We drove along the freeway through fields of Sunflowers, Olive Trees, crops and huge Australian Eucalyptus trees lining the route from Sevilla to Granada. The other interesting thing was the Oleander trees in full bloom and were planted along the route in the centre of the freeways and a mass of pink, red and white flowers made for a fascinating journey.
The long flat and then hilly plains seemed endless until we reached the edge of the Sierra Nevada range where snow topped peaks could be seen in the distance amongst a foreground of almost desert like scenes and colour tones that is so typical of this region. All along the route there were towns with hilltop forts and castellos and the white washed towns and villages that surrounded them were so typical of the region of Analucia.
The main attraction of Granda is of course the incomparable Alhambra, the Alcazar Palace of the Nazrid Moorish rulers of Andalucia for over 600 years.
The palace complex dominates the town sited oon top of a spur with the Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop. The adjoining Generalife was the escape or summer palace of the sultans and its cooling setting with trees and water flowing everywhere made is a quiet retreat for the rulers and their family
We arrived in Granada and parked the car on the outskirts of the old city and caught a taxi in to our Hotel which was located on the San Pedro hill in the Albaicin region overlooking the main town. The Santa Isabela hotel was a real delight and our room was very spacious and full of charm. We has a lovely flat chicken meal at the local restaurant and wandered around the narrow lanes and paths that led down to the Darro river below the famous and majestic Alhambra Alcazar and watched the buskers ply their trade amongst the Gypsy performers and beggars.
We spent virtually a whole day around the Alhambra starting from the shopping streets at the base of the entry road and then once inside there was so much to see across the sprawling complex that we stayed for lunch and kept going and spent plenty of chill time in the beautiful Generalife gardens
The Alhambra is a mixture of structures that made up not only the Palace complex but the Fortress and army Barracks as well as the administration centre of the kingdom so it was connected through a series of chambers and interspersed with bath houses and small mosques. There are ponds, Loggias and spaces of cool repose everywhere.
The fine detail of the craftsmanship is a sight to behold and its preservation despite losing its original colour is extraordinary after over 400 years of misuse by the Spanish overlords who defeated the Moors 700 years ago. The views back to the town from the walls show a vivid white back drop which is such a contrast to the stone colour of the Palace and Fortress.
The courtyard of the Lions in the centre of the Palace is one of the best preserved masterpieces of Moorish design .
The finegrete ceiling work was a sight to behold inside the chapels of the palace and it can just be imagined that they would have looked like all painted in colour just like in the Real Alcazar in Sevilla.
This particular corner mirador was stunning in every detail and had an atmosphere that made you want to stay and experience it for a very long time.
The ruins of the Fortress area gave some indication of the original magnitude of this amazing edifice.
It was Corpus Christi and Festival time in Granada and the streets were full of decorations. The old town is a myriad of lanes and markets and still has the old Moor feel to it in so many ways except for the huge decorative pile that is the cathedral of Granada in all its Baroque glory.
The Alhambra is hard to miss in this town and it dominates the skyline from every angle
There were Miradors with views of the Alhambra scattered all over the hills.
Festival and dress up time for the residents
The streets around the Abacin district with its winding staircase lanes and white washed hillsides
The duo de Granada, (seen here below) were fantastic and we bought their CD which is still one of our favourites