Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jan 7 2016 - Tales from an Andalucian Roadtrip

A rundown of a few things we've come across on our road trip...


Taking in the Flamenco...
- Arrived in Seville, the entire town seemed to be promenading around town just outside the largest cathedral (by volume) in the world. The city has a good energy to it.

- We took Bowie to a Flamenco show at the Museo de Flamenco. He was absolutely captivated during all of the dances, but he would get bored and start making noises during the guitar solos. Not bad for a one-year-old! The audience seemed really tolerant and understanding as we'd stand up and go to the back of the room between songs to wait for the next dance.

- On the way home from the show, we discovered we could stand outside bars - there's often a window or counter - and I can wear Bowie in the carrier while we taste drinks/food through the window. He really loved arroz negro (rice with octopus and ink)!
- Dunkin Donuts: the donuts are called just "Dunkins"


- Bowie tried using a baby walker at El Corte Ingles (the giant Spanish department store chain) and had a blast!!! He was walking for about 45 minutes, bumping into things, navigating over to things he wanted to see. This kid is going to be walking very soon!
- Stayed at a hotel called Casas de la Juderia (houses of the Jewish quarter). Stayed at another hotel by the same name/description in Sevilla too but they are no longer owned by the same company. Both hotels had a really unique vibe - they bought up old houses in the Jewish quarter, carved them into individual hotel rooms, left original open "streets" between the houses, a decorated each room differently with touches from the old days. Really clever and unique experience!
- Around 8:30pm we stopped by a restaurant called Casa Bravo near at the gate on the edge of the old town (Puerta De Almodovar). It seemed dead and we were surprised we were able to order food. Then people started showing up. More and more people. And the large main table filled up with locals with guitars and amazing voices. Apparently the old folks come to Casa Bravo to perform flamenco guitar and singing. We seemed to be among the few tourists. It was a really special treat!

- Visited two Jewish historical sites: Casa de Sefarad (house set to show how the Jews lived around 1000 CE) and Sinagoga (used from 1315-1492, then later as a therapy center, a shoemakers union, and nursery school. During a somewhat recent renovation, Hebrew writing was discovered on the walls, the history of the building was rediscovered, and it was restored back to its former status as a synagogue).
- We also toured Mezquita - the large cathedral in a former mosque. It's massive and Bowie loved crawling around - until a security guard said enough was enough.


- For at least an hour of the roadtrip to Granada, there were olive groves on both sides of the highway as far as the eye could see.
- There are orange trees throughout Andalucia - in public parks, lining the streets, everywhere! And fresh squeezed orange juice is the only kind you can get because they just run out and pick the trees in front of the cafe (or so it seems!)
- We spent a night in the AlbaicĂ­n Arab and Moorish quarter and afternoon at Alhambra visiting the best preserved Moorish palace in the world.
- Alhambra has an amazing history - the center of Moorish rule of Andalucia since the 13th century, the home to Spanish/Catholic rule starting in 1492 (Columbus allegedly had his trip to find India/America planned and approved there), Napolean housed his troops here when the Bonapartes briefly rules Spain in the early 1800, then it was abandoned and later taken up by Roma (gypsies) until Washington Irving spent time here around 1830 and wrote a book called Tales of the Alhambra, which inspired the Spanish to preserve the fort and palace and open it to tourists. It is said that Escher has been heavily inspired by Alhambra.
- I've been wearing Bowie in his carrier during most of this trip. He kicks me when he's excited about something - mostly for dogs, babies, staircases, and fountains. In Alhambra he found all four as the Moors had built fountains everywhere and there were more locals and pets than we had seen in the previous cities.
- Granada has the great tradition of providing free tapas with each alcoholic drink. So feel free to order another round, you won't be drinking on an empty stomach!
- Granada is easily our favorite city on this roadtrip. Maybe it's because we stayed in the center of the city to soak up the local flavors and textures. Maybe it's because the Spanish holidays have ended and life is getting back to normal. Maybe because Granada is nestled among the Sierra Nevada mountains and it felt like home. But the city feels really alive, vibrant, and, hey, free tapas! We'll be coming back to experience more of Granada some day...


Dave V. said...

Did you have any encounters with Gypsies while in Seville? The last time I was there, they were in full effect!

Dave Grenetz said...

Very little actually. We heard there's a thriving Roma community in Granada but we didn't have a chance to visit them.

The other Olga said...

animated Gifs don't get old :)