Last Friday without having done any research, armed only with my wish to see the Alhambra before I leave Spain in a months time I headed to Granada via a delicious lunch at at Sebastian Fisher’s magical house near Gaucin, an inspiration itself where I got together with my ex boss the lovely Gilly Newberry and her highly entertaining husband Geoff of Bennison Fabrics. After lunch Sebastian pointed me in the direction of the road to Campillos enroute to Granada, a beautiful drive studded with amazing rock formations and olive groves.
On saturday morning I woke up to a temperature drop and moody grey sky together with the realisation that I had left my jacket at Gaucin the day before. Mulling over my wardrobe crisis and chilly weather at breakfast in the hotel restaurant I was struck down with a bad case of the ‘unstoppable solo spontaneous laughter fit’ aka the ‘freelance basket case on tour look’ while remembering my friend Kate’s story of her walking into a bar in Mexico City and feeling boiling hot, meaning to say (in Spanish) ‘Its so hot you can fry eggs on my head’, but in fact saying, “I’m so hot put your balls on my head”.
There was something satisfyingly melancholic about sitting at my table for one at lunchtime slowly working my through a delicious fish soup and large glass of wine at the tiny cheap and cheerful Cepillo restaurant in the Plaza Pescaderia looking out at the orange trees in the rain. I was biding my time until the Capilla Real opened at 4pm, I had to queue in the rain, a labour of love, to get a glimpse of the tombs of Isabel and Ferdinand, the monarchs who drove the Moors out of Andalucia in 1492. The thinking being I may as well get in a significant Christian monument before I headed off to the Alhambra the next morning. Yes it was impressive but I left unmoved.
I had originally planned to visit the Alhambra on Saturday night because of the appearance of the super moon and was disappointed to find it had sold out. This turned out to be a blessing because the sky was cloudy with patchy rain, and I got to have a long bath followed by room service and movie double bill instead – yeah! Top tip: book your ticket on line to see the Alhambra to avoid the queues on arrival. Walking into the Alhambra site at 8.30 on Sunday morning with clearing crisp skies after the rain of the day before was glorious along with the backdrop of snow covered mountains. The air was scented with newly flowered lilac trees, banks of irises, myrtle hedges, potted box, and orange blossom.
Look at the colours below in this column in the Palace of Carlos V…..just beautiful.
The colours of the glazed ceramic tiles in the Mexuar Hall below will definitely be finding their way onto a Hibiscus kaftan shortly!
Now this is where the magic begins, layers within layers of incredibly intricate rhythmic patterns, just heaven…try telling me a spiritual hand didn’t help to create this place whatever faith you believe in. I found it deeply moving.
Below is the wooden inlaid ceiling in the Court of Comares representing paradise with it’s seven superimposed skies and wheels of stars. At this point a bit overwhelmed, I decided to sit down and stare up at it, as I did a small bird flew across the ceiling and the sunlight lit up its wings capturing an almost exact replica of a bird silhouette carved above me. Quite breathtaking.
There was so much more but the photo’s don’t do it justice and the place was throbbing with tourists at this point. I hope you get there one day if you haven’t been already.
Time to head back to Tarifa feeling very privileged to have visited the Alhambra and charged up with new creativity.
Back to work and looking forward to the summer X