Spain 10 – Alhambra, Granada and fleeting images……2011

Alhambra, Granada and fleeting images…it could be a long one

The Great

Well another notch on the World Heritage gun. Seven hours in heat up to 34 degrees, exploring this special site.

The Alhambra was once an Arab city with 40000 residents. The ruins now are the fort, the Arab  Palaces of the Nasrids commenced in 1237 and a Renaissance palace built along Italian lines by Carlos 1 (the Hapsberg Charles 5) in the early 1500s. And the Generalife with its wonderful gardens.

Such is the reknown of the Alhambra that over 6600+ tickets are on sale EACH DAY. The palaces in particular have been a work in progress so what you see may be quite a stretch from what was there 8 centuries ago but still fleeting images stimulate the mind to wonder at the courts of the sultans. Many books have been written and pictures taken so no more from me…….

On the mountains above the Alhambra and the town, the snow sits on the Sierra Nevadas and in acknowledgement, I have the white almond gazpacho for lunch. I think about all those who ruled Empires from here and how transient they were. The Ozymandias thing.

The Great come and go

And in the English papers / BBC I learn that the Chinese will destroy more Buddha sites in Afghanistan as they work their copper lease. A different lease to the ones they have in Ethiopia where they are simply growing their food on someone else’s land…..a new concept in share farming. Oh and they are trying to stop trouble in Burma where they harvest water and further north, they fight with India over rivers. All the time their Foreign Minister gives Europe wise advice on how to get out of the current financial crisis. Another Ozymandias in the making.

Saturday in town

Everyone of Granada’s 228000 (or thereabout) residents must have been out this morning, shopping, drinking coffee in delightful plazas. How colourful it felt and not just because black is out in Spain. Pink and fuschia stand out and the occasional man wears red pants.

Balloons for sale!

IIn the street was the balloon man, the yellow clown, a scratch band doing Cuban / jazz with dreadlocked kids playing their hearts. There’s a bit of a 60’s hippie thing around. Down the street there was an Elvis impersonator.

Later a young man in a mankini stands  chuggalugging and a banana walks by; must have been a bucks’ nights??

Having coffee a wedding spilled down the street from the Church. Men in tails and elegant women in bright colours to outshine the young Middleton girls, with huge hats and perky one-sided fascinators.

In the shaded pedestrian shopping streets I see a row of 10 African peddlers selling fans and sunglasses. Moroccans make up 10% of the Granada population although not  visible apart from these young men.

As I write the  church bells ring.

Trivials

As I move about, I donate things to the people of Spain: expensive hair shampoo and conditioner in Seville, a transformer plug and IPad charger in the village. It is the least I can do for this struggling economy which shows no sign of struggling.

I am also interested in the old lady hypochondriac’s list of travel illnesses. So far I have been about to lose 2 teeth, one at the front; a serious disease of an unmentionable kind and a very serious digestive illness, possibly fatal, have also beset my mind. Apart from that I survive.

Spain does so much better than Sydney…from the wifi everywhere to the downloading of tourist info onto your phone to comprehensible signage especially on street – crossing light countdowns. Years ago I introduced the first noodle market to Sydney after I had been to Asia. Perhaps I should run for public office and do a few things again instead of wishing we did it better than we do.

Saturday night in uptown Granada

Dinner up  in the old Moslem quarter where a new mosque is going in…amazing after all the ones in history were swamped with churches. Plus Ça Change. The gypsy quarter near here was where Flamingo began.

Music players everywhere tonight including a group with a didgeridoo. Buck’s nights rituals abound too. Another bridegroom is dressed as a penguin. There seem to be standard songs to sing.

Much cheering in the bars because by drawing 1 all, Granadaco (the soccer team) appears to now advance to the premier league with the big boys – Barcelona and Real Madrid – and it is just a little local team.

Great lightly fried mixed seafood for dinner, a change from the black pudding I have been wolfing, especially when scrambled with eggs. My companions like a drink or three. I am trying restraint and sticking to two, maybe a sangria and a local red. It will be good to give it up for a few weeks. Have I become a purist?

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