I wanted to put up some photos of the Alhambra, before it gets too late and they are inevitably buried in the myriad of photos that seem to accumulate while travelling, only to be unearthed by a rogue slideshow when we finally return home.
It was a breathtaking visit. We woke up early, heeding the advice of many other travellers that we had asked. It was still dark, and as we sat in the little bus that wound its way up the mountain we all watched each other, everyone trying to size each other up. Is she a tourist? Will they run ahead of me, seizing my rightful place in the line?
It was a funny ride, full of hostility, defensive shoulders and yawns in the early morning. But it was surprisingly easy, and after a short wait in the line and some stellar advice about a secret ticket line we made it, and we were free to run around the enormous grounds.
The Nasrid Palaces were amazing, the amount of intricate detail was almost exhausting to look at. Those carved and geometrically tiled walls spoke of pure devotion in their painstaking application, or less romantically, at least of slave labour. We wandered for hours, heads constantly flipped back on our shoulders, always looking up, at the pillars, the ceilings, the amazing carving that was everywhere.
Outside the gardens were wonderful, lined by thousands of metres of hedges, all trimmed as though with a slide ruler, green and smooth and perfect. The history of a fortress so old was amazing. We walked around the parapets of the rough stone roof, so at odds with the delicate carving of the interior.
And as we looked out into the expanse of buildings that is now the city of Granada, we inhaled sharply, marvelling at the fact that once it was all just fields, arid and dry, stretching out until they met the mountains.