Granada and the Alhambra – October 3

We took a taxi up to the Alhambra in the afternoon and retrieved our tickets that I’d booked online many weeks ago. Good system! We had about an hour to kill before our entrance into the main palace and so we wandered around the beautiful gardens.

Lots of cypresses shaped like battlements

Exquisite gardens
Gregg cracks his back at the Alhambra

The whole complex is fantastic, but unfortunately very crowded. Lots of walking and cobbled footpaths! But the weather was perfect and the photo opps numerous. I climbed to the top of the old fortress to see a stunning and very windy view of Granada. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to visualize Moorish troops pacing around the battlements.

View from the old Moorish fort

View of Granada from the top of the fort

 At our allotted time, we lined up with the masses for entrance into the Nasrid Palace–the heart of the Alhambra. Although the ceilings and walls of the rooms were sumptuous and the arches intriguing, I have to say that the crowds made for a hot and rather claustrophobic squeeze! Here are a few shots, but they can’t really do the place justice.

Amazing tile work

The ceilings were incredible — all drippy stonework

Classic Alhambra View
Carol in the courtyard where the concubines allegedly hung out

After the palace, we wandered over to the Generalife Gardens which turned out to be a highlight. They were not nearly so crowded and contained many more fountains. Apparently, the fountains are a 19th Century addition since the Moors preferred standing water to fountains (at least according to the guide book), but regardless, the gardens are definitely evocative. We found them much more peaceful than the conveyor belt at the main palace.

Wandering Moor

Footsore and a bit weary of arches, we returned to our hotel for a rest and then a last dinner in Granada. Unfortunately, our lovely Granada day ended on a bit of an odd note. After sitting down to dinner at a picturesque outdoor cafe in yet another picturesque Granada square (and there are lots of them!), I took an olive from the plate brought by the waitress and rather too energetically took a bite.

Crunch! I bit down very hard on the olive, smashed headlong into the pit and sheered off a hunk of my lower left molar.

Ouch. For the rest of the meal–which lasted forever thanks to a very busy waitress–I attempted to make light of the fact that I had a gaping hole in my tooth that was getting increasingly sensitive as the evening wore on.

The next day we were traveling to Seville so at a minimum I would have to wait until the following day to find a dentist. I can’t say I fancied much the idea of spending my time in Seville strapped to the chair of a Sevillian dentist. I’m sure dentists from Seville are just as good as they are anywhere, but I really didn’t want to have first hand experience.

Added to the ache from the missing tooth chunk was an increasingly heavy head cold. It was with great relief that I finally repaired to my bed that night!

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