Our apartment in Granada has two terraces, both facing the Alhambra. What a massive sight sprawling out over the hilltop. And at night it is beautifully lit highlighting the towers and ramparts.
We met up with the owner, of the apartment we were renting, at a small shop in the Albayzin neighborhood. We hired a taxi driver who dropped us off after our pleasant bus ride on ALSA, a bus company who gave each passenger a bag of treats including earphones for the radio plug in and free Wi Fi which worked for part of the 2 hour drive. Nice touch.
Christine walked us to the apartment over the cobblestones calles which I doubt I could ever find again. Luckily the heart of the city is in a different direction and not too far from our place.
After getting ourselves acclimated to our new digs, we ventured out to find the children’s flamenco classes Christine told us about. These were being held in the Sacromonte neighborhood which I wanted to see anyway as it is where the gypsies have made their home for ages, building into the side of the hills above the Darro River. After traipsing up, up, and up through the neighborhood, even after tapas and liquid refreshments, the only people we saw were several residents either strolling down the road or standing in their doorway smoking cigarettes wearing bathrobes and slippers. Siesta time was over so why change? Never found the flamenco school even after asking a few people.
Back to the Albayzin we experimented with two bars serving tapas in our area. One was at the top of the Moorish bazaar who served olives along with evening matins sung by nuns in white habits inside the church bordering the outside cafe we sat in, and the other at the base serving half loaves of bread and cheese in a medieval atmosphere of knights in shining armor, swords, and Madonna videos playing too loud. I took Jordan inside the church with me as we both stood very still listening and glancing at one another, eyebrows raised in awe at the beauty of the nun’s voices. Madonna’s video did not hold the same allure.
I bought Jordan a belly dancer scarf in the bazaar as I could not resist the sweet pink color and glint of silver coin sized beading sewn onto the fabric. Her dad didn’t let her wear it around town the next day in fear of her either losing it or that it sent the wrong message, I’m still not quite sure which.
Next morning The Kids all slept in while I got up early, made coffee and caught up on my own correspondence. By noon we were heading into town with specific goals in mind. One was to print out our Alhambra tickets at some bookstore; I needed to buy a phone so we could stay in touch when in separate places; do some grocery shopping; exchange some money (and get robbed by the commission); see the main cathedral. We unknowingly passed by a couple of these understated storefronts and had to double back, also ended up at the supermarket much further than it should have been, couldn’t find the cathedral easily, and I was building up a doozy of a blister with my body aching from head to toe.
Before leaving home in Seattle, I had changed my mind about bringing a pair of shoes I had broken in for a couple of months, deciding they were too heavy for this trip. So, I found the same brand in a lighter weight fishermen style sandal/shoe. They had been fine in Malaga but all the walking on this day and the day before did my feet no favors. It is another reminder to ALWAYS break in shoes BEFORE the trip, not during. I now had a bleeding blister which made the trek back to our apartment less than enjoyable. However, what a great excuse to stop for beverages and tapas twice in one long stretch of an afternoon. Three stops would have been better.
All the misery aside, this town is so vastly different from one neighborhood to the next that one really can feel the difference quite clearly. Here we were staying in a 1000 year old section of town walking into a city that teemed with protestors at one end and high end shopping districts with ritzy hotels at the other end along with churches and architecturally interesting building facades hundreds of years old in between.
The protestors ended up not far from the cathedral as we finally arrived there. I’m pretty sure they had been there for quite awhile. We were waiting for the light to change when Christopher got our attention to catch sight of what he saw. Kelly gasped and said she was totally “creeped out” and I laughed while going for my camera to get a shot of this once in a lifetime vision. There was a baby carriage in front of the building by the protestors, and inside the carriage we could see a baby with a blue bonnet on waving its’ hands with a pacifier in his mouth. Then we look a little closer and see the baby is not what you thought but instead is a grown man whose body is somehow camouflaged by the carriage, with rouge on his cheeks and a mocking look about him. I quickly took the photo and later saw in the photo that he was looking straight at me giving me a thumbs up. Creepy is an understatement. The last thing we wanted was for Jordan to see this as the silver painted man pretending to be a statue outside the church was scary enough (even though he stayed very frozen in his pose, his eyes and mouth twitched mischievously at her as she scurried past as fast as she could).
One thing very noticeable to me during these few days in Spain is how friendly and warm the Spanish people have been. In comparison to Italy and France, in particular, the personality of this country is inviting.