We spent the weekend in Granada, Spain, visiting the City and its jewel, the Alhambra. On the drive between Seville and Granada, we passed mile after mile of olive groves, sunflower fields, and beautiful flowers, while seeing the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. As far as the eye could see, every hill and valley was planted with rows of crops. Andalusía is the world’s leading producer of olive oil, and we saw enough olive trees in all directions to support that claim. Pomegranate trees, orange trees, rose bushes and many other trees and flowers thrive in the warm and sunny climate.
The principal focus of our visit to Granada was the Alhambra, a beautiful complex of buildings and gardens dating back to ancient times. In the 11th century, Granada became a major city, and by the 13th century, it was the capital of the Emirate of Granada, under Muslim rule (Muslims ruled southern Spain for about 700 years, until the Catholic Monarchs prevailed in 1492). In the old city of Granada and at the Alhambra (the King’s palace and citadel), Islamic and Moorish architecture abound, while the rest of the city and newer areas have Renaissance and other styles. The architecture and decoration of the Alhambra are magnificent, with intricate carving of wood and stone, beautiful tiles and stucco, luxurious courtyards and patios, and water everywhere to cool, reflect, provide relaxing background noise, and symbolize purity.
Outside the Alhambra, in the newer parts of town, Granada is a happening place – lots of people/tourists, lots of busy hotels and restaurants, and lots of happy faces in the narrow back streets and the wide elegant avenues. We visited the Cathedral, the Royal Chapel, and the old souk (the former Arab silk market that now houses various types of market stalls where teas, spices and herbs, leather goods, clothing of all types and various other things are sold).
While we were in Granada, Rafa won the French Open, so there was a lot of celebrating. On a smaller scale of celebration, we saw a number of bachelor/ette parties on Saturday evening and night, where the prospective groom or bride wears a great outfit and the friends march them around town for all to see (e.g. a man in a striped prison uniform wearing handcuffs and signs that say “Save me, I’m getting married” accompanied by his friends wearing police outfits and blowing whistles).
Some photos are below.