Reflections on a Journey: Andalucia Day 1
Last week I came back from a journey I was very blessed in being able to make.
For 2 weeks I wandered the vast expanses of land that at one point heralded the pinnacle of Islamic civilization. For one week I saw the sights and wonders of Granada and Cordoba in the Andalusian region of Spain. And for another week I explored the streets of Fez and Marrakech in Morocco. Over the next few days I hope to talk about and divulge the details and experiences I had on my trip, and hopefully encourage other people to do the same and take away some advice if they decide to make the same journey.
Prior to leaving for my journey, the brother over at Cambridge Khutbas uploaded a talk by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad about how to make your holiday about Allah. The Sheikh uses the verse in the Qur’an where Allah tells man to travel the land and see what became of people that went before you as the talking point of his khutbah. I encourage everyone to have a listen to it, and keep a check on the updates of this site as it is full of regular gems that have benefited me personally: http://cambridgekhutbasetc.blogspot.com/2009/06/travels-tests-intentions.html
I arrived by the grace of Allah after Maghrib at Granada Airport on the 15th June 2009. Only recently RyanAir have began direct flights from London Stansted to Granada, which makes the journey a lot easier as before you would have to fly to Malaga and take a bus to Granada. We took a taxi to our modest hostel near the centre of Granada. What struck me first about the city is the amount of graffiti that is everywhere. I initially thought that our hotel was in a ghetto, there didn’t seem to be anything particular pleasant near where we were, also add in the fact that I saw a line of prostitutes offering their services around five minutes before arriving at the hostel didn’t really lighten my feeling about the place. But after checking in, we dropped off our bags and went for a stroll around the immediate area.
My feelings soon dissipated as we began to feel for the city. Our hotel was near the western end of Gran Via de Colon, the main ‘High Street’ you could say of Granada. We were very close to the Monastery of San Jeronimo, a magnificent building about which I will talk about in a later post. Walking down Gran Via de Colon you will come across a number of great buildings from the Baroque era of architecture, colourful and stylish, they are a sharp contrast to the grey buildings of London from around the same time in history. Walking down the orange trees and strange cuboid lights along the Via we eventually came across the main Cathedral of Granada, again something I will talk about in a later post. As it was late we decided to go back and get some sleep so we could get to the Alhambra as soon as it opened as to avoid the legendary crowds who descend upon it in the summer days. At long last after many years I could finally get to see one of the great wonders of the world that many people, Muslims especially, travel from miles around the world to witness.