After 2 years of planning, my trip to Granada has turned into reality last Saturday. Two main reasons why I have been dying to see this historical town of Spain: One, for the snow (since it is only the snow peak in Andalucia) and two, because of the famous ALHAMBRA Palace which is a UNESCO heritage site.
At 8:30am sharp, I forced myself to get out of my comfy bed and meet my friend Satellite for the trip we planned a week ahead. My bag was so full, it looked like I was going on a month long vacation to the Swiss Alps or something. I didn´t have any ski gadgets though for the reason that I don´t ski, skate of anything that involves wheeled shoes since I don´t have a sense of balance. I had my first steps when I was 3 years old and my mom said I just had a big head, she had to keep an eye on me in case it would hit the floor.
Enough of the self incriminating pasts. What I am trying to get at is that outdoor activities are not really my thing. I wasn´t and still am not a sporty person and if there is any activity I truly despise in this world. that would be walking. Don´t get me wrong. I can walk like 5 to 20 meters or something but I would rather get a cab and not eat the whole week rather than walking under the blazing sun. The longest distance I have ever walked is the 7 km stretch of BORACAY island with an Australian hunk who, after 4 days and nights of being together, told me that he did not want any relationships at all. Well, I told him...¨honey, who said I want one, in the first place? (presumptuous!)¨ and never saw him again after. He was the sweetest of men and yet the cowardest of them all (warning: beware of Aussie men. They are like kangaroos. They hop..and hop..and hop).
Anyway, why do I keep on getting sidetracked? Moving on with the trip...I have prepared a mini travelogue with vignettes. Hope you like it so keep on scrolling down.And I mean down.
The Road to Granada
Exiting Malaga for the first time in 3 years is literally a breeze of fresh air. It is as if I am transferred to another dimension where everything is just different from the coast. For one, I could not see the sea now. What surrounds me is a breathtaking landscape of greenery and postcard-like images of houses and farms reminiscent of old rural Spain.
It is almost 9:30 am and the sun is blazing. It feels like summer has arrived and the days of snow and frost is withering. I open the passenger window. Satellite has been chatty today and he has been raving about his boyfriend for the last 30 minutes we have been on the road.
¨I am really excited to see him . I´ve been looking on cheap tickets on the net already¨, he says, eyes firm on the road. His boyfriend, like me is Asian.
¨Good for you¨, I say as I tilt my head a little outside the window.
I love how the wind touches my face...blowing my hair. Pure liberty. Sheer ecstasy. Something that I have not had since I I started to be confined and boxed in the corporate world with rules to obey and and money to endlessly chase.
I am in awe. Miles and miles of astounding beauty surrounds me. I wonder, how do they manage to live on the top of a hill, away from everything? What if you forgot to buy something from your grocery list? Would you drive another 5 miles to get an onion or something?
I guess they must have been used to it. Everyone has his own survival tactics anyway. As a city dweller for a long time, my definition of survival is to walk outside my apartment at 3 in the morning knowing that my faithful 7-11 stores are open for me to buy my fags... knowing that the city is wide awake with bustling cars and 24 hour restaurants which serve the best porridge for the insomniacs and the night hawkers. Here in Spain, I have forgotten that skill. I have adapted the weird Spanish horario (timetable) which means everything is closed at 2-4pm and after 10pm. I had to shop loads of cigs in case of emergency or else, I will wander the streets in the wee hours of the mornings desperately looking for them, in vain.
Alas, the sight of the famous Toro. Yes, taken quite afar however; it definitely reminds me that I am away from my homeland. I am now in the land of the Toros and not the Water Buffalos.
I turn on Satellite´s car stereo trying to break the cold silence the envelops us for the past 20 minutes or so. I am looking for an English station but all that´s coming from it is a faint Flamenco tune I recognize from the movie Camaron.
I turn the volume up.
An hour has passed and we are about to reach Granada´s town proper.
The town of Granada is small yet quaint and oddly picturesque. Although I see a big shopping mall, El Corte Ingles, the typical atmosphere of a Spanish rural neighbourhood dominates the air. Satellite suggests that we have coffee first since he hasn´t had breakfast yet so I eagerly give in to have a taste of a typical Granada coffee.
The café is not all busy but it seems like a queue is waiting to be served and we are at the end of it. The waitress is chatting with her co-worker and our presence did not make her lift an eyebrow even if it means another penny to her pocket.
After a while, 2 coffees and sandwich mixtos arrive. We talk about what to do next. Whether to go directly to Sierra Nevada or the Alhambra. Since it is almost 12 pm, I suggest we go ahead to the mountains since it would be quite difficult to travel uphill at sunset. He agrees.
We pay and leave. The girl is still chatting. Very typical Spanish. If she were in my country, she surely must have been fired ages ago.
After a couple more minutes on the road, the beautiful landscape was replaced with nightmares. The horrible sight of construction sites filled the view and I feel bad with what I see.
I close my eyes not see them. They remind me of the coast. I am not there at the moment.
When I open my eyes. I could not believe what I see. At last...I am near the snow!!!
I am so delighted. 28 years of waiting and finally I could see and touch real snow!
Satellite, being British was quite mystified with all my fascination with snow. You see, I came from a tropical country in the East where the sun shines 365 days a year and the chances of snow is snowballs in hell. I have not been lucky to see it during my short trip to France and Madrid and where I live right now is the sunniest part of the Spain as well hence; my enthusiasm to see snow up close and personal is sky high.
The zig-zag road to Sierra Nevada seems never ending. Satellite drives calmly half listening to the flamenco tune in his stereo, half listening to me.
At last. The Ski resort.
We are almost on the entrance of the mountain´s foot when we see a traffic policeman signing everyone to turn and park away to a different direction. The underground parking is already full and cars are lined up kilometers away from what should be a walking distance only. Satellite took the turn and we find ourselves almost too far from the entrance, we could never afford walk to and back to where we should park. It was so far, almost a different side of the mountain altogether. We forgot it is a Saturday and worse, Semana Blanca, which means, everyone...basically everyone is here.
I am in dilemma. having suffered from a bad sprain just months ago, I could never (even if I try) walk that distance with my foot. I just cannot.
We stop for a while. He asks me:
¨What do we do now?¨
It was disappointing but I have to make a choice.
¨Let´s just go to the Alhambra¨
I came, I saw the snow, but never conquered.
Tuesday, 6 March 2007 at 01:38 Posted by LuxuryHappy