Sunday, February 24, 2008


The Alhambra

One of the most well known sights in Spain. Many people like to call the Alhambra the 8th wonder of the world. This Muslim fortress sits on top of the mountains above Granada. It was built during the 13th century. Art historians say the Alhambra is the Greatest structure of Nasrid Art the Iberian peninsula has ever created.

The Alhambra is "Red Castle". It was built mostly as a Palace but was continuously added onto. When finally finished in 1391, the Alhambra had six palaces, housed the royal family, high class citizens and even had quarters for the entire garrison of the Muslim ruler!

The Alhambra was built using the same Muslim style as most buildings. Created with white plaster, the walls were easy to carve and create designs. Throughout the palace every room is covered in beautiful carvings and colorful glazed tiles. The Christians later removed some of the flooring and placed expensive marble throughout the building.

The picture is taken from one of the comanders rooms, It overlooks the city of Granada. If you look hard enough you can see the Arabic writing, it's amazing!

A court yard, filled with pools and shrubs... (There are even gold fish in the pool!)

The Nasrid Family started the construction of the Alhambra.

In the past they had difficulty with finding a way to bring water up the mountain. So the Nasrid family discovered a way of using natural water pressure. Fountains were constructed in the courtyards. Even the waterrooms of the private family had "running" water. We are talking the 13th century!

This room called "The Room of the Ambassadors", Is where ambassadors coming to meet the King would first be greeted. The ceiling (which is what you are looking at) is made out of wood. This room is one of the most impressive looking rooms in the Palace.

...oh here is just another little carving on a wall!

The Court yard of the Lions. The Royal family lived around this courtyard. In the center of this courtyard, normaly (it was taken away for construction) are 12 sculptures of lions around a large fountain. It was a gift from the Jewish people to the Arab King. 12 lions for the 12 Jewish tribes.

This picture was taken in one of the many gardens surroundng the Alhambra.

Our tour of the Alhambra lasted three hours. This Palace is huge. There are gardens with fountains like this throughout the entire Palace. It was still a little early in the season so not all the flowers were in bloom.

Overlooking the side of the Alhambra.

In this picture you can see the city of Granada below the mountain. The Alhambra is the large structure on top of the mountain in the distance. Even the archway and garden are considered part of the Palace (the hall in front). It stretches across the top of the mountain.

A local sits under a tree enjoying the sun...

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Granada.. and the real Sierra Nevadas

Granada has been my favorite city in Spain so far. With its amazing palaza's filled with fountains, beautiful plants, quiet little shopping streets, cafes, heladarias, and Churrerias how could anyone not fall inlove with this city. Granada was the last occupied Muslim city in Spain, Arabic architecture is very evident in the buildings and city structure. When the Christians reconquered the peninsula they left the city of Granada alone. Settled far from most cities and built into the side of Mountains, Granada was its own kingdom. (more background on blog "Alhambra")

The first night API took our group to a Flamenco show! Granada is known for their flamenco, girls and boys at young ages learn to sing and dance the traditional flamenco.

Kaylan and I are sitting in a little cave looking building watching our first flamenco.

In a small room the women dance creating an atmosphere of how original flamenco began.

Monument of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella.

The buildings all over Spain are beautiful, Granada especially has many red colored buildings lining the plazas and parks.

Kaylan and I under the Alhambra.

My favorite dessert place in all the world! Churreria, this little cafe was packed with locals. Churros are very well known in Spain. It is a donnut that you dip in freshly melted chocolate! If you ever have a chance to visit Spain do not leave without trying churros.

That is not tea that we are holding, it's the melted chocolate that you drink after you eat the churros. (I am sure it's not too good for you, but hey I am in Spain.. no worries, yet)

Churros and Chocolate

Dos de mi amigas! Sarah, Kaylan, and I are inseperable..

We had brunch out on a patio overlooking Granada at one of my friend's house.

Mountains near Malaga

The closest feeling of home.. Our group stopped in the mountains on our way to Granada. I was so car sick on the bus after the small curving roads, I got off and was running around because I was so happy to see mountains!
My friends Jenna, Kaylan and I ontop of one of the huge rocks. Most of the girls on the trip weren't wearing the right shoes so they just walked on the base of the canyons.

It was so good to be off the bus!

I really do not know too much history about these mountains but we did walk by an observatory building near the parking lot. I imagine that at night it is a great place to star-gaze.

Fields of green and purple mountains! America isn't the only land beautiful.

This is where I got car sick.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My "House"

I still can't believe I am in Spain... Maybe a look at my house will give you a better idea of my living situation! I have to say I am pretty impressed with how well I have adapted. My little but cute room, I have one roommate Rachel she goes to Madison University... We have a little balcony that overlooks the street below.
This is mama Rosa, she is amazing I do not know how this lady does it. She cooks for 14 Americans in this kitchen! Loco (just crazy) That is the stove she is cooking on top of. Only two people can fit in there at a time and its hard enough to open the frig without knocking something down!

My beautiful bathroom :D I am going to have to say this is what I miss the most about Alaska a real shower!

Here my shower is! I have to hold the water handle while showering and have to make sure that the curtain doesn't move (or water will get all over the floor). I share this shower with 10 people.


Here we are in Sevilla.. The trees are just starting to bloom, and the grass is getting greener everyday.
I always have my camera! It is the one thing besides my bus pass that I will not leave my house without, I never know what I might see!

This tower was build by the Muslims when they took over the Iberian Peninsula. It was built on the river attatched to the city wall. The christians later, after their reconquest saved many of the buildings and even created many of their own buildings in the same style.

Another angle of the same gaurd tower.

One of the many bridges built across the main river that runs through Sevilla. This is the neighborhood of Trianna (I live just beyond this bridge). Many historians believe this is the area in which the "City of Gold" is located. The City of Tartessos. The only records of there ever being such a city are in Greek documents. Tartessos was a large trading city, and the Greeks wrote of how the women and men where dressed in clothes of gold. 1949 a farmer found a gold object that was traced back to the Trianna area.

Our first stormy night..

Plaza de Espana, This is what you will find on all the Sevilla post cards. Star Wars II was filmed here in part.. little fun fact.

My backyard..

Across the river from my house, we took a bike tour around Sevilla.

Alcuzar, another very famous place to visit in Sevilla. The royal family's palace, one of the few still in use today.