Part 17: Granada Day 2 (B)


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The Trip

After our trip inside the huge cathedral, we stopped at a cafe for sangria and tapas.  Then we took a taxi up to the Alhambra and walked back to town through a narrow canyon.  Upon our return, we saw some segways on a tour and we talked to the guide; she sold us and arranged a private tour at 1800 later in that day.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

A pleasant cafe in a shady street with no cars or motorcycles.

A nearby plaza.  The upper reaches of the cathedral are visible above the roof line of the buildings.  All the plazas here have fountains.

We took a taxi to the Alhambra and walked back in a canyon.  The arched bridges connect the various parts of the castle.  Note the interspersed brick and rock in the wall.

This set of roots had grown through the wall.  I have no idea how the river cobbles were cleaved to produce flat faces.

There is an aqueduct from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east that supplies water to the Alhambra.

Construction of the Alhambra was started by Muhammad I al-Ahmar, the founder of the Nasrid dynasty, in 1238.  Additions were made during the 1300s and later in the 1400s.  The facility fell to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492 and was then repurposed for royal uses.  Some of the older walls are showing weathering.  Note the Arabic-style arches.  As with most of the great castles, the location was chosen by the Romans and their contemporaries simply chose to enhance the original sites.

I assume this was a port for shooting arrows.

There were a number of flowers in the narrow canyon that were fed by the overflow water from the Generalife gardens within the Alhambra.

Further down the canyon, we could see Granada.

At the base of the canyon some archeological digs were in progress.  There was no mention of what was being explored.

From the bottom of the canyon, we could see the summer palace at Generalife.

The north-facing ramparts of the Alhambra.

The narrow streets of Grenada were designed to prevent horses from turning around, thus increasing the defensibility of the area.  But, the narrow streets also present challenges for iron horses as well.  In the Albacin area, a moto is the only rational vehicle.

We were on a mission to find the "squeeze" that we had negotiated with our rental car.  On the way, we came upon these cool stairs with intricate Arabic tile designs.

This is the narrowest spot in the city and we were lucky that we could make it through without damage to the car.  We had to retract the mirrors, but we made it through unscathed.

Others that were less fastidious drivers or had wider cars were not so lucky.

This car, parked near the squeeze, was hammered.  Both sides were damaged.

Further down on the street, we came upon these grinding stones built into the stairs.  While they are cool decorations, it is more likely that they were already there and the easiest way to "make them go away" was to build them into the wall, but I am just guessing.

We came upon a group and segways on tour and we decided to try them out.  Above, Kathleen has a test drive.

The gal insisted that I try it as well.  It turns out it was a test to see if we would be good tour members; we passed and ended up with our own private guide for a 2-hour tour.

We were taken up the steep cobblestone streets of Albacin to a cliff overlooking the city.  The Alhambra is visible on the far ridge.

Higher on the hill, we entered the Sacramonte portion of Granada.  This area is where the Gypsies settled.

The Gypsies were outcasts and were not allowed to live with the Arabs, Jews or Christians.  So they moved higher on the ridge and built their houses into the hill.  Most of the houses are built around caves in the hillside.  This place has cactus on the roof.

The homeowner has a deal with the tour and for one Euro you can go in and see the inside.  The walls are painted with lime.

The place is about 90 square meters, about 1200 square feet, and has book cases and shelves carved into the wall.

From Sacramonte we could see up the canyon into the Sierra Nevada.

We returned to the Alhambra after dark to see the Generalife gardens (the only tickets that we could get....).  This building was obviously a later addition, likely done during the 1500s by Charles V.

This was one of the earlier structures.  Note the intricate stone work that intersperses cobbles and brick.

Each of the cobbles was split in half.

It was about 2300, so the gardens were dark and photography was difficult.  But, I was able to get a few shots of the intricate carvings in the wall.

Sadly, the low light did not do this justice.

With her keen eyesight, Kathleen spotted this 5" frog on the sidewalk.  He lives in one of the extensive number of ponds in Generalife.  This was shot at ISO 12800.

The only area that had sufficient light to view one of the many fountains.

I managed to get a 30 second long exposure shot of the Alhambra and Grenada from Generalife.

The Alhambra is quite a place, but very, very popular for tourists.  The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site and tickets are required for entry.  The lead time for tickets is measured in multiple months, so if you plan to go and want to see the site, plan ahead.  We did not, so we never got into the Alhambra and had to settle for viewing it from the city.

Tomorrow, we drive to the south coast of Spain through Marbella and then back into the mountains to Ronda.

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