Donna: The best decision we made was renting a house in Grenada for a month. It has been our home base. We have taken off for several adventures. We took a bus to Salobrena to explore the beach. We rented a car and drove to the Sherry Festival in Jerez. On the way back we spent two nights in the beautiful little town of Alhama de Grenada.
When we explored we traveled light. We only took clothes and a few necessities. Everything else was left at the house.
When we returned to Grenada it felt like home. All the stress of negotiating the unknown melted away. I’d slip into my comfortable shift. Mark would prepare tea and a light snack. We’d sit on the terrace and reacquaint ourselves with the fairytale view.
We’d unpack and the laundry would get done. It would get hung up on the terrace and dry in the breeze. Then Mark would write, or play guitar. I would read, and begin to look forward to my seista. We felt at peace. We were at home!
Mark: I checked Donna’s notes and discovered the feeling of peace and home she is talking about cost us $44.82 a day. That’s the financial bottom line. Putting that aside, it’s going to be hard to leave Grenada, the Albayzin, and Calle San Luis # 12.
We have toured the Alhambra, seen several flamenco shows, endulged ourselves at the Arab baths, and eaten tapas and meals at a few of Grenada’s celebrated bars and restaurants. All of these contributed to being able to imagine staying here longer, or returning. They fell more into the “We came. We saw. We conquered!” category though. There was something else. It was a little less tangible.
Nothing can completely explain the sense of nostalgia I felt in a place I had never been before. Up at Plaza Larga we became regulars at the butcher shop and one particular produce stand. I could expect the proprietors to insist upon providing me with their best. How can I explain what it felt like to get a great big smile when choosing an ugly tomato that didn’t conform to American preferences? When a handful of peppers and some pears got tossed into my bag for free??? Forget about it being a good business practice, it felt like I had arrived!
It took me back to my childhood. Grandpa Gustav used to take us to Seattle’s Sanitary Market for birthday lunches. He was on a first name basis with all the venders. He was confident that he was getting, “The best!” In Grenada I was able to share the same sense of confidence. Our tastebuds were reminded of the most mouthwatering oranges, watermelons, pears, and meats we’d ever eaten. We were getting, “The best!”
The Albayzin started to feel a little like a Spanish branch of Seattle’s Rainier Valley. Donna and I were both raised in the Valley back when it was known as Garlic Gulch. The name came from the early Italian immigrants, but they were followed by people from all over. Quite a few had Spanish roots.
Having my brother Leland arrive with Lorrie reinforced our feeling of being at home. Together we explored a few corners of Grenada Donna and I hadn’t yet explored. Seeing the flamenco show at Pena La Plateria (Leland’s suggestion!) was something on our list we might have skipped over. We would have been making a mistake. There were plenty of tables filled with a home town crowd. They were as enthusiastic as any we’d experienced as kids. The performers and the audience made it a spectacular night. The next morning Leland and Lorrie headed to Morroco, and Donna and I started packing for Barcelona.
Calle San Luis #12, the Albayzin, and Grenada started to feel like our comfortable and lively home, but Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Venice are waiting!