A quick plug for an NYT article about Christmas traditions in Catalunya, written by a food critic/journalist: http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/travel/a-catalan-christmas.html?nl=travel&emc=tda1
After a 65F-degree Christmas Day in Barcelona, Eunice and I headed to the south of Spain for the Andalucian trio of Granada, Cordoba, and Seville. Our first stop was Granada and the imposing Alhambra, a 14th Century Moorish fortress that dominates the cityscape. Granada and the Alhambra played major roles in Spain’s history – Granada was the last Moorish holding in Spain, and became the Spanish national capital during the Catholic Reconquista by Ferdinand and Isabel (the capital was moved to Madrid to geographically centralize the government by Philip II). It was in the royal palace of Granada that Christopher Columbus was given the funding for his journey to the New World by Isabel (lacking any gold at the time, she instead gave him a chest full of her jewelry to sell to pay for his voyage). Granada’s Cathedral is the second-largest cathedral in Spain (behind Seville), and the second-largest Baroque-styled cathedral in Europe. The Alhambra throne room, carved meticulously with some of the most intricate craftsmanship I have ever seen, was described by Rick Steves as “the most exquisite room of the most exquisite palace” in Europe – certainly nothing to be taken lightly.
After two amazing days in Granada, we ventured northwest to Cordoba to enjoy the next part of the journey.