Sunday, December 18, 2011

Granada and the end of Spain

Oh Granada, what a love song I could write for you. If you have never been to Granada you absolutely must go!! It is exactly what I love in a place. Old buildings created over the centuries by many different cultures, tapas that come free with your drink, three exclusively veg/vegan restaurants, hills and mountains to climb in, amazing sunsets, hot springs, caves where hippies and gypsies live, flamenco on every corner, and of course the Alhambra watching over all of it.

After being told by many people to go to Granada, we found ourselves there after 13 days on the road staying at the fabulous hostel Rambutan. It was a welcome change from the busy streets of Amsterdam, Barcelona and Sevilla. Ashley and I immediately felt at home in the amazing landscape, tucked into the hills the perfect balance of civilization meeting nature. The Rambutan happens to be located at the top of albhaycin the oldest part of town just below the caves. This area is amazing with tiny little winding streets moving up a vast hill. It was a great workout and an amazing adventure every time we ventured to and from the Rambutan. In fact it was so fabulous we ended up staying there for 12 days.

We stayed for many reasons, first because it was incredibly beautiful, second because it felt safe enough for Ashley and I could have time alone to reflect on our journey, third because the food and drinks were amazing and lastly and most importantly we met some super awesome people; Isa and Nick who ran the hostel, Alex who worked there and Doris from Amsterdam who shared a glorious week with us and many others we met there.

Everyday was refreshing and relaxing; I arose early and ate a damn fine breakfast for hostel with fresh baked bread, eggs, muesli and coffee. Then we would wonder about the streets, go shopping, eat amazing food, go on one of the many free tours, relax in the Arab baths, walk in the hills or just chill out at the hostel reading and playing on the internet. We went to two superb flamenco shows, one was a weekly event in the local theatre and another was a nightly gathering in a little bar in a cave. The fierceness and power of these dancers is amazing and the facial expressions they use are so intense. I had hoped to study some flamenco while we were there, but it will wait for another time when I have more time and can really immerse myself in it. As Granada will definitely be a place I will return to! I of course did get to dance in Granada. The first weekend we were there we were told about a pirate bar by some gay guys at a tapas bar. Oh and I was hooked the minute we went in. Pirate paintings all of the walls, the dj booth looked like a ships helm, their mojitos were seriously strong and seriously delicious and they played the most fabulous Latin music that I just couldn’t stop shaking my hips to. We went back our last night in town needless to say ;)

Finally we had to say goodbye to Granada and so we headed to Madrid to visit Cristina who was so lovely as to host us. Madrid again was a nice change from the quiet of Granada we were once again in a big city but it doesn’t seem as crazy as Barcelona. This time we did the real touristy stuff. We went to see the Egyptian temple and then went and tapas bar hopped, another day we shopped around and went to the national geographic cafĂ© and finally on our last day we to the prado, which was a nice treat. Though I must admit the intense amount of religious art that is in European museums does very little for me.

And we had reached the end we flew to London and slept in a little Japanese style bunker hotel in the airport and in the morning we drank our last coffee to together and had a good cry as Ashley went to board her plane at London Gatwick and I journeyed on by myself to Heathrow to begin my long journey to Tanzania. It was a magickal journey filled with much learning about relationships, patience, boundaries and supporting ourselves and others. So much love to you Ashley!!!

No comments: