In My Father’s Footsteps: Photos of Dad’s 1970 visit to Granada Spain and My Shots From 38 Years Later

Posted on / by Alex Berger

I have the great fortune of coming from a family of travelers.  I crossed my first international border before I could walk and have continued to feel the drive to explore ever since. As I pave my path through life it’s both exciting and fascinating to see where that path overlaps with my Dad’s adventures as a young man more than 40 years before.  A while back some of Dad’s old trip slides surfaced, we scanned a few and it struck me that it would be fun to post shots from his time wandering Granada intermixed with the photos I took during my 2008 visit to Spain.

To be clear, I didn’t find his photos until after my trip, so while I remember being in the locations shown in a lot of his shots I didn’t always pause to take a photo of my own.  The weather was also pretty rough and I was having issues (water incident) with my Camera so the shot quality left something to be desired.

He captured his photos in the Spring of 1970 while visiting a school in Granada as part of his examination of different education systems around the world.  When I asked him a bit about it he reflected on enjoying his visit to the Alhambra and Albayzin while reading Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra. All the while he spent the evenings camping in his VW pop-top van in a canyon just outside the city.  I took mine during a 18 day backpacking trip through Spain in December of 2008.

A lot of Dad’s photos are of the Lion fountain and the immediate area. Unfortunate, at the time of my visit in December 2008 the fountain was being repaired/cleaned and was behind scaffolding which meant I didn’t take a lot of photos of the courtyard it rests in.

Ed at the Alhambra

I believe this photo was taken on one of the old fortresses’ battlements. The mountains in the back are the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Alhambra Pics

While I’m not sure exactly where Dad stopped to snap this shot, it looks like the area along the old Fortress. This shot is from the top of the highest battlement after squeezing out the small doorway.

Ed and Date Tree

Taken along one of the large pools just off the palatial gardens.

Alhambra in 2008

My photo taken of a small fountain between the upper pools and the lower reflection pool.

Alhambra Gardens

View looking down on the previous pool/gardens. This area is located just beyond the central palace.


The view looking in at the Lion fountain.

Alhambra in 2008

My shot of what I believe is the same small fountain that appears in Dad’s but from the side.

Lion Fountain detail

A rare closeup on the Lion fountain as it stood in 1970.

Alhambra in 2008

As mentioned previously, the fountain was covered in scaffolding and under re-pair, but here’s another shot of the area in the background in Dad’s fountain photo.

Alhambra Courtyard

The view into the Lion courtyard from the main palace.

Alhambra Ceiling

One of the stunning domed ceilings in the Palatial quarters. The hundreds of small domes inside the large dome gave the ceilings an incredible/ornate look. Many were painted multiple colors when the palace was in regular use.

Alhambra in 2008

Looking up at the same dome.  My slightly out of focus shot ended up being zoomed in on the inner dome.

People in Archway

I love this shot of visitors standing near the entrance to the Patio de los Arrayanes. While some of the photos are somewhat timeless, you can definitely tell that this shot was taken in the early 70s due to people’s clothing and hair.

Alhambra in 2008

My shot from slightly in front of where the people were standing in Dad’s previous shot of the hallway.


A view back towards the main entrance to the Patio de los Arrayanes.  This pool and the courtyard it rests in is perhaps one of the most picturesque and famous parts of the Alhambra.

Alhambra in 2008

My photo shooting from the area in the center of Dad’s shot. You can see where he might have been standing along the back left side of the pool.  It looks like the shrubs haven’t changed much in 38 years.

View from Palatial Quarters

Looking out and along the Palatial compound’s wall.

Alhambra in 2008

My shot back at the Alhambra from the Albayzin. Note that the area covered in Dad’s shot is in the lower left of mine.

View of the City

The view out across from the Alhambra towards to Albayzin. Note the cathedral in the upper left hand corner of the image. That’s the Cathedral that offers the most famous view across towards to Alhambra.

Alhambra in 2008

My shot looking out across at the Albayzin.  The main landmark to match up here in the rectangular cathedral in both shots.  Though I believe Dad’s shot is actually reversed here due to the scanning processes.

Hopefully you’ve found this as interesting as I have.  Inspired by this post I’ve asked Dad to scan and send over any photos he may have that overlap with my future trips.  Moving forward I’d love to pro-actively reproduce some of the photos he took in 1970.  It’s definitely an interesting sensation to realize where our paths have overlapped and how, despite all the change in the world, some things have remained mostly the same.

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.


  • Lo
    October 31, 2011

    What a great idea. The time lapse is interesting enough but how fine to stand in a foreign land just where your father stood on his journey so long ago. The photos are all well done and give a nice glimpse of this fabulous place.

  • wandering educators
    October 31, 2011

    i LOVE this! what fun! i esp love to see how nature changed – the bushes look much better now, LOL! i hope to see more of this juxtaposition in future articles – really, really interesting!

    • Alex Berger
      November 1, 2011

      Thanks! Yep, i really like how this turned out – so definitely going to see where we overlapped and there are still photos around to be used.

  • Dan
    November 13, 2011

    That is an awesome idea! 🙂 I sometimes wonder where I would cross paths with my relatives too.

    • Alex Berger
      November 13, 2011

      Thanks bud! Yeah, I’d love to do a series/trip specially focused on re-taking photos from one of his (or my Mom’s) trips.

  • David N. Berger
    December 3, 2011

    Alex! I’m so glad I got to read this! How come we didn’t talk about you putting this together? This is spectacular! I love it!!!

    • Alex Berger
      December 3, 2011

      Thanks bro! Not sure, slipped through the cracks. Fun though ehh? I really want to get some of Dad’s old photos and re-visit the place then photograph the same locations.

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