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ex HARALD JARL ::: ex ANDREA ::: SERENISSIMA :::

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    Cafes on the route back to the starting point.

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      I'd taken the photo of a sculpture in the park beside the walls before regaining the bus for the (very short) distance back to the ship, where we arrived as the sun was setting. There will be another day in Spain as part of the substituted itinerary, and Serenissima's next destination will be Motril.

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        Day 15 - Motril, Spain, and an excursion to Granada and the Alhambra

        Oh look! ...…a LIGHTHOUSE!!!!

        I was hurrying around the decks even more hyperactively than usual, and managed to catch the lighthouse catching the sunlight whilst the background remained in shadow.



        I've since found out that it is the Faro Cabo Sacratif, and that this is the southernmost point of the Granada coastline. Granada has only a short coastline though, being mostly an inland province. Oh so much to learn about these late and new to me substitutes to the itinerary! I'm now getting distracted by practically every photo, and tending to Google off on all manner of diversions, all of which are undoubtedly stuff the rest of you are allready familiar with!

        Fortunately for this thread, the lighthouse is only a few kilometres from the port of Motril, during which approach I can show you more views around the ship.

        Just got to go inside first though, because I think the colour scheme of the Andrea Lounge is just made to be seen in this glorious morning November sunshine.

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          Outside again, I have some success at including the ship along with the coastline in these ‘Serenissima approaches Motril’ views.

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            From up on the bridge wing, I could also look down at the hard-working crew, already busy. Some spillage had occurred on the night of the rough weather, and the forward deck was needing their loving care.

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              The pilot boat arrives.




              This long wall is sure to be familiar to anyone who has arrived here by ship.




              Yes, that really is a touch of snow on the top of that high distant mountain on the right of the photo.


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                A nice portrait of Captain Padjen out on the bridge wing.

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                  ...and this is what he's looking at.



                  Seremissima has arrived in Motril.

                  Well, it really isn't apparent at what time in all this I ate breakfast!
                  Never mind - the important next thing is a need to update you on the arrangements for today's excursions!

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                    Such a wonderful morning. I can feel the mood and the movements of the ship, especially looking at the turn visible in her keelwater in #964/2. I really like this kind of report.
                    Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

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                      Two excursions had been arranged for the day as numbers for the Alhambra visit were limited. This is understandable due to the late substitution of Spain for Algeria, but apparently the number of tickets allowed each day at the Alhambra is restricted in any case, and particularly the time-slots for the Nasrid palaces.
                      A sheet had been available to sign the evening before, on a first come first served basis. However Noble Caledonia guests are a well-travelled lot, and many had visited the Alhambra on other occasions and were happy to take the alternative trip to Malaga, which even included fitting in another Roman theatre!
                      But I'd not been to the Alhambra before, and although not on my 'bucket list' or whatever the phrase is, it seemed an ideal opportunity - and of course, as with all the excursions on this cruise, included in the cruise price.

                      I know now that I was indeed fortunate to visit at this time of year when it is marginally less frenetic - the maximum number of visitors is fixed at 6600 each day, and 300 per half hour to the palaces - and even more people will be around in those outer areas that are freely accessible, so you can perhaps imagine what it must be like in the summer! (I can for sure imagine you cringing Ralf - remembering your reaction to the crowds at Edinburgh Castle during the festival!!!).



                      The drive from Motril to Granada was in itself an unexpected scenic delight and I was super-impressed with views of viaducts and this dam and me being at the best side of the bus to photograph it on rounding a hairpin bend!

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                        This elegant building is a hotel, the Parador San Fransisco, originally part of a 14th century palace and later a convent. We passed it while walking along a path between tall cyprus hedges.
                        Many of the group I was in were tending to want to walk faster than the local guide in the shade of those hedges. Despite reminders from our cruise Director, it seemed not everyone had quite believed that it would feel substantially cooler in Granada at 738 metres above sea-level, compared with being at sea-level in Motril, and didn't have an extra layer of clothing with them! They soon warmed up in the sunshine, despite a certain amount of waiting between entering the various parts of the Alhambra. It is rather regimented - we had all been given our individual tickets which are bar-coded, and I soon lost count of the number of times it had to be produced and scanned. At least at this time of year we did not see the long snaking queues of those who arrive individually without pre-booking, or who have booked but not collected their tickets. It is only now, reading about these things, that I am fully appreciating just how well our tour had been arranged.

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                          The walk brought us through the more 'village' part of the hilltop citadel.




                          The first building visited in detail was the Palacio de Carlos V, European in style. In contrast with its massive square exterior, I found the inner two-story courtyard with classical columns something of a surprise.



                          Now I'm looking down at the more expected Moorish style architecture, the fascinating interplay of fortress and palace buildings, water gardens, terraces and splendid viewpoints.

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                            We reach one of the most iconic of the palace courtyards, already so familiar from the kind of professional photos clearly taken when the palace is closed! These visitors were intent on a group photo, and I decided I might as well include them in my photo! It reminds me of my visit and it makes me smile. Much less annoying than a carefully framed view being invaded by a seemingly endless queue of individual tourists each desiring to take a 'selfie'!






                            Of course if you enjoy taking photos without being in them, you can look down at the reflections, or look up at the exquisite detail of the stone carvings...



                            ...or maybe linger at the back of one's group inside the surrounding buildings, catching the light on the tilework.

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                              This was the detail photo I was most pleased with.

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                                And then came the momentarily quieter opportunity to take this.

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