June 22- June 25: Days Six Through Nine

The Moorish Quarter:

The Alhambra:

The Jewish Quarter:

The Sierra Nevada:

On Thursday we got to see the Moorish quarter of Granada. The houses there are called Carmens, which comes from an Arabic term meaning grapevine or inner beauty. We had a beautiful view after walking uphill through what seemed like endless, narrow, cobblestone streets. We then went to an Arabic tea house and spent some time in the local markets before making the trek back. The following day we went back (by taxi), this time to the Alhambra. The careful, finite details that were sculpted into the walls by the Muslims who once lived there were absolutely astonishing to see. There was also a stark difference between the Christian and Muslim architecture, which I found really interesting. On Saturday we went on another cultural excursion, this time to the Jewish quarter. There we saw charming, decorated houses along with the work of a muralist on one of the walls. We meandered up a rather large hill to see “Carmen de los Mártires” (the House of the Martyrs), which used to be a prison for Christians captured by the Muslims during the reconquest of Spain. There I witnessed my first three peacocks and got a taste of yet another beautiful view of Granada. After venturing so far into the cultural history of the area, on Sunday we went hiking in the Sierra Nevada. As someone who has always lived in a place where a small bump in the road can be regarded as a hill, this really was a stunning experience. We traveled through and between three quaint mountain villages, stopping to drink water straight from the mountain, to see a woman use a 150 year old loom to create a cloth, and of course to take about 5,000 pictures (don’t worry- I didn’t include all of them). I truly gained a whole new level of appreciation for the hard working people who live in the mountains. All in all, it was a beautiful way to end my week.

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