A very Spanish night out

FĂștbol y tapas
We didn't even tip and we yelled the whole way home.
Just between you and me, I wanted Real Madrid to lose. They were being such babies rolling around on the field like they had broken their leg every time a player from the German team touched them.


Monday Evening

It has finally warmed up and the sun is ever healing and bright. Yesterday we had the day off and we spent it roaming slowly through the streets. On our way to eat lunch we found boxes of artichokes, strawberries, and fava beans which we brought home and cooked for a late lunch. After we ate Jameson said, "let's go watch the sunset". We have been here long enough that he now knows his way around and he led me up the hill to an olive grove planted above the Alhambra. There you can see the snow capped tops of the Sierra Nevada and the whole city below.

We met an old man at the overlook, he had his three dogs with him, they were trained to give him kisses on command. He asked if we were German, we said no, but still he pointed to one of his dogs and said "este Es mi Frau" or "this is my woman"( Frau is German for woman). He walked home with his dogs.

We sat for about thirty minuites at the overlook watching the city, we had arrived much faster than we expected and there was still about an hour and a half till sunset. The wind was blowing hard and cold across the ridge and we decided to walk a bit to get our blood pumping.

As we walked back toward the olive grove we found the old man walking beside us on the road. He asks if we were from California, we said no but practically, and he began to tell us all about the mountain, how his family owned houses all along the ridge, how he had spent his youth hunting rabbits quail on the hillsides. He asked if he could walk with us saying,"no tengo nada que hacer" or "I don't have anything to do".

He was a kind man, I think he is a bit lonely. We walked across the mountain together. He showed us all kinds of edible plants and herbs. At the end of our walk I collected a whole grocery bag full of wild oregano, sorrel, rosemary, and other things whose names I do not know. As the sun went down we hiked slowly downward toward the river along a very narrow and stony tails. At the bottom Jose asked me for a cigarette and told us he will be going to the caves this weekend and if we meet him there we could all drink a beer together. We parted ways.

Back at the hostel we made a pasta with all the fresh herbs from the mountain and it was delicious.

Granada has this undeniable magic. Everyone that comes here can feel it. You feel it the most though, when you allow yourself to wander about completely open with "nada que hacer". I'm not sure exactly what brought me back to Granada but I think that it has something to do with this method of becoming more open, trusting life and that it will provide and inspire if I just have faith.



slide show: Abandoned Monastery


It took us nearly a week to arrive and when we finally got here at 11 pm, our hostel was locked and no one was there to let us in. We went to a nearby Internet cafe to call some friends. Desperate we trekked up to the caves where another hostel was located. We passed out hard in our bunk beds and woke up late. When I first opened our bedroom door I found the view that has been haunting me these past six years I've spent away from Granada. Nothing about it had changed.

We went back down to the city where our hostel, the maktub, is located. It is nestled in the center between two streets covered with arabic craft and tea shops. My old friend Francois greeted us with apologies for the last night. He fed us some soup and we sat on the terrace and put together our work schedule. Everything was good but the cold. It is still so cold here and the past few days were raining and freezing. This ancient house has no insulation. Jameson has been spending a huge portion of his day hiding under the covers in bed. All I want to do is go and explore, revisit every little side street I walked on in my previous life here, but the weather has made that pretty impossible to enjoy. Jameson and I have been manically seeking spots of sunshine. Today was our first day with no rain. We took a 4 hour walk through the mountains and olive groves to an abandoned monastery. It was the beautiful kind of day that I remember always having in Granada. I must have blocked out all of memories of the cold . Hopefully the weather will get better quickly so my thin little Jameson wont turn into a popcicle and spend his days wishing he were back in the carribean.
- Laney


Hitch hiking from Barcelona to Valencia

It took almost 12 hours to hitch a mere 3 hours south.
The people we got rides from were amazing people who rescued us from depressed roadside gas stations, but they just weren't going very far away.
Through this experience we learned that it is not only difficult to hitch in Spain, but that the 'friendliness' of this activity has become less popular as the economy has gotten worse. I suppose people think it is an opportunity to be robbed or taken advantage of.
No le da papaya, I suppose.


Semana Santa

The Good Friday parade in Barcelona is lead by hooded men and woman with pointed hands who carry the statues of Jesus and Madonna through the streets. Being from the south we normally associate these hooded masks of specific shape with a once popular southern racist group.
In Spain the hooded masks and robes represent shame for the sins committed to Jesus during his cruxifiction and for the sins committed by the people who wear the robes.
In all of the parades before Easter they are present, hiding their faces.
On Easter day there are many parades through the streets still the hoods and robes are in attendance, only now their masks are removed and carried high above their heads. Representing that their sins have been forgiven by Jesus, who traditionally rose on Easter morning.
While it was a little strange getting used to seeing so many pointed masks without thinking of bigotry, this Spanish tradition is a beautiful thing to witness.


Not a Pitt

I am more and more impressed with Pittsburgh every time I visit.