The pathways were lined by legions of slender towering cypress trees, dark green tips meeting the deep blue sky in stark contrast. The hedges, so neatly trimmed, sharp edges lining the gardens. Orange trees, with bright citrus orbs peeping out from so many green leaves. A magnificent view of the city showcasing tiny buildings lining the hillside. Opaque white fluffy clouds floating against a deep blue sky. Beautifully patterned stone paths greeted our feet. We wandered in and out of shaded gardens, relishing spots of direct sunlight, then slowly meandering on. At every turn there was a gentle trickle of water, making me suddenly feel calmer, more serene. We oohed and aahed at courtyards, at arches, at views. We stopped for long moments, staring at the views before us.
Our ticket for the main palace had a time stamped entry for 16:30. We got to the line at 16:15. There was no one in line, no other tourists in sight. We approached the ticket taker. “No. Not time.” We shrugged, then sat down on a bench nearby, basking in the sunshine. I was drifting into sleep when the others said, “It’s time” and we re-entered the line.
The palace, so unassuming on the outside, was magnificent on the inside. Glazed tile in deep blues, greens, and yellows lined the walls. Faded blue tile peeked up from the floor. Ceilings offered intricate wood carvings. Views of the city appeared through intricately carved windows. Fountains met us at every turn.
Each time we entered a new part of the palace we stopped in our tracks, amazed by the beauty before us. How did they make such incredible architecture? How did they carve such intricate designs? How did they coordinate work teams with no smart phones?
We walked back to the city, quietly reflecting on all the beauty we had seen.