Thursday, September 9, 2010

La Alcazaba

Well, our friends have had a lovely week here with us and they are now busy packing for their flight home tonight, so I thought I would make a start on this blog. We did have some nice trips out together, including browsing around the markets, a day on the lovely beach at the bottom of this page, and yesterday we went to La Alcazaba in Almeria city. I have seen it from the motorway when it is all lit up at night, but I didn't know much about it. Originally an Islamic palace, it was built somewhen before the 12th century, and in 1489 it was taken over by the catholic monarch who built a Christian castle on top of part of the Islamic building. Most of it is now ruins, but some areas have been carefully renovated, and some are still the sites of archaeological exploration. On a hill to the east of it, joined by a long, steep wall,
ere is a big statue of Christ. We drove to Almeria, and then spent ages going round and round a system of small streets, before, finally finding a parking space, and from there we walked up through a fairly old part of the city, past a big cathedral, eventually coming to the entrance to Al Alcazaba. The climb to the statue on the hill was too daunting on such a hot day, and we weren't sure my leg would manage all the steps, so we went to the main site. It is one of those rare places, a good, interesting place to visit with no entrance fee for residents in the EU! We spent several hours wandering through the lovely gardens, climbing up steps to the towers and walkways on the walls, stepping over ruined areas where rocks and cobbles poked up through the ground, and discovering new courtyards, towers and seating areas around every corner. We found a lovely garden that was an oasis of cool in a hot courtyard, with lots of trees around the edge and a long rectangular pool down the middle that had all sizes and colours of koi carp in it, and big blue dragonflies hovering over lemon yellow water lilies. It was modelled on the courtyards of the Allambra Palace in Granada, and was a lovely place to sit and rest before exploring some more. There were lovely archways, everywhere; some rounded and some in the traditional Islamic key-hole shape. From the top of the towers the view over the city was amazing. There was a riot of different coloured buildings, with the deep blue sea and harbour beyond them, and on the other side of the castle you looked over more colourful houses and the motorway going over what looked like a tiny bridge over a wide valley. It was very beautiful and we enjoyed our time there.

We were going to look inside the cathedral on our way down but it had closed for siesta time, so we had a nice lunch and then went down to the beach. It seems strange to have a major city rising right up from the sea, but there is a long, long road flanked by high-rise flats and offices, and across the road is the sea. Because there is so much space, the high blocks are not imposing, and it is really very attractive. There was a gentle breeze, which was welcome as it was a very hot day, but it was blowing in the right direction to whip up some lively waves that were breaking with lots of white foam along the harbour rocks, but we went down the sand and paddled anyway, and then we sat in the sun to dry our feet and eat an icecream before the drive home.

I was pleased at how well i managed to keep walking and climbing flights of rough stone steps in Al Alcazaba, though my leg is decidely tender today. but it probably did it good to be properly exercised, and a few days rest will have it back to 'normal' I hope. We are just going up to the little white village of Bedar now, to have dinner before driving John and Jenny to the airport, but later tonight I will put a folder of Alcazaba photos on my gallery. I took so many and could only pick a few to go on here. So do take a look. They will definitely be there by tomorrow. (

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