Life in Granada: domestic and on the streets

Domestic disasters 

The washing machine, bless all my clothes and sheets stuck in it, stopped part way through the cycle this morning to give me a message. It wanted its filter cleaned and wouldn’t go again until I did what it demanded. Sounds easy and it would have been if I could have unscrewed the filter. No. So, what to do. 

Texted David, the landlord. Yes, in Spanish. He texted back and said he would call me. Sounds fine but, it’s very hard in another language.  So, I was waiting for him to call.

Meanwhile it meant I had to lie down. Just as well. One of my disks was playing up today and so far wanted only ibuprofen, a little rest and for me to go walking. Didn’t want anything else I did, to go out for a cup of coffee for example as, that would mean me sitting in a cafe. So, I started lying, waiting for David to call and the ibuprofen to kick in.  Then, I walked a little, to and from the grocery shop (yes, El Corté Inglés again). Avoided the loose Lindt balls, six or eight flavours, for fresh bread, goat milk and sheep cheese. Love these products. And waited. 

Why a problem with my back today? Probably because of a week of sitting and a nasty little fall I had yesterday. Both the camera and I ended up a little damaged. And no, the fall wasn’t elegant and I’ll bet it happens often in that place, Casa Porro, a very old house with a new floor that has two levels, only very slightly different. Nothing broken but my pride and I have a bad back today. Since Spain is the home of easily available and cheap ibuprofen I’ll manage. And the camera became very inward looking too and wouldn’t focus beyond the dust on the inside of its lens. A bit like me this morning. Restarting the camera didn’t work but later it was fine, as some shots of Alhambra will show you. Quite odd and so again I can’t trust it. It did something equally odd on Flinders Island too and suddenly wouldn’t shut or focus so maybe it wasn’t just the fall afterall. LUMIX Panasonic TZ60. Reliable or not! This one isn’t. 

Back to the washing machine: the more I thought about it the sillier it seemed. I needed help only because I couldn’t undo the cover of the filter. So, onto UTube. Saw how the demonstrator did it and tried a few more times. Heeded her warning about the volume of water that would flow as I opened the filter.  Let’s say more water poured out than I’d expected, shutting it again during the process didn’t work and, two large towels and a small one, and a very large dishcloth, were needed to dam and absorb the flood. There was no obvious reason for the machine to have stopped so I put the filter in again and restarted it. No problem. Now to hope David understood, and trusts, my badly worded text that says I’ve fixed it. 😊  

The rest and the drugs helped my back so I went walking again soon after. Once I’d hung out the washing. Or should I say, draped it over one of the little balconies😎 Who, me? 

School yesterday

Was great. The first part was the usual very intense experience:  new material, or material summarising something most of us know a little about, rapidly followed by exercises applying the concepts. This approach always highlights how I’ve slowed over the decades. The others integrate the material and can apply it immediately. I want more time to read the page and to mentally explore applications before doing exercises applying it. Whatever, I usually ask for another copy of the worksheet and go over what I’ve done at home and redo it all in my time Helps heaps.

The second part of the class was such fun. We continued practising our past tenses. The context was a discussion of a cartoon which provides a different view of little red riding hood. She wasn’t the usual heroine but, put it this way, grandma ended up dead and little red riding hood, mum and the wolf were happily sipping cocktails and sunning themselves in the Caribbean in the last scene. You can have fun with the right teacher and a simple tool like that. I’ve copied the last part of it. See how you would tell it. 

  

I’ve arranged extra classes next week as I need help. One hour per day one to one. Turns out it will be with the boss. Also turns out my class may change considerably if there isn’t another person to make up at least a threesome we will only get 1 session per day. If that happens I’ll ask to repeat A2.2 as I want more exposure to Spanish and considerably more consolidation of what I know. 

Anyhow, after class, M showed me another place to buy fresh asparagus, everywhere at present. Green, happily, and not the white version often sold here and I bought a blackish coloured tomato too. The tomato was excellent and I’ll buy more on Monday. Very sweet and interesting with such an unusual colour. I’ve seen them at home and not bought one until here

 Exploring Granada

Until now mostly I’ve walked around the central area, near the Cathedral and in the surrounding streets and suburbs. This excepts a walk up beside the Alhambra and around a hill, down to the river and back to this area. 

So, to explore the better known areas of Granada:   After school finished at 1 on Friday and Marieke and I bought the asparagus and tomato we walked to my apartment, left our books, and headed to the hills. One of our professors (name given teachers here) had suggested where to go in Sacramonte. 

Wow. The first section heading up was great. Old bridge on a street up to Alhambra and then stairs as we went further and around the back streets. Views to Alhambra, beautiful, typical Spanish buildings, a previously terraced and now overgrown hillside below Alhambra and still we walked. Let me explain about the caves we saw last night and those I saw today a little further north or north west. 

   

The photo below: a bar that has beer on tap and is open from 9am until midnight. Yes, it’s in a tourist precinct.

  

See the pomegranate above – they are the reason for naming this place Granada, after them. More images of them to come in future.   

Above shows some of the houses below Alhambra, the river and a bridge.       

The wisteria smells wonderful at present. As do other flowers such as the jasmine at the Alhambra.

Caves

The caves in the hills around Albaicin and Sacromonte, suburbs of Granada, are interesting. So far I’ve seen two types: one that is apparently poverty housing.  The photos show some that are used and, behind the blue plastic fence, one under construction. Small and not very enticing. 

   

   

The other type of cave is presumably old and subsequently developed and used as nightclubs, focussing on flamenco. Most are white and many use a beautiful blue paint the same way as the Greeks, especially in the islands. The effect is spectacular. A hilly area with buildings on many different levels, mistletoe white with the blue, stairs, signs about the flamenco and advertising schools for learning flamenco.  After M and I ate at one yesterday my enthusiasm is qualified. Her fish and my soup both tasted of vinegar. I hate to think why as the type of soup I had doesn’t usually! ugh. 

 

  

   

There seem to be caves down near the riverside too, the real little river shown earlier that flows below the Alhambra, through the tourist area.

The Alhambra

M and I walked around it last night after the odd coffee, our visit to Casa Porro and walking around the suburb of Sacramonte generally. You can see a lot of Alhambra without a ticket. These are some of the shots. I especially love the shape of the entrances, their signature use of a keyhole shape.  This reminded me of one of the entrances into the city of Toledo and one into ***.   The latter I saw when I walked from Pamplona to Santiago last March. A beautiful city with an excellent museum in the old castle.

  

    

See parts of the Alhambra up on the left and town down below, in the middle of this shot. The cathedral, that I live near, is over beside the tall Cyprus tree. 

   

       

As we all know the Moores used water to great effect. I will get better examples in the next few weeks. For now, an example:

  

Late lunch in Bib-Rambla Plaza

Oh for a kidney washout! I had a fish soup for a late lunch. Either it or the accompanying bread, perhaps both, were very salty. Ugh. Really truly salty. Took a little while to be obvious and then ugh. Too much of a good thing. One restaurant off my list. 

For a little comfort after I had to go and buy a fig roll. Squashed figs with a few things to hold them together. Yes, very nice and the shop is not quite under the apartment but, very close to it. 😃

During lunch a group of women started making a lot of noise. Each was wearing a white top and one had a small headdress. Looked like a hen’s party. 

 

 Also, the two men beside me sounded odd. The waitress lapsed into english but they obviously didn’t speak it that well and one explained to her that they spoke Spanish. He said they were Chilean and she then said she was Ecuadorian. Surprising they couldn’t each identify where the other had come from. Surprising, given those two countries aren’t that far apart linguistically or geographically. 

And as I returned to my apartment I noticed the same little kids were at the Taverna Jose, below my apartment, as a few hours ago. Reminds me how we often waited outside a pub for my father to reappear! Hmm, long waits at the Harford pub in my very early days, a building that I suspect the wives and girlfriends successfully conspired to burn down! And a good thing too. 

 

  

This tiny little dog was trying to keep all four feet still, look back at something behind it and to generally have its own walk! No hope. I doubt its person knew it had stopped it was so small.

 Shots below from around Sacramonte generally:

 

These shots, above and below, are from up the hills in Sacramonte showing the typical houses, the cacti, and the local colours.  

  

Not far from Sacramonte and the first large street arch I’ve found locally.    

I loved the house above for its inherent irony: a very old and unloved house, obviously, with a notice on it stating that the people using the phone number given rent all new houses with  all new furniture! 

And then, up and down some of the hills and stairways:

  

   

  

A sneaky shot from in a bar where I had a coffee, outside the tourist area. Very much a suburban bar and one that was considerably darker than this shot shows. 

  

A major street (the Main Street) celebrating Columbus above and, the ugliest image I’ve seen holding up a fountain, below. It’s similarly working friends in that fountain in Bib-Rambla are equally ugly.

  

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