Malaga to Granada - April 16, 2015
This morning we met our tour and ventured out to Granada to visit the Alhambra. The drive is about two hours so we made a stop at this most amazing service station. It was a hotel/cafeteria/convenience store/washroom. I think there were 4 or 5 tour buses stopped at it but it didn't seem busy. And no line up for the washroom. We bought some snacks including ham flavoured chips...when in Spain! The Spanish love their cured ham.
The drive to Granada was very interesting. Tons of olive trees, asparagus fields and beautiful landscape. There are a lot of rocky hills and it is very green.
We only had time to visit the Alhambra so we will have to come back and explore Granada some day. We did see the Sierra Nevada and it still has snow on it so they are skiing.
I won't get in to a lot of Spanish history, but basically for 800 years starting in 711, Spain was under Islamic Moorish (north African Muslims) rule. The Alhambra (means Red Castle because it looks reddish) is the last Moorish palace of its time and it is an amazing fortress. Ruling families, servants and workers (about 2000 in its day) lived in the palaces, with the beautiful gardens and its own elaborate water system. The Moors were an advanced culture for the middle ages - very mathematically inclined and good at engineering so everything is well thought out. The water system with fountains and aqua ducts are very impressive. The walls in the palace are carved with Islamic calligraphy with poems and verses from the Qur'an to praise God, it is absolutely exquisite. The phrase "Only God is Victorious" is repeated 9,000 times in the Alhambra. The gardens are beautiful. It is a very busy site, and today was no exception! About 8,500 tourists visit each day. I will have to read "Tales from the Alhambra" by Washington Irving. Our guides kept referencing it and I guess it was a catalyst for the restoration of the Alhambra - now a UNESCO site.
We didn't have time to explore Malaga this trip. It looks interesting...next time.
We had an entertaining night on the ship - happy hour followed by sail away, dinner, the show (amazing performance by the ships singers and dancers - included aerial acrobatics) and then a hilarious session of who's bluffing. A type of game show on the ship. We laughed really hard.