The Granada expedition requires two entries because it was just such a brilliant morning.
After the arduous ascent that I was not entirely prepared for in the early morning hours, I reached the Alhambra gates at 8:40am to find that there was quite a queue already started since the 8:30 opening. Weary with nothing better to do I joined this queue to practice that ever precious virtue, patience. The queue moved slow. Very slow. At 9am I had moved probably a mere 20 paces closer to admission when an announcement come over the P.A. first in Espanol and then English, “The tickets for the Palacio Nueva have sold out for the day. However, you may still purchase admission to the gardens.” There was a collective deflative “umph” from the queued crowd and some people instantly packed it in and headed out. I was rather exhausted and the prospect of walking back to town was not as attractive as simply hunkering down for a bit in a sort of standing repose.
The queue crawled on, and I had pulled out my sketch pad and was putting more time towards an El Greco from El Prado when I was approached by an middle-aged woman along with a her younger colleague. After over-coming the routine language barrier, I came to understand that these two women had an extra ticket to the very recently sold-out palace! They explained that they had booked their admissions 5 months prior, and the third person in their party could not be present. Wow.
Turns out, these two fabulous ladies were in Granada for the weekend to lecture at the local university as they were both doctorates of Philosophy. I made friends with them quickly needless to say, and I ended up spending an entire tour of the castle with these angels. It was a truly amazing stroke of fortune… like Athena herself intervened. That is how patience and I received entrance to one of the most epic displays of geometric pattern-design I will ever witness.
Sleep when you die!