Thursday was an early morning as we had to be up and at the bus station at 6:30am to drive to Granada- a three hour trip from Seville. As promised, the drive was beautiful and there were thousands of olive trees in every direction as far as my eye could see the entire way there.
Our first stop of the day was the Alhambra.
The rulers Nasrid Dynasty of Muslim built the Alhambra palace and fortress complex. They reigned until the year 1492 when the Christians, who had been fighting for over 700 years to reclaim the territory of Spain, finally conquered the last stronghold (Granada) and King Ferdinand and Isabella began to rule over Spain. With the defeat of the muslims came the return of Christianity to Spain, but the Alhambra palace remained.
The 26 acres of the Alhambra include three palaces, a fortress, barracks for the elite guard who kept the area safe, and a small city where court officials lived and worked. Outside of the main walls, there is another beautiful estate called Generalife. It is not pronounced “general life” (which our guide said made it sound like an American insurance company lol) but Jannat al-arifa, in the Arabic tongue. I think the gardens of the Generalife were my favorite part of the tour. The girls were all wondering how much it would cost to rent the space for our weddings but quickly decided we and our dads probably did not even want to know. #youarewelcomedad #thinkingahead #onthemissiontofindsomewherelikethesegardensinOK
When the Alhambra was taken over by the Christians, King Charles built a fourth palace and it was interesting to see the stark contrast between the two styles of architecture. The Muslims believed that beauty should be reserved for the interior of buildings so the outsides were rather drab and plain. Meanwhile, the Catholics go big or go home everywhere. You can kind of see the difference between the two styles in this pic below:
After we wrapped up our tour and took some pictures in the gardens, our group loaded the bus to go and check into the hotel. It was nearly 1:30 and we were all starving so we immediately pulled out our lunch. On travel days like this one, everyone asks their host mom for a “bocadilla” (sandwich in Spanish” to eat on the road. Lunchtime is always hilarious because there is a wide variety of bocadillas and some are really yummy and some are just concerning. We all unwrap our sandwiches from the tinfoil (no Vera Bradley lunch pails with ice packs here) and compare. This day, Ashley and I had salami and cheese on a thick slab of bread- I miss my mayo and honey mustard and sliced wheat bread, but ours were definitely one of the better selections. Someone had tuna and tomatoes (not bad), some sort of pepperoni, bread and butter with UFM (unidentified foreign meat) and then there was Abby with her two cold hot dog weiners and a piece of what looked like Kraft cheese on a loaf of bread. I wish I would have taken a picture of it– when she pulled it out and we all started to crack up. We ended up doing a bit of a sandwich shuffle and ate half of ours and traded the other half for someone else’s something or another. Then usually someone gets lucky and has chips or dessert (Maribel packed Ashley and I an orange) and so we divide that up and pass around the goodies. Lunch on the road is the perfect time for putting on our flexible hats and saying “yes sir-ree bob we are not in America today are going to make this work.”
We all settled into the hotel, took a little siesta, and then headed out to explore Grenada. It didn’t take very long for us to fall in love with this town. It is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains and is lush and green and feels very clean. Granted I love where we are in Sevilla, but I think Granada has stolen my heart.
Granada girl 🙂
As the time grew closer to dusk, we walked up a steep hill to a lookout point that offers the most perfect view of the Alhambra. It was incredible… we got there around 7:30 and left at 10 because it was such a perfect evening and we were enjoying sitting up there taking in the view and breathing in the night air. We were there so long that it allowed for plenty of pictures. Here the complex is in the daylight, dusk, and then nighttime. Amazing right!? I loved that we went to the lookout point. Earlier in the day, we had gotten the “zoomed in/right in the middle of it” view and then that evening, saw the “zoomed out” picture that placed all of the buildings in context and we could see where we had walked and which building was which from a distance.
So that was the Alhambra– not something I think I would have ever necessarily sought out to visit on my own (just because I didn’t really know about it), but after seeing the exquisite palace and grounds, I am very glad I went! Looking back now, I definitely think I have seen pictures of the Alhambra, I just had no idea what it was. Now I can say I know what it is and have been there! 🌟
This is getting long so I am going to break my recap into 2 parts so I don’t totally overwhelm you– here is the link for part 2 of our Granada trip. 🙂
*Also, my apologies, my pictures are being funky today so they are kind of out of line. Just rollin with it*