La Alhambra

Trip Start Jan 28, 2008
Trip End Sep 18, 2008

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Andalusia,
Monday, April 28, 2008

The biggest drawcard in Granada is the Alhambra. Granada is a university town. Some famous people from the USA have studied in Granada (eg. Bill Clinton) and written about La Alhambra (eg. Wastington Irving).

When we arrived at our backpackers we asked about tickets and were told there were none left for today. What about buying tickets for tomorrow? "Not possible, you have to line up tomorrow morning. Early!" So at early o´clock we walked up to the Alhambra ticket line. In the dawn light we saw another couple with a daypack and then another. We knew we were on the right track. The ticket queue was only a zig and 3/4 of a zag as we joined it. Later it stretched to 2 full zig zags and 1/2 a zig. It was /am and we were happy enough with our position. There were only 300 people in front of us.
At 8.30 the ticket office opened and the PA announcements began. In four languages we were told there were 350 tickets available for the morning and 1250 for the afternoon. We knew there was a credit card line and it moved quicker by about 3/4 of an hour, but we were still surprised when there were only 150 morning tickets left and we had only moved 10 metres. After three ands a half hours and some queue jumpers we were at the ticket window. We had our 20 euro (40 Australian) ready when the French couple we had queued with all morning pointed at a hand written "12 euros" sign. We found the extra 4 euros (phew) and bought our tickets. We could enter the general Alhambra area after 2pm and had an appointment for the Nasrid Palaces. Back to the backpackers for a nap and lunch.

Our visit in the afternoon was punctuated by the beeping bar code readers the gate attentents used to scan every ticket.

We entered the Fort area with a beep each. The walls gave good views of Granada but of course from the Tower was better. The "courtyard" inside the Fort was covered in knee-high walls, which we think were the remains of soldier and gruads quarters. Time for an apple and a drink break in the shade before lining up for our appointment to visit th eNasrid Palaces.

"Beep, beep" each (we were scanned twice) and we were inside the Palaces.

Nasrid Palaces

The Palace of Generalife was the agricultural area of La Alhambra. It was made up of large terraces, orchards, ornamental gardens and a palace. Some of the gardens were closed for maintenance, there was more than enough open to enjoy and sit and relax in. One sit we found looked back over a gully towards the Nasrid Palaces. It made for a beautiful green view. The palace was full of high ceilinged rooms and a large courtyard that was cooled by the rectangular pool and its fountains. It was a popular place for photos and it was here that we ran out of camera batteries. We managed to squeeze a little more juice out of them by rationing turning the camera on and not using the flash. The stairway leading up and away from Generalife had terracotta tile gutters on the top of the short walls that bordered them. They looked like a fun idea and would keep an area cool, like in Alice perhaps.
It was a big walk back towards La Alhambra's Old City , Medina . The walk was through more shaded gardens and was flat once we had descended a short distance from Generalife. There was an exclusive hotel tucked away in Medina with a small chapel next to it. The hotel looked nice when we wondered in to visit the chapel. The chapel had been a Muslim sacred place before Christians conquered Granada and the conquerors kept the space as sacred. There were a number of museums in the area too. We visited one house but I can't remember why it was important.
The next day, for a different view, we walked up into the streets, houses, plazas, churches and stairways on the opposite side of the valley to La Alhambra. We had seen people in the area when we were visiting La Alhambra the day before. There was a large square in front of a church. It was a good place to sit and gaze at La Alhambra as the sun set.
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starlagurl on

Ah, snap!
Sucks when there are no more tickets for something you want to do. Ah well, C'est la vie!

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

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