The road goes.

There is a legend that under the Alhambra there is buried a giant magnetic stone. This stone is said to attract some people and repel others. It's as though it effects the mood of the city dwellers. Vibrant artistic inspiration of the people here can be overwhelming as well as the heaviness of oppression.
I think that most people who come to Granada experience the city's very strong energy. The story of the stone may not be true but the existence of this magnetism is very real. A guest from Kuwait once warned me that you can get pulled here, spend years floating around in happiness and poverty and one day you wake up to realize that five years have passed.
My question is; how is it that the same person can feel both pulled toward the city and repelled? Is it something about Granada that changed or is it the individuals who have changed? I feel that in my case both instances have occurred. I have returned to the city as a more worldly person. I understand the language more deeply and I am no longer at awe at the foreignness or ancient feel of the place. The magic of traveling right now to me only feels like buses and itineraries.
I think that Granada has changed too. I've talked to many people about it and there seems to be a consensus that the financial crisis of the EU has hit people hard. Many government projects have stopped, the young are out of work, and there is more pressure on the police and governing officials to control the populace. Six years ago I set off fireworks from my rooftop and when the police came I told them that we were celebrating te day of Mary acending into heaven and they said "fine" and left me alone. Now a days the police go in parks and make musician stop playing music even is the musicians are not asking for money. If people protest and continue to play the police will confiscate their instruments. This is not the Granada I knew before where everyone was free to smoke hash in the streets, make bonfires on their roofs, and play music in the streets all day.
Last weekI was meditating at an old monestary in the hills. The ceiling of half of the building had caved in. I saw a man come out of one of the side doors with a backpack and a spray bottle. He began to spray weed killer all over the grounds. I looked and him and the caved in roof next to him and thought about what a perfect example this is of how the inhabitants are dealing with Granada at this moment in time. While the beautiful ancient buildings are crumbling into ruins all the money is being spent to spray poison on the poor street musicians and vendors (the very types of people who make Granada the magical bohemian city that tourists come to see.)
All these realizations, and feeling pushed away by the magnetic stone under the Alhambra, has left me a bit traumatized. I am grateful that the spell was broken but the journey has made me weary.
I was hit with a bad case of homesickness last week. I thought about it and thought about it and I finally decided to go back to Virginia early to spend a healing month with my family. Jameson feels called to finish out our journey and he will be traveling to morroco and walking the camino de Santiago de compostela on his own. I fully support him in his decision to continue on, he will have an amazing adventure. So you all know, May 22nd I will fly back to the states and Jameson will continue blogging about his adventure. Heck, I might even blog a bit about my return home. We will reunite mid June and continue on the journey of life together.


  1. Anonymous9:44 PM

    God be with you both.....

  2. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Wow! Your posting is powerful! I feel like I completely understand and I grieve for you that Granada has changed.
    Well, at least I still have videos of people smoking hash in the streets and playing music everywhere. In time we can look at those videos and refresh our memory of the Granada that was.