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This Spain Fling

It’s our first early night back at our hotel since we arrived, and wifi in the room gives me a chance to add a word or two. Unbeleivable, all– in a good way– that’s how it’s going. Ken gets high marks for navigating city streets and attractions alike. Unlike in Italy, the tourists we’re among seem more mixed. We’re surrounded by many different languages, and Americans are less the rule. In other words, it’s easier to lose myself in being somewhere else. Somewhere other than where we’re from.

Now we’re relaxing at the end of our romp around Granada. The pomagranate being the symbol of this city (so sayath Rick Steves) we postulate grenadine must be named for this place. But I swear I’d always known the name Granada. I just can’t remember how.

To the lady at the shoe store who gushed at the very mention of this town: you were right. The Alhambra is magical. Mythic-seeming, it had been conquered so long ago, I can’t relate to the timline. It’s a contradiction too. A palace of impossibly intricate design, it was ruined and restored by a culture that simulaneously rebuked yet revered its past. All that to say: it is worth a trip around the world and back again.

So the Alhambra. Yes. Sublime romanticism for the taking in a modern world. Not to forget, we’re not the only ones discovering this daily. Tourists outnumber locals in such places. And lest I sound too high-falootin’, I are one. Well, we are a tour group of four. Before this trip, and for the first time, I abandoned all pretense of blending.

Because I don’t.

Shoe fashion here includes Greek-style sandals with buckle anklets. I’ve never seen harem pants worn on the street before coming here. I’m wearing tennies (my feet are thanking me for it) and wearing my backpack across my front (thieves beware). I really don’t care how I look; I’m here to see–not to be seen. It’s just…8,000 tourists a day hit this town by storm. The town don’t mind; tourism is important for business. I only wish we could relate better to the place we’ve come so far to visit. Being a tourist, that can be quite a trick.

So to Warren: Thank you for connecting us with Estefania whom I very much look forward to meeting tomorrow night. Before we rendezvous with her in Seville, we’ll sample Ronda with its bullring, its street cafes, and its scenic bridge.

Let me end with a callout to my favorite food and drink which is to be recreated on the otherside of This Spain Fling. Last night’s tail of toro was a melty geletin carnivore’s delight. Salmorejo will be prepared (by me) in the dog days of summer with Spanish (I-can’t-remember-the-proper-name-of-them-now-but-the-sell-them-jarred-at-Trader-Joes) peppers. And… Sangria, why had I forsaken you?! Never again, O paramour of the parched and palid pilgrim. Never again.

The salvation-giving banos arabes will forgive me for not telling about our 2-hour-long soaks and quarter-hour massages. And I’ll remember the double-scoop of coffee and pistaccio ice cream from Los Italianos around the corner from the Chris Columbus statue, even without blogging about it.

I do detest travelers who go on and on expecting others to read about their vacations. Don’t you agree?

Hasta luego!

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