(from the journal, November 1-4) The bus climbs over the mountains, which give way to rolling foothills, olive trees, citrus orchards, a nuclear power plant. Granada is chilly but not rainy. “Iglesias del Salvador,” I tell the taxi driver, his Prius delivering us to an easy landmark a stone’s throw from our flat.
It is noon. We are the first customers at a restaurant on the plaza. We eat then meet Belén, a kindred spirit. Her apartment is cozy, colorful, welcoming.
The views are OMG breathtaking. Up the mountain, we see roof-tops, a church and a motley assortment of caves, tarps and shacks filled with the gypsies embraced by the locals and accepted by the government.
We are in Barrio Albayzin, centuries old, ancient winding streets following the topography of the hills. Stores, bars, cafes, restaurants open and close at odd hours. No one eats before 9pm.
Down the hill to the river, it is picturesque and beautiful, the Alhambra dominating the skyline. Opened doors reveal artisanas, tiendas arabicas y tapas bars.
There is a palpably strong, resonant heartbeat here in Granada. It’s our kind of town – not too big, lively, unpretentious, multicultural, whimsical. Half a day in, we’re ready for a month or more.
Our too-short stay is packed with goodness: the Catedrala, the Alhambra, Barrio Sacromonte, Moroccan dining, innovative tapas, members-only Flamenco and a craving for more Granada.