Stopping in Granada

In Spanish Interludes by Jamie2 Comments

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Granada is the perfect dream and fantasy, forever ineffable…
Federico Garcia Lorca

Susan’s alarm nudged her gently awake at 4:30 this morning.  We were to catch the 07:14 train to Madrid.  Our bags needed packing, the cats needed feeding, and the taxi had to be arranged for. Our brief sojourn in Granada was at an end.

I have to admit, I am immune to the romantic appeal of any city, even a city whose beauty has been celebrated over centuries.  Even Granada. Or so I thought.

The crowds we encountered during our first visit to “the Moorish jewel” induced me to swear off ever visiting one more traditional must-see tourist attraction.  I’ll be sticking to that commitment when and if the world returns to mass tourism.

Our recent stopover in Granada was an entirely different experience.  Due to Covid restrictions, we spent six days in a city devoid of tourists.  No tour guides, no crowds. Many hotels were closed.  When we walked past the Alhambra entrance, not even a single person stood in the line - a place accustomed to receiving 8,500 visitors daily.  The only language we heard on the streets was Spanish.

The quiet, easy-going city we visited for six days in 2021 must be the Granada that inspired so many visitors in the past.

Susan and I strolled arm in arm through the historic district.  We lingered over tapas and a glass of wine on sunny plazas.  We explored the byways of Sacromonte with friends we’d met during our stay in Mairena.  We even popped into a few museums.

We arose early to capture dawn in this beautiful city.  We enjoyed Bosques de la Alhambra, the forest park surrounding the Alhambra.  We even hiked and picnicked in the hills outside the city, easily accessed by foot from the historic district.

… if there is any greater pleasure in life than visiting Granada… it is going back and visiting it again.
Alejandro Dumas

But the best experience of all was the supreme luxury of in-home dining with new friends.  That friendship connection made our visit all the more special.  I guess the truth is that people make the place.  When one makes a real friend somewhere, there’s always a reason to return.


I finally understand what inspired so many writers and artists to linger in Granada.  I can honestly say, Granada has a special place in my heart.

Jamie Wyant is a retired American.  After living in Valencia, Spain, he set out on a long, slow journey with his wife, Susan, and their senior cats.  He writes about the joys and tribulations of living and traveling gently.  Jamie also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net

Comments

  1. “I guess the truth is that people make the place” — so true!

    I enjoyed reading your impressions of Granada. My husband and I visited a year before the pandemic (March 2019), when the city was somewhat quiet tourist-wise. I’m not sure if it was Granada’s sunshine after a long, cold winter in Bavaria, the city’s welcoming people, or just the ambience of the city, but we fell for Granada. Like you, we made a lasting friendship there.

    I’ll have to take a peek at your posts from Valencia, since that’s how I originally landed here. On a side note, I’m impressed that you moved abroad with several animals joining you. A few years ago, my husband and I rescued a kitten in Ukraine and traveled with him for about 1,000 km overland (on trains, buses, and trams). That wasn’t easy; I can’t imagine what it’s like having 5 furry friends to look after. 🙂

    1. Author

      Hello Tricia,
      There’s no doubt that our furry family members have complicated our lives. Without doubt, travel logistics are more complicated. It’s hard to be spontaneous. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The decades of companionship and affection we haves shared with our companion animals are more than enough compensation. Our lives and memories are richer because of them.

      Thanks for looking after that little stray kitten. I firmly believe the universe smiles on such acts of kindness.

      Be sure to visit Valencia (and Granada) during the summer months. Especially after Bavaria the heat and humidity can be intimidating.

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