Spain, Part Three

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Granada is a beautiful city and thankfully, the weather cleared more often than not, allowing us to see the buildings and surrounding mountains in glorious sunshine. But first, the rain had to leave.Last Monday, it was cloudy and drizzly and thankfully, I had the school talk for the first half of the day. After our lunch, though, we hit the streets and began exploring. We headed for the center of town and the cathedral. En route, we wandered past an interesting looking building and discovered it was an old, somewhat rundown hospital that had three attractive courtyards, old frescoes and other decorative touches. And it was open so we could wander freely around the grounds.After hitting a plaza, we turned around and Deb happily found one of the city’s many yarn shops.Let me tell you, Europeans knew how to build houses of worship. We saw many throughout our stay and just about all of them were incredibly decorated. The cathedral here was large and heavily decorated within with nooks, crannies, and corners filled with carvings or paintings. I was overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the structure.Wednesday we got to tour some more and the sun shone brightly. We walked past the cathedral and towards the Plaza Nueva which had the legendary Alhambra overlooking the area. We walked up the hills, through numerous barrios and kept climbing, exploring narrow streets and alleys. We reached the top of one hill and found a flat park that provided us with amazing views of the snowcapped mountains to one side and Alhambra to the other.Our walking led us to see how the people really lived and worked and it was pretty informative. In time, though, hunger called, and we headed down and settled on an outdoor restaurant in the plaza.Thursday, before the con really opened, the Americans were taken on a tour of the Alhambra. This structure was rescued from neglect thanks to Washington Irving visiting it and staying to collect stories which he turned into his book Tales of the Alhambra, which reignited interest in the former palace of the Sultan along with Renaissance English structures. Maria, our tour guide, was terrific in explaining things to us and we followed along, gape-jawed with most snapping away with abandon. No wonder this is the most visited site in all of Spain.Deb took advantage of the convention to wander different parts of the city while I worked until Sunday when we together took one last walk through the city. We went through the plaza again, in new directions and came across a small but nicely filled archaeological museum with artifacts pulled from Granada and the surrounding portions of the Andalucía region. While the placards were in Spanish, the accompanying illustrations were more than sufficient to give me a better idea of what was being described. I, of course, was fascinating and studied everything. That day, we also saw more churches, sampled local baked goods and walked quite a bit.Tomorrow: Seville

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