Saturday, September 11

Night at the Alhambra

I know it sounds like a title for a bad horror movie, but it will be quite the opposite. I hope. One never knows what will happen when one has made the best of plans, and emailed people in multiple languages. My Mom turns 85 in October ("pu pu pu" - said with a slight spitting action - so the gods don't notice. Or in Greek it's "po po po").

And she is going to spend the night of her birthday sleeping inside the walls of the Alhambra!

Quite a bit older than my Mom (but not more beautiful), the Alhambra is a palace, garden and fortress complex built by the Moors. The site was first mentioned in the 9th century, with the royal residence added during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the city of Granada. They held on to power for about 150 more years, until the Reconquista by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1492. 


For nearly three months, in the 1800's, Washington Irving lived in the palace while gathering material for his Tales of the Alhambra. And now we would, too. Well, not exactly in the Palace. Nor in the "most Expensive Parador in all Spain"- the Parador of Granada, which resides in a fifteenth century convent, also on the grounds. We have rooms at the only other abode up there, the Hotel América Granada. And I was amazed to find it, and to find it affordable. The plan was coming together.

Mom's birthday wish was to go to Spain, and I was up to the challenge of creating this family sojourn for participants who needed varying degrees of comfort. And even though my Mom could probably out-walk us all, I put together all the jigsaw puzzle parts of hotels, transportation, touring  and events, with "conservation of energy" in mind. So what better way to see the Alhambra than to stay there!

A train ride down from Madrid, we will arrive on that hilltop in time to see the art exhibit Matisse and the Alhambra (1910–2010). Serendipitously, it will have just opened in the Carlos V palace. Birthday dinner that night will be at our neighbor, the afore-mentioned "most Expensive Parador in all Spain". If not sleep, we can at least eat there. And at night, when the gates are closed to the tourist hoards, we can walk the whole area inside the walls, enjoying the illuminated view of the palace and city beneath us. Next day, I'll pick up our tickets and we'll go inside, with our own personal tour guide. Afterwards, the trip continues into Andalucia...

Well, at least, that's the plan.
Shhhhhh...don't tell Mom the details....

ADDED November 1st: It worked! All the months of planning delivered a great problem-free trip and perfect weather. That last bit was quite a feat. As you know (March blog), I don't mess with the weather gods.
I'm already preparing for the next travel adventure...

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