From Malaga, we took a coach for Granada, arriving in January, 1866. One evening before dark we climbed a mountain 3,000 feet high and were several hours in sight of the lights of the City. The Alhambra, and its gardens, are the most interesting things to be seem at Granada. I remember breaking my knife blade in striking the ice in one of the fountains. Notwithstanding this, there were many flowers in bloom, and sour and sweet lemons on trees five hundred years old, as well as pomegranates, and other fruits.
The Alhambra is disappointing as it is surrounded by an adobe wall, which gives it a forbidding look, but once inside you see some of the finest architecture in the world – particularly in the “Court of Lions.” The history connected with this building is very interesting and has been immortalized by Washington Irving. Looking over the landscape one can see, away off, the point in the mountains where Boabdil obtained his last view of his departed glory, and this point bears the name of the “Last Sigh of the Moors – “A los mio Alhambra.”
When at Barcelona we visited a large tobacco factory.
The superintendent told us the town was decimated by the cholera in 1865
but no one of his 4,000 employees had the disease. Perhaps nicotine is
a specific, or antitoxin, for cholrea.
Going south on the Red Sea to Tor, 120 miles, the landing place for Mt. Sinai, we had a thrilling experience. As the great steamers do not stop short of Aden, we were put on a small sailing boat of 14 by 30 feet. It was already loaded to the gunwale, but accepted our baggage and equipment additional! There were fourteen souls aboard, including your mother, Aunt Nora and myself. Many coral reefs are found in these waters, and as our boat was overloaded anyway, it was dangerous to run at night, so instead of reaching Tor in twenty hours, as promised, we were six days, and nights. Many times we were nearly wrecked, with drowning on one hand or starvation in the desert on the other, threatening us. The trip to Tor, while exciting and full of hardship, was memorable beyond any other trip we ever had. Florida, California and Hawaii would be proud of such sea gardens full of the most beautiful fish, corals, sea shells, ferns, sea weeds, etc. The colors of the marine flora and fauna were entrancing. To divert us from our perils, the native divers did all the feats for which they are famous.
We had some interesting adventures with the natives in crossing Arabia. At Nukel in Arabia, not far from Mocha, where the best coffee is supposed to be raised, we called on the Governor. According to the Arab custom, coffee was served, and to let us know it was good, His Excellency told us it was Cuba coffee. He told us the locusts the year before were piled up six feet deep around the walls of the town. There was a row of them all along the beach of the sea six inches high when we were there. The stench was horrible.
We made a contract with an Arab dragoman in Arabic and signed by his mark and seal attached, to transport us safely to Mr. Sinai and Gaza; he to pay all baksheesh and make the trip pleasant to us. It was here we first saw match lock guns in use. At the convent of St. Catherine, at the foot of Mr. Siani, we met two gentlemen with whom I was personally acquainted. The world is not so big after all. While here we first met Count de Lesseps and Count de Paris, whom we saw later at Jerusalem and Damascus. Returning we encountered de Lesseps in Paris and subsequently I met him aboard of the Frigate Brooklyn, at Panama.