Monday, July 16, 2012

Good Morning Granada by Ethan

This past weekend we took a trip to Granada, Spain, with the entire Engineering group. While we were there, we saw many fantastic sights. Some, like the Alhambra, were made by Arabs, while others, like the Cathedral, were made by Christians. However, none of these amazing structures stood out quite like the sight that followed the small adventure I took with Joey, Kate and Carson early Sunday morning.

On Saturday evening, the four of us made a plan to climb a hill that was adjacent to the Alhambra in order to see the sunrise over Granada. After a short sleep, or extended nap, we woke up at the bright and cheery hour of six AM. Well, when I say “we” woke up, I mean that the three others woke up, and I slept through my alarm. Fifteen minutes later, I was awakened by a phone ringing, followed shortly thereafter by a sharp knock at the door. I dressed in a blur and ran out the door. Less than two minutes later, all four of us were walking onto the street heading towards the overlook with the moon shining clearly in the ink black sky.

We wound our way up the hill following a road which took several switchbacks. After 45 minutes of plodding up the hill, we reached the lookout point just as dawn was beginning. Time had passed as we were ascending and the star-filled night had faded away into the dull pinkish-gray light of early morning. There was a peaceful air about the place, mostly because we were so far removed from the city, but also because few Spaniards would dream of waking before eight on a weekend. The vista we saw when we had reached the top of the hill was astonishing. The entire city lay out before us. The houses gracefully flowed down the mountain and swirled together around the Cathedral.

While this view was astounding, the thought occurred to us that we were facing west, which isn’t the best orientation to view the sunrise. In fact, it is the worst. Therefore, we walked around the small church on the hill, and we were met with another spectacular sight. We were staring at the mighty Alhambra and the river valley that it sits above. The valley itself was impressive as well. It rose up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to a small saddle with a hazy mountain looming behind it. That was the correct direction for the sunrise, but we still had a while to wait. We occupied our time by photographing practically everything in front of us, including each other.

Around 7:20, one of the hills began to glow at its peak. The looming mountain was cut across its middle by a beam of sunlight that only continued to intensify. A blue arc sprang out from behind the glowing mountain, and it marched across the sky, removing all of the blackness and stars that lingered. The houses on the far edge of the city were now lit up with the brightness of day.

Shortly thereafter, the tip of the furthest tower of the Alhambra was illuminated with the solar rays. The sun did not stop there, but it kept advancing up the hill. The glowing hill’s radiance continued to increase, yet we were still incapable of seeing the burning ball of gas. The looming mountain now was washed pale with light as the rays of sunshine beamed down into the valley. Fifteen minutes after the Alhambra was fully lit, we were treated to one of the best sunrises I have ever witnessed. The orb slipped into the sky at the peak of the formerly glowing hill, and it lit up the surrounding scenery. The valley was now well lit, and we had seen what we had come to see. Smiles and good cheer passed between the four of us began our descent. We returned the way we came, and we arrived back to the hotel before anyone else was awake.

Granada is filled with amazing sights, but most significant sight for me wasn’t made by human hands. The most spectacular sight for me was something that happens at the start of every day. It might seem ordinary and simple. It is a sight that can be witnessed anywhere in the world. Yet up on that Spanish mountain, with all of Granada surrounding us, we witnessed that ordinary sight in a most extraordinary way.

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