To be honest, I knew very little about Granada. But I heard great things from everyone I met throughout my prior travels in Spain. I didn’t look at a map and I didn’t know what to do or where to go, but the moment I jumped off the bus, I knew that I was going to have a great time. The bus ride from Madrid was absolutely breathtaking! The roads wound in between and around, and sometimes through beautiful, picturesque white-tipped mountains. At the bottom of the mountains were tiny farms and the endless vineyard, accompanied by various fruit tree fields. What a spectacular experience, I thought to myself – I looked around at everyone else on the bus, and sleepy, unimpressed eyes looked out at the beautiful expanse around us. I was amazed at this, and a little stunned that others didn’t see the same beauty as me. The many landscapes of our world are wonderful, and beautiful, and while some are perhaps, wicked and unmanned, the world we live in is truly amazing.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m just being silly or if I’m an uncultured swine... Because after traveling for a while, I tend to steer far away from the ever-present museum and educational-attractions. I think that visiting a few here and there are great – they can be quite eye opening and of course, educational. I will still stop by the most important and influential museums, and do my best to give a benefit of a doubt. But after the first few museums of each trip, be it the arts or historic, my eyes automatically glaze over upon entrance, and I see and take in nothing of importance. I become bored and ready to fall asleep. It’s not that the art and the work are mediocre, usually – typically, the work is amazing and full of history and flavor. Right now though, I’m currently in my fourth week of my travels through Europe and I’ve found myself cringing at the very thought of having to see another museum. I’m always in search of the real and the tangible – I guess I’m seeking adventure and non-comfort. I’ve always learned by doing, and seeing, and experiencing, and not by being told.
Does this happen to you too?
(Photo by Trey Ratcliff)
Beginning day 11 of my travels in Spain, I sporadically decided to forego Valencia and head off to Madrid. A tedious and sleepless 8 hour bus ride from Barcelona put me in Madrid around 5 PM. Since this was a last second decision, I had no accommodation booked. I took the metro from the bus station to the only part of Madrid that I had heard about, which was Sol. Bounding out of the metro station lead me near the Puerta del Sol. It was teeming with tourists and vendors, and police. Just days before my arrival, a group of protesters marched the busy plaza. There were little signs left from the events, besides the presence of the police.
I immediately started wandering, in hopes of finding a decent hostel to stay in. It was easy for me, with no map, to get lost and in my tired state, I began to dislike Madrid immensely. I’ve had more than enough experience to realize that rarely is travel easy, and rarely does everything work out perfectly, as planned. So I gritted my teeth and stopped at a little yogurt cafe which boasted a WIFI sticker on the window and figured out the situation.
I sit along the ancient stone wall of the bustling plaza, with one leg draped on either side. The Alhambra looms overhead, casting a dull shadow over the stream below. The sun warms my back and the light breeze soothes its hot sting. My eyes flit from here and there, following the playful birds soaring and owning the skies. Oh, the skies. So beautiful, blinding lustrous blues with the occasional white splotch. The sounds of the river flowing below me mix wonderfully with the smooth picking of the woman's guitar. Two dogs sit at her feet, listening peacefully. One with various shades of black with orange brown, and the other is golden. They flick their tales at flies, and their eyes are shut, each lying on their sides, soaking up the sun.
Her song tells a solemn story. A sorrowful lament. Tattered gypsy clothing hangs loosely from her shoulders. She is wearing thick grey and brunette mats, which stream haphazardly from atop her head. Her eyes are closed and she sways, with her instrument upon her lap. The music lives, and breathes, as if it is within her bones and keeps tempo with the beat in her veins. Inspired, she plays. Inspired now was I, and I close my eyes. I begin to sway. She plays for no one, yet she plays to calm her soul.
I left 18 days ago from Columbus, Ohio and am now updating to you from Granada, Spain. It took me an extra day to arrive to Spain, because American Airways canceled all the flights across the U.S. on April 16th – but now I’m here. And I must say that Spain is unbelievably amazing!
I landed in Barcelona first. Customs was a breeze – it was as simple as opening my passport and one second later I was stamped and heading to the metro platform. I had no idea of where I was going or what I was going to do. The only thing that I had planned ahead of time was that I was to stay at Kabul Backpacker hostel in Plaza Reial, near La Rambla. I jumped off a random stop near the Casa Batlló, where I wandered and wandered for hours. My initial thought of Barcelona was that it was alive and full of flavor, and full of architectural wonders. I made my way down La Rambla (the main street – full of tapas restaurants and tourist shops, with side alleyways leading to old Roman ruins and endless bars) and further down to the Port of Barcelona and then finally the manmade beach, and I recognized a feeling welling up inside of me – pure enjoyment. After months of anguish and fighting to get back out, out into the world, I was finally here.
Sign up for my VIP email list:
*Disclaimer: All blog posts featuring products, reviews, or suggestions for products or services are governed by our Disclosure. Products were received free to review, so to provide authentic opinions and content for our readers. The opinions and ideas in this post are the writer's own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business. We receive no compensation for product reviews. Links within non-product review posts may be sponsored.