Monday, April 20, 2009

hola from granada

Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the places you've always dreamed of seeing all by yourself? (Or maybe with a few friends.) Today I saw the Alhambra. The Alhambra is the only remaining moorish palace in Iberia, and much of it is well preserved. It is the most visited historical site in Iberia. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through its gracious halls and courtyards every year. I wisely bought tickets weeks ago. Some people show up thinking they can buy tickets the same day, only to find them all sold out. Why is it so popular with the masses? Because of a 19th century New Yorker, Mr. Washington Irving, writer and romantic rhapsodizer. He "discovered" the Alhambra in the 1820s and fell so in love with it he stayed a few months in a couple of rooms there. It wasn't a hotel. It was actually something of a homeless shelter, as Irving describes it in his book, The Alhambra. In it, Irving gives a lively history of the place including many tales of local yore. He is even moved to write some tales of his own. This book became a popular read for romantics all over the world and they started flocking to the Alhambra. So even now, though 99.9 percent of the Alhambra visitors haven't read nor will ever read this book, they put the Alhambra at the top of their Spain itinerary. It's an inertia thing. The book is interesting reading, though I can never read a lot at once. Irving goes into these rapturous ecstasies that become a bit much. I love to have my own rapturous ecstasies, but I don't always want to read about other people's. Anyway, I had a lot of preconceived notions about the Alhambra after reading the book. Very high expectations.

It was just as beautiful as I expected. But. Yes, there are a few buts, actually. There were so many people! Supposedly, you are only allowed 30 minutes in the Palacio Nazaries, the best part, and there are all these tour groups, etc. It's impossible to get a decent picture. Also, I like to touch things. But you know, they said I couldn't run my fingertips over all that delicate plaster. That made me feel inhibited, so I didn't take off my clothes and roll in the flower beds or run through that long, rectangular fountain of shooting water. That darn book made me want to experience the Alhambra like Irving did and it just can't be done now a days because he wrote that darn book and made it too famous. Thanks, Irv!

Also. The patio of the lions did not have the lions! They are being "restored." The fountain they supported on their backs is there, but it's mostly covered up with tent. That was too bad.

I'll have to wait to post photos until I get home. I know you were all missing me terribly, so I decided to toss you this little crumb. Things have gone well. It finally stopped raining yesterday when we went to see Ronda, a stunning white village of Andalucia.


Ave said...

That is a bummer about the flower beds. Sounds beautiful and magical. Glad you are living it up! Next post needs to be about the food!!!!

Dina said...

Hey--didn't you just go on vacation? No fair! :)

Mama Ava said...

Of all the things I can picture you doing in life, getting naked and rolling in flower beds just wasn't one of them.

But hey, maybe that's how you keep the magic alive!

AND, it would definitely be on everyone else's vacation highlight reel!

I was worried when I went to Egypt because I knew it would be crowded, and I worried that it was so iconic, so recognizable, that the reality could never measure up to the pictures I had seen. I was wrong, thank heavens!

Meg said...

Good grief! You have definately figured out how to beat the winter blahs. :)

Brenda said...

I was wondering about the food as well. As I was with your cubbie last night eating smores, I wondered what wonderful food you are sampling!!!!

Ballerina Girl said...

Looking forward to the pictures...sounds like an interesting trip, can't wait to hear more!!!