v’s hasta luego.

12 Jan

Nebraska, Texas and Iowa are all restaurants here but the only place I’ve seen the word “Arizona” is on the front-page of the local newspapers. So far from home, we were alerted to the horrifying news by way of G’s Twitter feed within hours of the shooting while holed up for the night at our hotel not far from the foot of Alhambra, the 14th century Moorish castle built in Granada.

We had a four-star location and no-star access to our hotel room on a cobblestone street. To gain access to our “loft room,” we had to climb one of those winding staircases that are advertised for $495 at the back of the New Yorker. Every time we finagled the door open to the minuscule hallway, all I could do was laugh.

Our one full day in Granada was near perfect, on both tourist and weather fronts. We toured the Alhambra in the morning and were taken with the history and the geometric exactness of the architecture and gardens. The influence of other cultures, including Moroccan and Moorish, is evident and the people as a whole seem friendlier. Maybe it’s because there are so many tourists there even the nuns post public signs in English.

One of my best meals in Spain was at a restaurant called “Kebab King,” where G and I split a kebab, which is more like a stuffed sandwich than anything resembling a skewer. In the evening, we blindly wandered up the streets of Granada — the maps we had did not name many of the streets — and ended up in a park where the public gathers to watch the sunset near the Alhambra. Witnessing the attempted police raid on the park was fascinating, and we couldn’t help but wonder why they waste so much effort on about a dozen people selling what amounts to glorified junk. With a yell, the vendors were alerted the police were on their way and when they left 45 minutes later, they returned within two minutes. My son, Reid, would have enjoyed the street theater of it all.

Back in Madrid since Sunday, I fumbled my way on my own to the Reina Sofia museum, which houses Picasso’s Guernica and got lost on my way back … “a nice way to learn a city,” G says. At the Museo del Prado we say a Renoir exhibit imported from the U.S. and a lot of famous Spanish artists. In 90 minutes, we zipped throuh one of the “richest” museums in Europe, according to the Lonely Planet guidebook. You could say tourist fatigue is setting in.

It’s been nice to experience a bit of the rhythm of G’s daily life here, including taking the subway with her today to see where she “works” (and even she would put that word in quotes) as an English teaching assistant and meeting/getting to know her roommates (two UC Davis grads, an Italian and a Spaniard) and the mother of one of her roommates, who happened to be here as well.

Oh, and a big thank-you to Spain for banning smoking in restaurants soon after I arrived and to my ever-entertaining and usually patient guide, “Juliana,” as she calls herself at Starbucks (they can’t deal with the hard “G” here). Gracias, Juli (“hoo-ly”) as her roommates call her.

You can have your blog back now. This is way harder than it looks.

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One Response to “v’s hasta luego.”

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  1. pomegranate city. « That's G - July 15, 2011

    […] more than two nights there – and it remains one of my favorite cities in Spain! [You can read my mom's guest post about Granada here.] granadas in […]

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