Granada is the perfect dream and fantasy, forever ineffable…
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.
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 wants “life on gentle cycle” to be a story of enough rather than a search for more. His focus is on simplicity, quiet presence, low impact travel, and mostly on living gently. He also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net
Hi Jamie and Susan,
First of all, thank you for sharing your adventures with the rest of us. It is admirable and inspiring, and has given me courage to travel with pets. 🙏
So, I am starting on an adventure into Spain myself at the beginning of 2022. I am also adopting a 2 year old dog and a 2 year old cat from Romania. There are a lot of street dogs and cats there, unfortunately. 😔
I would love to know how did your pets adapted to all the changes. Did you and Susan take them everywhere when you travel? How were the cats, especially when you started your traveling north from Valencia? I think the dog will be fine, but I am worry about the cat.
My daughter has two cats and I know every time she had to move they were not happy for days. I would like to keep traveling with them and I guess I would love to know more of how you managed. Any advice will be very appreciated.
Thank you very much and happy travel!
I think it’s wonderful that you are adopting a dog and cat. All of our companion animals came from animal shelter over the years. We just recently published an update about traveling by train with Teej our 21 year old cat. We only managed Spain and France before new Covid restrictions induced us to return to Spain for Winter 2021-22. Teej travels like an old pro – he does better than I do.
I think your best bet is to try a couple of short trips with your new friends to judge whether you and they are comfortable with the idea. There are such wide difference among individual pets, it is impossible to predict how a new cat of dog will respond.
Good luck with your move to Spain and happy travels (I hope).
“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. 🙂
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.