It didn’t really matter, though. Because another email I sent was met with incredible enthusiasm, an offer of hospitality, and perfect English. I’m starting to think that either I was really angelic in a former life, or I have the luck of the Irish on my side, because this part of the last three legs of the trip have been particularly memorable thanks to my hosts and hostesses.
Yesterday, I took the (short) bus up to the Alhambra Palace, which was a smart move on account of the incline and what I‘d see there. Despite the rain that lingered throughout my trip, the Alhambra was spectacular! It was conceived as a palatine fortified town, and it’s on a rather steep hill with sweeping 360-degree views of all of Granada. It was really amazing. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, it was used as the residence for the Nasrid Sultans, high commanders, civil servants of the royal court, and soldiers of the elite. Washington Irving even lived there for a bit, and his stay inspired him to write Tales from the Alhambra.
I toured the Nasrid Palaces, and the architecture and details were magnificent. And then, I took a spin through the Alcazaba military area, and had fun with the self-timer function on my camera. Passing back through Generalife (a massive garden) on my way out, I found a Calico cat that accompanied me for quite a bit of the walk. She was so cute, and there were actually wild cats everywhere that were all quite friendly.
Had I been in Granada another time, I could have partaken in an olive oil tasting about an hour outside the city, but unfortunately, it’s closed at this time of year. Granada was really fascinating though, and completely different than Barcelona or Madrid. I’m really glad I came, despite not being able to cook. Rapha told me that this part of Spain is historically poorer than most parts, so stews are very common, and they use a ton of pork in this region. As for the city, the Islamic influence is evident everywhere, from the restaurants to the Turkish baths, to the hookas for sale everywhere (don’t worry-- I didn’t buy one), and of course, the impressive Alhambra that looks approvingly over the entire city.
Next Stop: Cooking Class#4 in Sevilla