Merhaba f Granada
Moroccan hospitality followed me to Spain and Latifa showed me around town and took very good care of me.
After Morocco I thought it would be best to start off my travels in Europe with the last stronghold of the Muslims in Spain. I took a boat from Tangier in the evening and took a night bus from Algaciras to Granada. The boat was interesting and I chatted with some Moroccan women on the way over. I saw a couple other foreigners, but practically everybody on the boat was Moroccan. After customs I found the bus for Granada, which was also completely full of Morccans. The bus got to Granada a bit earlier than I had expected - it was about 4am Sunday morning and I had no idea where to go to wait until it got light. Fortunately one of the other two women who got off the bus in Granada was very nice and invited me to go with her to her brother´s house until it got light out.
Latifa is originally from Errachicia, like Maryam, and is also part of the Alaoui family. It´s a small world. Latifa´s brother lives here in Granada and I ended up spending a couple days with them at their apartment, which was very close to the center of town. After
The Alhambra complex is very large and there are gardens and different castles and hemmams and so much to see. The whole place is up on one of the hills overlooking the town of Granada and the valley. This photo is only a small part of the Alhambra itself.
two nights I decided I should go find a hostel so I wouldn´t be dependant on Latifa to get in and out of the apartment. Moroccan hospitality apparently is just as strong in other countries and Latifa and her brother were very gracious and welcoming, asking me to visit them any time in Granada or Morocco.
On Saturday night, after my first full day of wandering around the city, we watched the World Cup game at the apartment. It was a tense game but Spain was obviously winning the whole way through. After the game was the fiesta - Granada exploded and everybody was out in the street celebrating. People were all wearing red and singing and dancing in the streets waving the red and yellow Spanish flag. We went to the central plaza where people had swarmed the fountain and statue in the middle and turned the entire plaza into a pulsating, singing mass of red and yellow. It was a beautiful and very joyous sight.
The next day, though we had been out until at least 2am celebrating, I got up early and headed up the hill above the city to Alhambra. This was the main
The central courtyards have pools exactly like the other palaces I´ve seen in Morocco. Some parts of the palace were changed by the invading Spainards but many parts have been left exactly the same.
reason for visiting Granada and it was well worth it. The Alhambra is the Spanish name which comes from the Arabic Qsar al Hamra, which means Red Castle. ( A kasbah is a fort, not a castle).
I wandered through the Alhambra for several hours, marveling at the mix of Arabic architecture and the newer European additions. It was beautiful but I couldn´t help feeling a little homesick for Morocco. (My dad´s going to analyze this and say I experience too much longing for other places).
As I was about to exit the castle and begin exploring the gardens I met a couple Brazilians and ended up finishing my visit of the Alhambra with them. I love traveling alone, but partly so I can meet new people. Plus it´s useful to have somebody to take pictures with me in them.
They wanted to buy some souvenirs from Morocco, which I was surprised to find can be bought here. I told them they really should just go to Morocco, but I know not all tourists have as much time to wander as I do. We strolled through some of the little alleyways that are filled with Moroccan shops
The tile patterns in parts of the Alhambra are exactly the same as the ones in the stairway of my apartment in Kelaa.
and I had a fun time chatting with the venders in Arabic. It was a little dissapointing that they wouldn´t bargain, but I understand that the culture is very different here and most Europeans want a price tag on what they´re buying. Bargaining must not be a part of the culture here as it is in Morocco.
It was another late night out on the town but I made it back to my hostel without any problems. Granada isn´t too big and it´s easy to walk everywhere. I already know my way around quite a bit of the city. The hostel where I´m staying is very central and the building itself is built just like an old riad in Marrakech. You can look at pictures of it at http://www.posadadecolon.com/.
I´ve visited several other touristy places in town, but nothing compares with Alhambra.
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