Thursday, 1 February 2018

Granada, Spain (Eurostars Washington Irving) 

Was awake and ready for breakfast this morning. I’m enjoying the routine of having a hearty breakfast to start the day. Sometimes I feel full, skipping lunch, and not eat again until dinner. And since I’ve been traveling in Spain, I only have a light dinner in the evening.

I’ve heard that the Granada Cathedral (or Cathedral of the Incarnation) is something to see. So that is what I’ll see today. I’m thinking I really need to read a book or web page and learn more about Catholic (and probably Anglican) Cathedrals, and the hierarchy and architecture to better appreciate this historical buildings. But for now, I get the main idea and impressed that so much time, craftsmanship and money went into these churches.

This cathedral’s location is not too far away from the hotel. It was an easy walk down the hill and 10 minutes later I arrived at the cathedral. Along the way I took pictures of the Alhambra and also the steep path that leads into the city center.

Alhambra, from the outside, along the path to the city center:

Path leading to Granada’s city center:

Plaza at the bottom of the hill:

Spices being sold on the street. One of several spice shops I saw today.

As I arrived, I needed to walk around this massive building before I found the entrance. Was surprised that there wasn’t a line waiting to get in and more surprised that the admission price was only 5 Euro which includes a free auto guide too.

Granada Cathedral (Outside)

The auto guide really did a great job explaining most everything that I’d want to know, except the terminology used in the Catholic religion and cathedrals in particular. Today I learned about the building’s history, the alter, chapels, organ, etc. Was interesting though trying to sync up the auto guide with the numbers posted at each stop on the self-guided walking tour. Yes, the inside of the cathedral is thoroughly decorated with beautiful artwork – especially around the alter. The pictures below are a sample of what I saw today.

I thought the Royal Chapel would be part of the cathedral tour. For a tour of the Royal Chapel, I needed to exit the cathedral and go around the outside and enter in another door. Again, was charged only 5 Euros and given a free audio guide. (No pictures allowed inside the chapel.) While there were descriptions of the artwork and the alter in the front portion of the chapel, it was behind the alter that was most interesting. This is where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand (the ones associated with Christopher Columbus) are interned. We learned about the tombs and also were able to go down one level and see their lead caskets. Also in 1492, they were the monarchs who were responsible for overthrowing the last of the Moorish holdings in Spain. Both monarchs were deeply religious, which was evident when we saw several of their personal items on display in the museum which was in another room of the chapel.

Royal Chapel (Outside)

About this time I was interested in finding a place for lunch. Guess my breakfast this morning wasn’t as hearty as usual. I surprised myself by walking by a restaurant that I wanted to try. It looked comfortable and could see several items on the menu posted outside that I’d like to try.

On the menu inside I saw a spinach salad with shrimp and Parmesan cheese. In addition, I ordered a water and their hand-squeezed orange juice. A very healthy and light lunch – and it was excellent!

From the restaurant I walked around the city streets and saw an old building that was perhaps 400 years old and maintained as it looked many year ago.

Also took a picture of a municipal building (from what I could tell) that had an interesting work of art above the main entrance.

   

It wasn’t too long before I felt I’d seen enough of Granada. I felt satisfied that I’d seen what I came to see in Granada and hailed a taxi to take me back to the hotel.

After a nap, I texted Paula to see if she was ready for me to visit her as of March 15th. I’d seen a decent airfare for the 15th that I’d like to book. She quickly responded back and said: “Yes!” She even offered to pick me up at the airport! She is a special friend and look forward to seeing her again and meeting her fur friends.

Another task today was to figure out (and calculate) my travel plans for when I return to Europe in April. I have to be careful not to spend too many days in either Europe or the U.K. due to visa limitations. I’m thinking that a visit to Ukraine and Turkey might be in order. We shall see…

Also spoke to a Portland friend for over an hour. We’re already making plans for when I come for a visit. While in Portland, I will rent a car for the duration of my visit so I don’t have to rely on friends or public transportation. I also need to practice driving again since it has been almost two years since I last drove a car. (Segways don’t count.)

By this time I was tired and have asked for a taxi to arrive at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow to take me to the airport. I fly first to Madrid, have a three hour layover, then fly to Tangier, Morocco.

 

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