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Published: August 18th 2014
You know the song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco?" For a long time after leaving and just moving across the bridge to Oakland I truly experienced a feeling of loss and as if a small piece of me and what felt like a lifetime of memories had been left behind. Eventually I adapted to my new home and grew to love it immensely. But I can't help but wonder if that new love for Oakland, California had something to do with the fact that in the back of my mind I knew that on any given day I could hop in my car or on the BART and find myself in this city that I loved so much. My love for Granada is unlike this experience in that once I return home, I know that this magical place will feel light years away.
My travel group arrived in Granada Saturday evening and despite the exhaustion that had set in from spending the day in Cordoba under the hot summer sun followed by a four hour bus ride, a feeling of happiness came over me and I was thrilled to be back. I settled into my hotel and was
off to meet Josh for dinner in El Albaycin. The next morning I FINALLY visited the Alhambra and it was absolutely beautiful. The Alhambra's or "red fortress's" palaces were built for Spain's last Muslim emperors & the court of the Nasrid Dynasty, before it was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. It was originally built as a small fortress and then largely ignored until it's ruins were discovered and renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by the Moorish king Mohammad Ben-Al Amar of the Kingdom of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 14th century by the then Sultan of Granada. The Alhambra now exhibits Islamic architecture together with a 16th-century and later Christian influence and the fortress is surrounded by the Generalife, its beautiful garden. The Alhambra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After my visit to the Alhambra, I took a long walk around town, making my way back to Josh's. On a whim, we decided to take a bus into Madrid (while my group spent the day on a walking tour). But before we left, I noticed my feet (especially the left one) had
swelled up probably from a combination of extreme heat and a whole lot of walking. Josh being a bit of a hypochondriac freaked out and decided I needed to go to the hospital because I was quickly transforming into Professor Klump from the Nutty Professor. I assured him that that was unnecessary and that despite my appearance, I'd be fine. I also assured him that this was not a symptom of the Ebola virus which he's been obsessing about since I returned from Morocco and a few people have now been quarantined due to the virus in Spain. I chalked it up to a long line of unfortunate cankle genes. Thanks, mom! 😉
We arrived in Madrid after a five hour bus ride and stopped in at a hotel that was like stepping into the set of a Clockwork Orange--milky white statues and furniture, furry orange walls, and shag carpet. The good news was by now the bones of my ankles were again visible and I felt much more relieved. Pretty sure Josh did as well. We headed to a hole-in-the-wall hidden gem tapas bar where we ate the most amazing tapas I've had thus far on my trip--duck
and lentil stew with toast and oxtail cannolini. I'm enjoying my stay in Madrid thus far and love wandering the streets aimlessly with no specific destination in mind. Tomorrow I'll venture off on my own to see the Prado Museum and will probably meet up with my group in the afternoon while Josh gets some work done. Loving every minute and trying not to think about the little time I have left.
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