Day 15: Granada (Malaga), Spain

Posted on Mon 21 May 2012 in Transatlantic Cruise and Europe • 8 min read

Sumner:
Today we started in the port of Malaga, Spain. Like yesterday we went with a semi-private tour group with basically the same people as before. Today we went to the Alhambra (al-haw-m-ber-uh; just add a little accent and you are good. The Spanish however do not say he H sound so it is pronounced something like this al-ahm-ber-uh). Anyway we went on her bus to the Alhambra and with us on the bus was a lady from England. She had moved to Spain because she married a Spanish guy and she learned the language and everything. She explained some of the things that we saw on the way. The drive  to Granada, the town where he Alhambra is located, was a two hour drive with a ten minute stop with forty-five minutes left to go. By the way, the air conditioning worked, almost too well I actually turned off my vent. I slept a great deal of the way to the Alhambra but I was told that he scenery was beautiful. I'll just take their word for it. When we arrived at the Alhambra we met our guides at the main meeting place that everyone uses so there were a lot of people. Our guides name was Miguel. (Remember hat there were two groups, we were in group one and the slow complainers were in the other one. I must say though that no one complained today. What a relief!) We were given headsets so that we could hear what he was saying without him having to talk to loud. I felt like a tourist being shoved through the sights en mass. It was kinda go in, explain the stuff, take pictures and get out of the way of he next group. But hey, I'm thankful that I got to just go, not many people have that opportunity. So anyway where was I... Oh so our guides name was Miguel he took us about 600 metres, or at least that's what he said to a building that was circular on the inside but on the outside it was square. We only peeked at this building for a moment because we had to got to the gates to the Alhambra before our time expired. We made it and then we went to he oldest part of the Alhambra called the Alcazaba (I won't even bother telling you how to pronounce that because I don't actually know how you do). There were some really nice views of the city from the walls. We went as well to a watch tower in this area. Then we went to another palace. We went through lots of rooms and courtyards in the palace. I will tell you about them in general and then I will pick the most spectacular ones to describe separately. If I described all of them I would be writing until I get back to the States. The palaces were all built by the moors the Muslims who ruled in Spain from around seven hundred AD to fourteen hundred AD. For their time they were very advanced in mathematics, astronomy, and just learning in general. They had preserved many of he writings of Aristotle and Plato and all of the other great philosophers of the classical age. Their advancement in the architecture of the buiddings of the Alhambra was evident here everything was mathematically correct, there are all sorts of cool little mathematical algorithms that they used to construct the buildings, unfortunately the guide didn't go over that so even though I know they exist I don't know the patterns that were used all over the building. The archways were all in a horseshoe shape, not he semicircular or pointy ones characteristic to the renaissance and gothic periods of architecture respectively. They also had stalactite like points on the underside of the arches. Water was also an integral part of he moorish architecture. This was because ha Arabs came from a place where here isn't much water, the Sahara desert therefore water is rare and if you have lots of it, as needed for pools of water and little fountains, water is a symbol of wealth. The last thing that I will tell you about is the designs on the walls. Everywhere there were Arabic script mainly from the Koran which because Arabic is so pretty in the first place looked really nice. Now I will tell you about some of the individual rooms in the palace. One courtyard had a rectangular reflecting pool of water down the middle with small fountains on either side at the end of the pool. These flowed into the big pool. If you've seen anything about the Alhambra you have seen a picture of this. It is a classic photo that looks great, even with an amateurs camera. I probably annoyed some people by sitting down and taking a picture across the pool right behind the little fountain but hey, I got a pretty good shot. Another place which I was looking forward to seeing but unfortunately they were restoring, is the lions courtyard, this courtyard has a fountain with twelve (at least I think there are twelve) lions decorating it this is the second most common picture that you see of the Alhambra. We went through some other rooms of lesser importance but they were still really neat. A little side track. If you read our blog about our trip to Vietnam you probably read about the ruins of a palace in Hue. I thought to myself that if the Vietnamese had preserved the palace that it could be as grand as the Alhambra, unfortunately they probably won't ever be able to restore it because of lack of funds. After those palaces we walked through some beautiful gardens with some great views of the city. I think that Oma thought that she was in paradise (she likes gardens by the way). The gardens were made by some king during the Rennaisance period as a way to make it more contemporary. Once we walked through the gardens which were extremely beautiful but which I don't have enough time to describe we went to another palace. This was built by the kings of Granada as a pleasure vacation spot. It was built by a Moorish architect so it had some moorish influences in its design. As we were waiting for the bus to arrive we ate our sandwiches that we had fixed at breakfast this moring and then we we left the Alhambra to go to the center of Granada for a little while. We went down a pedestrian street, much like sixteenth street mall in Denver. And went into an ice cream shop for a little break. Not a word of English was spoken, all of the communication was done in Español. It is really hard when they speak to you at a hundred miles an hour though, I should have though to say speak slowly please because I know how to say that but hindsight is twenty-twenty and unfortunately I didnt ask. Anyway we made our way back to the bus to go back to Malaga. No one complained on the way and I slept for a good chunk of the ride. That was about all, of course we did all of he normal evening and nighttime activities but I will not tell you about those.
    \~Sumner

Hannah:

we got up early this morning and had a small breakfast. We also had to make sandwiches for lunch this afternoon.When we finally got off the boat, we went to our bus/vanour bus-guide was from england, but fell in love with spain when she was in schoolWe then started our LONG bus ride to the ALHAMBRA (spanish way:al-am-bruh) OR (english way: al-hom-bruh).I dozed off once in a while, but most of the way I saw the BEAUTIFUL scenery.after about 1 hour and 45ish minutes, we FINALLY got to the Alhambra!!!From the out side it looked like this fortress sitting on a hill looking like a watch dog waiting for its master.Inside, it was a maze of rooms. Weaving here and then there. (Well, maybe not weaving)The tour we did today was with 17 other people, and our guide, Miguel, talked REALLY soft. AND... there were at least 200 other people trying to get in the Alhambra. So we got to use these cheap headsets that did not stay on your head. But besides that, they were a great idea. I mean, you could be at one end taking pictures, while listening to him talk about what you are taking pictures of!The Alhambra was built by the Moors (They were the muslims who came from Africa) they decided to make this BIG palace for their god Allah. It was a long process, but they finally completed it after a LONG time. There were big rooms,little rooms, secret rooms and public rooms. It was considered a work of art.We also got to wak through the abolutely mistifying gardens that are still in wonderful shape. They have A LOT of roses, and the roses are GIGANTIC and seemed to be the PERFECT rose anyone could have. They came in the most BEUTIFUL colors such as pink, red, white, purnkle,(That is a purple-ish pink), and there even was a maroon and white swirl rose!After walking through the gardens at the Alhambra, we went for a longish walk to the emporers summer palace. It was amazing.We finally ended the tour (which had lasted around 2 hrs. and 15 min.) and we got to rest and get postcards (thats what I did) and eat lunch. (Did you know that warm onions don't taste very good?)We again had a long ride bac to the port of Malaga.We basically went straight to dinner after we got back on the boat. We also got to see the boat launch off the port. It was REALLY prettyAfter dinner, I went almost straight to Club HAL. We were supposed to play battle against the genders, but there was only one boy, so we just split up into teams of 3. (there were 2 teams of 3) The first game we played was stand on one foot for the longest time. I tied with Ava (another 6th grader) Although, she did say that she would have gone down in the next 2 minutes. (That basicallly means that I had won) After that, we had an ice cream contest. We had to eat one scoop of ice cream that was in a bowl with no hands, and when you were done, you had to put the bowl on your head. The first tema to have all of their bowls on their heads won. The girls on my team did not even finish our ice cream. Caleb (the only boy) had eaten all of the solid ice cream but not the liquid part. So when he went to put the bowl on his head, there wtill was liquid ice cream in the bowl, and chocolate ice cream ozzed and dribbled down his hair and his face. It was REALLY funny watching himAfter the ice cream, we played jeopardy. The categories were games/sports, Noordam ship stuff, Disney movies, and animal. My team won 700 to -100 (negative one-hundred)AFter jeopardy, we did hyptograms. (Look up what those are. Maybe you can do some your self!)As I type, I am sitting in bed while OMa is sleeping, mom is reading, and Sumner is doing his blog. Adios Amigos!

***-Hannah-***