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Of course, the reason one visits Granada is to see La Alhambra, the marvelous mostly Islamic palace that overlooks the center of town.

But there is more to see. The old part of town has narrow streets, really paths lined with little shops. And yes, there is another medieval cathedral to see.

I stayed in a renovated apartment within walking distance of the center of town. Having gotten there in mid-afternoon, I wandered to the center. I found Grenada to be rather grimy. There were quite a few "hippies" reminding me of the 1970's in parts of the USA. And yes, the homeless, but they are everywhere in the world. I kind of got the feeling that the area near my apartment was in the early stages of gentrification. Nonetheless, I found anyone who I talked to was pleasant and friendly.

My reservation for Alhambra was around Noon on the 17th, so I walked to the center early and had some lunch. I looked at the steep climb up the hill to Alhambra and decided that a taxi was in order. There are buses, but the routes were confusing and I didn't want to be late.

Alhambra and the connected Generalife (why does that sound like the name for an insurance company in English?) are unique in that the original construction was Moorish Islamic, with all the expected Islamic art. It later became a Spanish castle with Roman Catholic influences, but most of the Moorish decoration remained intact. The castle was actually abandoned for centuries, which somehow preserved much of the Islamic influence.

Restoration started in the early 1800's and has continued to the present. To my eyes, the restoration is accurate and tasteful, not Disneyesque. And the Islamic love of geometric art is spectacular. I spent several hours on a guided tour, along with the thousands of other tourists from all over the world.

After the tour, I walked down the hill to town and spent some time touring the cathedral. Quite a contrast to Alhambra. After getting dinner, I had a pleasant walk back to my apartment.

All through my travels in Spain and Portugal I had been looking for something authentic Iberian to bring back as gifts and mementos. Most of the things I saw in the gift shops said, in the fine print "China". And it seemed overpriced. But while touring Alhambra and wandering around Grenada, I came to appreciate the ceramic tile work. So I wanted some tiles to bring home. But the ones in the gift shops, made as "coasters", were Chinese. Since I saw new tilework in contemporary buildings, I knew that the authentic tiles were available somewhere, but where? I asked a number of people who had no idea.

But finally a women I spoke to gave me the name of a tile shop, the address and the phone number. So the next morning I called them and yes, they sold to the public, and gave me directions to drive there. It turned out the place was only a few kilometers from my apartment on the outskirts of town.

On my way out of town I drove there and picked out a dozen or so tiles to bring home. Now, if you have ever worked with ceramic tiles, one thing you discover is that they are not light. I would have bought a few more but I was becoming concerned about overweight luggage on my flight home. In fact I ended up carrying the box of tiles in my camera bag. I suspect the carry-on camera bag weighed more than my checked bag. My back and shoulder suffered immensely!

It turned out that the road back to the highway went up a hill right past a number of radio and TV transmitter facilities. But, alas, I had no time to see if I could get a tour.