Posts Tagged ‘alhambra’

Granada and The Alhambra

April 24th, 2008 at 3:09 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We arrived in Granada Tuesday night, and tried to take a taxi to our hotel, the Hotel Guadalupe. However the taxi driver we spoke to sent us back towards a bus (or so I thought – Linda later suggested he waved us to a different taxi stand).

The bus driver told us the closest stop to our hotel was Cathedral, so there we got off even though our GPS (love that gadget!) told us it was still a bit of a way off. Turns out our hotel was adjacent to the Alhambra, the old Moorish palace we had come to Granada to see. And the Alhambra is on top of a rather tall hill. To us it felt like a mountain. That’s because it was 11pm at night, we each our one piece of luggage and our carry-ons and had to lug all that and our sorry, tired selves up all the way.

It was a very pretty hike, but still unanticipated, and rather tiring. By the time we got to our hotel I had somehow ended up with three of the four pieces of luggage, and it was only thanks to our GPS (a battery-powered Garmin Nuvi 350) that we actually found our hotel, almost 2 miles away, all uphill.

We ultimately collapsed in our beds at 1:30am.

The next day, Wednesday (yesterday) was beautiful. After dining in the hotel restaurant we headed to the Alhambra – the entry gate was only a 5 minute walk away (all downhill), and we had wisely prepurchased/pre-reservered our tickets on-line otherwise we would probably have not gotten in – the line was huge and day-of tickets were in short supply. Next tip, get your physical tickets from your on-line ticket order at the automated kiosks to the far right of the purchase line.

With tickets in hand we spent the next six and a half hours tourings the Alhambra, including the Alcazaba (featured as the backdrop for the above photo), the palace of Emperor Charles V (Carlos V), the Nazarid Palace (your ticket provides a specific time of access and you cannot miss this part of the Alhambra – it is the most stunning and splendid!), and the Generalife.

We also had a late lunch during our visit at the restaurant at Hotel America, where, ironically, they don’t take American Express, but served excellent food included pheasant, hare, and garlic Gaszpacho.

While it involved a lot walking we were all pleased with our visit and found it to be very worthwhile, long uphill walk to our hotel notwithstanding.

After getting a taxi from our hotel to the train station, we picked up our rental vehicle. We had prepaid for a minivan (family vehicle). We got a Mercedes mini-van, which Europecar swore was a family vehicle because it could seat six people even though it was basically a retrofitted delivery van with no back window and bare metal floors. All for about $300/day not including the expensive insurance we declined. Ouch! And the vehicle handles like a donkey in heat (or at least how I imagine that would be).

With our wonderful GPS guiding our way, we drove for about two hours, finally going past the village of Alozaina and ending up at Finca Morelajo, a set of villas and apartments operated by Peter and Nice Lensvelt, old friends of ours from Bonaire who moved here to Andulusia six years ago to start this new business.

We had reserved a small villa for our two nights here and Peter put us into the Vincent villa, named after Vincent van Gogh, whose is (not the originals though) is featured throughout.

We spent the rest of the evening reminiscing and trading stories and rumors over a fine Rioja and food Nice whipped up for us.

 

So Long Barcelona, Hello Granada

April 22nd, 2008 at 4:01 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

After breakfast at the hotel – a reasonable spread – we checked out and made our way via subway and fenicular up to Mont Jouic (I probably have misspelled a bunch of things here) to visit the Fundacion Joan Miro. The Foundation is actually a museum with the world’s largest collection of works by Joan Miro, a surrealist, post-impressionist, modernist sort of artist. I have always personally seen him as an expert doodler (i.e. a person who doodles expertly, with lots of practice).

We had the portable audio tour which has been so popular at museums and exhibits everywhere of late, and got to hear more about Miro, his approach, and how individual pieces of art came to be made, all of which implies a huge amount of though and planning went into his art. But when I heard Miro describe the years of effort that had gone into drawing a solitary line on each of three canvasses I concluded he was really just a famous doodler who had gotten to the point he could sell anything her personally doodled.

Anyhow, after about three hours there – we also visited an exhibit of Chinese pop art – it was time to go. We attempted to take the Teleferique (gondola/cable car) we saw, but ended up going in a big loop (but with great views!). We finally made it back downtown, found a place for lunch, then grabbed our bags and made our way to the airport by taxi to catch a flight to Madrid, and from there to Granada (see picture above).

Tomorrow we have tickets to visit the Alhambra in Granada after which we rent a car and head into the Andalusian mountains.

 

Our Next Trip… Spain, Morocco, Portugal, England, France

April 13th, 2008 at 8:48 am (AST) by Jake Richter

We’re now in the final throes of getting ready for the next expedition of The Traveling Richters. We depart Bonaire on Friday, April 18th on a five week journey which will take us to Spain and then Morocco.

We start in Spain in Barcelona for several days (which including meeting up with our friend Martin and his father), then fly to Granada to see the Alhambra. We then rent a car, drive south to the mountains of Andalusia to stay at villas managed by Peter, an old friend from Bonaire. We’ll use his place as a base to visit Gibraltar for a day, and then when we leave, go via Ronda to then spend several days in Sevilla before flying south.

In Morocco we join up with a group as part of a Lindblad Expeditions tour which includes academic lectures on culture, history, and sociology, as well as hands on work with a National Geographic photographer.

After a few days in Marrakech and the Atlas mountains visiting with Berber tribes, we board the National Geographic Endeavour in Safi, visit Kenitra and some historical sites there, and then head up to spend three days learning about Portugal (including the making of port wine) and then visit the largest and most revered cathedral and third most visited Christian pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostella.

Then, after a couple of days at sea, we will go to Mont St. Michel off the northern coast of France, then Sark in the Channel Islands the next day, before finally arriving in England. After a private tour with the curator of the HMS Victory, we spend three days in London. On the night of May 13th, we take part in a BonaireTalk mini-meet in Surrey – if you’re in the London area that night and want to join us, drop a note on BonaireTalk.

On May 15th, courtesy of the TGV high speed train and the Chunnel, we head to Paris to finish off our trip with non-stop tours of museums, galleries, and restaurants. Our friends Martin and Angela will join us over the weekend we’re there as well.

And, assuming flights all work out, we’ll be back home sometime on May 23rd!

The itinerary, by date, is here.