I think there’s places that I’m not meant to visit. One is Ayers Rock. My first attempt to get there ended when the desert flooded between Adelaide and Alice Springs while i was on the bus from Sydney. The second attempt failed when my taste buds were flooded by the quality of South Australian wine – a life changing experience, at least.
Seville is another. In the late 80’s, my buddy Bryn and I wanted a day there, but failed by getting too drunk in Barcelona. On this trip, Spanish trains did the trick. They’re now incredibly fast and efficient, but as you have to reserve seats, capacity is limited. This cost us the best part of a day getting from Madrid to Cordoba, as the early trains were full, and hence the day trip to Seville was sacrificed.
Still, the compensation was a full day to absorb the wonders of Cordoba’s old town, the excellent Alcazar and the mesmerizing Mezquita. The ‘cathedral inside a mosque’ Mezquita is certainly one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen, and my dodgy photos do more justice than my words ever could. The sense of history on this site is overwhelming, with well-preserved evidence going back 1400+ years. I could’ve spent hours in there absorbing the haunting views created by the seemingly endless sea of arches and light and color. The beauty was, for me anyway, indescribable.
From Cordoba it was a two hour bus ride to Granada, through hills of infinite olive trees. No wonder the olives and oil are somewhat good in Spain – they have a few million trees to produce from. So on Sunday, we wandered the town and the wonderful Albacyin’s hilly and meandering narrow lanes. And Monday we had tickets for the Alhambra.
I’d visited the Alhambra on my return from backpacking in Morocco in the 1987. It was memorable, not very crowded, and unexpectedly memorable because I lost all all my photos in the mail getting them processed. I suspect the ones this time might be a little better anyway, and again they do far more justice to the visit than my words ever could. With less people it would be perfect, but it is truly one of the great wonders of the world.
After about 4 hours in the Alhambra, we wandered down the hill, had a thirst-quenching beer and headed back to the hotel. A quick shower (it was a hot day) and then out to the squares around the Cathedral that Jan had discovered earlier that day. And it was quite a night – report coming soon …