54 Days at Sea — Alhambra, Spain


Alhambra, Spain

MS Prinsendam left Madeira on April 3 heading for a scheduled docking in Tangier, Morocco two days later. We didn’t make it. Approaching the Strait of Gibraltar, we encountered near-hurricane force winds and high seas. When we turned south toward Tangier the ship immediately rolled probably 20 degrees or more from the sudden broadside of wind, and everything not nailed down slide off tables and shelves, crashing onto  floors throughout the ship. The captain ordered MS Prinsendam turned back into the wind and announced that we were bypassing Tangier for our next port of call, Málaga, Spain. How bad was our passage through the Pillars of Hercules? I put together this little YouTube piece incorporating both still images and video I took from the Crow’s Nest bar above the bridge of the MS Prinsendam:

Ursula and I wouldn’t be spending much time in Málaga, however. We had another destination in mind. Less than two hours from Málaga is the fortress-palace of Alhambra. This place positively drips with history. Alhambra’s foundations date back to A.D. 889, when the Romans built on this site a small fortress. Construction of the current palace began shortly after 1238, commissioned by Muhammad I of Granada. Nearly a century later, in 1333, Sultan Yusuf I of Granada dessginated Alhambra his Royal Palace, and in 1492 (does that year ring a bell?) Alhambra was occupied by Isabella and Ferdinand. It was here, at Alhambra, that Christopher Columbus gained his commission from Isabella I to voyage across the Atlantic.

Alhambra, Spain

Alhambra’s 14th Century Moorish origins are reflected in its Islamic architecture. Below is a an image I took of arabesque carved into some of the plaster arches:

Alhambra, Spain

Of course, no palace is complete without exquisite and meticulously manicured gardens:

Alhambra, Spain

Alhambra, Spain

And no palatial garden is complete without impressive  fountains:

Alhambra, Spain

Alhambra, Spain

While Alhambra is a palace in appearance, its surrounding walls are a reminder that it also served as a fortress:

Alhambra, Spain

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