September 20th-21st, 2015
If I had to pick a favorite city from our recent Andalusian Spain holiday, without a doubt it would be Granada. The splendid Alhambra Palace (more on that to come!) already makes it a favorite with visitors, but add in the city’s Moorish-to-Christian heritage, North African flavored culture, youthful student vibe, numerous street artists and musicians, Roma Gypsy Sacromonte cave-dwelling population, labyrinthine cobblestoned lanes that lead up and up to hilly viewpoints with amazing vistas and you have a cosmopolitan, diverse, artsy, yet laid back, elegant, sensual city that reminds me quite a bit of Portugal’s Lisbon and Southern France’s Marseille. Granada is an easy city to linger in.
My trusty Rick Steves guide on Granada quoted an old Spanish saying that goes, “Give him a coin, woman, for there is nothing worse in this life than to be blind in Granada.” I have to wholeheartedly agree!
From the unforgettable San Nicolás viewpoint high up in the winding, historic Albayzin Moorish quarter looking impressively out over the city and the grand, red glowing Alhambra, to the raspy voiced wails of the flamenco singers said to have duende or soul, to the musky smell of incense and shisha coming from the maze of tiny shopping lanes of the old Alcaicería silk market-turned-modern day tourist souk lined with bohemian teaterias and trinket shops, to the taste of Moroccan eateries and pastries, to the modern day shoeless hippies aptly nicknamed pies negros (black feet) and street musicians gathered around Plaza Nueva and Paseo de los Tristes, it would be a pity not just to be blind in Granada, but to have any of your senses fail you.