Day 370 - Grand Granada

Trip Start Nov 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Eugenio's Home

Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Friday, November 11, 2011

I've been adopted by a Spanish family. Couchsurfing my way through the south of Spain has landed me on the outskirts of Granada, at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and in the hearts and home of some very loving people.  A late night bus ride and 6km walk to the front door of my new abode has left me exhausted and weak.  I buzz in at the entrance and my new friend, Eugenio, answers with a handshake and a grin.  I’m led to a bedroom where I can unload my things before being passed around from one family member to the next for introductions.  His little brother, kind and shy, his dad, full of bravado and pride, and his mom, who greeted me with a big hug and a warm smile.  Everyone looked upon me like a stray they took in and didn’t know what to do with.  At first there was a bit of nervous tension and baffled smirks.  The parents' English was minimal, and my Spanish could use some work, but before long, sharing a meal and some evocative gestures, we all bonded over paella and made deep personal connections.  Eugenio himself is a young adventurous man, full of life and spirit and the will to explore distant lands.  He admired my journeys and had so many questions, telling me it wasn’t as common in Spain to visit foreign destinations.  Living abroad in London for a year has refined his English, and given him the gift of perspective to see what it’s like being all alone in a culture so different from your own.  He has dreams and aspirations of seeing the world, and in him I see myself - young, idealistic, and full of wanderlust.  We talk for hours over the coming days, of his plans for the future, my experiences traveling and what lies ahead for the both of us after we part ways.  It’s a relief and a blessing I’ve landed in his home, one of the only people who responded when I was searching for a last minute place to go.  Each day we have lunch with the family, gathered around the small round dinner table.  The dad loves to cook while the mom peppers me with questions, expertly translated by her son when things get to complex or a flurry of hand gestures don’t convey the intention.  Our late afternoon meal is always followed by a siesta, me napping on the couch soundly while the warm breeze floats in from the patio.  I’m woken to a cup of hot tea and a scone, while everyone gathers their wits to restart the day - peaceful, content, and well rested from being home.  It’s a different pace of life, and I love all the time families get to spend together, seeing each other every afternoon before returning to work or play.  On this day, Eugenio and I wander out to see the historic old town.  I’m eager for more sites after my morning excursion exploring Al Hambra, which is an ancient fort and palace of world renown. I catch an M.C Escher exhibit, which forces my mind into mental gymnastics, followed by some delicious tapas at a local joint where calamari, tripe and escargot go for mere pennies and the beer flows for as long as you drink it.  We wander the city and visit gypsy cellars where flamenco dancers twirl and clap in rhythm to the steel strum of acoustic guitars and drunken patrons’ catcalls.  Eugenio as my personal tour guide weaves his way in and out of the dark narrow streets, crisscrossing higher and higher up the embankment of hills that sit perched at the border where the buildings meet the trees.  Panting and straining up the last incline, I turn a corner and see the lights of the city splayed out before us in a dizzying star kissed dance of twinkling reds, whites and yellows.  The electric streets glimmer like a tapestry of illuminated faces and streams of living color.  Breathtaking and serene, Granada as seen from on high gives new perspective to the bustle below.  It’s beauty pulsates with the hum of the town - the constant rumble of cars, the muffled din of jubilant voices, the strum of a guitar singing softly in the background.  It all blends together in one sweet symphony.  Wrapped up in the bundle of lights, noise and people, this city carries it’s voice to the highest reaches as the cold mountain air blows down from surrounding ice capped peaks.  For a moment I’m lost in the beauty of this sight, just happy to be here and feeling safe and warm in the confines of my friend’s home.  A taste of what’s to come when my journeys take me back to where I was born.  One last farewell to the travelers life and one more step towards the beauty of the unknown.

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