Sunday, May 11, 2008

Goodbye with a Sigh

Day 59

After lying awake for several hours I got my clothes on and headed to the Alhambra. It was dark and the walk was a bit unnerving. Luckily, I met a Norwegian mother and daughter as I was about to head up the darkest area. It was completely unlit and I was happy to have them there. I waited in line for about two hours before I was able to buy my ticket. I had gotten the time that I wanted though, so it was worth it.

I headed back to the hostel at this point for a few hours of sleep and some food. Around noon I met up with the American girls from the night before and we headed to the Alhambra. They had bought their tickets in advance and didn't need to wake up at stupid o'clock with me.

The Alhambra sits over the city and was built in the 14th century. It is said that if you die without seeing the Alhambra you have not lived. I don't know about that, but it is a one of a kind site and the reason for coming to Granada.

When I was in line for the palace, or Alcazar section, for some reason I was moved to the front of the line. They made me wait there for a while, I was getting dirty looks from the people who were waiting in line. Eventually I had to fill out some paper and sign it, I think it said incident report, but I couldn't be sure. I don't know if I got the time wrong, or if something else I hadn't realized was happening. I wasn't happy to be split up with the girls, I had wanted to use them to take pictures of me! At least I got in.

The Alcatar is really amazing, truly unlike the other Moorish palaces I have seen. My problem with it is that it cost $18 to get in and there were no descriptions about anything. For that you needed to pay another $10 for an audio guide. It's a bit of a rip if you ask me.

I took my time taking pictures and taking in the Islamic decoration. I tried my best to get shots with out other tourists in them, but it was basically impossible. There were courtyards with reflecting pools, and rooms with intricate carvings. According to my guide I saw the harem, but I wouldn't know which room it actually was.

After the Alcazar I headed to the ruins of the Alcazaba, or fort. This part was built after the Moors had been thrown out of Spain. I climbed the Torre de la Vela for an amazing view of Granada. I could even see the mountain side caves that people still lived in. Still, most of it was in ruins and without an explanation it was a bit like staring at a pile of rocks.

The last bit I visited were the gardens. There were ruins from the Moors scattered around here as well. After a quick look at the Alcazar from a distance I headed back to the hostel and got my things together.

I had really wanted to just chill at the hostel until it was time to leave, but James constant smoking made me very uncomfortable. I couldn't listen to him say 'I don't know man, I don't know' one more time. Because of this I left hours early and passed my time by reading at the bus station.

In 1492 when the Moorish ruler Boabdil fled the city he took one last look at the Alhambra with longing. His mother berated him, telling him that he did well to weep like a woman for what he could not protect as a man. I too took one last look at the Alhambra as I walked back down the hill. My time in Spain was at the beginning of the end and I knew that I would indeed miss it.

This was to my my (hopefully) last night bus for a long time. When I got on I just felt that I was meant to have the window seat that someone else was in. Having a window seat meant that my chances of getting any sleep would be drastically increased. I asked a girl sitting nearby if I was right and she said that I was. I asked the woman in my seat to move, she refused. The girl who had helped me before stepped in and said a few words to her. This time she got up. A few minutes later she asked to see my ticket. I let her look keeping it firmly in my hand. She sighed at this, but stopped bugging me, she knew that I was right.

Even with the draw of my new book, Middlesex, I was able to get a decent amount of sleep.

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