Thursday, February 11, 2010

Grenada- February 5th and 6th

Friday morning we met at Hotel Seville Center. Only a 20 minutes walk from my house. I sat next to Greg and he gave me about 1.1 days worth of outstanding music. We were using a zip drive to transfer it from his computer to mine. After the three hour bus ride, we arrived in Grenada at 10am.

The second we stepped off the bus we ran with our tour guide to make it on time to enter in into La Alhambra. The Alhambra is a fortress built by Moorish rulers. Then the Christians took over around the 1530's and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor decides, "I think I'd like a Palace built just for me in here." So they built this elaborate palace with arabic designs encrusting every crevasse and surface area. It is two stories high with beautiful wooden windows just like in Aladdin (in the garden scene when Jasmine puts the bird in the bird know what I'm talking about Disney fans). In the courtyard of his palace there is a Washington-pool-like pond in front. It feeds the fountain that feeds the pants for irrigation.

Charles V also wanted gardens to peruse through all day long. There are miles of beautiful eloquent gardens. The trees are grown and groomed to makes hall ways, tunnels, and walls. The pathways are made up of pebbles formed into whimsical designs. Though the flowers aren't weren't in bloom with Grenada barely peaking out of Winter into early Spring, the gardens are said to be in the top 5 of all gardens with the outrageous booming of countless different kinds of flowers.

We walked through the majority of them before heading to the Cathedral. We actually got to see the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Right outside of the cathedral, Dr. Ingis showed us the spice market. I've never seen so many wicker baskets full of seasonings, seeds, leaves, grains, dried flowers, and more. Students bought saffron like it was the last bit in the entire world. They bought enough ground Spanish vanilla to last 50 years.

After all the traveling and tours, I was exhausted. I slept for an hour before we were to go back out with the group.

Later, that evening a small group of eight gathered at a coffee shop in my all time favorite plaza. I've yet to figure out the name, but I'm happy to describe it to you. To get there, we walked through the small alley ways of the moroccan markets. Bursting out in this open area, the building have a vibrant bold color, yellow, green, orange, blue, and different shades of red. Old and tall trees stood as tall as the 3 story buildings. They were filled with singing sparrows. It would have taken me days to count them if they were standing in a row. To accent the scene even more, circling the plaza were about eight different flower shops with fresh flowers overflowing into the sidewalks reminding me of my much missed home. The hour passed, and the only ones remaining were Greg, me, and the Poch family (Dr. Poch, his wife Meghan, and his two sweet daughters, 2 and 5 years of age with blonde gentle curls). We walked by this man holding a bouquet of balloons. Poor girls... they were gawking but their dad explained why they couldn't have one. Instead, he let them ride the carousel.

This carousel was home-made. The carriage, benches, horses, and others were hand carved wood and polished. The white canvas decorated the top of the exterior, and baby toys were hung by ribbons for the young ones to play with as they rode. Once all of the little ones were settled on the carousel, the man jumped on his bicycle that acted as the motor of the ride. As he peddled away, the Lion King's song played loudly in Spanish. I snapped pictures of his girls and enjoyed the moment of thinking I'll get to enjoy this moment again with my own children.

For dinner, all of six of us plus Dr. Inglis went to a Moroccan restaurant. It was authentically decorated with Arabic decor. We sat on chairs with red cushions as we drank the best lemonade I've ever had in my life. It was mixed with mint green tea and the lemonade was hand squeezed. I had lamb Tajin with prunes, apricots, and almonds soaked in a savory sauce with nuts and spices sprinkled on top. Dad- yes this was mouth watering delish. Worth every bit of my 15 euros.

Grenada has by far made it to my top 5 places I've been.


Mom said...

I feel like I was there!! I could smell the flowers, the coolness of the shade in the alleys and warmth of the sunshine as we broke into the open area. I particularly like how you described the multitude of birds - your writing is just so amazing. This must be an awesome place if it made the top 5! Love you!!

Marinda said...

Wow. That's awesome you saw the Alhambra! I'm reading a book right now about Katherine Queen of England (infanta, princessa of Spain) and she grew up in the Alhambra with her parents Ferdinand and Isabella. She was Henry the VIII's first wife and he left the church in order to divorce her thus creating the Anglican Church with the Monarch as the head.

So cool you saw the bit of history!