Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spain Day 6 - Granada

Okay, a break from all the bentos.......... I'm back to my Spain trip again. It's day 6 and heading to Granada. But by then, I was so incredibly homesick that I was starting to get grouchy :p

CHINESE lunch!!!
Bought that grey turtleneck top from ZARA Spain :D
Granada was the capital of Spain's LAST Moorish kingdom
The city lies at the foot of Nevada Mountains & served as the Moorish capital till liberation in 1492.
The reason that it's the last Moorish capital to be captured by King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella was due to it's excellent geographical location. It's got an extremely flat terrain (see pic) & you can see what's going on for miles & miles. There's no way you can deploy an army without the enemy seeing you approaching. Reached the famous Alhambra - Red Fortress, is a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish rulers. It exhibits the country's most famous ISLAMIC architecture. The Muslim rulers finally lost Granada and Alhambra without the fortress itself being attacked when King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile took the surrounding region with an overwhelming force of numbers.
Look at how the trees were swaying in the wind! It was absolutely freezing!!!

Within the walls of Alhambra. It might not look like much from this pic but you'd be completely bowled over by the intricacies of the carvings on the walls.
It's not just the arches, it's really the entire palace - walls, ceilings, doorways, etc.Not only is it beautiful to look at but can you imagine that it's also got it's own heater & air-conditioning system way back in those days. The entire palace has inbuilt pipings underground. During summer, cold water from the ice-capped mountains would be flowing through them. And during winter, water will be heated to flow through these pipes to warm up the entire palace.Not only that but it's got sauna too! My ~~ they really know how to enjoy life even in those days.
View of The Arrayanes Courtyard on it's opposite ends. The water was usually clear but don't know why that day when we were there, the stream was weak & murky. Dionne's our exquisite muslim lady of the dayA most magnificent magnificent view of Granada!
It's so hard to stop my eyes from tearing with the wind blowing so fiercely.
Dear PaulI had mentioned that this was originally a fortressNext we had to trek for about 20mins to The Palacio de Generalife - summer palace. But half of the group called it quits due to the blistering cold. I decided to press on since this is probably the only time that I am going to be there.The Generalife is one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens.
Myth has it that there's a heart -shaped pattern on the bark of this tree trunk. Find it it, touch it & you'll find your happily ever after :)Water was scarce in the Middle East & hence the entire palace was surrounded with fountains after fountains.We were finally promised TAPAS for dinner & were positively absolutely so looking forward to it!But look at what we were served! It was a finger food that I can find in any Singapore pubs! Such sore disappointment .......... that was the turning point where many felt we were shortchanged for this trip. After dinner, we had the option of paying extra to watch a flamenco dance at the gypsy caves & then a night view of the Alhambra. Once again same notion, I might as well just pay & do it. The gypsies' version of flamenco - it was fairly interesting initially but went on for a tad too long & many of us started dozing off ...... Zzzzzz ....... Honestly, quite a rip-off for what we had paid :p

Resplendent view of The Alhambra at night but not much can be captured on my idiot-proof camera

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