The Alhambra is a Moorish fortress in the Andalucian city of Granada. It has a magical atmosphere, a place of incredible serenity and tranquility, despite the large numbers of tourists.

A visit to the Alhambra was one of my "must do's" during my holiday. After an overnight train journey from Madrid, and a long early morning walk from the station to my hosts in the south of the city, I was in a rush to get to the fortress in time. To prevent overcrowding, you are allocated a timeslot to enter the Palace of the Nazaries (the private residence of the Sultans), and my 9.30am slot was going to be hard to keep. Fortunately a lift from my host Francisco got me to the entrance to the fortress, where I was able to jump ahead of the queuing tourists, having already booked my ticket from England, and after a quick dash through the grounds, I arrived at the Palace with seconds to spare.

The Palace of the Nazaries forms the most private part of the Alhambra. During the reign of the Nazrids, only the Sultan, his harem, servants and most favoured staff were priviledged to have access.

The Generalife is the summer palace of the Nazarids. Lying on a hillside opposite the Alhambra, the well preserved gardens and simple buildings convey a wonderful feeling of peace and relaxation. The brilliant blue Andalucian skies provide a sharp contrast to the greenery and elegant cypress trees that surround the palace.

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