Those of you who have been perusing this blog remember about how I gushed after visiting the Alcazar in Seville. That place was like an urban flat compared to Granada’s Alhambra complex. Had the Golden tickets that we reserved a couple months ago. Walked right in but kept the ticket as they periodically ask to see it again. That was a travel tip. Anyway, once in the camera got a work out.
A little background. Granada was the last Moorish kingdom to surrender to the Christian forces. Cordoba and Seville had surrendered in the 13th Century. Muslim Sultan of Granada will hold out until 1492 when Isabella and Ferdinand complete the Reconquista. Hanging around was this guy Chris Columbus who took advantage of the celebration to obtain the bucks he needed.
This is the room where he got the OK. Everyone thought he was nuts. Not because of the flat earth business. Everyone who didn’t watch Fox News knew that the world was round. Only they thought old Chris should of paid more attention in math class since he underestimated the planet’s size by 40%. He got lucky and ran into Indians before running out of water and food.
Back to the Alhambra history. The high rocky point overlooking Granada was fortified since Roman times. It had the good fortune of also having lots of water to use for the fortress and the palaces. In the 1300’s most of the Palacios Nazaries, the fancy section with the tough tickets, was built. The walls are covered in tiles and elaborate plaster an wood work.
See the cursive W with an ear on the left. That is the Arabic for Allah. It is found some 9000 times in the palace and not messed with by the most Catholic King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In fact they were originally buried in another palace in the complex bearing the same words above their grave. They have since been moved downtown with their relatives.
Water is everywhere in fountains and pools. The Moors loved the water and life it brings in the forms of vegetation and cooling. Islamic artists avoided the depiction of animals or humans since their creation was God’s business. They used their love of math to create endlessly entertaining art. The lion fountain was a gift from a Jewish businessman. The 12 fountains told time on the hour by spouting. The Sultan loved it.
The last fountain that I am standing by is in the Sultan’s bedroom. The prior picture is the ceiling . I will skip my thought. Anyway, the Sultan had many kids with his many wives. They had a pretty brutal system for inheritance. The last Granada Sultan’s dad got a trophy wife and decided to get rid the spares. 36 heads of his sons were stacked in that pool. Thankfully, they were removed before we got there.
Cool bathroom sink. I think we have an inspiration for the next house project. We then toured Charles V’s palace. It is square with a circular courtyard. It was designed by a student of Michelangelo and it shows. The building is impressive but Charles’ son Philip II moved the capital to Madrid and started his own palace, the grim El Escorial.
The final palace location was the Generalife Gardens. With views and stairs in plentitude, the place was a fitting location for yet another mini-palace. It also housed a couple of California Redwoods that are beginning to remodel the garden.
OK. The Carrefour Caper. Carrefour is a French supermarket chain. The stores are beyond huge. But they have their particularities. Yesterday we were looking for a rotisserie chicken like in Costco. We have always found them in the French stores. No luck so we tried to leave the store by exiting through a perfectly logical gate near the check out stands. Alarms went off. Store security was there in seconds. Told them I had nada. Didn’t work. I asked the guard for me to proceed out the nearest exit but no way. I was escorted two football fields length to the end of the store where the guards relented and let us go.
Today I was determined to show those Frenchies what American determination was like. We found our picnic supplies and set off for the checkout location. Watched a little girl set off the same alarm and there were no police or anything for her. I felt my victimhood. We were ready for a show down. At least I was ready, Peggy was getting set to call the American Consulate. Found the place where the computer announces the checkout aisle that is for you. Got the signal and went for it. Surprisingly the lady was quite pleasant and we were ready to leave. No alarms, no police just us and our bag of stuff. Quite a let down.