So much has happened since I last wrote - we moved in to a real house with walls, a shower and our own toilets (Oh the luxury!), we cleaned and painted said house and started clearing the land, we got a dog who we've named Lola, and we've settled in to life here in a sleepy corner of Andalucia. Sam is here of course, and we now have a very rattly Renault panel van to add to the family. Our house is self-sufficient so we use water pumped from a nearby well, solar-generated electricity and solar-heated water. I'll be starting to write soon about our adventure into a more sustainable style of living, as well as continuing to share our travels. These are by no means coming to an end.
Happily, my mother came to stay and so she and I went to Granada for the day. She took me to see the Alhambra when I was 14 years old, while on holiday in Malaga. It left a lasting impression, and it was such a pleasure to take her back to the city and to see the spectacular Arabic palaces and gardens perched above it. Driving up in to the Sierra Nevada as the sun came up we passed rainbow after rainbow, as rain fell through the morning sun.
Normally heaving, the cold and rain in Granada had kept the crowds away and we were blessed to be able to experience the Alhambra in relative peace.
We wandered through the gardens, passing the baths that once stood next to a beautiful mosque.
From the Alcazaba fortress you can look across to the Albaicin, the rambling neighbourhood that tumbles down the hill opposite and whose Medieaval Moorish streets have been declared a world heritage site. Later we would lunch at the fabulous Mirador de Morayma in the heart of the Albaicin, with spectacular views of the palace we had just explored.
Our time slot arrived to view the Nasrid Palace complex, the heart of the Alhambra, and arguably one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Complex plasterwork decorations, beautiful tiles, dizzying ceiling designs, intricate joinery and everywhere the play of light and water are just some of the elements these 14th-century Arabic architects used in its creation. When the Spaniards conquered Granada in the last 15th century, they were so awe-struck by the beauty of the palaces that they preserved them intact.
After a long lunch we wandered down through the Albaicin, drinking Moroccan tea with Baklava, and hitting the shops before the drive south to home.
Our favourite spots in Granada:
The Alhambra - get your tickets in advance or risk disappointment
Restaurante Mirador de Morayma - excellent food/wine, unmissable views
Hammam Al Andalus - gorgeous Arabic baths
Abaco Te - excellent Moorish-style teahouse
Alquimia Pervane - atmospheric natural perfume shop - great for gifts