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

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    My patience was also rewarded in the Courtyard of the Lions, the fountain of which has been recently restored.






    It was by far my favourite courtyard, not only for the lion fountain but also for these slender columns as if a grove of trees, the filigree-like decoration above like a canopy.

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      In another building some restoration work was in progress.



      The next part of the visit takes us to the Generalife gardens and the sultan's summer retreat. From the hillside location there are views looking back to the fortress towers of the Alhambra as well as the distant surroundings




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        Here are some impressions of the gardens:

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          An aspect I had found fascinating throughout the visit and learned more of here was the supply of water and the ingenious hydraulic system required to feed all those pools and rills and fountains. It is the sounds of water that I recollect most clearly when I think about the experiences of that morning, freed in retrospect from the babble of chatter around me and the tour guide's commentary in my other ear. The water makes everything possible; its flow the life-blood of the architecture and design.

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            I could see that there are secluded ways and walks one could freely take in the woods, and along the little valley path between Gerenalife and the Alhambra itself, and routes down to the town as well as the level way we were now taking to the coach parking place. There could for sure be reasons to return and enjoy these less regimented areas at leisure.
            But as a single 'essential Alhambra' visit within the imposed constraints, our organiser had done us proud. And there's more, for now lunch had been arranged in a nearby restaurant.

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              After a satisfying lunch our tour bus takes us down to the city centre, where there is time for an excellent combination of walking tour and free time.



              First we wander along the broad and leafy avenue Carrera del Genil, also known as Carrera de la Virgen. On the left is Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias. Its simple exterior belies a rich baroque interior, but I was more in the mood to enjoy its simple and elegant contribution to the streetscape. Although I scarcely peeped inside later, it was clearly just one of so many interesting places where it would be enjoyable to spend time on a longer stay in Granada, which for sure has more to offer than 'just' the Alhambra! There are other distinctive neighbourhoods too, which I'd glimpsed from up on the hill.



              One kind of detail I didn't show much of in the photos from the Alhambra and Generalife was the mosaic-like decorative paths, many made from naturally rounded pebbles. Here is a similar decoration at the side of this pedestrian walk - along with reminders of autumn.

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                Reaching a piazza with a fountain, there are many bookstalls leading to the bustling street intersection of Puerto Real.

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                  Taking the major shopping street, there is a pleasing mix of architecture.







                  Here's glimpse towards the cathedral along one of the side streets.

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                    In the Plaza de Isabel la Católica there is a statue of Christopher Columbus presenting his plans for the voyage westwards before the Queen Isabella. She is shown to be intently interested in this maritime venture, and the terms of their contract!




                    From the Plaza there is a good view along the impressive boulevard Gran via Colon.


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                      Exploring the side streets,






                      This Moorish doorway leads to a courtyard which was once a caravanserai where merchants sheltered and stored goods.

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                        Gradually heading back in the direction of the bus.

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                          I found interesting motifs in even the the more unassuming streets…...



                          ...and got this close to taking a ‘selfie’!

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                            Taken from the bus soon after we set off, this caught my eye. It is an observation tower, part of a Science Park with lots of hands on activities for kids. Maybe I should have saved this for the "What place is this" thread, as its most distinctive feature is at the opposite side from these stairs - large sculptures of a a couple of giant ants climbing up the tower!




                            As we headed back to Motril I couldn’t resist another photo of the dam.

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                              Back aboard Serenissima it looks like the lads have been shopping.




                              Another irresistible dining room photo!

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                                Enjoying the sunlight out on deck on our last evening in Europe. At around three in the morning I was up and awake enough to convince myself I was passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, and by sunrise Serenissima was approaching Tangier.
                                Last edited by Seagull; March 16th, 2015, 15:34.

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                                • yvneac
                                  yvneac commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Aha l'Alhambra! I have visited few years ago in April.....under snow showers.
                                  Fortunately you had a nice weather Cecilia.
                                  Thanks for those nice pictures.
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