Some walks to the top are intentioned. Some just happen.
Here’s my story (photo) story on how I found myself atop Granada …
If you know Granada, a richly layered and culturally diverse city in Spain, you also know that it is perched in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. And while it is a walkable city, you better come prepared to challenge some hills. One side, you have the old medieval town and its narrow streets that make up the Moorish/Muslim Quarter (“Albayzin” or Albaicín) … and other side of a valley that runs through the city, there is the world reknowned Alhambra. As the Lonely Planet writes,
The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture, a place where fountains trickle, leaves rustle, and ancient spirits seem to mysteriously linger. Part palace, part fort, part World Heritage site, part lesson in medieval architecture, the Alhambra has long enchanted a never-ending line of expectant visitors. As a historic monument, it is unlikely it will ever be surpassed….”
To walk around the Alhambra is truly “the” experience in Granada and one of “the” experiences to be had in Spain, Europe, and the world. It is a special place and, not surprisingly, one of the most popular historical sites in the world (2.4 million visitors annually). But as amazing as it is to walk around the Alhambra itself, there is a special magic of seeing the whole … a sight you can see on postcards in front of every shop in the city — and sight you can’t see when you’re actually in it. Try and behold that yourself? It’s like trying to see your own face without a mirror.
As a photographer, I knew the unobstructed and warm pictures we were seeing on postcards had to be taken from a place of height … but where, exactly, I did not know. I’m sure I could have Googled an answer, but I didn’t … which is how adventures form.
Which brings us full circle … not all hikes to the top are intentioned ….
So … one early evening on our stay in Granada, while the sun was still high in the sky, we thought we would head the Albacin for dinner.
We walked through the narrow streets lined with vendors of all descriptions plying Arabic and local wares. Not exactly the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, but you get the idea. And yes, it was up, up, and up. All streets took us up.
As we got to Restaurante Arrayanes, a Moroccan restaurant which was our objective, we heard: “Reservation?”
And we discovered it was full up for the night. (You can read my TripAdvisor Review of the restaurant after we ate there the next night).
So we went for a walk to explore the streets of Albaicin further, poking into the colourful and ornamented shops along the way.
Up up up …
And we kept walking …. Up.
People watching and enjoying the play of the light on the cobble stones.
Jess was a trooper, committing to this hiking adventure in her dress sandals. (Sigh) God my wife is gorgeous.
So the Cub Scout and pathfinder in me took over. Perhaps we could get that unobstructed glimpse. I followed my nose and we came out in a plaza filled with rough looking teenagers dressed in punk clothing and smoking pot with their wild looking dogs around them. Undeterred, I took a spot on the wall and shot a few pictures. Gorgeous and “Almost” the right spot … but with rooftops and TV antennas and satellite dishes in the way, it wasn’t the place.
We walked back into the streets and were being passed consistently by tourists (and their cameras) were still walking up … to what? We could only guess, but my guess was to a better spot for picture. I looked to Jess and she quietly nodded.
And so we went up …
And from atop the city, atop the wall, atop our hike, I took my souvenir shots before we walked down on a new adventure … to find dinner.
All text and photography © Dale Schierbeck
See more of others’ submissions to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge on “Atop.”