Sunday, September 9, 2007

Walking Walking Walking

They are not lying when they tell you that Granada is a walking city. On Friday our class walked up through the Realejo, a district of the city where the Jews used to live, up the hill toward the Alhambra, but we didn't see the fortress. That night we walked up to Sacromonte, the hill where some bones and a probably fabricated religious text were found back when the city was largely Muslim. The Christians were allowed to haul their huge stone crosses up the mountain and do their pilgrimage thing, so there are some cool statues up there. We got a good history lesson from our teacher, Fabiola. Then we walked down the other side past all the caves that used to be gypsy caves but are now hippie caves, wending our way through the Albaicín (the old Arab quarter where there are the most spectacular views of the Alhambra), down to the center of the city. To get home from there was another half hour.

Then yesterday we went to Cabo de Gata, a national park along the coast of Andalucía. It is the most arid region in all of Europe. Only plants that can take the moisture from the air instead of from rain can survive. There is one flower that costs you six months in prison to pick; it grows only on south-facing black volcanic rock in this two square-mile region in the park. Each plant is numbered. We hiked a good ten miles over little mountains of jagged rock, along roads and beaches, with no shade in sight. We stopped twice to swim along the way. The water was clear as glass; you could see your toes when you looked down, and the occasional fish. It was very salty but the perfect temperature.

Anyway, I am exhausted. I had the typical Andalucian breakfast this morning: toast with olive oil and some coffee. Tasty. I am looking forward to a day of rest. Bueno, adiós.