Alhambra, a dream come true
Visiting the Alhambra in Granada was a longtime dream of my Mother. She is an avid fine arts lover with an interest in world history and how it shaped culture. She had visited Alhambra many times virtually, walking through the areas available in Google street view over and over, planning out the route she would take if she ever got there.
So, when planning the next family trip visiting the Alhambra and The Great Mosque of Cordoba was top of her list and everything else was secondary – a welcome addition but not of the highest importance.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not like we – Diana and myself - were not interested or did not want to visit the famous Alhambra and the Nazaries Palaces, it’s just that we did not have an idea about how it would be and were more interested in visiting „exotic” places, like going to Norway to see the northern lights.
But my mother’s excitement got the better of us, and we got infected with the idea as if it were a virus.
She planned everything meticulously, the distance of the hotel to the Alhambra, pre-ordering and buying the tickets for the Nazaries Palaces online since time slots for the visit are limited. The timetable for the day was set up around the scheduled entry also to maximize the time we had. Everything worth seeing was on her list with all the details she could research on the internet, the history, the ‘need to know’ and the ‘good to know’ things. She was ready as can be for the journey to begin, so after our time was over in Madrid and we boarded the plane for Granada her dream started to become reality.
We had two hours to kill so we took our time with visiting as much as we could. Finally, we got to the main attraction. We made sure not to be late, so we were early at the gate. I envisioned the whole visit as being rushed by security to get people moving and not to linger around, I also knew that we will be a big bunch, so getting pictures without people in it would be a challenge.
I relaxed a bit and was pleasantly surprised when I realized that security does not care how long you spend staring at the beautifully decorated walls, so the only thing remaining was to get as many good pictures as I could.
After wandering through numerous halls full of garden fountains and ornamentation Diana was jumping with joy – turns out she loves Arabic style decoration and can’t get enough of it. It is in stark contrast of the over exaggerated European style religious art that we had seen in cathedrals throughout our trip.
My mother also voiced her amazement at what a sophisticated culture the moors had to have to be able to create such fine artisanship. She also drew our attention to the architectural marvel that the Palace was consciously situated and designed in a way that a constant light breeze was traveling through the halls providing the rooms with natural air conditioning, although there was no wind outside.
By this time, I started to forget about my task of documenting everything in photographs for the family and found myself looking around in awe, taking pictures for myself, for the pure enjoyment of doing so.
I was inspired.
The Spider web design in the inner rooms reminds of the story of the Hijrah. According the story Muhammad had to flee Makkah and hid in the cave 'Ghar Sawr'. A spider spun a web to conseal the entry of the cave causing his pursuers to believe that the cave was empty.
After the Palacios Nazaríes we strolled in Jardines del Paraiso, visited Torre de las Damas, caught a breath and headed over to the Generalife.
The relaxed and sublime atmosphere of the Generalife and its gardens lifted the whole experience to a new level. I imagined what it must have been like to be a sultan here at the height of their reign.
On the road leading to the exit I realized that the day’s experiences gave me an insight into history, the culture and art of the moors in Spain, memories to last a lifetime, and ended up becoming a Dream Come True for all of us.