Finally, we arrive in Granada, aka the last stop on our frantic two week tour of Andalucia and home of the most impressive alcazar around, the Alhambra (#teamalcazar).
Initially built around 900 AD, the Alhambra was expanded into an opulent Nasrid dynasty palace in the 1300s by the Sultan of Granada. In the 1490s the Christian monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella took over the joint and made it their royal court, because obviously you would. They weren’t fools. The buildings are mostly made of red clay from the local area, giving it a very fetching glow along with its name (Alhambra = the red).
The very first thing one reads when planning a trip to Granada is to book Alhambra tickets immediately, so the whole trip ends up being structured around your precious ticketed time slot. We ended up with day and night visit tickets on the same day – when too much Alhambra is barely enough. Actually not true – turns out you can have too much Alhambra… this post would be twice as long had my camera not given up the ghost due to extreme overuse at the start of the night tour.
Aaaand that’s the end of that, thanks to Canon’s workmanship and the Alhambra’s ridiculous opulence causing sudden and traumatic camera death. Despite the technological casualties, it was cool getting a chance to visit the Nasrid palaces twice – we definitely saw a few new things the second time round. Upon reflection, we have one key piece of advice for future Andalusian travellers: visit the Alhambra last, or the other alcazars on your trip will pale in comparison.
The following day – our last non-travel day of the trip – was spent in a much less structured manner. We’d heard about Granada’s street art scene – spearheaded by El Niño de las Pinturas (‘the Child of the Paintings’ aka ‘Granada’s Banksy’) – so went to find some examples.
Pretty good. Of course, I was mostly motivated by wanting to take my unborn child on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Placeta Joe Strummer. In his own words, Joe reacted to the demise of the Clash in the 80s as follows: “I just went, ‘Well fuck this,’ and fucked off to the mountains of Spain to sit sobbing under a palm tree”. It seems fitting that there is now a city square in Granada named after him, even if some inconsiderate crack head has since painted over the accompanying mural.
We also ate some more tapas and drank some suitably local beer and hiked up above the city to watch the sunset. In a cruel twist of fate, non-alcoholic beer is given the total misnomer of ‘Alhambra Sin’… uh, more like ‘Alhambra Lame’ or something, amirite?
And so ends our Spanish odyssey – now I just need to start planning a return trip once I am allowed to drink wine and eat ham and other suspect meat products again…