Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Granada - The Alhambra (Throwback post)

So I said before that I worry when coming to places this well known and this hyped, that they will not live up to expectations. That certainly was not the case here. In fact, I had no idea just how much there is here and how truly beautiful it is.

We had booked our main tickets in advance, which wasn't so important at this time of year, but is still sensible, and is essential in the peak season. However we decided we would go twice, one during the day, and once at night. If you have the time, I would highly recommend it, as you get a completely different feel in the light and the dark.

We happened to go to the evening one first, and I think this worked well. You get to feel the atmosphere at night more, which gives you a better first impression and there are significantly fewer people here with you.

Also, whereas in the day, it is a one way route through the palace, in the evening, you only see the main areas, so you go out the way you came in. This is particularly good if you are looking to take photos, as it not only gives you the chance to go back when areas are at their emptiest for photos, it also means that you have a good chance to think about what photos you might want when you go during the day, so you know where to focus your time.

Sadly, my little point and shoot, combined with my lack of camera skills and no tripods allowed, meant that my photos are great, especially the night ones, but I can promise you that the images in my head are wonderful.

There have been buildings at the Alhambra since around the 9th century, but the citadel and palaces that we would recognise today, were started in 1238 by Al Ahmar, the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty.
The complex is huge, so do leave yourself plenty of time for the daytime visit. The main famous bit is the Nasrid Palace, with its stunning carved walls and ceilings, and lovely courtyard. But there are other palaces, the Alcazaba, the Generalife, and a host of smaller bits to look at too.

You can roam around most of it at leisure - the only specifically timed entry is that to the Nasrid Palace itself, so you need to think about when you want to do that when you book your tickets. We went up to the top, to the Generalife first. This is a Muslim Palace in a villa style and is impressive in itself, especially with the lovely formal gardens surrounding it.

From there, we headed down to the main complex, and went into the Alcazaba, the fort where the royal guard were stationed to protect the citadel and palaces. Then we were about the right time to join the queue to get into the Nasrid Palace for our allotted time slot, and we did the remaining bits afterwards.

I'm not going to tell you about all of the rooms and so forth, because I can't remember all of it and you really should go to see it yourself.

To be honest, I wasn't even that interested in a lot of the information at the time, I was far too busy just taking in all of the beautiful workmanship. If you have even the vaguest liking for this kind of style or skilled craft, then there just aren't enough superlatives to describe it.

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