Sunday, 13 February 2011

SSU takes Granada!

after an early morning train to the airport i was on my way to Malaga in Spain
I met Amanda in the Malaga airport and a few hours and four buses later we made it to our friends in Granada! Amanda came to visit Sarah w ( a girl that is also in Hutchins at SSU) and i came to see..... RACHEL SUNFLOWER!! sarah and amy were also meeting us here after spending a week in Itlay while i visited Jenna  

we had dinner in the main square of the city
of the 9 of us there, 8 were from Sonoma State

after dinner we walked around the city a bit,
 loving the fact that it was after 8pm and still not totally dark!

one of the things that made Granada so charming was all of the beautiful squares pebbled throughout the streets. you'd be wandering and suddenly end up in a picturesque plaza.  
rachel lead us all on a hunt for her friends house
we thought we'd found it, but he wasnt home.
 this is her calling up to his window trying to see if he was home :)
that night we spent a few hours at  the house Rachel is living and working at. we met the children she is 'nanny' for and played with them for a few hours before all of headed back to the hostel ( we had a big room to ourselves and the desk people werent keeping track of which ones of us were actually checked in so we snuck rachel in for sleepovers the nights we were in town :) )
the courtyard in our hostel

the Cathedral
a man powered merry-go-round!
 i wonder how many times these two men on the bench have sat here in the same spot watching life around the plaza go by
rachel took us to get hot chocolate and churros.
the chocolate was as thick as pudding!
she goes there so much that the waiter knows her and calls her ginger.
when her parents came to visit they went to the cafe when the waiter wasnt working. when we were there,  he told her he was very disappointed that he didnt get to meet them. it was so cute!! 
after lunch Sarah got really sick. :( (she was basically in bed for the rest of the time in Granada)

the square outside the cathedral

another little plaza :)

the big sqaure near our hostel
out hostel entrance way

does this man look familiar??
orange trees were everywhere!
and any time we ordered orange juice it looked and tasted like it had been oranges earlier that day

what a wonderful phrase :)
on a walk with topanga, amanda and Sarah w. we found a beauitful sun set
trying to drink from the fountain
and getting water all over myself haha

group dinner at a tastey chinese food place. me, amy, amanda, sarah w, amity and hannah ( rachel friends who are studying there with her)
our tour guide was a young austrailian guy named Arik who came to Granada 4 months earlier and loved it so much decided to stay for a while. Other people walking with us included 3 brothers from brazil, a brother and sister from ???, a woman working in a hostel in Madrid and a guy who was her friend from England, and two sisters from austrailia (they had been trveling through Europe and Asia for the past 5 months! <dana can we PLEASE do this one day??>)  

the next day, sarah was still sick. while amy and rachel stayed in the hostel room with her, topanga amanda and i went on a walking tour of the city
outdoor laundry troughs like this were supposedly used up til the 1970s and 80s!


the colors here were GLOWING!
instead of barbed wire they put broken glass on top of the walls
something really cool about this area of town (the Albaicin) is that all the water and electrical lines and stuff are run underground to preserve the feeling and image of what the area was like 100 years ago

islamics had a big part in creatign the city of granada. some of the things they brought with them were their ideas of health and cleanliness.
very old Hammams, bathhouses, can still be found here
they also brought technology with them. particularly, their understnading of water and aquaducts. this is an aquaduct that was dug through the mountain before the industrial revolution!! can you imagine?!?
education was also very important to the Islamic people and they started univeristies in Granada to spread education

this is the bar that all the older musicians come to at the end of the night after playing their sets at other venues in the city. apparently, if you come here at the end of the night you're likely to get one hell of a show as the musicaians jam together and unwind for the night.

this plaza looked out over the Albaicin and across the creek to the Alhambra
more musicians were playing up here :)

we ended the tour at this cafe getting drinks and tapas together :)
for just two euros i got a glass of vinto tinto ( a delicious drink with red wine with sprite ( or something like it) and a bit of lemon) and a tapa! they brought out our drinks than then plates and each of us got a crochet and some of the sauce. YUM!!!

in the afternoon we headed back to the hostel to pick up Amy for our trip up to the Alhambra

heres some background info about the Alhambra from the website

The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle", perhaps due to the hue of the towers and walls that surround the entire hill of La Sabica which by starlight is silver but by sunlight is transformed into gold. But there is another more poetic version, evoked by the Moslem analysts who speak of the construction of the Alhambra fortress "by the light of torches", the reflections of which gave the walls their particular coloration. Created originally for military purposes, the Alhambra was an "alcazaba" (fortress), an "alcázar" (palace) and a small "medina" (city), all in one. This triple character helps to explain many distinctive features of the monument.
There is no reference to the Alhambra as being a residence of kings until the 13th century, even though the fortress had existed since the 9th century. The first kings of Granada, the Zirites, had their castles and palaces on the hill of the Albaicin, and nothing remains of them. The Nasrites were probably the emirs who built the Alhambra, starting in 1238.
The founder of the dynasty, Muhammed Al-Ahmar, began with the restoration of the old fortress. His work was completed by his son Muhammed II, whose immediate successors continued with the repairs. The construction of the palaces (called Casa Real Vieja, "old Royal House or Palace") dates back to the 14th century and is the work of two great kings: Yusuf I and Muhammed V. To the first we owe, among others, the "Cuarto de Comares" (Chamber of Comares), the "Puerta de la Justicia" (Gate of Justice), the Baths and some towers. His son, Muhammed V, completed the beautification of the palaces with the "Cuarto de los Leones" (Chamber of the Lions), as well as other rooms and fortifications.
The Alhambra became a Christian court in 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabel) conquered the city of Granada. Later, various structures were built for prominent civilians also military garrisons, a church and a Franciscan monastery.
Emperor Charles V, who spent several months in Granada, began the construction of the palace which bears his name and made some alterations to the interior buildings. These measures were to cause interminable controversy often motivated by political agendas. The remaining Austrian kings did not forget the monument and have left their own more discreet impressions on it.
During the 18th century and part of the 19th, the Alhambra fell into neglect and was to see its salons converted into dungheaps and taverns,occupied by thieves and beggars. "Thus bats defile abandoned castles, and the reality of Spanish criminals and beggars destroy the illusion of this fairy palace of the Moors;" writes Richard Ford. As the crowning blow, Napoleon's troops, masters of Granada from 1808 until 1812, were to convert the palaces into barracks During one retreat they mined the towers and blew up part of them. Two of them, the Torre de Siete Suelos and the Torre de Agua were left in ruins. And so the incredible neglect continued, until 1870 when the Alhambra was declared a national monument. Travellers and romantic artists of all countries had railed against those who scorned the most beautiful of their monuments. Since that date and up to now, the Alhambra, protected, restored, cared for and even improved, has been preserved for the pleasure and admiration of all

it got so hot that day i actually got down to a tank top!!!!
it was a big deal :)


so much detail!!! and all handcrafted!!

these carvings were EVERYWHERE!  impressive just isnt a strong enough word for the amount of time and work that went in to creating this place

more breathtaking views of the Albaicin. when i think of views like this i imagine greece, not spain, but it fits here and was one of the parts of the city i loved most.

i was also surprised by the number of stray cats all over the place

the original Sierra Nevada Mountians!

ok, when can i move in?

more vinotinto before we left :)
our last night in town we all went over to Sarah and Amity's apartment. They made a pesto pasta dinner for us and even bought a special chocolate cake as a treat :)

Granada went above and beyond my expectations!
looking back at the pictures from those days, i cannot believe how beautiful they are!!
 to anyone planning on going to Spain, i fully recommend a stop in Granada!

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