Tales of the Alhambra: Tarifa in Granada

Last week was filled with excitement, the highlight of which was definitely our overnight trip to Granada! On Friday we arrived at the beautiful Hotel Andalucia Center and met our tour guide who took us on a walking tour of the Albayzin district, a neighborhood traversed by a maze of narrow pedestrian streets that is famous not only for its Moorish roots but also for its Gypsy population, which inspired some of Granada native Federico Garcia Lorca’s most famous poems.  After the tour of the Albayzin, they enjoyed some free time to eat lunch, walk around to soak up the culture, or take a swim in the pool back at the hotel.

At night after dinner in the hotel, we went to a Flamenco show and were amazed at the skill required for the complicated dance steps. The music was captivating, and for those of us taking Spanish guitar lessons, it was especially interesting to see professional musicians performing up close. The following day we visited the Alhambra, a sprawling walled city which in medieval times functioned as a self-supporting royal palace. The Alhambra is a wonderfully preserved example of Arab architecture in Spain, with ornate wall carvings, Arab baths, and interior plazas with fountains that would have served as highly efficient medieval air conditioning. Washington Irving was amazed to discover the Alhambra in the nineteenth century overtaken by wanderers and bohemians, and he himself lived there for several months, producing the classic book Tales of the Alhambra, rich with stories of sultans, knights, and princesses. The students really enjoyed the guided tour through this spectacular palace.

Today we had classes as usual and on Wednesday we are looking forward to our trip to Malaga, a city which combines Moorish architecture with more modern styles. It’s also the birthplace of Picasso, and we’ll be seeing some famous works in the Picasso museum as well. We’ll keep you posted!