Ambling around the Alhambra

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April 18th 2011
Published: April 18th 2011
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Excellent mapExcellent mapExcellent map

Nice layout of the place.
The Alhambra is a very large complex. One cannot amble about the place in one day. Furthermore, reservations are required for certain parts of the Alhambra because only small groups are allowed into those places at staggered times. If you miss your time slot you are out of luck. And further…furthermore, this is one of the top tourist places in Spain. Do you know what that means? There are hordes of tourists. I don’t do hordes. I can’t be part of a horde. It’s hard to amble when you are in a horde…know what I mean?
Our landlord had recommended that we make reservations for the 11:30 time slot. Well, I figured out that we just get there in the morning and make a reservation for later in the afternoon. Nope. It was already sold out for the morning and afternoon. Gaaaack!!! Bear in mind that March is the low season. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like during the high season.
In the end it didn’t matter. The complex is so large that to adequately see everything one would need to spend two days just to get a look at everything. We spent half a day walking

There is more than one palace on the grounds.
around the place and still didn’t get to see everything that was open to general viewing. I think that the best plan would be to stay in Granada and set aside two days with reservations and perhaps throw in an evening viewing just to get a good look without rushing about.
The Alhambra was declared a world heritage site in 1984. It sits atop a hill on the southeastern border of the city of Granada. It was both a palace and fortress. Although the construction was begun in the mid 14th century for the Moorish Emirs, it was used by the Spanish kings and had other additions were built in the 1500’s. It was abandoned and fell into disrepair until it was “rediscovered” in the 19th century. Since then it has been continuously repaired and restored and is managed by an organization attached to the Andulusian Ministry of Culture.
As you can see in the photos there are extensive gardens spread throughout the place. There is an ingenious system of little ditches (acequias) that carry water around the place. UBI alert (useless bit of information): There is a little burg close to Rupert, Idaho that is named Acequia. Just so
The GeneralifeThe GeneralifeThe Generalife

Another palace with gardens.
you know.
Water was used to emphasize what a little piece of heaven this place was built to be. This part of Spain is hotter than Hades during the summer. Fountains and pools provide a cooling effect and there is water and shade all over the place.
The day that we were there was very pleasant but I can easily see that come July and August the place must be an inferno. By the end of the day we were starving and ready for some food. There is an inn (parador) located on the grounds. We went to the restaurant and were only too glad to get out of the sun. We were asked if we wanted to sit outside in the courtyard -we didn’t. We had a very nice lunch. I explained to the waitress that the students were learning Spanish and might she ask them a few simple questions. She was very nice and patiently asked the students some questions. They were a bit tongue tied but managed to get out some answers.
We hit the road for home with plans to stop at a hilltop fortress we had spotted on our way to Granada. While we were
The WatchtowerThe WatchtowerThe Watchtower

This is one of the oldest part of the complex.
on the road we stopped at a little gas station. The two guys working there were very nice and I chatted with them for a bit. I told them that we were a group with students from the USA. They were very complimentary of the USA and gave me a large bottle of water for free. How about that?? The water was cold and I really appreciated that. Unfortunately we were a bit late for the fortress. There were only 15 minutes left before closing. Doh!
We hit the road and figured we would get in another morning of sleeping in since the next place we wanted to visit was only about 45 minutes away.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


The OratoryThe Oratory
The Oratory

of the Partal Palace.
Along the Plaza de ArmasAlong the Plaza de Armas
Along the Plaza de Armas

This had a nice overlook to see this end of Granada.
Along the WatchtowerAlong the Watchtower
Along the Watchtower

or something like that!
The bathsThe baths
The baths

of the mosque.
Gardens galoreGardens galore
Gardens galore

Lots of landscaping, terraces, pool, fountains, etc., etc.

with acequias to other pools.
An acequiaAn acequia
An acequia

An ingenious system of waterworks.
Intricate artworkIntricate artwork
Intricate artwork

Cool lattice work.

Lots of intricate wood carving.
Ancient treeAncient tree
Ancient tree

Growing onto the wall.
Lower partLower part
Lower part

That we didn't make it to...we were hungry.

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