Granada’s Albayzin.

 


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Everyday we walked through the Albayzin along the Barranco de las Naranjas and Barranco de los Negros – romantic names which conjured up images of the Moors, their legends and history – on cobblestone paths, past white-washed cave houses, cactus plants, scrubland, and at every turn there was one glorious view of the Alhambra after another. Past an ad-hoc cafe that made use of the natural shade of a couple of trees. It was nothing more than two small tables, a bench and a home-made sign listing beer and bocadillos for sale. There was no coffee; otherwise we’d have stopped for a cup. The entrance to the cafe, a red- painted, white-spotted door which sprouted like a fairytale mushroom, was guarded by a bull-terrier who did his job well, and barked furiously as we passed. We looked down over tan roof tiles to postage-stamp sized backyards. In one an Alsatian sat on the steps. A cat walked the wall above him, high-stepping daintily towards tourist hands which stroked and caressed. The Alsatian let rip. On another roof-top a cat napped while her kitten swiped at her tail, and another watched from the cover of a chimney pot. A woman’s voice soared behind a flower-festooned railing. She sounded angry. But it was probably just Spanish excitement.

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There were no cars. Just scooters – boy racers. The dog shit was more hazardous. No-one picked up after their dog. We continued past a flamenco/Spanish school, and steps inching up the hillside, past narrow lanes radiating haphazardly, past twists and turns, high walls and barred gates. It was inscrutable; even with a map, Jim got lost. ‘The map is wrong’, he said. ‘Google Earth is wrong’. But that was the charm of the Albayzin.

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Little by little she revealed herself and her treasures. The facade of a mosque embedded in a wall. Ancient water-tanks. The new mosque and the St. Nicolas mirador. Secret gardens behind Carmen* walls. Tiny plazas and restaurants. The strumming of a flamenco guitar. A little ice-cream parlour cum bakery. Churches and remnants of an old city wall. A place for aimless wandering of which I never tired.

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*Only in Granada – large mansions with walled gardens. Plain on the outside, sumptious on the inside.

9 thoughts on “Granada’s Albayzin.

  1. Oh you make it sound so peaceful, and dreamy. I felt like I was there. I love the slow pace of it. We stayed in Nerja, and went to Alhambra, but didn’t venture into Granada.
    Alison

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  2. The first time I went to the Alhambra, we were also staying in Nerja and just went for a day. The I didn’t see Granada or even know about the Albayzin. It was so worth staying for a week. Another place (yet another!) that I would go back to anytime.

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