I wanted to add some visual flash to my Home page, so I turned to my son Gabe’s beautiful photo of the Alhambra at dawn, also on my FB page. Why am I so attached to this image? Because my child made it? Because my favorite color is blue? Yes, but here’s the real story.
My wife Sarah, Gabe, and I visited the Costa del Sol in Spain one winter (off-season cheap timeshare deal). The one thing I was determined to do was see the medieval Islamic fortress, The Alhambra, in Granada. I knew its history would show up in a later book of 1001, and I wanted to take in its magical atmosphere. I was told you could get same-day entry tickets if you went to the gate well before opening. We camped out at a hotel at the foot of the huge hill The Alhambra sits atop, and before dawn I walked up the side path alongside the fortress walls, waited in the bitter cold for an hour, and proudly faced the Spanish ticket seller. He told me the early tickets were only good for the first entrance of the day – in less than an hour!
Miraculously, a taxi pulled up out of nowhere. With barely enough money left, the cab crawled (!) down the hill, waited at the hotel while I terrified my family into getting dressed and racing back up to the Alhambra. Worried about my sanity, they jogged along with me as we entered the grounds, huffing and puffing toward the Nasrid Palaces that had twenty minute entries. We got there just as the guard was about to let in the next group, and staggered into the first room. The sun was just rising as the moon began to set.
At that moment, Gabe calmly snapped this beatific picture out the portico pillars, framing the dawning azure sky with the moon above and the old palace walls in the distance. It meant so much to me that we had made our victorious entry into the palace that I will always treasure this image. Now it adorns the entry into the 1001 series.