Sunday, July 16, 2006

the alhambra 2003

They say the sun shines brighter in Southern Spain. It sure did; I have never seen such bright sunshine before; the cold wind was blowing and I remember the bright chilly mornings in Seville. There were gardens every where and it seems from every vantage point in the city, one could see the minaret of the the Giralda. It is a very pretty and unusual cathedral, especially the climb up the minaret; the way up is a ramp unlike the steps up in all other cathedrals in the world. It was built by the Moors (those parts that survived); they used the ramp to ride up to the top on a horse. There were orange trees all over the city and it being spring, there were orange blossoms. The smell was wonderful especially in the evenings after dinner, my sister and I would sit outside at cafes to eat ice cream. The guidebooks said we needed a reservation in order to visit the Alhambra. I tried to do it on the internet at home but had no success. So I told Janne, since I was arriving ahead of her in Seville I would take care of the arrangements while in Seville. I could go to any of the many BBVA, a Spanish bank and they can sell me tickets to visit the Alhambra which is in Granada. That was easy enough; the morning entry tickets sell out very fast, so I secured an evening entry for the both of us. So the day arrived, we boarded a train bound for Granada at 7am for the 3 hour train ride to Granada. It passed through extensive olive fields between Seville and Granada. That morning we toured the Cathedral in Granada where the bodies of Ferdinand and Isabella were laid to rest. It has a pretty, white and lacy interior. After seeing so many Cathedrals, it is hard to have a favorite ; everyone of the major cathedrals has their own charm; the Duomo in Milan or St Peter in Rome. I would say I rather like the cathedral in Siena with its black and white marble interior and exterior; it holds some major artwork inside and its tiled floor is another major work of art. Since we still had time before we can get in to the Alhambra, we decided to climb up the Albazin and head to the viewing area. The Albazin is the Moorish quarter. It sits on a hill across from the Alhambra. The view of the Alhambra with the snow still on the Sierra Nevada in the background was spectacular and awesome. It is so beautiful and its no wonder it is the eighth wonder of the world. The Alhambra should be right on top of everyone's list of most important places to visit; right on top with St Peter Basilica and the Sistine chapel. A trip to these places would definitely change one's perspective on life. The Alhambra was a palace and a fortress for the Moors and later the home of Isabella and Ferdinand. Words can only do so much to describe it; it ran the whole expanse of our view, seeing it from the Albazin. I was too excited after viewing it from a distance; we hopped into a taxi and headed over to the Alhambra. It did not disappoint, it exceeded all expectations, the various buildings and the Generalife gardens were so beautiful and knowing who lived there before added a whole new dimension. It would take volumes to describe in any detail the Alhambra. It was one of many memorable days in my traveling life. Since then I have been adding a lot more.......

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