Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day at the Alhambra

It’s Valentine’s Day today, also Brett’s nephew John-Paul’s birthday. The trip to the Alhambra wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped. Arriving early meant we missed the worst of the crowds as planned. We didn’t miss all the crowds however and I found myself continually frustrated as other tourists kept getting in the way of my lens. In fact, as a photography outing it was really disappointing; I hadn’t reconnoitred, so I was winging it entirely and I had to make the best of what equipment and light was available, so what I took amount to just holiday snapshots. Maybe one or two of them will be decent.

I also found my tolerance for people didn’t take long to wear away again. It was more relaxing though once we’d finished with the Palaces and the Alcazaba and were strolling through the Medina to the Generalife. The Medina is mostly gardens these days, with occasional old ruins along the way, so quite peaceful and green. The oranges weren’t quite ripe on the trees, but they were colourful enough to give the effect, and there was the warm, moist smell of nature as you walked through the trees and hedgerows.

Large parts of the Generalife were being renovated and so were closed off, which meant the crowd was more concentrated in the areas which were open. That spoiled the effect somewhat, as part of the attraction of the Generalife is the quiet seclusion you can find amongst its shaded walkways.

While the day had its moments, I was quite glad when it was over. The lift and relaxation I’d felt the previous evening had evaporated and I was tired and longing for solitude again.

We stopped for lunch at a little roadside restaurant on the way down from the Alhambra. It was quite picturesque; being situated on the side of the hill the terrace had views off to the Nasrid Palaces on one side and over the outskirts of Granada towards the Sierra Nevada on the other. The weather had turned out nicely; having been close to freezing when we arrived (in our shorts!), the sun was now up and very pleasantly warm. We were after tapas for lunch and they had a selection – although we should have ordered a salad too if we were going to eat traditionally Spanish! As it was we basically ate deep-fried carbohydrates with some jamon serrano and manchego. I sent a (rather smug) text-message ‘postcard’ to the few friends who knew we were away, then we settled-up and made our way home.

I was pretty drained by the time got back. Rosie cooked dinner for us and we had ice cream for dessert (too much of it, in my case.) We watched De-Lovely at my request, because I love the songs. I’d forgotten that it’s actually a rather depressing movie. Went to bed early when it was done.

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