Jun 29, 2015

Cathedral of Granada, Spain

After the long wait for the precious Alhambra ticket we had the whole of morning free. That gave us the opportunity to stroll through the streets of Granada. The first on the list of Granada must see monument was the Cathedral. Taxis are not allowed near the cathedral, we were dropped off at a distance. But it is easy to get to the monument. The fa├žade though monochrome of brick color is impressive. It has many emblems and sculpted works on it. We spent around half an hour inside, but it actually deserves more than an hour.

The history is interesting. It was built by Queen Isabella on a site of mosque. Foundations for the church were laid by the architect Egas starting from 1518 to 1523 atop the site of the city's main mosque. Later Diego of Siloam, another Spanish artist trained in Italy, changed the Gothic style of Granada Cathedral to the Renaissance style. It took 181 years for the cathedral to be built.

The organ I saw here was different from the ones I have seen in other cathedrals. It is split into two. The altar has a gold leaf decoration. There are tall massive Corinthian columns all milky white in color. This gives a grand majestic look to the interiors. The cathedral has tombs of many kings. As I went from chapel to chapel inside I got to see lot of gold and silver. Stunning sights! Interiors is so spacious, the roof so high, the cathedral is a huge one! The whole area was lit up with sunlight streaming in from the stain glass windows. I got this feeling- how tiny we are! The floor looked all worn out with a check pattern. Truly an impressive building not be given a miss.

The entrance fees were 4euros, and it has specific opening hours. It is better to check the timings before you plan the visit. More information can be had here: The Cathedral of Granada - Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Interiors will tall Corinthian columns

The chapels with gold lef decorations.

 Beautiful stain glass windows

The organ split into two.

The check pattern on floor.

Jun 27, 2015

Faces of India - 219

A pujari at a shrine offering the holy water to the people offering prayers. The shot was taken at Chikkamagaluru.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here.

Jun 22, 2015

Tickets for Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The plans for visiting Granada was made 3 months prior to actual date of visit, hotel reservations too were made a month before the dates but we forgot to do one important thing. That is, check up the places we intended to visit. Alhambra always figured in the top of the list of must see places in Granada, but it never occurred to us that the entering it actually isn’t so easy. It is not like just buy the tickets and walk in. When I read up in detail about the place I panicked. Alhambra sells limited number of tickets both online and for day visitors. When I checked for availability of tickets, all online tickets were sold out for that day 19th May 2015. This meant I have to be on time at the ticket counter for that day’s ticket. Though the thought of not being able to get tickets for that day kept nagging me I kept the thought aside and we stuck to our original route plan.

Barcelona to Granada was a long journey but not tiring. After a short tour of Granada streets and early dinner we retired to bed setting the alarm to wake up soon. Rick Steves had advised: Same day tickets are virtually never available unless you are willing to get up very early and wait in line.

Ticket counters open at 8. We planned to be there by 6.30, but inspite of all rush we made it there at 6.45. We were disappointed seeing the long queue and gave up hopes of getting the same day ticket. But no sooner did we stand in the queue more tourists poured in and within 5 minutes the line length was almost double. They all must have read Rick Steves I thought.

Some good sense had prevailed the previous night and I had made arrangements for light breakfast, packing up scones and muffins. We stood in queue munching on these for next two hours slightly hopeful slightly nervous whether we would make it to the ticket counter before the tickets get over. At sharp 8, the counters opened, the display board kept updating the status on tickets.

Alhambra general, this is the only ticket which allows you to see Palacios Nazaries during the day. There were around 325 tickets for the day split between 8.30hrs to 14.00hrs and 14.00hrs to 20.00hrs. The bookings for 19th night were made at Seville so we had to leave Granada by evening whether we get to see Palacios Nazaries or not.

As we neared the ticket counter there were 7 or 8 couples ahead of us when the board showed 22 tickets remaining. It was a nail biting wait for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Finally!!!! We had the tickets in hand; it took some time for the feeling of happiness to sink in. We got the last slot, visit time was 19.00hrs. That meant it would be atleast 20.30 hrs when we leave for Seville, a long 3 hrs drive. We decided to worry about it later, the next agenda was to have a decent breakfast!

The moral of this story is: Plan your visit well and book your tickets in advance, else you will be like one of those million tourists who come all the way to Granada and go back without seeing Palacios Nazaries in Alhambra.

Where and how to get tickets to Alhambra.

Jun 20, 2015

Faces of India - 218

Indians in Barcelona. This post is dedicated to Father’s Day being celebrated on 21st June. I saw this father and son intensely involved in this activity of bird feeding. The father was encouraging his young son to feed the pigeons with grains in his hand. The son too equally brave continued feeding the birds.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here.