Saturday, May 3, 2008

Village Life, Quentar Style

So we left Sevilla for Granada with a heavy heart knowing that we were leaving new friends and the most amazing homemade bread we have ever had. But Granada and the Alhambra were waiting for us. We decided to try our hand at some more couchsurfing--this time with a group of people in the small village of Quentar, in the hills outside of Granada. After waiting for the bus that leaves on a limited schedule on Sundays for Quentar, we arrived and were greeted by our host, Axel. We were quickly ushered back to town for some tea, cake, and falafel with the leader of the group, Efendi. It was a nice caffeine and sugar-fueled introduction to Granada, as well as the spiritual beliefs of the mostly German and Latin American community that was hosting us. For one, they hold a reverence for Brian Adams that even I never would have dreamed of as twelve year old feverishly requesting his latest songs on the local radio station. They also practice some Sufism, but unfortunately we weren't there on the right day to see the whirling dervish-in-training whirl.

The next day, we learned that Axel and Merwa´s dog, Citiriti, had been found trapped in a crevice on the side of the mountain. He had been missing for 5 days and assumed stolen, but some children heard him howling and the local firefighters were mounting an expedition to free him. We got to accompany Merwa to retrieve the emaciated but incredibly happy hound, who´s now the heroic subject of much local gossip. Welcome home, Citi and thanks for accompanying us on our own hike in the mountains! We also got to practice speaking Spanish a lot during our stay, which was really fun and easy thanks to the lovely and more recognizable Latin American accent.

Besides experiencing life in Quentar, we spent a lot of time in Granada, wandering around the historic Muslim quarter of town and visiting the Alhambra, an enormous and well-restored fortress/ palace/ village/ garden complex that contains some great examples of Islamic and medieval Christian architecture. The highlight of the Alhambra is most definitely the 14th century Palacio Nazaries, with its intricate geometric tiles and carvings on nearly every surface that somehow manage an over-the-top and understated beauty all at the same time.

But after a few laid-back days, it was time to leave Andalusia and move on to big city Barcelona and a rendezvous with our friend, Sean.


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