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Published: August 4th 2013
Justice Gate at Alhambra
Side entrance. I had my ticket in advance, so I could cut ahead. Nice tip to know.
I can't believe I missed a blog. I tried, but the Granada train station is a tiny little place, and there's nothing nearby that has wifi. I asked this one guy at a bar right next to the station if they had wifi and he looked at me like I was insane. It's funny the line you sometimes cross between having everything being connected, and then, just across the way, it's like 30 years in the past... no wifi, let alone a laptop.
So, to recap a bit, yesterday I spent nearly the entire day exploring Granada, especially its most famous sight, the Alhambra. This is truly one of the most remarkable sights in Europe, for its history, but really I think just because of its beauty and romanticism. The history is pat: this was the last Moorish stronghold before they got kicked back into Africa. But, really, people come to the Alhambra because, quite frankly, it's just a beautiful place, and has this odd romance surrounding it. It's the type of place lost in time, and the visitor, I think, tries to find this lost Moorish civilization among the ruins. Because it really is a place of defeat. Centuries
Courtyard of the Myrtles
Inside the Nasrid Palace, the most famous section. I loved the reflection in the pool.
of a Moorish Golden Age snuffed out, gone forever. It's sad, really - the place where a way of life ended.
Besides the Alhambra, Granada is basically just a pretty town, but extremely hot. I think I spent a good deal of the afternoon hunkering down inside cafes, avoiding the sun with cool drinks. Then, in the evening, I went to the train station for the night train to Barcelona. Like I said before, these are always fun, but never really all that comfortable. I was bunked with a couple of nice Spaniards, and actually got what seemed like a good night's rest - although that recent train crash freaked me out, and I'd suddenly get really anxious, like the train was going to crash. It'd be weird to crash while you were sleeping, and for some reason I couldn't get those Hamlet lines out of my head: in the death of sleep what dreams may come. Unpleasant, to say the very least.
Fresh into Barcelona at 8:30ish, I efficiently caught the metro to my hotel, dropped off my bags, and hoping I didn't smell too bad, made the most of my time, and set out for a
Throne Room Ceiling
Looking up at heaven, literally. The sultan, as the heavenly representative on Earth, sat right below.
good day of exploring. And again, I know I always say it, but certain places are just so full of tourists. In some parts of town there are more Americans than locals. Everywhere you look it's as if you're weirdly back home. I have nothing against this - it more just makes me wonder why sometimes I never see Americans for weeks, but then, suddenly, it's as if they've invaded. Barcelona is cool, but, so far, I don't know if it's some absolutely incredible place. What draws so many people to certain places, like moths to a flame? I wonder if most could even answer that.
I'm staying down on the Passeig de Gracia, in the part of town where all the great Modernista sights are. Actually, as I'm typing this, I'm looking at the back of Gaudi's Casa Mila, one of his greatest works. This isn't surprising since my hotel is called the Next To (not too imaginative, but a nice place). That's what I do tomorrow, see all the great Modernista architecture in town, especially Gaudi's. That's why I came here.
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