Travel Log - Nov. 2001 Trip to Granada
Yeah, Finally Here!
After a three hour delay, a near 7 hour plane ride on Iberia from New York to Madrid and a 45-minute flight from Madrid to Granada , I arrived! I had rented a ground floor apartment in the Albaicin, on the Cuesta de las Tomasas. That first cold night in Granada , I spent an hour outside staring across the expanse -- the place I rented had an excellent view of the Alhambra , and it was more beautiful than I ever imagined.
Getting Around, Learning the Lingo
The first night in the apartment was interesting. That evening, I went to a local restaurant. I ate some "authentic" Spanish food; paella and sangria. The rice was hard, the chicken undercooked and the sangria smelled sour, like someone had soaked their feet in it for an hour. It was freezing inside the apartment and the owner threw a party that lasted until 4am! When you've traveled nearly eight hours to another continent, you don't want to be up at 4am the next day. Finally, I slept and later in the afternoon, I went out to explore Granada . I walked down sloping hills and reached the central square. Then, I found Paradise -- there in the middle of Granada central square, a Burger King. I'd never been so happy to see a Burger King in all my life! "Numero uno, por favor."
I know lots of fellow writers who can write about places they have never been, things they have never seen or experienced, but I am not one of them. For me, a writer brings a place and time to life in their readers' mind when he or she makes the trip. My 2001 visit to the Alhambra was well worth the trip. All the research I had done in preparation was nothing compared to being there. I'll never forget the echo of my boot heels on the cobblestone streets of the Alhambra complex, nor the murmuring lulls of water flowing along narrow channels or the sleek, cold feel of a marble column. And even with all the research I'd done, I still learned something new: people in medieval times were way shorter than we are in modern times. I had to duck to get through some of the doorways in the complex and I'm 5 foot 7 inches. Visiting the Alhambra was an experience I'll never forget.