Today is July 22, Monday. Our tine in beautiful Spain is winding down. The wife has final exams all week. This weekend was our big trip to Seville and Grenada. It was a five hour bus trip from Salamanca to the Grenada, since Grenada sits not far from the beach. We had booked the trip through the agency on main street, walking passed the hospital from the college. There is a quiet park shaded by what appears to be ancient ruins shaded by wisteria sitting immediately across from the agency.
Prices were not bad at only 150 Euros a person. For that 150 Euro price we had a very comfortable bus ride with air conditioner, a room in a luxuriant hotel that would have cost more than 100 Euros by itself, and a very fine breakfast. The bus ride was pleasant with frequent stops at service stations and cafeterias. Prices in these places can be rather high with only basic sandwiches being 3 euros or more. My personal advice, however, would be carry along some apples purchased at the local Marcado, or homemade sandwiches with a few cans of Pepsi and/or bottles of water. Seville and Grenada are scorching in the summer, and many places exist where the emptied water bottles may be filled for free.
We traveled to Grenada first, arriving there by 1400 hrs. Once we made it into town our first destination was to the famous Alhambra. This complex is rather vast. Expect to spend half a day here, if one’s tour allows the time. The immaculate Alhambra has been around since the 1200s. The Arabs took it over, but were conquered in 1492 by the catholic priests. Since that time it has been used as a palace for the king. The first monarchist couple were King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. It was in this palace where Christopher Columbus besought Queen Isabella on both knees twice, successfully negotiating investor financing for his now famous expeditions. No record exists, as far as is known, of the exact interest amounts demanded, but it would be a good bet that the second loan was a high rate of return, more than likely standing somewhere around 30%. The very king’s chamber where Columbus dropped down on both knees before the queen’s throne may still be viewed.
Some two hundred years afterward the Alhambra fell into a state of disuse and neglect. Paintings exist showing weeds growing up to cover the palace. Squatters began to use the facility as their own campsite hangout. This fact of being didn’t change until the late 1700 and early 1800’s when various British Romantic artists, poets, and writers, began to idealize the old ruins for their long lost past glory. City leaders then commenced a process of restoration that continued on until the 1970’s. Today its one of Spain’s most visited sites.
The only area where one may get an overview of the city of Granda, Spain, is on the Alhambra. Virtually everywhere else one is locked inside the city itself with virtually no overview what so ever. For this reason alone one could never visit Grenada, Spain, without spending time on the Alhambra!
Our tour group exited the Alhambra by 1700. We continued on walking through town to the local plaza. There were many music shows going on with dancing of many sorts, from the Waltz to the Tango. If one does not know how to do these dances, then he might want to brush up before coming to Spain. This continued on until around 1900 hrs, where we made it back to the hotel.
Once inside the hotel we dropped off our bags, bathed, then headed out to the next big event. This event was a sight seeing party. The cost was 30 euros per person, but very well worth the expense. A number of famous people had taken this same tour, from what I could gather from signatures and photographs. Some of these famous people included Mic Jaggard and Michelle Obama. The sightseeing tour concluded with one of the best Flaminco dance parties I have ever bore witness to.
The Flaminco club was packed. Here was where we actually paid for the tour. When our tour finally made it inside, the staged scene was one of a traditional Gypsy wedding party. The women present were the bride, her mother, and three sisters. The groom was present, but didn’t say much right at first. The story spinster begins to moan the words of the poem as the music plays. Beginning with the women each one tells her own version of what is about to commence. The last woman to do so is the bride.
After the bride dances her part in this lyrical tale, there is a break. During this break one’s choice in the drink of his choice is served. The final show and the best dancing act, to my shock and surprise, was the groom. While the women were outstanding, the man was beyond description. His grace on the dance floor did not match his slightly overweight physical body. He appeared to be somewhat out of shape, but he danced like a well toned champion. At the conclusion of this show after about an hour of watching the dancing, all of the dancers danced with our tour group, including myself. I danced with the mother of the bride.