Malaga was the last Andalusian city we visited before leaving Spain. As I entered the port city, I reflected on how Andalusia exceeded my expectations. I suspect part of it is the intersection of cultures and histories that seemed so foreign to me, and the other part is the reflections I had while I was there as the hot sun baked dry the surrounding mountains and coastal towns.
As I write this over a week has gone by since Cordoba. In hindsight, I absolutely messed up the Cordoba visit. If I could do it again, I’d find a weekend to spend here in May (I mean, I even missed seeing the La Mezquita!).
Of all the Andalusian cities I have visited (Sevilla, Cadiz, Cordoba, Malaga), it was Granada that stole my heart. If Sevilla were magical, then Granada gave me the fairy tale. Sitting underneath the shadow of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada (“snowfall mountains”) with its steep, labyrinth streets of the Islamic neighborhood Albaycin, now a UNESCO site, filled with tall white buildings and orange roofs, merging with the caves of the Spanish gypsies (or Gitanos/Romani), Granada was a crossroads of time, culture, taste and smells. Continue reading “Granada, A Sierra Fairtale”
I remember very well a conversation with a long time mentor. Young, brash yet full of optimism in my early-twenties, I asked her, “I just want to do something positive in the world. I’d like to change it for the better.”
Having spent most of my adult life in places within two hours of the sea, we felt the itch to head to the coast for the weekend after our beautiful time in Sevilla. We were also searching for milder temperature during the oncoming heat wave.
Note: This is the first of a multi-part series on Andalusia, a region in southern Spain.
Seville, June 24, 2018
Tonight children played, running across the plaza chasing bubbles on water reflections. As their laughter echoed, twilight settled and I was once reminded again of my favorite childhood memory— going to the city square with my dad as the sun tucked into night. What a strange and exciting transition that was, as one by one the night lamps flickered and shone, welcoming the cool evening as the winds chased the heat away.
Oh, Bologna, gastropub paradise of Italy and hidden foodie destination. Having been twice before, we almost skipped over Italy all together on our trip until we were convinced by friends from Bologna that if we like food, we should stop here. I was skeptical, and like most tourists flocking to Italy during the summer, wanted to visit the far more popular Venice or the Italian Rivera to take fabulous looking photos on the rocky beaches of Cinque Terre. Instead, the allure of the Emilia-Romana region with its tortellini in brodo, mortadella and tagliatelle alla Bolognese won (and we’re not even carb lovers!) because we have our priorities straight.
As our ferry departed Athens for Santorini, I could feel every second of hectic city life dissipate into the waves. We had a really big year, both emotionally and professionally, and I was looking forward to the future. But, before that exciting future, we had a vacation to enjoy. Every little moment.
Two countries later, I cannot stop thinking about Athens. We were told, “3 days are all you need,” and when I had suggested Greece as a vacation spot a year earlier, my Company had strongly refused. Yet after a short few days, as we woke after an evening out with new friends from across the Globe (Zambia, to be exact) and having drunk ouzo deeply into a night that turned into morning, we weren’t ready to leave.