We crossed the garden of the Cabinet of Lindaraja, a mysterious-looking court, and through a long gallery looking out on the country, we arrived at the top of one of the farthest towers of the Alhambra, under a small pavilion opened on all sides, and called “The Queen’s Toilet,” which seemed to be suspended over an abyss, like the nest of an eagle.
That the spectacle one enjoys from this point is not equaled on the face of the earth, I am sure may be said without fear of contradiction. Imagine an immense plain, as green as a field covered with young grass, traversed in all directions by endless rows of cypresses, pines, oaks, and poplars, scattered with thick groves of oranges (which, in the distance, look like bushes), and great kitchen and flower gardens, so filled with fruit trees that they present the appearance of hillsides covered with verdure. Across this immense plain flows the Xenil, shining among the groves and gardens like a silver rib-bon. On all sides are wooded hills, and beyond these hills, very high rocks in fantastic shapes, which seem like a girdle of walls and titanic towers separating this paradise from the world. Directly under one’s eyes lies the city of Granada, partly stretched over the plain, partly on a hillside scattered with groups of trees and shape-less masses of verdure, rising and waving above the tops of the houses, like enormous plumes, which seem to spread out, join together, and cover the entire city.
Farther down is the deep valley of the Darro, more than covered, filled, almost overwhelmed, by a prodigious accumulation of vegetation rising like a mountain, beyond which projects a grove of gigantic poplars which wave their tops under the windows of the tower almost within reach of one’s hand. To the right beyond the Darro, on a hill rising straight and bold, like a cupola, toward heaven, is the palace of the Generalife, crowned by aerial gardens, and almost hidden amid a grove of laurels, poplars, and pomegranates. On the opposite side, is a marvelous spectacle, an incredible thingthe vision of a dream ! the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain in Europe, after the Alps, white as snow, to within a few miles of the gates of Granada, white as far as the hills where the palms of pomegranates rear their heads, displays in all its splendor an almost tropical vegetation.
Fancy now above this immense paradise, containing all the smiling graces of the East, and all the grave beauties of the North, which unites. Europe to Africa, bringing to these nuptials all the most beautiful marvels of nature, and sending up to heaven in one, all the perfumes of the earth; fancy, I say, above this blessed valley, the sky and sun of Andalusia, which turning toward the West, tints the summits rose-color, and the slopes of the Sierra with all the colors of the iris and all the shades of the clearest blue pearls. Its rays become golden, purple, and ashy, as they fall upon the rocks crowning the plain; and sinking in the midst of a brilliant conflagration, cast, like a last farewell, a luminous crown around the pensive towers of the Alhambra, and the enwreathed pinnacles of the Generalife. Tell me, then, whether the world can offer any thing more solemn, glorious, or intoxicating than this love feast of the earth and sky, before which, for nine centuries, Granada has trembled with voluptuousness and pride.