A Travellerspoint blog

Washington Irving and the Alhambra

A Hotel and a Palace


View 1964 Ship Follower on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Thursday, July 30, 1964 - en route to Granada

large_4699486-View_from_the_train_Granada.jpg
Dear Mother,

Well the train is a madhouse. It is a good thing I have a seat reservation altho there are some unreserved which I could fight for.

I don't know what I have written that makes your hair stand on end (Ed note: She's forgotten about the temporary loss of her pocketbook and RR ticket and washing her dress and putting it on again and many other things!) I'm glad you can get my somewhat disjointed documents into good form. (Ed note: when I gave her very thin airmail stationary. I had NO idea she would use it for anything but the first letter, nor that she would write on jiggly trains on BOTH sides of the paper!) I am not particularly surprised to hear about the baby's walking -- do put it in her book for me, will you?

I'm sorry to hear the summer there is so bad. I don't know what the heat here has been, but it has been dry.
View from the train

View from the train


I have now been on the train all day - since 8.00 (leaving at 8.30) and it is now 5.30. We arrive in Granada sometime after 9 if the train is on time. I shall be a little surprised if it is. The rule on Spanish trains is: take an express and expect to be late. Also the rule is --travel first class if possible -- you will still see as much of Spanish life as you desire. And a third rule -- if humanly possible get a seat reservation.

This particular train is new and modern and consists of only one car, which contains its own engine, WCs and snack bar. It is wide and has 3 seats on one side and two on the other. The seats are padded (in 3rd they are frequently just wooden benches) and reverse like the old trolleys used to do, so the train can go either way (Ed. note: Shows she doesn't remember, or is too young to remember that our trains did the same thing). It is a one-class car -- namely II. The train stops at every town.

On the way here until 2.00 a man and his wife and a boy and girl about 4 and 2 shared my triple seat with me. Actually, the man stood in the back most of the time. He looked like a Spanish James Cagney.
Gypsy cave homes from the train

Gypsy cave homes from the train


I just saw within one minute of each other, a woman washing in a stream and a house with a swimming pool.


Well I am now at the Washington Irving (Granada) which seems a nice hotel. I booked it because it was opposite the Alhambra, 500 m from the centre.
4698511-Two_Visits_Granada.jpgThursday, 30 July

Thursday, 30 July


I will send this on to my sister and let her forward it to you. Sis do inquire about the Italian rail strike. I am sure it can't be as bad as flying. I have got George a present from you and since he is out on maneuvers, I guess I'll tell you that it is a cannon and cost a little over $10.00. The plaques I saw looked very cheap close up -- they were only imitation Toledo damascening. This cannon is about a foot long and doesn't do anything although the wheels roll. It is of wood and metal. I hope this is OK.

Bookstore in Spain

Bookstore in Spain

I have found, in a Spanish bookstore, in paperback, a book I've been trying to get for Rev. Galloway to read. It tells about how there were never really any martyrs to their faith in Scotland. Also that Richard III didn't kill his nephews, but that Henry VII did. It is called "Daughters of Time" by Josephine Tey. I got it to read on the train. I'd better get to bed now. Love, RA

Friday, July 31, 1964 - Granada

Ice men - delivering to the hotel

Ice men - delivering to the hotel

Dear Mother

I have a few minutes before my tour comes to pick me up and I'll try to go backwards in yesterday's activities. I had breakfast at the hotel this morning. Two rolls and tea loose in the pot instead of in a bag. Maybe this is the difference between a first and second class hotel --at a first class hotel you get two rolls and at a second class hotel you only get one. I don't know what you get in a 3rd class place.

I set foot outside and was immediately accosted by gypsies trying to sell me castanets and wanting to tell my fortune. Last night I arrived and was given a nice room -- single bed wider than any I've seen, a bath, shower, and bidet and even an anteroom. I washed out my clothes of yesterday and found a hole near the hem of my traveling dress from Montgomery Wards. I will mend it tonight. The concierge sold me stamps and postcards, but I discovered 3 addresses I hadn't pasted on and mailed, so I'll have to get another for my children.

In Granada, there were none of the big cranes of Madrid. Just the patient donkeys walking up the narrow streets and alleys
7437713-Man_leading_donkey_Granada.jpgMules carrying cement

Mules carrying cement

Another pack mule

Another pack mule

mule in the alley/street

mule in the alley/street

He also offered to get a seat reservation to Madrid. That is only an 8-hour trip instead of 13 hours. It was nice and cool up here last night, in fact almost cold. I had dinner after I got here and it was adequate altho not inspired. I had cold soup -- it seemed to be a meat and tomato base with pieces of raw onion and celery in it, mixed vegetables (carrots, string beans, peas and greens) on a slightly tough roast beef and caramel ice cream.

They seem to have only 4 kinds of dessert in Spain -- fruit, cheese, ice cream or flan. Flan is a very tall, thin (muffin tin shape only taller and thinner) custard, usually with caramel sauce. The ice cream is usually caramel too. Another possibility is Macedonian fruits which is fruit peeled and cut up for you. Incidentally, in case I didn't mention it before, the fruits I buy are usually oranges, which (unless you are extremely goatlike) must be peeled to be eaten. Occasionally I do buy a peach, which I also peel. (Ed note: this is because of my caution to be sure to wash thoroly any fruit she buys -- using the wash-dry things)
Stairs

Stairs


Granada from balcony

Granada from balcony


1994-00380023.JPGView of town

View of town


It is a good thing I signed up for the tours. They split up into French/German group and Spanish/English group so you don't have to hear the whole spiel in four languages.
Tour guide

Tour guide


Orange tree towers over the clipped cedar hedges

Orange tree towers over the clipped cedar hedges


Outside the palace - cedars on each side

Outside the palace - cedars on each side


Archway with hand of Fatima

Archway with hand of Fatima

Ceiling

Ceiling


One of the things we were told was that the fountains made the air cooler. Later when I was working on heat stress problems, I found that this was indeed true. A water curtain with a fan blowing through it makes the air cooler. I was particularly impressed with the fountains and flowers of the Court of la Acequia (water garden courtyard), but I also took photos of the clipped hedges of cedar which were like walls, and a photo of an orange tree. This was the Summer Palace, so heat was a concern. The palace and gardens were built during the reign of Muhammad III (1302–1309) and redecorated shortly after. The Generalife is one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens
The Court of la Acequia.-Through the archway

The Court of la Acequia.-Through the archway

The Court of la Acequia through an arch of cedars

The Court of la Acequia through an arch of cedars

Looking down on the flowers of Court of la Acequia

Looking down on the flowers of Court of la Acequia


After the tour--
Alhambra decoration

Alhambra decoration


Well it never occurred to me before really, that all the decoration in the Alhambra, with the exception of some wooden ceilings (inlaid and sans nails) is plaster that is molded when wet like a child at the beach molds her sand.
Plaster decorations

Plaster decorations


upper wall and ceiling

upper wall and ceiling

Arch to town

Arch to town

Arch to Court of Myrtles

Arch to Court of Myrtles

Court of Myrtles

Court of Myrtles

Stalactite ceiling

Stalactite ceiling

stalactite ceiling

stalactite ceiling


Court of Lions with nuns

Court of Lions with nuns

Close-up of Lions

Close-up of Lions


Stained glass ceiling

Stained glass ceiling


Generalife from Alhambra

Generalife from Alhambra

Alhambra through wire fence

Alhambra through wire fence

View of town

View of town

Perforated ceiling of the baths

Perforated ceiling of the baths

Lily pond - Charles V palace

Lily pond - Charles V palace

Courtyard Charles V palace

Courtyard Charles V palace

Court of Charles V palace

Court of Charles V palace

They took us to a lace shop afterwards which was interesting, but I haven't bought any lace.
Lace making

Lace making

Lace making

Lace making


I did buy my niece her Madrid emblem, which my sister didn't have time to get for her in Madrid.

It is hard for me to describe the Alhambra. I guess you'll have to wait until the pictures get back. I found out that there are no seats left on the train tomorrow and the concierge said he would try to get me one tonight. That way I will have some possibility of shopping in Madrid, but very little time here in Granada.

Men with a hose

Men with a hose


The man at the hotel in Granada tried to persuade me to take the 13 hour train trip back to Valencia, when he found he couldn't get me a seat on the train to Madrid today. But I put my foot down on that, so he did get me a seat on the train that comes up from Granada Fri. night and I cancelled out what the hotel owed me for a room for the second night with two dinners and everyone was happy, including the hotel who had a use for my room.

In Madrid, AmExp provided me with an explanation - the Spanish holidays start at the end of the month.

large_3362441-Postcard_of_Granada_from_1964_Granada.jpg
Postcard of the Court of the Ditch in Granada -- very lovely scene of park and fountain thru archways.) Probably August 1st

Dear Daughter:
I saw this yesterday and the flowers smelled real good, They had honeysuckle too. I couldn't get a seat on the train coming from Granada today, so I came up last night and I can't get a seat to Barcelona, so I'm flying and taking the train to Marseille from there. So I am taking a tour to Toledo tomorrow while waiting for my flight and staying in Madrid tonight at the same hotel as before

Love Mummy

I took the tour (of Granada) yesterday afternoon and saw the gypsy dancing (which wasn't much)
Grape arcade over a patio

Grape arcade over a patio


Gypsy Mama

Gypsy Mama

Dancers posing with tourists - Granada

Dancers posing with tourists - Granada

Clapping

Clapping

One of mama's girls sticking her tongue out at sis

One of mama's girls sticking her tongue out at sis

Looking through a doorway

Looking through a doorway


and the inlaid wood factory -- we saw lace making in the morning.
Med school through bus window

Med school through bus window


Mosaic eagle sidewalk

Mosaic eagle sidewalk


top of cathedral

top of cathedral

Steeple and roof intersect

Steeple and roof intersect


Ferdinand and Isabella fountain

Ferdinand and Isabella fountain

Wall detail, building opposite cathedral

Wall detail, building opposite cathedral


Mosque tower converted - with bells

Mosque tower converted - with bells


Also saw the Sacristy of the Chapel
Sacristy alter in Charterhouse

Sacristy alter in Charterhouse

Inlaid chest - Charterhouse

Inlaid chest - Charterhouse

Ceiling of Charterhouse

Ceiling of Charterhouse

Ceiling of charterhouse

Ceiling of charterhouse

Top of iron gate in cathedral

Top of iron gate in cathedral

Altar

Altar


Tomb of Catholic Kings

Tomb of Catholic Kings


and the Cathedral where Ferdinand and Isabella are buried. I bought a rose petal rosary which smells real good for Mary Catherine. Among the things I bought this afternoon was a spoon for Mrs. B from Spain. There should be 11 items in the two packages.

One of the things that happened on the tour was that our bus, coming down the hill met another bus coming up the hill and they were both practically flaking off paint on their sides the road was so narrow. So were eyeball to eyeball and had to back up. After the tour, I had dinner.
From our bus to the other bus

From our bus to the other bus


The hotel altho not air conditioned, was very cool and almost cold. The guide said they had been having a very mild summer. It really hasn't been unbearably hot so far.

Next - the night trip to Madrid

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:35 Archived in Spain

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Required
Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: