cat_cetera: (Don't Panic)
Exceeded Expectations
- the Mezquita. It looks exactly the pictures make it look, but they don't do it justice.

Mezquita - Interior

- the gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos.

Gardens of Spain

Good
- touring through the old Jewish quarter and getting my picture taken with Averroes and Maimonides
- lots of great street views of twisted old pre-automobile-era roads (that cars drive on anyway) with semi-dilapidated buildings, yet way less crowded with tourists than comparable cities in Italy
- people watching on Easter Sunday - everybody out dressed in their Sunday best and strolling around the streets. They put the little tiny kidlets in the parish confraternities at an early age so they might have a chance to carry the floats later in life, but as small children they seem to get drums which their parents let them carry around afterwards. Most of them have pretty good rhythm.
- all of the food places the Three Ravens chose on our own were pretty tasty.

Bad
- most of the first day for the walking tour was rainy :(
- did not get to see the Semana Santa processions

Ugly
- N/A

Interesting
- the reconstructed pillars of a Roman temple stood near our hotel, and, predictably enough there were a bunch of feral cats living in the temple area. This group of cats included five really cute fuzzy little kittens, and we have a cat lover in our group who collected all of our scraps from dinner and took them out to feed the kitties.

Feral Kittens

- the Semana Santa processions (which we did not get to see) feature these immense and elaborate floats that beggar description. Mary is life sized and she weeps tears of jewels. She is covered in silver ornaments and heavily embroidered clothing and surrounded by gigantic candles. The Jesus floats are even more elaborate and feature life sized scenes from the stations of the cross. The ones we saw were displayed in a crowded little area where everyone was jamming in to see them, and somebody's nonna was singing a traditional Andalucian lament. We were told that some people go to see them out of authentic religious feeling, and others just to see the spectacle.

Weeping Mary

- the main agricultural industry in this part of Spain is olives, and the countryside was completely covered with patchwork olive groves from Granada to Cordoba.

- our local tour guide in Cordoba was from Liverpool, which I'm sure will appeal to [livejournal.com profile] philomenaobence
cat_cetera: (Don't Panic)
Exceeded Expectations
- the Alhambra and Generalife gardens

Alhambra views

- el Albaicin and Sacromonte

Sacromonte

- the food - lamb couscous under the shadow of the Alhambra; artisanal cheeses and interesting mixed salads; ham and egg soup; YUM
- have new hair goo that gives my hair the texture and body I have always wished it had, without my having to blow dry a thing.

Good
- minimal migrainey-ness and jet lag, except today, after having ordered a soup I did not know came in garlic broth :(
- free unlimited wi-fi in my hotel room
- at Alhambra bookshop, got a book on Islamic Calligraphy (in English) and a book with pictures on the Alhambra textile collection (sadly, only in Spanish)

Bad
- with the amount of walking and the type of terrain, mostly cobblestones, should have opted for substance (Merrell walking shoes with vibram soles) over style (Chucks) in footwear
- got car sick on bus through white hill towns of Alpujarras region; followed up by rain and cold weather and soup with garlic broth
- hotel room has zero noise (yes I know, this is only a bad thing for someone whose bedroom overlooks Centre Street) and it didn't occur to me until the last night here that I could listen to internet radio streaming over iTunes for some background noise.

Ugly
- travel schedule from Calgary consisted of the following: 1. Arrive YYC 1800 Calgary time after almost forgetting passport at my house. 2. Depart YYC for LHR at 2100 Calgary time; fly for 9 hours. 3. Arrive LHR after noon London time. 4. Depart LHR for LGW by overheated bus; drive almost 1 hour. 5. Arrive LGW; wait for 3 hours to board plane. 6. Depart LGW for AGP; fly for 3 hours. 7. Arrive AGP 2300 Malaga time. 8. Depart Malaga for Granada by bus; drive for 2.5 hours. 9. Arrive Granada 0200 Granada time.

Coolest Thing I Didn't See
- One of the most famous sights of the Alhambra is a round fountain ringed by 12 lions, each one a little different. Our tour guide said a number of things about it, including that it was given to the Sultan by the Jews and the lions represent the 12 tribes of Israel (?). What I read in a history of science book was that it was a water clock constructed by one of the Sultan's scientists (the Moors, like the Greeks, had very sophisticated hydraulic automata), later taken apart by conquering Christians who could not get it to work again. Right now it is in restoration, so although we got to see the lions, we didn't get to see them in situ.

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May 2011

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