Granada

Trip Start May 30, 2012
1
79
83
Trip End Nov 07, 2012


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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Friday, October 26, 2012

If someone were to ask Jess and I, what are the first two things that come to mind when you think of Granada? I would respond, the Alhambra and Indian food. The first is understandable, but the second might sound a little odd. And it was at first, but couch surfing again has helped us make another wonderful friend who has opened our minds to the possibilities of Indian cuisine. His name is Jagdish (pronounced Jug-dish), and he was born in Uganda, spent a lot of time living in Great Britain, then moved to Spain, and now lives right in the middle of Granada. But, despite living in all those places, he is still Indian through and through. Jagdish found out about couch surfing around two years ago, and instantly fell in love with it. He has hosted so many people from all over the World, he has lost count! Lately, since Jagdish has moved into the inner city, and now has a lot smaller living space in an apartment, he does not host as many people as before. But we got lucky, and were able to stay with him. The first night we got to Jagdish's house, we went for a walk through the old Moorish part of Granada til we came to a hill that gives one of the best views of the Alhambra. This was our first glimpse of it, and since it was dark, it was all lit up with lights (more on the Alhambra in a bit). We then walked back to the apartment and watched a slide show of most of the surfers he has hosted. Over the course of the three nights we stayed with Jagdish, we learned more about Indian food than we had ever known. Jagdish also showed us some great dishes to make in the microwave. He is revolutionizing the way I think about microwave food! When it was time to sleep, Jagdish prefers sleeping on the floor because of his back, so he spralled out on the hallway floor. The apartment was tiny (about 15 square metres), but it was all the three of us needed. We had a blast with Jagdish and we even watched a pretty good Bollywood movie!

One of the days we went to the Alhambra. The Alhambra was the last fortress held by the Moors during the time of the Christian conquest. It has a beautiful palace on top of a large hill overlooking Granada. A little further on, past the outer walls, you can see the Sierra Navada mountains in the background. Inside the walls there is so much to see in addition to the palace. You could spend a couple hours just walking around. The gardens definitely look like they belong to royalty, and past that is a summer hideaway called Palacio y Jardines del Generalife, tucked right up on the side of another large hill. Here the royalty could escape the summer heat and relax in the cooler gardens and buildings that were only about a 20 minute walk from the main palace. On the edge of the large hill was the largest part of the outer wall and defense towers. This is the oldest part of the Alhambra, and it gives the best views of Granada and the larger Sierra Navada peaks. The rain started to pick up a bit when we went to this part, so any pictures won't do this view justice. There was also a really cool coliseum-like building and some really old baths. The baths looked very similiar to the Turkish baths I went in in Budapest. That just shows the vastness of the Moorish influence during it's time. But the most spectacular part of the Alhambra fortress was the main palace! We saw a lot of the same detail in Morocco and Seville, but it is even more extravegant here! Room after room of mesmerizing colourful geometric tile patterns, and talented hand-carved ceiling and door designs that fit together in modules like a massive jigsaw puzzle. All throughout the palace and the gardens were some little canals flowing into fountains and pools, so the sound of trickling water could be heard throughtout. I wonder what this place was like back in the day. Even though it was raining quite a bit when we were in Granada and I caught Jess's cold for a bit (only for about 30 hours), we had a great time. Jagdish was so positive and interesting that we couldn't help but have a good time.

Ryan
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