A Voice In The Crowd: More about Granada

July 1, 1993

A Voice In The Crowd: More about Granada

By Jim Spelman

By Jim Spelman

More about Granada

Granada, Spain is wrapped in an aura of romance. On a bluff above the city, reposes one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—The Alhambra. Immortalized by Washington Irving, the beautiful complex of Moorish and early Spanish architecture and its gardens draw sightseers and students from every conceivable place.

On a nearby hill is the stunning Generalife, the summer palace of the Moorish sultans, surrounded by what has to be one of the most colorful and delightful

gardens on the planet.

Five hundred yards north, across a deep ravine, is the Albaycin, a quaint barrio of homes, small hotels and smaller shops which lies on the lower slope of the hill known as El Sacramonte. From all three, the Alhambra, Albaycin and Sacramonte, the view of Granada and the Sierra Nevada is worth the climb.

As a city, Granada is different in many ways from

what we are used to. Its center is much busier and crowded than the big Neptune shopping mall located on its south side. Its thoroughfares are lined with stores and shops, most small, some large, selling every conceivable type of merchandise.

Its plazas and squares, sometimes only a block apart, are all surrounded by crowded tapas bars, shops and restaurants and often contain kiosks which sell all sorts of things from newspapers and packaged snacks to fabulous pastries.

The avenues, plazas, squares and narrow streets

between, teem with people, old, young and very young,

from mid-morning one day until very early morning the

next day.

The food here is very traditional. Salted and air cured hams hang, along with large links of chorizo sausage, from the rafters of every bar, restaurant, butcher shop and grocery. Served as a tapas (snack) with a drink or in thin slices on a sandwich, it is a valuable commodity selling for as much as $40 a pound! Salads of roasted red peppers, romaine, white asparagus and the best tuna fish I have ever tasted, are served everywhere. Squid, cuttlefish and octopus as well as shrimp and mussels are commonly served seafoods. But, the best of all are the pastries. From flaky and delicate palmas and croissants to thick and muscular empanadas and hornasas, they are tasty and delicious beyond description.

On the south edge of Granada is Parque de Federico García Lorca. Surrounding what was once the summer home of the hero, its gardens, permeated by the scent of the jasmine which climbs many of the fences and arbors, are as beautiful as those of the Generalife. Garcia Lorca was a humanistic poet, author and musician who was labeled an enemy of the state and murdered by Franco in 1936. Now his name and memory are honored as heroic. The laugh´s on the generalissimo!

Perhaps they are no different than girls in the U.S., perhaps it´s just me, but I have noticed more belly buttons in Granada than are seen by an obstetrician on double duty. The senoritas are very slim there´s little obesity among the young and middle-aged here. The girls wear jeans or pants that seem to be painted onto their shapely behinds and short tops which leave their trim tummies showing.

After two weeks in Granada, the Voice has moved on to Salamanca, the cultural center of Europe for 2002, an introduction to which will be next. Until then, I remain, A Voice in the Crowd, Jim Spelman.

Jim Spelman is a local attorney.

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