"Give alms, woman, for there is nothing in life like the sorrow of being blind in Granada”. 

This sentence, written by Francisco Alarcón de Icaza, encapsulates the essence of our first day in the region of Andalucía.

The day began with National Geographic Explorer gently docking in the picturesque port of Motril.

In the morning, some of us embarked on an adventure to the Nerja Caves—an underground marvel adorned with stalactites and beautiful rock formations. Meanwhile, others took a leisurely stroll through Motril, discovering La Casa de la Palma (a converted 17th-century sugar refinery) and the Sugarcane Museum, where the sweet legacy of this coastal town came alive.

In the afternoon, we headed towards the city of Granada where we wandered through its beautiful cobbled streets before gathering for a soulful flamenco performance at the Templo del Flamenco, a restaurant located in a cave in the historic neighborhood of the Albaicín. 

The highlight of the day awaited us: a private guided tour to the Alhambra at sunset. In this World Heritage Site illuminated against the night sky, we discovered wonderful carvings, tranquil courtyards, fountains, and gorgeous arches that whispered tales of the Nasri dynasty.