Last September, I was lucky enough to go on a trip to finally discover the best spots in Spain. The main reason for the trip was to attend an Islamic Pattern Study trip in Granada held by The Art of Islamic Pattern with Adam Williamson and Richard Henry, well-known masters in Islamic patterns in London. I always wanted to go to Spain since I started my interior design degree years ago. So, that was the perfect motivation. The course was four days in Granada. I got there two days earlier to discover the city and to go on a quick visit to Cordoba.
Cordoba and Granada were two of the major cities in Andalusia and hold so much historic importance, read more about the history in Britannica. They were also very beautiful and worth a visit.
One Day in Cordoba
Cordoba is two-hour drive from Granada. After reading lots of reviews and comparisons for the transport options, I decided to take the bus, but I met two ladies from the course who were driving there and I tagged along. The drive was peaceful and quiet. We passed by the country landscape, which was covered in fields of olive trees. The main attraction there is the Mezquita Cathedral. It was a church then transformed into a mosque. After the conquest of the Muslims, it was turned into a big Cathedral. It was such a wonderful place and felt like two faiths have come together in harmony. On the way there, my friends and I saw a lovely old house that was preserved from the 12th century called Casa Andalusi. The design was very Moorish. We ended the day with some delicious authentic Moroccan food at Teteria Petra.
Five Days In Granada
I spent five days in Granada in the old touristy part of town. The activities below could be condensed into three or even two days, but the longer you spend there the better. Granada is such a lovely city with a lot of charm.
Day One: It only took me two hours from London to Granada via the London City Airport. I wanted the first day to be relaxed, so I only walked around the city and enjoyed the scenery. I stumbled upon the Granada University and the old Islamic School, Madrasa. I also passed by the contemporary side, where all the big high street brands were easily accessible.
Day Two: The course was held in the Granada mosque, Mezquita Mayor de Granada, which is in front of the Mirador de San Nicolas the best view point to get a full view of Alhambra. The location was great and it was interesting to meet a number of Spanish Muslims. Later that day, the class and I went on a guided tour through Albayzín with Alandalus Experience Tours led by Ahmad Zaruq. It was very interesting going through the old sites, taking in all the information and seeing the heritage and the history of the place.
Day Three: The third day, was mostly class based, but after the class, I walked with friends to the small Moroccan inspired shops, where we had fresh sweets, tea and enjoyed some live music from a local street band.
Day Four: The fourth day was completely dedicated to Alhambra. I was waiting for that day since the start of the trip. The suspense to see that piece of art was killing me. It was worth the wait. It was completely gorgeous and covered with beautiful carved and painted patterns. Having some art background helped my appreciate it. The more I read about it now, the more I long to go experience it again. The Gardens were also very beautiful and we had a drawing session there where we got to experience the place to the fullest. The shop was wonderful and full of worthy products.
Day Five: The last day was the perfect ending for my creative Granada trip. For lunch, a group of friends and I went for some traditional paella. The usual one comes with all kinds of sea food, so if you are like me and do not eat all sea food makes sure you tell them in advance or you will end up paying for two paellas. Afterwards, the class and I attended a leather workshop at Munira Mendonça. Munira shared her amazing skills with us and I loved learning so much about leather and carving it. If you are there, make sure you attend a workshop. If you are on a very short visit, then at least be sure to visit her shop and checkout her creative and high quality products.
Hope you all get to go and experience the beauty of these two cities and find the places and the photos I shared to be useful and inspiring.