For the life of me I cannot get my phone alarm set right when I’m not in Seattle. I like keeping my settings on Pacific time when I travel so I’m not late for work meetings, but it complicates the alarm setting process. So the alarm failed to go off at the scheduled time. Fortunately the internal alarm got me up with a sufficient amount of time. A helpful hint I got from Rick Steves is a lot of tourist hot spots let you buy or reserve tickets online allowing you to avoid the lines. Apparently people without tickets will start to line up around 6:30am in hopes of being able to get in without suffering in too long of a line. I was pretty stoked about having my space reserved.
I wandered around the block in search of a taxi. I wasn’t having much luck but I did happen across a hotel. I popped in and asked the man at the front desk if he could call me a taxi. I feel like its cheating since I’m not a guest at the hotel, but I’ll take the help wherever I can get it at this point.
I hop out of the taxi and head for the line. I happened to fall in line right behind an Australian couple who had also reserved a ticket. The wife went out to see if we were in the right line and she came back with a faster alternative, the nearly unknown kiosks at the end of the vistors center. As we claimed our tickets we struck up a conversation and new friends were made. Angie and Alan were kind enough to let me play third wheel as we navigated the immense. Again, I was enjoying having people to talk to and share the experience. Angie was a fantastic “scout”, always going ahead to make sure we were in the right line or location.
Angie had been in Europe for about 3 months, and Alan had joined her last month. They were walking the Camino trail. I know they crossed paths with the pilgrims, but it wasn’t clear to me if they were part of the pilgrimage. Fascinating couple and I was thankful they allowed me to be the 3rd wheel.
I don’t have words that sufficiently describe Alhambra. The complex has more than 60 points of interest, at least 12 that they list as “do not miss…”. I was disappointed I didn’t take advantage of the audio tour as I’m sure the history involving the complex is fascinating. The Nasrid Palaces are the highlight. Its another great example of rulers and religions trying to one-up each other. I tried to imagine what it was like when the first court was created in 1237. I wonder how simple it was in the beginning compared to how elaborate and decadent it is now. It is amazing for sure.
They suggest at least 3 hours to tour the complex and we stayed until the end of our time slot, all told about 5 hours. You have to reserve a time slot for The Nasrid Palaces portion of the complex, and they limit your time to an hour. I don’t know if its typical, but it was probably 10 past the hour before we were allowed into the Palace. I feel for the people at the end of the line, not sure how much time they actually got in the Palaces.
We wrapped up the tour and I said goodbye to Angie and Alan. I very much enjoyed my morning but it was time for me to return to the flat and think about getting my work day started.