Thursday, June 14, 2007

the bus ride from madrid to grenada is around 5 or 6 hours and there was some kind of weird rule that we couldnt use the bathroom on the bus because the trip wasnt long enough, so i spent a good chunk of the ride being extremely thirsty and not drinking anything, because, as those of you who know me are probably aware, i have a bladder like a 3 year old. we stopped once at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere for 40 minutes, and i got offered all kinds of plant-based table scraps from people who had just discovered that i am vegan. we got to the hotel, and inti and i went up to our room. i felt like an imposter, because it was hands down the nicest hotel room into which i´d ever set foot. or wait, did we go straight to the alhambra? maybe we did that first. no, thats right, we dropped off our stuff and then went to the alhambra. it was stunning. it turns out that i love arab architecture from the middle ages; the materials and designs are simple but somehow breath-taking. if im ever rich, ill have a courtyard built in my home like that one, because i swear it was the most peaceful place on earth.

our guided tour was only of the alhambra, so after it was over, we wandered around the other sites in a pack. i ditched the pack on the tower in the... shit. the something that starts with "a" and is across a courtyard from the alhambra. whatever. i was sick of being around people, and i had a hunch that the gardens of the generalife (i know what you´re thinking, its pronounced ghen-eh-rhal-LEE-fay) would be better experienced in relative solitude. i was right. turns out that the gardens are even more peaceful than the courtyard at the alhambra, and since i wasnt with a group, i managed to avoid seeing or hearing humans for stretches of up to 5 minutes at a time. i spent the latter half of my walk fantasizing about building a commune designed after the generalife in which talking was restricted to certain areas. yeah, when im a millionaire.

i found falafel on my walk back to the hotel, and while i was eating it, spotted the first south-indian restaurant i´ve seen in spain. i made a mental note of its location and promised myself that i´d return when i got hungry again. i spent a while reading, took a long shower, and then tried to walk back to the indian place. i got lost, realized that i had forgotten my map, wandered around a bit, then came back to the hotel and made a PB&J (bringing a loaf of bread and jars of PB and J turned out to be a very smart move). after "dinner", i went to a friend´s hotel room and sat in her bed reading while she watched a movie on her ipod. as far as i know, she was the only other person in the hotel that didnt go out that night. her friends kept telling her that she was missing out on the experience of grenada and that shed never have this chance again unless she came back. she replied that she didnt think that getting drunk at a club full of dancing tourists was really essential to the experience, and i think somewhere a straightedge band got its wings when she said that.

the next day we went to some old cathedrals and talked about gothic architecture. i was fascinated, since i never took art history, but i wont repeat the lecture.

the next stop was the alcazín (i probably misspelled that), the arab neighborhood in the hills across from the alhambra. of course it stopped being an arab neighborhood after 1492, but apparently it is starting to be repopulated. the tour ended at a little park with a great view of the city, where seemingly homeless men played beautiful classical spanish guitar for change, and stray dogs wandered around stealing hearts - including mine. there was this one dog... he was seriously the sweetest thing i´ve ever seen (except you, scout, you know you´re the only girl for me!). he was very mellow but a face-licker which gets me every time. unfortunately, he didnt try to follow me home.

we ate lunch at a super fancy restaurant in the hills. they made me a special salad without the cheese (delicious) and a plate of grilled marinated veggies (even delicious-er), and everyone else complained that there was too much fat in their steak.

next time: córdoba, el velodromo, and concluding thoughts on haruki murakami´s the wind-up bird chronicle

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