I’ll be honest–going to the Alhambra was one of the main reasons I had wanted to honeymoon in Spain. My sister had visited this gorgeous Spanish palace several years ago and had told us how amazing it was, and the fact that it was an architect’s dream totally worked for us. Erick is a former architecture major, and since he’s not a beach bum like me, it was important to me that we picked a location that had things he would enjoy seeing, too. (Great ready for a long post–this place was amazing and massive!)
Despite Erick’s wasp sting, he looks pretty excited to head out for the day! There’s our tiny car!
Apparently the drive from our resort to Granada was two and a half hours. It’s been awhile, so I just Google mapped it and was surprised to see it took that long–I even texted Erick just now to double-check that it was really that far away! In my mind it didn’t take nearly that long. Maybe because I wasn’t driving. :) Or maybe because we were being treated the whole time to views like this:
Both of us fell in love with all the gorgeous bougainvillea lining the freeways. Seriously, I’ve never seen such pretty medians!
We were also amazed by how many olive groves we saw. They were everywhere, covering all the hillsides, often in perfect rows. Mmm, makes me want some Spanish olives!
We arrived in Grenada, and found our way through the city center, made our way into the old part of town, and finally began to wind up and up towards the palace, driving on some of the narrowest streets I have ever been on! At one point, we literally had to stop at the bottom of a long hill at a single stop light and wait for a car at the top of the hill to drive down before the light turned green and we could go up the hill! Erick had a lot of fun doing this with our tiny, horsepower-less car. Haha.
At the top of the hill, we found the Alhambra, and waited in several long lines to get tickets. The tickets are for a certain time that you can enter the palace and grounds–to prevent overcrowding, I think. So once we got our tickets, we had to wait again to enter at our designated time.
We amused ourselves by people watching, checking out the cantina (where food was grossly overpriced), and taking pictures in the shade. Lol.
Finally we got to enter the Alhambra. Before we got to any buildings, we got to wander through beautiful gardens and outer courtyards. Some of the buildings were just ruins, while other parts of the gardens had been meticulously maintained.
After walking through the gardens, we found ourselves in what looked like almost a small town, even though it was still within the palace grounds. We entered a few shops to look around, and then continued on down the streets toward the palace.
I think we thought this was THE palace, at first. :)
It was definitely a cool building to say the least–it was actually the palace of another king, just not the famous one, haha. (It was Charles V, and this palace was built much later then the rest of the ancient Alhambra). Click to see Erick’s panorama!
It also had a big, awesome door. We love big, awesome doors.
The inside was actually set up for some kind of performance. Not many people were in here, so we had fun exploring, finding some beautiful staircases and more awesome doors.
We walked a little further and then saw the entrance to the main palace. We had to wait in line to enter here, too! The wait didn’t seem too long though, since we had gorgeous scenery every direction we looked while we stood in the queue.
Then it was our turn to enter the palace.
Inside, I was seriously overwhelmed. I had seen a few of my sister’s photos before, but nothing really prepared me for the intricacy and diversity of these palace walls. We walked through room after room, and every room and ceiling had a different wood or stone carved pattern. It was amazing. I can’t imagine how much time this must have taken to build. especially in the 14th century.
Just look at the detail of the Islamic wall carvings. They really are a work of art, very similar to the Taj Mahal. Photos don’t do them justice.
Apparently when this was first built, all the walls and carvings were white-washed, but now they have a reddish color.
In between the rooms and buildings were lots and lots of courtyards, accented by arabesque arches and columns.
Even in the darkest rooms you could see amazing details of the walls.
The most outstanding part of the palace to me (and I believe probably the most famous part) was the Court of Lions.
Yes, he is the best husband ever and carries my purse for me sometimes. :)
We don’t selfie stick. Instead, we like to put my expensive camera in precarious positions on park benches, trash cans, ledges, wherever, and set the thing on timer to get the shot. Lol. In this case it was in the middle of foot traffic.
Here’s a precarious ledge shot.
As we left the palace, we found one of those touristy photo cutout things. How could we pass up the chance to be dressed as ancient Muslims (or something…)? Either way, we knew we’d never find something like this in the U.S., so we had to do it. Don’t ask me why Erick decided to put his hand through the hole where our future child would have been. Many thanks to the very nice Americans who took this photo of us. They were really helpful and even took shots on Erick’s phone, which explains why we aren’t looking at the camera. :) We took pictures of them, too.
The tour wasn’t over, though. Then we went to the palace and gardens of “Generalife.” Here is Erick looking pretty good with my purse.
And with that, we were done. Erick was a trooper and barely complained about the wasp sting on the underside of his foot, but I know it was probably killing him at this point, since we walked A LOT. You can see in the map behind him that the grounds were very , very extensive. I’m sure there was even more that we never saw!
The Mediterranean on the road back to Playa Andaluza. It was a pretty spectacular day.
Tomorrow, we’ll spend the day exploring the prettiest little Spanish town on the Costa del Sol–Estepona!