Beach Town – no crowds in winter and no warmth either. Cold, cramped apartment a block from the sand. Stroll along the walk by the Mediterranean Sea to relax and take in some afternoon sun. One of the other reasons for visiting Malaga – a side-trip to Granada. Not that Malaga isn’t worth exploring…
On the 1 ½ hour bus ride to Granada, I sit beside my daughter in the front seat behind driver who smoothly veers the huge bus from lane to lane as I watch transfixed by his skill. The three of us (including my partner behind us) get there on time and only slightly nauseous.
Alhambra, the walled palace, sits on the hill above Granada.
We didn’t order our advance tickets online – now, it’s sold out – but entry to the complex at the Puerto de Justicia (Door of Justice) is free. Since we can’t go in to admire the interior craftmanship, we study the outside walls. A carving of a hand above the door symbolizes the five pillars of Islam while the key represents wealth.
We wander through the courtyard area and take photos of the facades – green/blue/yellow tiles, elaborate carvings – follow paths through a garden – feeling the grandness of the palace grounds. A sound of meowing gets our attention – a family of 12 cats live under the shrubs beside the cannons that aim at the spectacular view of Granada below.
Head back down the steep hill to the center of town. A poster for the Museum of the Spanish Inquisition is plastered throughout the main square. Because of the cold, we are afraid to venture down the ancient narrow streets where the sun doesn’t reach. But the museum calls to us. After a few wrong turns, we find it.
While my partner and daughter investigate the more hideous forms of torture, I walk away (repulsed), and read a display with fascinating facts. In 1526 a holy order proclaimed by Carlos V stating that infidels must be punished. All non-Christian believers were made to suffer. But the Moors (the people living in Alhambra on the hill) were only taxed (not tortured) for their crime of being Muslim. In 1529, 3 Moors were condemned to suffer for their beliefs. And finally, in 1609 the Moors were expelled (only after enough money had been collected – slightly hypocritical?) No wonder the canons face the city!
Though we didn’t see the interior beauty of Alhambra, we have a good sense of its significance and place in history.
Back down to the beach at Malaga where we eat a Breca fish barbecued in a row boat under a grass hut, while watching children glide on a pulley-swing across the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.
Time to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco.