The Alhambra, Granada, 2010
The problem with my pictures of the Alhambra is that they no way come close to showing the magic of the place. Sure, my photos below, of a sleeping alcove in the Nasrid Palaces shows the intricate carvings, the sense of light and shade, the opulence of the gardens, the way it is perched on a hill below the Sierra Nevada ranges, already snow capped at the start of November and the perfection of a fountain in the Generalife, the gardens on top of the hill behind the complex.
You have to ponder who had the time and presence to make the fountains spurt the water symmetrically. Or who was the lucky person to shine up the tiles for the mosaics. And who dusts the intricate masonry and clears the cobwebs from the ceilings.
Gotta hand it to slavery. It gets shit done. The Ottomans, for all their marauding, did some things brilliantly. Palaces is one of those things.
When I went to the Alhambra, I marked it off the bucket list as being 'done'. Another place off the list - or so I thought. The thing about Spain that they don't tell you is once bitten - always bitten. I want to go back. I want to wander the winding streets of Las Ramblas in Barcelona and ponder the unfinished beauty of the drippy candle cathedral. I want to traipse through the streets of Toledo, my sandals slapping against the cobblestones, the breeze up my dress, I want to ponder faraway towns, and churches and landscapes. I want to go and sit and watch a cloistered nun silently pray in simple chapels. I want to feast on a stew of white beans and partridge (even though the bones make it hard to eat). I want to watch flamenco in smoky bars with a glass of Rua Vieja over ice in my hand (Spanish Jagermeister glorious stuff). I want to dine on tapas. I want my breakfast of churros and chocolate every second day. I want to try patatas bravas in every town. I want to walk the Camino de Compostella de Santiago. I want to feel the bolshie bitch come out as I order my coffee, in Spanish at rude waiting staff. I want to be kissed on top of La Giralda in Seville as the bells peal the start of evensong (though it might be a bit loud).
Spose the only thing for it is to go back again.
Magic, magic place.