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October 11, 12, 2022
When the Sultans of the Nasrid Emirate built the Alhambra in the 13th century, little did they know that it would become a treasure of Spanish architecture today. This Granada landmark is one of the great tourist draws of Europe and a grand adventure. The Standly’s, Krahn’s and Paluch’s discovered the tranquil beauty that Kathy and I discovered in a previous trip. The snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada range behind the Alhambra were utilized to bring ice cold water to refrigerate the palace where nary a drop of water was wasted as it created pools and fountains and irrigated gardens while slowly descending down the slopes of the massive palace grounds. It is a marvel of ancient engineering and is a showcase of Moorish wall and ceiling carvings. After the Reconquista ended the 700 year rule of the Moors in Spain in 1692, the Alhambra became a royal palace of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and it was from here that their interaction with Columbus led to the European discovery of the “new” world.
Granada’s Roman Catholic Cathedral is also magnificent. The second largest in Europe, its use of gold highlights throughout the light-filled space is marvelous. The gold pipe organ cases (four) reaching toward the high ceilings were stellar.
We enjoyed eating at area restaurants where tapas were popular. By this time on our journey through Spain, we have a judging system of which restaurants in which cities have the best individual tapas plates—i.e. garlic shrimp or fried camembert. That is fun as we all have our favorites and debate the merits of the individual small plates.
An amazing side note: 5,000 plus miles from home we have run into young friends and had delightful conversations. First, we ran into Rock Graham in Seville on a busy side street near the cathedral. He called out, “Pastor Graumann!” What a surprise! Visiting Spain for a wedding, he said he heard my voice, which was unmistakable to him. He commented later, “I met the pastor who baptized and confirmed me over 5,000 miles from home.” A few days later in Granada, in the cathedral, there was a tap on my shoulder and Hunter Gatewood was quick to give Kathy and me a hug. Our shock at seeing him only increased as Nick and Matt Wanner appeared. All were excellent students at Salem Lutheran School back in the day. The three young men were on a trip to Europe. We had a grand visit as the Paluch’s and Standly’s also knew the young men. We had a marvelous visit catching up. These accidental encounters in Seville and Granada were a highlight for us, and we know their parents are very proud of the young men their sons have become!