Granada

Olive trees in Antequera
Olive trees in Antequera
With Catherine
With Catherine
Snails
Snails
Backlit snails
Backlit snails
Cathedral
Cathedral
Santa Ana
Santa Ana
Casa San Juan de Dios
Casa San Juan de Dios
Santa Ana y Alhambra
Santa Ana y Alhambra
Old Granada
Old Granada
Walnut Hill 2010 Spain Trip reunion
Walnut Hill 2010 Spain Trip reunion
Sierra Nevada in the back
Sierra Nevada in the back

The last time I jumped on a train in Spain for some alone time was in 2010. A lot has happened since and I needed some time to be alone and enjoy this beautiful country. So I booked train tickets and I set off to Granada, the enchanted Moorish city of the South, home of Federico García Lorca, final resting place of Ferdinand and Isabel, inspiration for Washington Irving´s Tales of the Alhambra, and home to Europe´s Southernmost ski station, Sierra Nevada.

Some of the more noticeable changes in Spain in the last twenty years have been in infrastructure: Highways and railroads. Long gone are those creaky, smelly, shaking, trains, replaced by smooth, clean, and fast ones. The award winning Talgo technology – whereby the train “swings” in the turns allowing for a speedier, smoother ride now run on the high speed train rails. While not technically high speed, they do run quite fast. Making the Madrid to Granada trip in four hours where before eight would have been normal!

I love trains. I love enjoying the view while reading, listening to music or enjoying a nice cup of coffee. I love seeing the changes in the countryside as we speed along: now vines, now olive trees, now hills and rocky ridges. Tired and lazy I jumped into a cab for the five minute ride to the hotel. Right downtown, next to the beautiful Renaissance cathedral and the old Moorish town. The hotel, a 1920’s tile covered building has an old indoor patio.

I met up for dinner with Catherine Keller, a dear old student from my Walnut Hill days who is spending her summer in Granada with her Fordham University program. We went to the classic old Café Sevilla where we enjoyed great tapas and raciones – sharing plates. Including salmorejo (a concentrated type of gazpacho), and caracoles – snails!

Saturday morning, after a fabulous breakfast at the hotel, I hit the used book stores in the old part of town, and… Bingo! I found a trove of books that I needed for my reading list for my Ph.D. exam next Spring. The morning flew by while my bag grew heavier with books. Lunch was – as it should be – a leisurely affair, including, after coffee, a nice cigar and a Tanqueray Tonic while I continued reading my dear Fray Gerundioˡ. After a siesta it was time for vespers, as I knew I would not have time for mass on Sunday. I showed up at the beautiful Santa Ana church a while before mass, only to find that a wedding was finishing. It was all very beautiful, they had hired a four horse carriage, and the flowers in the church were delightful.

For dinner I met up with Catherine and Jenny – who I had seen in Madrid a few weeks ago, but was visiting Granada with her Mount Holyoke program from Valencia. So we had a mini Walnut Hill, 2010 Spain trip reunion with a lot of laughs.

Sunday morning, refreshed from my visit to old Granada, and with my bag a few pounds heavier, I jumped on the train back to Madrid.

Published by antonioyrocinante

En un lugar de Massachusetts de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un maestro de escuela de los de tiza en mano, rotulador rojo, moto flaca, y coche viejo. Una olla de steel cut oats, salpicón las más noches, huevos con bacon los sábados, lantejas los viernes, alguna hamburguesa de añadidura los domingos, consumian las tres partes de su hacienda. Tenía en casa una señora de la limpieza brasileira que venía los lunes, y un vecino paliza que se bebía hasta el agua de regar las plantas. Frisaba la edad de nuestro maestro con los cuarenta y algo; era de complexión recia, seco de carnes, enjuto de rostro, no muy madrugador y nada amigo de la caza. ¹ ¹ Gracias Don Miguel

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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like a really nice experience…….I agree with you that Granada is special in many ways and captures your soul!!!

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