A view of the city from the walls of the Alhambra

Granada was a sleepy dream dressed up in an old world mysticism, that southern sense of Spanish calm, and cold.  It was really cold.  Granted, it was late in the fall, but I was used to Barcelona’s beautiful weather and the tank top standard.  Braving the weather, and bracing for the worst, I pulled on everything warm that I had crammed into my shoulder bag for the long weekend trip when I woke that morning in the hostel.

My travel buddies- all five of us- and I got up early to see the Alhambra and spend the day imagining what life must have been like in that palace.  The decorations that covered the wall screamed of Moorish origin and the entire complex stuck in my memory as one of Spain’s most unique example of architecture.  I was amazed at the preservation of the tessellations and geometric designs that dominated the walls.  Everywhere you turned, there was something more amazing to see, and my day dreams ran wild imagining what might have occurred there in the past and who was there to experience it.

The city itself was a fantastic mind adventure for the  dreamer set: The streets seemed to curve every which way and the air smelled of hookah and incense.  A gypsy cursed me on the first day we were there, after I refused to give her coins for the rosemary she rubbed over my palms, and a spice vendor on the side of the cathedral had every color imaginable laid out in tea and spice over his collapsible table.

I remember (it’s been nearly three years since my visit) that Granada was one of Spain’s youngest cities in age because of the large population of university students and the night life definitely played into that sense of youth.  But Granada is famous for it’s history and architecture, so I learned to accept the old and the new co-existing in a sea of often overwhelming senses.

I often recall that visit to Granada in part because it was a pure delight to visit the city and because of the company that I kept- the vacation was my first in Spain outside of Catalunya, and my friends were as ready to explore and ready to hike up mountains as I was.  I look forward to the opportunity to visit again in the future, but until then, I will remember the pistachio gelato consumed in spite of the cold, giggles over wine, coffee in the afternoon, loud weddings, late night hookah, cursing gypsies, Moorish architecture and adventures that still provide my mind with plenty of material for my imagination.