Our first week in Spain was spent in Calahonda, outside the city of Málaga, along the Mediterranean coast. From Málaga, we took a bus to the city of Granada - our next stop. We stayed in a nice apartment for 3 days and explored the city.
Without a doubt, the biggest attraction in Granada - and one of the most visited attractions in all of Spain - is The Alhambra. It is a fortress and palace complex that started as a small fortress in AD 889. The Moorish King of Granada renovated it in the 11th century and it was converted into a royal palace by the Sultan of Granada in 1333. In 1492 the site became the royal court of Ferdinand and Isabella, where Christopher Columbus received the royal endorsement for his expedition. This magnificent complex embodies centuries of history and sits strategically atop a rocky hill, surrounded by woods. It's visible from most of the surrounding countryside.
We spent most of a day exploring the complex and I know we didn't see all of it. Here are just a few of the sights inside The Alhambra:
The small apartment building in which we stayed turned out to be right below The Alhambra. We could look out the back window, up the hill, and see part of the Alhambra walls. In fact, at the end of our tour we walked down the hill to our apartment building.
We spent a lot of time walking around the city. We were impressed with how clean it was and it was fun exploring all the narrow streets and city sights.
Another impressive and memorable part of our time in Granada was our visit to the Basilica San Juan de Dios (St. John of God Basilica). I have never seen so much gold in one place! The basilica is incredibly ornate, with gold everywhere you look. The artistry and craftsmanship is unbelievable. Construction began on this incredible structure in 1737 and finished in 1759.
After a busy 3 days in Granada, we took the train to Seville. Actually, we left the Granada train station on a bus, which connected to the train in Antequera - Santa Ana (about 30 minutes away).