Saturday, January 13, 2018

Atlantic Adventurer Cruise: Day 14, Malaga, Spain

Friday, November 3, 2017
Day 14, Malaga, Spain

This morning we docked at our first port in Spain, Malaga, which is the first of five straight days in Spain.  Malaga is on the southern coast of Spain and is one of the oldest cities in the world with its history going back over 2,800 years.  It is the sixth largest city in Spain with a population of around 570,000 and is the southernmost large city in Europe.

We had a ship excursion that left at 8:00 so we were up early (it seemed too early for us).  It was barely daylight and the weather appeared to be overcast.  There were 5 ships in port today so the town and tour operators were going to be very busy.

An early arrival, but another ship had arrived even earlier.
Our tour for the day was to visit the city of Granada and the Alhambra.  After a quick bite in the Neptune Lounge we were off to join our tour and get on our way.  We had a long bus ride ahead of us as it took over two hours to get there, but thankfully the bus wasn’t very full so we could spread out.

As we left Malaga and drove through the countryside, we saw mile after mile of olive trees.  Olives are an important crop in the Mediterranean.  Once again the country reminded us our area in California with its mountainous and dry terrain.

Olive trees cover the hillsides as we drove to Granada.

We made one stop on the way to stretch our legs, grab a snack if we wanted one and most importantly, use the restrooms.  We arrived in Granada, which is a very interesting and historic city, but we only had time for one stop to get an overview of the city and then we were on our way out of town to the Alhambra.

The city of Granada.
The Alhambra is quite an amazing place rather than try to explain it myself, here is a quote from the Lonely Planet website.

"The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture. Set against a backdrop of brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, this fortified palace complex started life as a walled citadel before going on to become the opulent seat of Granada’s Nasrid emirs. Their showpiece palaces, the 14th-century Palacios Nazaríes, are among the finest Islamic buildings in Europe and, together with the gorgeous Generalife gardens, form the Alhambra's great headline act."

Over 8,000 people a day visit the
Alhambra so the tours our tightly controlled to keep the flow moving without too much overcrowding.  We met our guide outside the Alhambra and promptly started our two and a half hour tour at our scheduled time of 11:30.  We were all issued a headset and receiver to go around our necks so we could hear everything the guide said even if we were not close to her.  It worked very well, especially with so many other people around us.

We wait for our group to be called.
It is hard to really describe how wonderful the Alhambra is so I will just show some of the numerous pictures we took.  The first part of our tour took us through some beautiful gardens before we started touring the complex itself.  Our guide did not give us a map of the grounds so even though she told us what we are seeing, I really can't remember what they are.

We enter into the gardens.

The two and a half hour tour passed quickly and although we saw a lot, it would take a lot more time to see everything and explore things in depth.  Our guide was very good and we really enjoyed our time with her.  We estimated that we probably walked over three miles and our feet and legs felt like it, we were pretty tired.  

There are several hotels at the Alhambra site and our tour included lunch in one of them.  It was a buffet style lunch and to be honest, not all that great.  We were entertained by Spanish musicians while we ate, but that didn't make the food any better.  After lunch we had a little time to walk around before we met the bus for our trip back to the ship, but after a quick look at the shops, we just sat and rested.

Even though the buffet was not very memorable, we enjoyed the music while we ate.
It was finally time to get back on the bus for the ride back to ship and it was a tired, but happy group for the trip back.  We once again made one rest stop, but otherwise it was an uneventful ride to the ship.  The all aboard time was at 5:30 today, but we didn’t make it back until just before 6:00.  Not a problem though, the ship will always wait if a ship excursion is late; they are not so patient for private tours.

We had a great time today, but returned to the ship very tired.  We didn’t have much time to rest as it was soon time to get ready for dinner.  I decided to skip trivia tonight as I wanted to download and backup all of our pictures before dinner.  I met Val and the trivia team just before dinner and talked for a while before making our way to the dining room.  It was the casino after dinner and my luck ended as I was quickly on my way back to the room.

Today was a great day and we really enjoyed our visit to the
Alhambra. Tomorrow we continue our visit to Spain with a stop in the town of Cartagena.

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