I had no plans for the remaining two weeks of my travel. All I wanted was to visit Spain. Then some kind of a luck, my roommate in Prague was from Cadiz, a city on the south of Spain. He was the one who arranged my itinerary and insisted to visit Granada. Good thing that I listened.
Granada is all about Alhambra. One conquers Granada by stepping into the hills of this majestic place. It holds the record of being one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world. And indeed it is.
Lets start with the uphill walk from the city center to its fancy entrance gate. It was autumn so the leaves were a colourful bunch of skittles. Some people took the sunny opportunity to bike or jog around. They were nice and friendly. Too friendly that someone offered donuts. Yes, donuts!
When I entered, the first thing to make my eyes squirm with marvel was the long line of sky-high cypress trees. I was imagining royal carriages passing though this beautiful path. Then, the view got better! It was a huge garden with a collection of different plant species.
I took my time to visit the surrounding area because I could only enter the palace at 1:30 pm (Ticket prices vary. I chose the all-inclusive €13). With having 2 hours spare time, I ventured to areas that took my attention. I went inside this outlandishly ornamented Roman baths. The baths were not fully restored but the wall drawings were strikingly elaborate – it was a well-crafted mixture of Roman and Moorish arts!
I moved on to its neighboring church Santa Maria – a structure imposing serenity and contemplation. I recited a short prayer and a silent wish. They said one must make a wish for every new church he/she enters. I’ve been doing this ever since I started travelling so I can’t imagine how many churches I desperately made a wish. But, well, what doesn’t harm you makes life much more amusing. Isn’t it?
It was already quarter to 1 and people were queuing outside the palace. I stood by hoping for a chance. Unluckily, a checker asked me to come back during my time slot.
I then went to the Alcazaba tower but I first grabbed some nourishment from a nearby kiosk. There’s no restaurant inside so either you bring your own or buy it from this store. But wait, the guard refused to let me in. Foods are not allowed inside. I had no choice but to walk over into the view deck and lounged.
Few minutes thereafter, I smirked to the guard and passed by into a rock-solid staircase to reach the south tower. It was a beautiful sight overlooking the Spanish-urban designed city. You’d see the stretch of the buildings from end to end. It felt like I was above everyone else. Well, at that point, maybe I was. I thought this was already too beautiful to take until I climbed the other side. The north side was much more amazing! Alhambra uses the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a backdrop! The mountain rows were like mermaids calling sailors into the depths of enchantment. And I was entranced! I spent some time just looking over these huge and glorious creations.
Finally, I queued again outside the palace. The same checker made its way into me and out of the blue, we both laughed loudly. He nodded and I smiled. I was early for 15 minutes. I still don’t know why we had that moment of understanding but it was a good laugh.
The royal palace is simple yet grand. It speaks of a genius craftsmanship for the Moorish arts and architecture. Unlike other palaces wherein their grandiosity comes from either lavish embellishments or overwhelming towering structures, Alhambra draws its own mark from the intricacies of its art – Arabesque inscriptions with complex geometrical patterns all over tiled walls, column arcades and painted ceilings. I was looking intently into the ceiling and imagining the effort and skills poured into this perfection. Every nook and passages were impressively adorned with diverse drawings, figures and decorating themes. The fountains, pools and courts completed the look of its aesthetics. The open windows added to its charm and distinct features not just because they let an ample amount of sunshine but they framed the exquisite sceneries outside the palace as if one was looking through landscape paintings. I believed I already attached myself to this place.
After the palace, the Jardin Generalife came next. It was a typical garden with Persian and Granadian influences created earlier than the others. What made it worth strolling by were the picturesque views of the palace against the blue mountains and autumn-clad trees. This is where selfie takes should be abused. But, I didn’t. I was so engrossed in taking everything into my memory.
I exited with a heart ready to burst. The palace, towers and other structures along with the beauty of nature have the power to posses your heart. All the sceneries were just too beautiful to capture at once. I’m glad I did this. I’m glad I went to see Granada.
Then, I saw a pathway layered with cobblestones so my “inner Dora” pushed myself to walk through this mysterious passageway. After some feeling of anxiety and a little bit of dehydration, the church revealed itself! It was just another entrance for those without tickets.
I was about to leave when I saw the Czech couple I met in the hostel. We said our hellos and we started having loud conversations about this crazy and booze-filled Irish guy (from the same hostel) who labeled himself as the protector of the universe! Who will fight Boko Haram to take back earth! It was so funny that laughter and chuckles soon erupted. They just made my day, a great way to end it. I hope the beauty of this gem, Alhambra, would stay as great and perfect as I’d always remember.