Granada: a reason to return

Granada, April 27, 2011
So, Granada. I haven’t told you very much about this city yet, have I? That’s about to be remedied.
It’s about 10 am on my last day here and I’m sitting on park bench in a small plaza a block or so from hotel, enjoying the warm morning sun. In a couple of hours, sitting in the sun will no longer be the desired thing to do.
I love this area of the city, and I wish to thank Hotels.com for picking this hotel for me. It’s called Hotel Navas and it’s on a relatively short street, Calle Navas that is lined with similarly modest hotels, small shops, bars and restaurants. the last two all have outdoor sitting areas, and most of their tables are filled until closing time, sometime after midnight. It’s a narrow street and the crowd’s noise echoes against the walls and is amplified as it rises. Even with my windows closed, the noise penetrates. But it doesn’t really matter because I’ve gotten to my room so late and so tired both nights that I have fallen asleep right away.
Last night, however, I was startled awake around 2 by a loud jarring noise. A garbage truck had backed into the street and workers were dragging large plastic garbage containers from behind the hotel, hooking them up to the truck, which lifted them up into the huge garbage collection compartment. Every item in the containers banged against the metal sides of that truck as it tumbled out. It went on for about 15 minutes, and it took place right beneath my open third-story window (I had opened it after the nose of the crowd had ended because my room was too hot).
I had trouble going back to sleep after that even though hardly a sound could be heard (the street is closed to vehicular traffic), and I kept waking up every few minutes when I did doze off.
The result was that I didn’t wake up early, as planned, to see if I could get in line for one of the few tickets doled out to at the Alhambra for stupid people who do not read guidebooks that explicitly recommend buying tickets ahead of time. So I will leave tonight for Barcelona not having visited the one sight everyone recommends you see here. Several guidebooks and articles I’ve read have al said the same thing: “It would be foolish not to visit the Alhambra.”
Color me foolish.
Oh well, that only means that I will have to return one day. I love Granada. It is my favorite Spanish city so far. I could live here, and if I ever win the lottery, I will. It is beautiful and pleasant and so full if life. The people appear to be generally friendlier than in the other cities, although it just could be that, after more than a week in this country I am feeling more at ease and people just seem friendlier.
Even though it’s a relatively large city, it still has a small-town feel, if you stay in the center of town. More than any of the other cities I’ve visited, Granada reminds me of my favorite cities in Mexico.
But you know what has stood out the most for me? The fashion! Everywhere you go, every alley you turn into, has several small clothing stores where some of the most beautiful dresses and shoes I have eve seen are displayed. I have never been a follower of women’s wear and I could never figure out why people got so excited about it (until I started watching Project Runway). But this place has made a believer out if me. I have found myself wanting to take picture of the outfits in the windows. They are that good; they are works of art.
There are a lot more arts and crafts shops here also. The crafts shops offer mostly touristy stuff, but even there you can find some beautiful items. I bought a small bowl yesterday – the only one of it’s kind in the store- for 5 euros.
I also bought a small Jesus-on-the-cross sculpture in bronze by a local well-known artist that I can’t wait to display at home. It was my second choice. My first was a graceful, beautifully sculpted bronze male torso, but it cost much more and it probably would have cost a lot more to have it shipped home, it was so heavy
I fly to Barcelona tonight, but my flight is not until 9:30, so I have the rest of the day and part of the evening to just roam around, hoping to find new streets and alleys and plazas. I’ve taken a lot of photos so I think today I’ll concentrate on sketching some of what I see.
I just looked at the forecast for Barcelona and it calls for one day of sunshine followed by three days of rain. Damn. But maybe it’s the Gods’ way of telling me that I belong in Granada, the only place where there hasn’t been any rain during my stay.

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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One Response to Granada: a reason to return

  1. Isabelle says:

    L’Alhambra était magnifique mais tout aussi beau la colline en face, l’Albaycin. Petites ruelles comme à Toledo, patios fleuris, terrasses ombragées et… la vue en fin de journée sur l’Alhambra et la Sierra Nevada enneigée. Inoubliable. Mais trop de touristes, même en avril.

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