnificent home and felt his pain.

Castle by moonlight

No matter how hard they tried, there isn't anything the Christians built in Granada that compares to the Alhambra. Even Charles V had to agree and built his palace within it's walls. With that said, we enjoyed the rest of the small city. Throughout our trip we had mouth watering Moroccan food, tasty after dinner treats and the best shawarmas ever. We all, yep kiddos in tow, went to a teashop/ hookah bar (when in Rome :) and tried both the tea and hookah (adults only). We stayed at the foot of the Albayzin and as a result saw a bunch of Gypsies and grungy hippies. I was impressed by a lot of the crafts they were selling. They literally took scraps of nothing and turned it into charming little trinkets.

The Goliath of a Cathedral 


We ended our trip on a great high at Arrayanes resturant. From the moment we walked in the door he treated us like long lost friends. He suggested a perfect combo of dishes for the table, which we enjoyed with mint lemonade. After our meal he came over hung out with the boys, gave us free dessert and even wanted to take pictures with his "LA friends". The weekend could not have ended more perfectly, we drove him with full bellies and high spirits.

Tea time

wish I could read this


Spanish crest

inside the palace

evening paseo

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