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Mysteries of Granada

For me, part of the allure of travelling is learning about the cultural roots of a destination.  It is most intriguing to discover the daily rituals of long-lost inhabitants and about the historical influences that shaped the culture of present day.  Granada, a city tucked in Southern Spain retains much of its Moorish heritage with its winding streets, dusty stone masonry and arab souks.  Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the majesty of ancient Granada continues to inspire awe and wonder.

Mystical and Spiritual: Come with me inside the Nasrid Palace's inner courtyard.

Alhambra – Perched atop a hilltop vista, the entrance to the vast grounds of the Alhambra is a steep hour & a half trek uphill.  Book your ticket a week in advance as entry is regulated to half hour intervals and regularly sells out weeks in advance.  To make the most of your tour, take at least a half day to stroll the grounds in their entirety.  From the glorious vibrant zilij and ornamental inscriptions of the Nasrid palaces, to the lush gardens of Generalife and the panoramic tower views of the city, there is much natural beauty to take in on your excursion.

The Hammam traitionally consisted of a warm bath, massage, steam and cold shower.

The Arab Baths – Take a brief tour of the remains of the Banos Arabes, a non-descript building which leads into many ancient adjoining chambers housing steam rooms and communal baths.  Stare aimlessly at the interesting ceilings accented by rays of sunshine gleaming through the star motif carvings.  Then book a relaxing traditional arab bath at The Hammam of Granada, quietly nestled in the Albaicin.  Enjoy an early evening doing the water circuit (cold, tepid and hot followed by a steam) and sample a cup or two of refreshing Morrocan tea in your bikini.  Glide onto the streets with your post-spa high, recline on a fountain while sampling a new flavour of gelato.  ‘Tis life!

Beware Gitanas (gypsies) in the Albaicin. Do not accept random herbs or palm readings from strangers. Trust.

Alcaiceria – Due to Spain’s proximity to Northern Africa and the Middle East, there are many exotic influences that continue to dominate the city landscape.  The Alcaiceria, once the Moorish silk bazaar, now houses numerous souvenir shops.  Brightly woven textiles, tooled leather purses, Morrocan teacups, evil eyes, filigree lanterns and harem pants can be purchased in the narrow lanes (a gypset’s heaven on earth).

You may not be near a beach, but the city has a definite boho vibe: Tibi Lava Print Caftan

SATC 2: You could totally wear this on vacation in Granada. To-tal-ly.

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1 comment

1 Meg Mitchell { 06.29.11 at 11:37 am }

Makes me want to hop the next plane …. it does look lovely. So exotic.

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