18.12.2012 - 18.12.2012 14 °C
We travelled from Granada to Valencia today, looking forward to three nights in the same place instead of just one. Abby and I awoke to find our parents talking to our grandparents this morning, and found out that my grandpa had been scheduled for surgery today. We wish him all the best.
Before we got the main journey underway, we went to visit the Alhambra, an intricate Islamic palace that was constructed during the 10th century and expanded for hundreds of years after even after the Moors were evicted in the 15th century. It's currently the most visited site in Spain, drawing approximately three million visitors a year. It seemed like every inch was covered in carvings or mosaics. My mom read a book called Symmetry: A Journey into the Patterns of Nature which explains that there are 17 types of symmetry. Each type can be found in the Alhambra, though we definitely didn't find all of them. We spent a long time in each room, admiring the Arabic script and elaborate designs. There were a few fountains too, as well as some pretty gardens that again made us question whether it really was that close to winter. We even found a koi pond. There was a small museum as well, but it was slightly underwhelming compared to what we had just seen. The area it was located in was more impressive, a sort of arena framed with columns and balconies. It made you think of gladiators. Eventually, though, we decided that it was time to head off to our next destination.
After the tour we ate lunch on the hood of the car, and then started on the five hour long drive to Valencia. We didn't stop once, so we got there around quarter after six, but that's not when we arrived at our apartment. We ended up wandering the streets for a bit, trying to locate address 28 on the correct street next to the correct restaurant. After about half an hour, we finally succeeded, and were let in by a friendly cleaner, who showed us to our apartment. It's enormous. When we first entered, I thought that each door in the hallway led to a separate apartment. Turns out those were just the bedrooms and bathrooms. There's enough hallway to start at a jog, get up to speed, and slow down again without hitting the wall at the other end. After a debate about who got which room (my parents got the one of their choice, as usual, but we don't complain as they're kind of paying for the place) and a coin toss, we settled in. My room's bigger and has a closet, while Abby's has its own TV. There's even an extra room with two single beds, just in case Abby and I decide that we prefer sharing. I doubt this will happen. Dinner was soup, which we always keep on hand since our night in Les Brulins (dedicated readers will know what I'm talking about), and bread with oil and vinegar. Abby had bought Dad what she thought was Spanish "turron", or nougat, with almonds, as we got nougat with peanuts last time. It turned out to be a sort of fudgy, chocolately bar with crisped rice instead. Delicious nonetheless. Dad and I went out for a quick emergency grocery shop, and then settled down for the evening in the apartment we will call home for the next few days. I think that we'll be visiting Valencia's aquarium while we're here. It'll be quite the change from the museums, castles and markets of late.