Today we wander through the streets of Granada, just gathering impressions, then trying to capture them all as future memories: Saturday is a good day for weddings: guests in fantastic hats outside a church by the river, throwing rice at the newly-weds; other guests, stiletto shoes in hand, walking barefoot down the slopes from the Alhambra, a popular photographic spot.
The wail of sirens and a loud ‘thump’ as a police car sideswipes a tour bus, causing a traffic bottleneck at the entrance to crowded Lower Albaicin district; they are soon joined by two more police cars, two ambulances and a tow-truck – but there is no shouting and no-one seems to be hurt – apart from the policeman, whose pride is a little dented.
We hear Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto played with true soul by a musician under the trees outside the cathedral; and less tunefully, at least to our Northern European ears, a portly guitarist in white shirt and tight black trousers wails Flamenco songs to lunchtime diners in the outdoor cafes; later, young girls pout and stamp on a sheet of metal, trying to interest passers-by in tickets for the show in the night-club.
There are saints, marble and gold galore in the chapels lining the inside of the cathedral; an audio guide is some years out of date – but does it matter in a building some 500 years old?; slightly disappointingly, the Royal Chapel is closed. After realising I am possibly the only person taking any notice of the ‘no photography’ rule, I finally pull my camera out of my bag and get snapping.
I experience an inability to understand the abstract paintings of Jose Guerrero; this will be followed later in the day by a more concentrated, but equally unsuccessful, attempt to understand the art installation in the Alhambra, based on a Japanese garden.
Gypsy women try to press bunches of herbs into our hands – it is rosemary instead of the heather it would be back home, but the tactics are the same and less wary tourists are followed down the street clutching their sprigs to loud requests for payment;
Our day starts with a gentle stroll down the hill from the Alhambra to the city, using the winding roadway; this is contrasted sharply on the return journey, when we tackle the shorter, and definitely much steeper, pedestrian route; stopping at each bench to catch our breath – benches that appear to be set at a slope, but actually just compensate for the angle of the path! My interest in architecture and the need to take ever more photographs increase with the gradient.
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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