One to Grow On

May 20, 2010

Alhambra, almost

Filed under: children, food, Food Allergies, Spain, travel — midway2go @ 10:25 am

Tuesday passed hopping in the water, getting out and warming up, then getting back in.  Brandon perfected his rock jumping, and even I thought about getting in the sea.  I sat there, watching the water surge into the little tiny cove, thinking of the feel of the salt on my skin, drying in the sun, and getting used to the feel of the algae slick underfoot.  I wanted to get in.  Then a big wave crashed in and soaked me up to my waist, and my desire to immerse myself was sucked out to sea along with the wave.  Oh, well.

Wednesday was to be our big day in Granada.  We had been talking about the Alhambra and the history of the Moors in Spain.   Just think.  This  part of Spain was under Islamic rule for 800 years.  Then, think that it’s less than 700 years since Isabella and Ferdinand gave the Moors the boot and brought in the Inquisition.   Incredible.   So, we were off to visit the Alhambra, the last bastion of the Moors in Iberia, and it felt like a great car trip.  We turned up the Bon Jovi and the soundtrack of Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron, and sang ourselves hoarse as we crossed the Sierra Nevadas heading one hour inland.  The sun was shining, and it was a glorious day to do some sightseeing.  Now, the last time I visited the Alhambra, in my post-college backpacking days, you just walked up and stood in line for tickets.  These days, you can buy tickets a year in advance online (but we knew but hadn’t done), so we were hoping to get lucky and get our tickets the old-fashioned way.  Well, no luck.  Carol, get your stinking tickets NOW! 

 We couldn’t get into the palace rooms, but we were able to visit the Generalife, the Alcazar and the palace that Carlos I built in the 16th century.    Maybe we just didn’t know what we were missing (and I was keeping quiet), but we loved it all and thought it fabulous.  Correct me if I’m wrong but Islamic art relies on patterns and celebration of the written word rather than images of people and animals.  Rory and Nora found the idea of that really strange, but in the churches I grew up in we didn’t really have so many paintings or “images” either.  The emphasis there was on the Word, singing it and speaking it and memorizing it for stickers in Sunday School, so in that way I really get that about Islam.  Going through the Museo de Artes Bellas in the palace of Carlos I was a fascinating contrast of the celebration of the image in Catholic Spain with the celebration of the word in Islam.  Rory and Nora loved the small collection there.  They were suitably horrified by the pietas, with Jesus sprawled across the lap of his grieving mother, and awed by the altar pieces.   They quickly became experts on nail wounds and crowns of thorns, and they had lots of questions about death by crucifixion.   The power of the Word is one thing, but going through the museum with Rory and Nora I could see how potent those images are, especially for the less literate.  Very clever, those Catholics.  We spent the evening strolling around the small streets and alleyways of Granada and had a perfectly forgettable dinner in a hugely memorable square. So, you could say we saw the Alhambra.  Almost.



  1. Okay, I have to go there now.

    Comment by Amy D — May 20, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  2. Oh, how I have enjoyed your adventures. These last pictures are such happy ones.

    I am off this weekend to The Applachians to see Sally Britt and family for their twelfth anniversary and her forty-fourth birthday this coming weekend. It will be good to be with the “grands”.

    Ben is reading! We read a chapter a day in one of our Ettrick Matoaca library books. He is a Chess master player as well. He won 3rd place in art at the St. Joseph School Art Exhibit at PAAL last weekend. He is excellent in all sports, but especiallybaseball.Brilliant.

    Rory finishes second grade soon.

    I was so good to have your update.
    Love ever,

    Comment by marie — May 20, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  3. Know how to put a smile on grandpa’s face? Good job of making grandpa smile and grandma happy in her heart. Thank you for the blog and word pictures. Chrislyn is very talented at taking jumping photos. Thanks for sharing your wonderful time together. It looks to me like the four of you found a little bit of heaven this weekend! Blessings and Love, Grandma Barbara

    Comment by Barbara — May 22, 2010 @ 9:23 am

  4. So happy that you got to be all together! In Spain, no less!! You all look wonderful!


    Comment by Heidi Kelley — May 25, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

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