I’ve had the real privilege of spending time at the Alhambra, mostly years ago, and I was blown again this time. Being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site has provided the funds necessary for restoration and upkeep; the Moorish palace hasn’t looked this good since Boabdil handed over the keys in 1492.
Especially impressive? The restored Patio of the Lions, the private quarters, and the gardens. Winter crops in neat rows, summer roses pruned hard and winter roses in bloom, a few orange pomegranates still hanging in the trees. The pools shimmer, and white marble floors gleam. The Generalife gardens are exquisitely cared for.
Other highlights of the day? Hard to imagine that anything could hold our attention after seeing the walls of the Alhambra – “The Only Winner is Allah” engraved over and over again in the intricate plaster castings, but we walked from the hotel to the Cathedral were we visited the Royal Chapel. There we saw the tombs of Isabel and Fernando, the Catholic Monarchs who conquered Granada in 1492. They had planned on being buried in Toledo, but changed their minds. Not only did they conquer the city, Isabel also (finally) agreed to fund Columbus’s voyage in this city in the hope of extending Spain’s reach beyond the peninsula. A fully realized hope, as it turned out.
Personal highlights? Being a foodie, I’ve got to mention the absolutely incredible empanadas we enjoyed from the Caf´