Day 5 - Alhambra

we'll be falling hard in the black hole of our universe
and the whole world is ours, but we won't know
'cause we're too busy loving love

Loving Love - Naaz

Day 5 was spent taking a day tour to Alhambra which is like one of the main reason why I wanted to go to Spain. Alhambra is located in Granada which is actually quite far from Seville. It was around a 3-hour drive to get there. So the day was long but it was seriously really such an amazing place and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to finally go there. Took a lot of pictures, so there will be a lot of pictures here. There'll be more in the Flickr albums. I'll try to explain the pictures here a bit, but honestly I can't remember much. There were Sultans, a Romeo and Juliet kind of love story that ended deadly, history. The guide explained a lot but I was just relishing my time being there.

The day started early, okay well perhaps not. I was expecting to get picked up, but instead was told to meet at another hotel. I was quite concerned that I wouldn't know how to get there, but luckily it was quite near and only a straight walk. Supposed to be there by 06:40 AM so that's not that early, but the sun hadn't risen yet. So when I went out, it did feel a bit weird, it felt like 04:00 AM in Indonesia or Singapore, but it's actually not that early if you look at the number. At that hour people would be starting their day, but because it was still dark, I just felt strange. Luckily when I arrived at the meeting place, there were already other tourists waiting, so I was in the right place. Then the bubbly energetic guide arrived to walk us to the bus. We were the last to be picked up, so we didn't get much of a pick of seats. I wasn't sure if there were empty seats at the back, so I quickly chose an empty seat next to a girl. Then I got quite annoyed during this morning trip. I always can tell when people don't shower and I just couldn't stand it. My hatred towards smelly people is in direct proportion to my love towards people who smells nice. I tried to be calm and be a better person but I'm just not really that person. Anyways, got a break at a stop for toilet and breakfast before reaching Granada. I already had breakfast so I didn't get any other food and I quickly went inside the bus first so that I got to sit by the window. I thought it would make me feel better. I guess it somewhat did. I realized then that the girl was so young, like a teenager.

So arriving in Alhambra, we were split to English and Spanish speaking and we got a different guide. A licensed one who studied arts history (if I'm not mistaken) and she explained a lot. Alhambra means the Red One because the colours of the structures on the outside is reddish. She told us to think of Alhambra as a city. Yes there's palaces and stuff, but many people who supported the palace also lived within the walls. Usually I like exploring by myself, but the whole compound is so big that it's really good to have a guide to walk you through this. If I had done it on my own, I may have missed stuff. The whole tour lasted like 3 hours and we even had a break in between. It was quite a lot of walking, but the weather was good. The day before it was hot, but that day in Alhambra, it was pleasant.

So Alhambra is divided into sections (I can't think of a better term) and we started in Generalife which Wikipedia told me means Architect's Garden. There was a fountain and with it, flowers in bloom.

Here's a view of some of the structures in Alhambra. Took this as we were walking out of Generalife or perhaps it was taken when I was there, can't remember.

We then visited Palace of Charles V which I think wasn't completed. It didn't look finished. It's circular with an open space in the middle and there are 2 floors. I didn't get up to the second floor. Overall it was not much to look at I think. Nearby there's this wall to the Alcazaba section.

In this section, we had a nice view of Granada the city and the town of Albaicín.

Then it was perhaps to the most popular section, the Nasrid Palace. My ticket showed the timing in which I can enter the palace. I guess it is that popular that entrance is by timing. The palace and its halls are really stunning. There were fountains. By the way, the Moorish fountain are quite beautiful in its simplicity. They're normally quite low and the water doesn't shoot up high. At first I thought it's so plain, but I've grown to like it a lot.

One of the beautiful hall is the Hall of the Ambassadors. The ceiling as you can see below is too beautiful. I think it's like the night sky with its many stars.

Then there's the Court of the Lions with it's beautiful arches and a lion fountain. By the way, pretty much all around Alhambra, the beautiful arches, walls, doors, just pretty much everywhere are either filled with beautiful tiles or with beautiful Islamic arts sculptures. Many of them has Arabic on them and how I wish I can understand what's written. Pretty sure many of them are prayers and I think that makes it even more beautiful.

Another beautiful ceiling is this one in the Hall of the Abencerrajes. Thoughts that came to my head when I saw it was snow. I think I also thought of sugar. I don't know why, I'm weird.

All and all it was great, really really great. For more pictures, please go here. There's quite a lot, I can't help myself. Everything was just so beautiful.

My tour included a walking tour of the little town of Albaicín. We're driven there. Some people stopped their tour in Alhambra, so there were empty seats and I finally got to sit on my own. That made things so much better. Anyway, in Albaicín we were given time for lunch first. I was a bit worried with the timing because I don't think there's enough time and the restaurants were busy. I managed to sit down and next to me there's an Indian couple who was in the tour too. They're like mom and dad age. I asked if they're from India, the dad said yes, but actually they're American. The wife said she usually answers that she's from Texas when people asked. I said they should since they're Americans :D I ordered octopus which was great. Side note: went to a Spanish restaurant with la Gioia on Friday and we ordered octopus and it wasn't that great and more expensive :( End of side note. I quickly ate my lunch and then went to buy water. The shop was an ice cream shop, so I had ice cream too :D When on vacation, indulge yourself people. Anyway Albaicín was okay. It's not super cute or anything. Houses were white and some of them decorated with flowers and ceramics.

One of the wonderful thing about this town is that it has a view point Mirador San Nicolás. Pause for something that I learnt, the Spanish word, Mirador, sounds close to the Portuguese word Miradouro, and both kinda mean a look-out point. So Mirador San Nicolás, though it's not very big, it offers this all encompassing view of Alhambra. On the second picture below, that white building on the left is I think the Generalife and the snowy mountain behind is the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

After the walk around Albaicín, that's pretty much it. For pictures from Albaicín and Granada, please go here. Some of the pictures of Albaicín and Granada were actually taken from Alhambra. Journey back was also a long drive, with a break at the same place as the morning trip. When I arrived back at Seville, it's most probably like 8 PM, I cannot remember, but the sun hasn't set yet. I am truly thankful to God for giving me this opportunity. This is definitely one of the things I want to do in life. I have been very lucky to have had fulfilled many things that I want to do in life that each time I got to do another thing, it's like God is too kind, too kind to me. I feel unworthy of His blessings, but our Lord God is the merciful kind with infinite kindness :)

:) eKa @ 11:57:00 AM •


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