A Day at the Beautful Alhambra

18 Nov

I forgot to mention on the second day in Granada, after purchasing our tickets to the Alhambra, I dropped my beloved little camera. After dropping it, it stopped working completely, which is why no more photos will be posted for this trip, unless I get some from Marlene. I told Marlene it was like losing an old friend. I’ve used the camera now for at least a couple years. Most recently I used it for shooting news photos, which the LBReport.com has published.

Back on a happier note, our third day was spent at the Alhambra, which is high above the city. We had a 2 p.m. appointment for the gardens and a 5 p.m. appointment for the palace. We took the city bus 30 to the Alhambra. Marlene’s knees were bothering her. So, we got a wheelchair for her, although she walked at least a third of the time. Whenever possible, Marlene took videos of the views of the city and of the gardens. While in the upper part of the gardens, we met an American artist, who I met in the hotel lobby the day before. We talked for a while. Marlene mentioned to him her camera was losing its charge. He graciously offered her his camera. However, she declined his offer.

We walked a little farther. I saw a man with a camera with a wide aperture. Admiring the camera and being intrigued with it, I asked him if he shoots sports. He said no and then I told him it was a lot of work, schlepping such a large camera around. We continued our conversation. He shoots photos for a hobby. I suggested he do a website with his photos and then send out query letters to publishers, who might be interested in his work. He seemed to lack the self-confidence to pursue my suggestion. He’s from New York and up until recently was working as a glassblower. He showed us his bandaged wrists and told us he had to give glassblowing up. We told him we were from Long Beach, California. He told us he knew of glassblowing art galleries there. Then, I told him that was because of the art department at California State University Long Beach.

We then continued walking toward the palace with Marlene walking periodically, when I was not rolling her in the wheelchair. On the way to the palace, I stopped and let Marlene sit in the wheelchair for a few minutes, while I went to the bathroom to urinate. On returning, I found a vending machine in which I bought a small cup of tea with lemon. Then Marlene walked to the bathroom, while I waited for her with my tea and her wheelchair.

Finally we arrived at the front of the palace. One advantage of having Marlene in the wheelchair was the guards put us first in line. Marlene then decided she wanted an audio recording of the tour for us to listen while in the palace. I walked back and rented two objects that looked like phones for our listening. The woman, who gave me the devices, informed me the devices needed to be returned by 6 p.m. Otherwise, the bookstore would be closed and therefore I could not get my driver’s license until the next day.

The tour started promptly. We walked through the various rooms and chambers listening to the audio recording. Some of the same rooms, such as the Court of the Lions and the Ambassadors’ Hall are mentioned in Irving’s book. When we finished the official tour it was about 5:45 p.m. I had less than fifteen minutes to return the devices. I rushed up some stairs with the wheelchair, left Marlene wheelchair at the top of the stairs and walked as quickly as I could to the bookstore. I made it with five minutes to spare.

We took our time walking back to the front entrance. Marlene stopped at a souvenir stand and bought a tee shirt, three watercolor prints, and a golden-blue cloth bookmark with Arabic designs with Granada embossed on top and Alhambra embossed on the bottom. Marlene was speaking with some Spanish students when I entered the souvenir shop. Finally we left. We continued walking toward the entrance but realized it was closed. On the premises of the Alhambra is a hotel. The hotel clerk told Marlene we needed to walk back to the taxis, which was past the souvenir shop and then around. It was too far for Marlene and me to walk. Instead, we hired a taxi. The taxi driver put the wheelchair in the taxi and drove us to the front entrance. I began rolling the wheelchair toward the entrance, when a security guard immediately came out and took the wheelchair from me. We then took the taxi to the Cathedral and paid the taxi driver with a handsome tip for being so helpful. We then took public transport back to the hotel. That was the end of a delightful day.

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