May 19, 2022

All the world’s an island: Correspondent Carol-Ann covers the Globe with only a back pack Part Three

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Carol-Ann-Rudy1By Carol-Ann Rudy

This is a continuing story of iNews Cayman’s correspondent Carol-Ann Rudy’s journey across Europe.

The Incomparable Alhambra

The hills of Granada and the palace-fortress of The Alhambra were waiting for me as I set out from my bed-and-breakfast, the Olympia Pensión, in the center of Granada. Through narrow, colorful streets I walked in my Børn shoes, my comfortable companions throughout the trip. I passed airy plazas and ancient buildings piled almost on top of each other. “Oh, it’s only about 20 minutes to the Alhambra,” I had been told by the owner, a lovely Dutch woman, and interpreted by one of the other guests. About 45 minutes later, in 85°-plus heat, I finished trudging up a long tree-shaded hill after stopping for water twice, draining my one liter bottle. I had left my 20-pound backpack in my room or wouldn’t have made it when I did. Nearing the top, I saw a restaurant with taxis and took one for the last quarter of a mile. Once there, I was happy to have a reserved ticket waiting for me but still had to face a half hour wait in line.

After admittance, I headed to the Nasrid Palace. My scheduled entry time was 5:30—me and a couple of hundred others. But in spite of the trials of getting there, this fabled palace did not disappoint. All that was missing were the silk hangings, cushions and occupants in the costumes of the original inhabitants. I spent a long time walking the halls cooled by breezes, including a half hour in one of the gardens sketching. In some parts of the palace, the two major occupations—Muslim and Christian—were evidenced by distinctions in the art of the carvings, tiles, and architecture. For me, there was a sense of timelessness, partly influenced by my early art history studies, books, and photos of the treasure that is The Alhambra.

It was difficult to find a space not populated by other tourists. I had my Nikon Coolpix camera and took at least a hundred photos. Somehow I found myself not resenting the presence of others in my shots knowing they were there for much the same reason as I. Looking back, it was a strange, new sensation for me to be alone for many of the days I spent in Europe, surrounded by others, and seldom hearing or speaking with other English speakers. However, I recognized it was not loneliness. I experienced the same calm that someone on a formal retreat probably feels, confirming what it is to be human, making our presence known in some small way in this vast world in which we live.

I visited other buildings in the Alhambra but what affected me most, other than the Nasrid Palace, was standing on the ramparts of the fort overlooking Granada. The atmosphere shimmering in the distance, looking over the multitude of red tile roofs in the city below, and the warmth of the red stone of the fortress against the green hills of Granada is an image I’ll carry with me always.

After several hours, it was time to make my way back. It was too, too easy: 15 minutes in a taxi to the door of my Pensión! I donned hosiery and the one skirt and pair of heels I had packed, and headed out the door to catch a bus to dinner and a Flamenco show. Like almost every purchase for my trip, I had bought my ticket ahead of time. I walked a few blocks to the bus and marveled at the throngs of people everywhere, happy and laughing in the lingering twilight.

A short trip to the Venta El Gallo, which is a restaurant built into one of many caves of Sacromonte. Two glasses of wine and the dancing began. Flamenco has to be considered one of the most expressive dances. I enjoyed it thoroughly although I found myself comparing it to the Flamenco I knew at one night club in Miami in the early nineties—with dancers, singers and musicians to equal those at the Venta and not nearly so far from home.

Dance and wine completed, I boarded the return bus—and experienced a fast, wild ride down the hillside streets to the heart of Granada, to the Olympia and bed to be ready for the next day’s adventure.

Next: Barcelona and The Mediterranean

IMAGES: carol-ann rudy

1.         Alhambra 9

2.         Alhambra 30

3.       Alhambra 14

4.        Alhambra Court of the Lions

5.       Alhambra exterior view 13

6.         Alhambra 4

7.       Alhambra 28

To read the first part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the glove with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 11 2014 go to:

To read the second part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the glove with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 18 2014 go to:








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  1. Irene Michelle F. says

    I’ve really enjoyed your articles! I’m in love with the photos of the Alhambra. I’m amazed by the intricate details put into the cravings in the archways. It resembles the architecture in Morocco. I’m planning a trip to Morocco in the next year or so. I’m attracted to its style and colors.

  2. Carol-Ann Rudy says

    Hi, Michelle! The carvings resemble those in Morocco because the Alhambra was built and occupied (as was Spain) by Muslims for several centuries, and of course the inhabitants of Morocco were and are Muslim as well. So very happy for you; I wish you well in your plans to visit Morocco next year.

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