The Alhambra – Fighting for Paradise


For hundreds of years men have fought, cried and died for their share of this mystical place and this week would be no exception. I cried when they told me that tickets had already sold out 5 days prior to our visit. I died when my boyfriend told me that the only way we would go to see it was if we joined the most expensive and longest guided tour of place and I re tied the bows on my shoes and prepared myself to jostle and fight, if need, be for an uninterrupted picture of the Lion’s Patio once I saw the hundreds of people waiting outside the closed gates at 8.30am. Are they buying tickets?But you said it was full?! We could have just come and bought entrances but now we’ve got to do the tour!*Gremlin face*, which was accompanied by the same sort of feeling that you get sometimes when you manage to board a really full train and then after pushing in yourself, you turn around and start resenting anyone who squashes in after you. Can’t the doors just close already?! *THERE IS NO MORE ROOM!

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When at 8.45 am an announcement was made to the people of the massive queues that all the on the day tickets had now been sold out, I no longer felt the need to mentally abuse the epic tour that had helped secure our place. “Aww! Those poor people!” I said trying to sound genuine but failing to mask the smug look which was spreading across my face as I rolled my ticket in my hands like Gollum… So silly thinking they can just arrive on the day… they should have booked the tour like we did*…

*and then turn and simply ignore the accusatory and damning looks and focus on your sugar frosted doughnut

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We entered the gates and into an oasis of calm and beauty. Whereas Granada down below looked arid and dry, here we were emerged in lush green gardens and the sound of running water was everywhere. Water, was the first thing we saw and heard and interestingly was made the theme of our tour. Once Saltan Mohammed I conquered the province of Granada he set about constructing a fortress to protect it from invasion. However over the next 800 years the Moroccan kings would come to know this place as home and battle grounds and defense lines were turned into a royal city and into a vision of paradise with lush trees, plants and flowers – a far cry from the nomadic life and arid hills of Morocco where these peoples had originated from. Everything, from the sustaining of the live stock to the hammam spa where the Sultan would relax, was built and made possible thanks to the ingenious engineering feats carried out to bring this baron mountain side water. An irrigation system built on the concepts of gravity and upward force enabled this life garden of Eden.

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I loved the view from the Alhambra, sometimes through arched windows and sometimes peeping out from behind flowers. The gardens were immaculate and in full bloom. Flat, calm water fountains reflected the sky and linked the Earth to the heavens, Oranges hung from the trees and the sound of running water was everywhere. It was so cool despite the hot summer’s day. It was simply lovely.

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Alhambra means the Red One and it was called this because the walls are terracotta red color but also because it was said that its founder Mohammed I had red hair and blue eyes.

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It became a labor of love and a real jewel in the crown of the Moors and when the Catholics eventually took back the mountain side, the young King having been defeated in battle and forced to yield up his family home broke down into tears. He was told by his mother “to not cry like a woman what he could not defend as a man”…And you thought your mum was harsh to you sometimes…*Tough Love

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A treaty was signed and the Spanish agreed not to destroy the fortress and such was the love that the moors had for the Alhambra that they didn’t destroy it either and preferred to hand it over. They were told everything would be preserved except for all religious buildings and sites. The bodies in the cemeteries were dug up and taken into the mountains by the King in order to save them from the wrath of the “invaders”. As we gazed down over Granada we saw 22 Church bell towers which had once been Minarets and were converted once the moors conceded.

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The palaces were beautiful and had some great architecture. I loved the ceilings and the ornate walls, mosaics and ceiling stars. The Lion’s Patio was particularly spectacular, with the animals required to be represented imperfectly by the makers because Allah was the creator and humans were not. Interestingly people still live in the Alhambra and there are a few family houses which now operate as hotels which are now passed down from generation to generation. They may however not be listed on Expedia, although I’m sure someone’s given it a damning report on Trip Advisor * Poor Location, no shops, far from city center…

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So it came down to the french (trust the bloody french!) and Napoleon to be main bad guys of this story and who are regarded as the main destroyers of the Alhambra. Having been defeated by the Brits at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon lost his grip on Europe (well directly or indirectly, sooner or later, whatever… I had to get the Battle of Waterloo in somehow!) and on the night of the retreat from Granada, they planted explosives throughout the palaces and the gardens. Some were detonated and this destroyed large parts of the walls, the souks and the fortresses, but luckily before anything else could be blown to smithereens a Spanish soldier disconnected the bombs and saved the Alhambra. Hurray!

The Alhambra was huge, larger than I could of imagined and the quality of the buildings, the gardens and the views was incredible. I really loved my visit and can not recommend it enough! Make sure you book in advance though and it can get very busy in the summer (the day we went around 10,000 people also went!), to take some money to buy food once through the gardens and to go if you can early in the morning when it is less hot. I wore converse trainers which were essential for over 4 hours walking and a bottle of water to avoid having a cheeky drink from one of the fountains. I would also recommend the guided tour (Water!) πŸ˜‰




Top – United Colours of Benetton

Jean shorts – Bershka

Trainers – Converse

Sunglasses – Ray Ban

Author: Abigail Royston

I am an ex-professional tennis player and have just graduated from King's College in London. I share daily fashion outfits and stories of my travels and the tour. Every story has a beginning, but I will start mine here, at the start of something big. For us this was a journey of a lifetime, where dreams were made and broken, where friendships were cherished and torn apart. We lived and still live the life of aspiration and we tell the tale of victories and defeats that come with growing up at such a young age on the brink of greatness and fame. In our world youth, beauty and riches combine. We trained hard but played even harder. Our parties’ were and always will be legendary, our travels exotic and carefree. We were becoming stars. My Girls On Tour showcases street style looks, avant-garde fashion, new designers, fashion shows as well as travel stories and adventures. A fun window into the glamorous world of a professional tennis player turned fashionista, this is the place for wonderlust and fashion inspiration. Instragram @abigirlx Twitter @Abigailroyston

21 thoughts on “The Alhambra – Fighting for Paradise”

    1. Thank you so much Stephen! πŸ™‚ I am so sorry for my late reply, but I have been having exams (which are now nearly over!). The Alhambra was really lovely, one of the most beautiful and diverse place I have ever seen. I really hope you will get to see it too, but make sure you book in advance! The gardens were my favorite and the palaces were just splendid, the walls had so much detail to them, truly a remarkable place! I am really glad you liked the pictures and thank you again for saying so. Do let me know when you get to go, I would love to here about your experience too! πŸ™‚ All the best, Abi xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I am so pleased that you liked them. It was hard really to capture the beauty of such a stunning place and to do it justice, so your words really mean a lot. The amount of people there really surprised me and it felt really full despite it being such a big place. I would say that that was the only downside of our visit, having to take turns to get uninterrupted views and pictures of places, but I felt it was worth the wait πŸ™‚ Thank you again, all the best, Abi xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Great, I am so pleased you liked it! I tried to share some of the interesting stories and anecdotes that we learnt during our tour, so I am pleased that you enjoyed them! Thank you for your positive comment. Cheers, Abi xxx


  1. I love! A visit to the Alhambra is high on my bucket list! And it all started with an obsession with the Alhambra necklaces by VCA, one day I ran a search on the name and found that there was a castle! I can’t wait to visit. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! What a great story, I will have to look up the necklaces now and see what they are like as I have never heard of them. I thought that the Alhambra was quite a small place, just a palace but really it is a massive fortified town, so although I had seen pictures, nothing could prepare me for the wonders that it had to offer. I really hope you get to go and please let me know if you as I would be very interested to hear what you thought about it πŸ™‚ Thank you for your kind words and I am so pleased it has made you want to go even more πŸ™‚ Abi xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the way you write you posts as if they were a shortstory or something like that! I enjoy reading them a lot πŸ™‚
    I’ve only been to the Alcazar in Sevilla, which was beautiful too, but I would love to see the Alhambra, I believe it is inspiring!
    Keep up the good work and greets from Germany πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I try to tell what really happened and my thoughts/experiences during my trips, so I am glad that you enjoy the posts and hope that it means that in a way you can travel with me too! Thank you for your kind words, they really made me smile πŸ™‚ That is great that you have been to the Alcazar, I have seen it from the outside but never inside, so I will definitely now have to see its beauty next time I go! I hope that you will get to see the Alhambra, it really is magnificent and well worth the visit. I went to Germany once, to Trier and I have a fantastic time! Is it close to where you are from? All the very best from here in London, Abi xxx


      1. The Alhambra is on my list! I’ve also been to London once and I must say it’s a place where I could live πŸ™‚ well, Trier is way more south than Hamburg, in fact I’ve never been to Trier. But what I can say is that Hamburg is worth a trip πŸ™‚ thanks for your reply,
        Emily πŸ™‚


    1. Oh wow! Your lovely comment really made my day. I always I try to convey my thoughts and experiences, so I am glad that they, along with the visual pics have meant that you have been able to experience the beauty of the Alhambra too πŸ™‚ Really thank you so much and it is my pleasure to be able to share my trips with you. Abi xxx


  3. Good photos! (And I like the fans!)

    The Alhambra is one of my favorite places. If you go again, book the night tour. Not only is the place magical at night, there will be MANY fewer people.

    The last time I went I stayed at the Hotel America, same great location as the parador, but a lot cheaper!


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