You may have heard of Washington Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra”, right? Well, since I wasn’t able to get any real prime, supreme photos on our trip to Granada, I thought I would instead accompany the few poor specimens I was able to take with stories and anecdotes about our life there.
The Alhambra from our rooftop.
This poor little, split-up thing was the only salvageable portion of a pic I took from the rooftop of our old building where we used to live, back in the day. My little baby was born there (well, not there, he was born in the hospital, but we were living there when he was born), so you could say he was literally born in the shadow of the Alhambra. From our rooftop we had a spectacular view overlooking this famed Moorish castle. You can’t see it very well in the photo though.
(I might add that it was even taken in those olden days when digital cameras were only the possessions of the rich and the famous (or technology-obsessed computer geeks), which we obviously were not. In other words, we took it with an analogue camera and scanned it into a computer, hence its crooked lopsidedness.)
You might be wondering, with such a privileged location even someone richer and more famous than us would have died for to possess, with our complete and unobstructed view of the Alhambra day and night, why we left. Well, my husband (now ex) packed up his bags and moved to Venice with an Italian girl. I got tired of sitting all alone with the baby on the rooftop and gazing at the Alhambra and decided that I preferred to gaze at the sea instead. So we left, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
(I might add, he returned a few weeks later with his head hanging, something about the Italian girl not willing to support him and demanding that he get a job……)
Ah, the famous Plaza Nueva which is most emblematic of Granada. I think every tourist knows where it is and has passed through it sometime. I have so many tales to tell about this place, I could probably fill up a whole book.
It’s a mecca to every hippy, saltimbanco, juggler and rasta on the planet, I believe. Okay, so in this photo it looks kinda forlorn. I guess maybe it gets a bit livelier when the weather lightens up.
This is the famous statue of the Catholic Monarchs (Isabel and Fernando) which probably every visitor to Granada has seen (and posed in front of). My kids weren’t going to be outdone and had to pose in front of it too.
The Science Museum.
This was the actual object of our visit to Granada. Our luck is fantastic and on the one day that we had chosen to visit the city, it was closed! Normally it is closed on Mondays, so we went on Tuesday – and it was closed! Something about a bank holiday……
La Fuente de las Batallas (the Fount of Battles).
Well, actually, La Fuente de las Batallas is the one beside this one. I couldn’t take a photo of the actual fountain, because there was some sort of protest march around it. But this one is right next to it, and it’s quite similar, so I figured, it can sort of substitute. Right?
I used to love going there on lazy summer afternoons with my newborn and have an Italian gelatto. It’s what I remember about this fountain, and I associate it with Italian ice cream now. Of course, I’m sure we did other things there too. But that is what I remember.
This is the long passage that leads from the centre of Granada and Bib-Rambla to the back streets behind the cathedral. A friend used to live there, and my son spent many afternoons bawling away in her home. (When he was born he was always bawling.)
This is perhaps the most frequented little lane in Granada, the Cuesta de San Gregorio, the entranceway to the Albayzín, the old Moorish neighbourhood. It’s lined with teterías (tea shops) all the way up, and it’s very typical to go there in the afternoons and sip hot mint tea while nibbling at Arab pastries and sweetmeats and observing the crowds go by.
My favourite shop, an ecological, health food store, El Panadero Loco, is on this street, but when we passed by it was closed because, apparently, it was a bank holiday……
I asked the locals and I was pleased to discover that after all these years, business was still booming there. (Taking into account that my son, who was born in the shadow of the Alhambra, is now twelve……)
Kinda reminds you of a Moroccan zoco, doesn’t it?
You can see by this church (it’s actually a cloistered monastery, I’ve been told) that there is a street that leads upwards on the left-hand side. The street on the right (not visible in this photo) is San Juan de los Reyes, and that is where we used to live. It’s a very long, winding and quite renowned street as it runs up the length of the Albayzín.
In the background you can see the bar with the green awning. We used to call it “El Veintiuno” (Twenty-One). Here you can see it up closer.
If you pay close attention you might notice that the sign actually says “22”. Why, you might wonder? Shouldn’t it read “21”?
Well, the girl who owned the place was twenty-one years old. When she turned twenty-two, she changed the name to “Twenty-Two”. We can see that she decided to remain twenty-two forever.
They used to serve some truly incredible tapas there. (Well, they probably still do, but it didn’t occur to us to go there this time.) The hippies used to lounge around in there half-stoned, and it was impossible to have a coherent conversation with them.
“What are you up to these days?” you might address one of your acquaintances.
“Ah, just sitting around here, doing nothing,” they would reply with a vague wave of their hands.
“Well, we’re going home now. Where do you live?”
“Over there,” would be the response, with another nebulous waving towards the sky.
Well, I’ve saved up for another day the tales of our “Anecdotes from the Albayzín”, so be on the look-out!
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