When Obsession Gets the Better of Me

Being content creates simplicity in life.

~John Heider~


I guess by now it’s no longer a secret that I’m an anime/manga freak. Sometimes I immersed myself in the otaku world too much.

One Piece has always been my favorite. Oda-sensei is known to use real characters and places as the basis of his drawings. So when I got the chance to go to Spain in June 2014, I had decided to visit the world that was used as the setup for the current arc in One Piece, Dressrosa.

For those who haven’t known, Dressrosa was based on Park Güell in Barcelona. It was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. So as a big fan, I was really eager to go to the park.

But the problem was, I had only 2 and half days to spend in Spain (yeah, it was a very very short vacation). A must visit place for me was the Mezquita in Cordoba. And also I wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace. It would be a waste if I didn’t go there.

After balancing the pros and cons, I decided to go to Granada instead. If I wanna brag to someone, Alhambra would be more convincing than Park Güell, aye? 😛

So I took a bus from Cordoba to Granada. The journey wasn’t really nice because the guy next to me was asleep the whole time. Sleeping was not a problem but occupying my small space and falling to my side each time the bus drove through a corner was not acceptable at all. Could you imagine that I have to push him all the time for 2 and half hours?!! I felt like the most happiest person when we reached Granada bus station, as if I had successfully gone through a terrible ordeal.

On the way to the city, my eyes caught something very interesting – the Bull Ring! I knew straight away what it represented in the One Piece world – Corrida Colosseum. I wish I could stop but I had to follow my schedule.

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I kept on thinking about the ring. Well, if there is a will, there is a way. I really wanted to see the ring up close. Luck was on my side. I finished the Alhambra tour at 4.30pm. My train would be at 6.00pm. There would be more than enough time for me. Since many Spanish could not really speak English, I asked my tour guide to instruct my cab driver to make a quick detour to the bull ring before dropping me off at the train station.

The cab driver just went around the ring so I could only manage to snap the photo from within the cab. Even so, I was happy enough. But does it really worth it? I could not really say for sure. All I knew was if I didn’t follow my heart at that time, I would definitely regret it ^_^.

The Alhambra

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.

~Henry David Thoreau~


It is finally summer in Dunedin. Hot and sweaty, though not everyday. Yesterday was a bit chilly. I could say summer is quite a rare phenomena in Dunedin. And when it happened, for some reason this summery feeling reminded me of Spain. How nostalgic.

I went to Spain in June, when summer was at its peak. Spain has so many historical sites, and one of them is the infamous palace built by the Moorish emir, Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar, in the mid-11th century. It is categorized under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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It was a day trip from Cordova to Granada. Departed by bus, the journey took more than 2 hours. In Granada bus station, I was greeted by Anne, my private tour guide. We went for a historical walk around Albayzin for a couple of hours, before going to the Alhambra in the afternoon.

The tour started with a visit to The Generalife. It is said to be the summer palace for the emirs (Kings). The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

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The garden had undergone some restorations, and one of the restorations includes the water fountains. I was told that there were issues related to this. Some preferred the restoration to follow the original design of the fountain, where its purpose was to provide peacefulness through its soothing sound.

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The other design was focusing on strengthening the beauty of the garden. The latter was built, adding the nice touch to the garden but lose the reason why the fountain was built in the first place.

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From The Generalife, I headed to the palace. After centuries went by, the palace is still standing, proud and elegant. Its structure. Its architecture. The scripture written on its wall. I don’t have to be an engineer or an archeologist to be amazed by it.

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And there’s the Courtyard of the Lions, the main courtyard of the Nasrid Dynasty. At the center of it, the Fountain of Lions can be found – a fountain surrounded by motifs of 12 lions. It functioned as the water network that used to supply the palace with water, and also as a clock where the water would flow out from the lion’s mouth depending on the time (1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, etc).

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The system broke down after the Andalusia downfall, and another news stated that the Spaniards spoiled it even further when they tried to learn operating this impressive system.

The Alhambra is definitely worth the visit. Given a chance, I would love to come back to this amazing place.