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Yes, a photo tour of Granada too!
June 8th, 2010 by Kate

Seriously, if I’m going to catch up on this blog (and before all the memories garble together), I’m going to have to give the down-and-dirty versions of our daytrips in Spain!  So here we go Granada…

Tessa and Phoebe are becoming quite accustomed to the cafe lifestyle!  Here they are at a cafe in a square in Granda enjoying the very evil Spanish treat of churros and chocolate.  Nothing like fried dough and hot chocoate pudding to make you feel like a local!

Tessa and Phoebe are becoming quite accustomed to the cafe lifestyle! Here they are at a cafe in a square in Granda enjoying the very evil Spanish treat of churros and chocolate. Nothing like fried dough and hot chocoate pudding to make you feel like a local!

We started off early in the morning for our day trip to Granada.  We read that the star attraction there, the Alhambra & Generallife Gardens  (an old Moorish fort/palace and its adjoining formal garden) sold a limited number of timed tickets so we wanted to get there early.  We drove the two hours through nothing but olive groves – I read that Spain has 30 million olive trees, and I think we passed every single one of them on our various day trips – and finally when the snow-topped Sierra Nevada mountains came into view, we knew we were close.

This is what all of the towns and villages look like in Andulusia - so charming I want to find a old farmhouse and grow me some olives!  Seriously, they are really picturesque!

This is what all of the towns and villages look like in Andulusia - so charming I want to find a old farmhouse and grow me some olives! Seriously, they are really picturesque!

Our best laid plans were a bust – were were there by 10am but they had no tickets available until 3pm… and then it started raining.  No worries, we’d just head into town and check out a few old churches and wonder the streets looking for treats (the treats are to in fact bribe the girls into going and seeing MORE churches) until our tickets were good.

In Spain, the very best ham comes from black pigs that are fed nothing but acorns.  Little piggy be afraid... be very afraid...

In Spain, the very best ham comes from black pigs that are fed nothing but acorns. Little piggy be afraid... be very afraid...

This is one of the things that we love about Spain, and Europe in general... the public spaces.  Every few blocks you come across a little square or plaza, maybe it has a fountain or a statue, and there are cafes, old men playing games, pigeons, kids, the random flower stand, and a guy playing an accordian.  America would be SO much cooler if we'd just work a few of these squares in here and there!

This is one of the things that we love about Spain, and Europe in general... the public spaces. Every few blocks you come across a little square or plaza, maybe it has a fountain or a statue, and there are cafes, old men playing games, pigeons, kids, the random flower stand, and a guy playing an accordian. America would be SO much cooler if we'd just work a few of these squares in here and there!

So we spent the day wondering Granada, just revealing in the Spanish-ness of it all.  With 3pm quickly approaching, we headed back up the hill to check out the lifestyles of the rich and ruthless from centuries bygone.

The Generalife Gardens were part of the Alhambra's complex, but are across a ravine on another mountain.  They were aweome, very formal with lots of cool buildings and hardscape making it seem more like a floral village rather than just a garden.  It was a little early for their roses to be in bloom, but the wisteria and lady's bank were putting on quite a show, as were the orange trees.

The Generalife Gardens were part of the Alhambra's complex, but are across a ravine on another mountain. They were awesome, very formal with lots of cool buildings and hardscape making it seem more like a floral village rather than just a garden. It was a little early for their roses to be in bloom, but the wisteria and lady's bank were putting on quite a show, as were the orange trees.

Endless hedges with secret entrances - oh this place would be a ROCKIN place to play Manhunt!

Endless hedges with secret entrances - oh this place would be a ROCKIN place to play Manhunt!

The Alhambra is a huge complex of buildings built by the Moorish Sultans starting back as early as the 900’s and continuing on and off through the 1400’s.  There is a huge wall, an alcazaba (fort), a palace, and a cool round building that I can’t seem to find the name of, but it’s like a huge round open space in the middle surrounded by two floors of rooms ringing the open space.  I think I remember it being something that the Christians built after the conquest, maybe as a place to live, but I could be very mistaken… anyway, we thought it was super cool!

The Alhambra as seen from the Generalife Gardens

The Alhambra as seen from the Generalife Gardens

All the girls in the middle of the cool round building.

All the girls in the middle of the cool round building.

The Palace was a beautiful building with very ornate carvings, lots of pretty arches, fountains, amazing tile work, and great views.  Here is an arch with some carvings from afar...

The Palace was a beautiful building with very ornate carvings, lots of pretty arches, fountains, amazing tile work, and great views. Here is an arch with some carvings from afar...

The carvings up close - most impressive...

The carvings up close - most impressive...

This is the view from the very tip top of the highest tower at the Alhambra.  Tessa gets the props because she was the only one that made the climb!

This is the view from the very tip top of the highest tower at the Alhambra. Tessa gets the props because she was the only one that made the climb!

Every room in the Palace had different tile work - the patterns were endless and the tile was teenie tiny.

Every room in the Palace had different tile work - the patterns were endless and the tile was teenie tiny.

Some of the patterns, like this one, made me dizzy just looking at them!  Each piece of color was about the size of a US dime.

Some of the patterns, like this one, made me dizzy just looking at them! Each piece of color was about the size of a US dime.

All and all, we really enjoyed Granada and the Alhambra.  My advise for anyone else going would be to buy tickets online in advance (duh Kate!) and go on guaranteed sunny day (but not a really hot one) because its 90% outside and you do a lot of walking.  It is one of the more impressive complexes, nice to have it all in one central location, and I really really did enjoy the gardens.


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