Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting a Grasp of Granada!

By Tindall Sewell and Caroline Brown




We loved visiting Granada, and the city had many new experiences to offer! Honestly, I’m surprised we left the hotel after sleeping our first full nights without the church bells every 15 minutes in Cádiz! Also, I now know why there are stereotypes in Spain about Americans loving breakfast! Scrambled eggs, crepes with chocolate, cereal, various meats, fresh fruit, and a coffee machine filled us up for the weekend. Ultimately, we did leave the hotel to wander the narrow streets with a Muslim-influenced flare! Before leaving Cádiz, we finally met our mom’s daughter, who lives in Granada, so we switched places with her for the weekend! She gave us a few recommendations, but we’re jealous of where she lives because Granada is definitely an ideal place…forty minutes from the snow and beach!

Following our Americanized breakfast at the hotel, a majority of the group went to go see the La Catedral of Granada and the Capilla Real. Although somewhat similar to other cathedrals and capillas (small chapels) we had seen, it was very unique in the fact that it houses the marble tombs of Los Reyes Católicos, Ferdinand and Isabella, along with Ferdinand’s sword and Isabella’s crown and scepter. These Catholic Monarchs had an incredible influence on the history and unification of Spain!

 

After seeing the Alcazar in Sevilla last weekend, we had high expectations for the Alhambra in Granada! This “palace-fortress” is by far Spain’s most popular attraction. Again, the scenery blew us away, but we probably only observed portions of it outside of our camera lenses. We had a set time to enter the most famous Nasrid Palace, but we were easily able to entertain ourselves with the gardens and palaces scattered throughout the mountainous land! The main garden, called the Generalife, was our favorite, which was full of bright colors and flowers galore. Our moms would have been in heaven! Because of the many different plants, trees, scent, and smells, all of our senses were put to use. When we climbed to the top of the Alcazaba, the castle at the tip of the Alhambra, we could see a 360-degree view of the city. Once we entered the Nasrid Palace, we had déjà vu from Sevilla’s Alcazar, but this original masterpiece surpassed all comparisons. Besides admiring the tiles and intricate designs on the walls, we kept looking up to find our favorite ceilings! Sadly, the Court of the Lions was under construction, but we got to see the Court of the Myrtles, which the Alcazar tried to copy. Overall, we were in awe of the Muslim’s original design!




Another handy experience: Every tapas bar in Granada combines a free tapas with each drink usually for around three Euros, so the norm for dinner is to hop from each place to place. On Friday night, we started with the group at Bar Minotaur, but twenty people overpopulated the tiny tapas bar, so we switched to the oldest tapas bar in Granada, Antigua Bodega Castenada. On Saturday night, we searched the Arab streets for Mr. Brown’s best friends’ daughter, but we got lost in the maze and joined other friends at the Beauty and the Beast tapas bar for the night. The longer you stay at a tapas bar, the bigger the tapas become, so we eagerly anticipated each dish! We ended the night at a discoteca, Camborio, that overlooks the Alhambra illuminated at night and appears a shimmering gold in the mountains. There’s no words to describe it besides that it was gorgeous! We can’t believe that we’ve come to our last week in Cádiz, and even though we have exams and final papers, we’re hoping to live it up as much as we can!

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