Not Only, But Also!

So here we are, yet another New Year, and what have we got? Peace in our time? An end to starvation? No! There have been fairly recent explosions in Cairo again and more one-off terrorist incidents all over the place! But in Cairo, was it general Middle-Eastern terrorism, or just a violent protest by some disenchanted pressure group against El Sisi's government. Whichever; it only means that more people will jump on the bandwagon of boycotting Egypt!

It sickens me, that so many stupid people rush to condemn a whole country because of a tiny minority! I'm sick of reading folk's comments like "I can't believe that anyone is still going to such a dangerous and backward place?" without them having the slightest knowledge of Egypt's kindly, protective people, or its world-beating antiquities or the searing heat of an Egyptian summer, or the cooling, refreshing breezes of their short Autumn and Spring. (And that's before we even look at their own country's dismal efforts at keeping their population safe!)

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to face Egyptian friends (many being highly educated people with university degrees) who are trying to secure, even dish-washing, jobs in foreign countries, by paying bribes! It's heartbreaking.

But enough of that sort of thing, you don't come here to listen to me harping-on about the hardships of my friends, do you, Dear Reader? Let's get back to something a bit more cheery, eh? How about our trip to Andalusia? (Spain, you know?)

What a queer place! Streets not wide enough to drive a car along, some so steep that they become steps.

No doubt, you'll notice that these pictures show streets which are cobbled, but with pebbles instead of stone "sets". I can assure you that they are very uncomfortable to walk on for any length of time!

We found little Arab/Muslim shops in a miniature souq area right
behind a HUGE Roman Catholic Cathedral.

All very incongruous, I can tell you! I didn't know whether I was coming or going. These shops were typical of other Arab type souqs we've discovered elsewhere; lots of smallish shops selling the same sort of stock at similar prices, with just a little variation here and there.

It was also here that we came across this "Bull in a China Shop"!

I was taken aback to realise, after a second glance, that the fancy stonework around these windows was only painted on! (Don't forget that by clicking in any picture you can see them altogether and bigger!)

We were only there for a few days, so had to get acquainted with our surroundings pretty quickly, hence Freda had booked a sightseeing 'bus/train tour. As we waited where it was supposed to stop, I kept thinking "An articulated 'bus cannot possibly negotiate that "U" bend!" But, it did, Dear Reader.

And it also managed to navigate the streets which were only wide enough for a single car to squeeze down. They are obviously specially built for the purpose, and not too bad either. Each row of three seater, padded, benches has its own entrance and exit door (At this point I should point out that they would never, in a million years, pass the British "Certificate of Fitness for Public Service Vehicles" test.) and are relatively comfortable, especially as the whole journey only takes 50 minutes or so, and you can jump off (literally, as they are quite high) and back on another throughout the whole route, all day. Vision is good, especially with having a glass ceiling/roof, to view the fabulous carvings and figures set along the rooflines of various buildings.

The windows stretch all the way around the little vehicles, with only very narrow pillars for doors and window glass. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour, and it did familiarise us with the main areas of interest. Recommended!

I was interested in the everyday shops, easily recognised for what they sell by the names, thus:

                  Or so I thought, until I came across this one:

                              No, I don't believe it either!

And, it wasn't just the shops which were if interest! When did you last see a British bank with an entrance like this:

But, of course, any British bank worth its salt would have ripped out such beauty and sold it to add to their disgusting profits!!!

Of course, the actual point of the visit was to see the famous AlHambra, the fortified palace where the invading Muslim kings lived, and it's certainly worth the trip! I've never seen plasterwork or joinery so exquisitely fashioned. Some of the intricacy was staggering!

Mind you, the hotel we stayed at was also astonishingly beautiful too. Being ten minutes walk to the ticket office at the AlHambra and two minutes from where the local mini-buses and the City Tour Artic stops, it's also very handy!  

Here's the front of the hotel;

And one from the dining terrace which runs all along the outside of bar and restaurant.

That's Granada, many feet (sorry, metres!) below, I'm sure I took some more interesting pics of this fabulous view, but I cannot find them at the mo.

The interior of the hotel also had loads of very intricate platerwork, but when I inspected it closely, it became apparent that the beautiful finish on the walls was actually a large number of pre-formed panels!!! We have shops here in Luxor which make and sell pre-formed plaster decoration; corbels, ceiling roses, cornice etc. but nothing like these, I'm sorry to say.

Here are a few shots taken inside the hotel;

Sorry, but I've no idea what happened to the colour on that first pic! Suffice it to say that the hotel was beautiful, and matched all of our expectations!

Back to the Alhambra itself, some of it is in ruins, but a good deal of the place is intact. It's a big site, with walkways and narrow roads criss-crossing here and there. I was very surprised to came across a "Dempster Dinosaur" (probably not an actual Dempster, but a later copy). For those of you who have now lost their way here; the Dempster Dinosaur was an innovation in commercial vehicle bodywork! Interesting? Read on......
As far as I'm aware, this style of body was the first to be able to be hydraulically removed and replaced along with its load. This picture comes courtesy of "Classic Refuse"

When first introduced they were quite a sight to see! But I never imagined that I'd come across one quite like this:

Tiny, or what????

Well, Dear Reader, perhaps that's enough about Spains Andalusia in a blog about Egypt? You know me, I could go on all day, and I'm sorry that I've abandoned you and your Egyptian appetite for so long. We'll have to wait and see what Luxor can turn up in the next few days or weeks to tickle my fancy.  

1 comment:

  1. Hooray! Not one but 3 great posts in quick succession! Glad you've had a good time in both the UK and Spain and looking forward to reading some more about your adventures!