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Published: April 7th 2016
After breakfast, we headed out for our morning tour of the Albaicin and the La Cartuja Monastery with an official guide from Granada. The Albaicin, is the old Moorish quarter of Granada. We visited the church of San Nicolas, where we got a great view of the Alhambra from the top of the hill.
Then we headed off to La Cartuja monastery. The monastery once housed Carthusian monks. It is one of the most decorated monasteries in Spain. There was an entire room full of paintings painted by one of the monks that stayed at the monastery.
After the tour, we had a little free time before we headed off to the Alhambra. We had a quick bite to eat at a nearby shawarma place near the hotel. We also had time to go to a nearby grocery store to stock up on food and supplies for our journey to Morocco the next day.
I did not realize how massive the Alhambra was until we arrived. Because we were part of the Contiki trip, the tour of the Alhambra was booked in advanced. If you want to see the Alhambra on your
own, you would have to book your tickets well in advance because they only take a certain number of people per day. Our tour of the Alhambra and the gardens lasted an hour and a half.
The Alhambra was created originally for military purposes, an alcazaba (fortress), an alcazar (palace), and a small medina (city). Some of the most interesting places of the Alhambra, included the Patio of the Lions, Daraxa’s Mirador, and the Hall of Two Sisters. The decorations on the walls include Arabic inscriptions manipulated into geometrical patterns set onto an arabesque setting. Much of the architectural ornament is carved stucco (plaster) rather than stone. It would have been nice to spend more time to explore the different chambers of the Alhambra but we were short on time. An hour and a half is definitely not enough time to enjoy this magnificent landmark.
Tomorrow we will be heading to another continent, Africa! Morocco, home of aromatic tajines, beautiful landscapes, exotic snake charmers and enchanting medinas, it will be a completely new experience. Can’t wait!
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