As I stepped out of the afternoon sun into the cool rooms of the palace, I exhaled and let myself sink deeply into the vacation mindset, with everything else - work, cellphone, commutes, housework, everything - a million miles away.
We could not have picked two more unlike cities for our first two stops than Barcelona and Granada. Barcelona has a unique look as the epicenter of the Modernisme movement, led by Gaudi and his peers. I loved the organic forms and the exuberance of color.
The Dragon in Park Guell
Casa Batllo, which from across the street looked to
me like a melting wedding cake
Inside Sagrada Familia
I really found Sagrada Familia to be the most stunning of the churches that I have ever been in - and trust me, that is saying something (ie: that includes St. Peter's Basilica, St. Paul's in London, St Pat's in NY, Notre Dame, the Duomo in Florence, and many many others - this blows them away).
On the other hand, Moorish influence dominates Granada like the Alhambra standing guard over the city and the whitewashed houses in the oldest parts of town.
The Alhambra is such a different "palace" than what one normally thinks of as a home of kings or queens. The size is modest and there is no gold-encrusted anything, no portraits and no monuments. However, the rooms are so beautiful and the sound of water is ever-present in the many courtyards throughout the complex.
Phineas is tapping his foot since we are still in Madrid with much to do. So, enough for now. Next up: Seville.