So yes… I went to Spain. This was my second solo-travel in there. Last one was in 2014, just few weeks before a big change in my life – move to the UK. I guess I can say it now, as I have already revealed it to the HR before, that my first phone ‘interview’ with HR to the company I work for now took place when I was sipping sangria on the beach in Alicante. Maybe this is why I have such a big sentiment to this city?
Anyway, this year I have completely resigned from the Christmas celebrations. First of all, cause I am really not the biggest fan of it for a while now and secondly, I simply needed a kind of a brain cleansing in order to put my sh*t together after quite an intense year. Intense due to personal and work life. So the perfect mix. You can imagine… moving to another country is never a piece of cake!
So.. back in October, I have started to look for the cheap flights from my area. Obviously, there was nothing too interesting for the Xmas period, so… I had to make some crazy plans and… there we go Spain! Flights from Bologna to Madrid and then from Madrid to Bergamo were booked (yes, the trip to Madrid in the end took me 12 hours and back 11 hrs, but it was woooorth it!). So looking through internet and listening to some advice, I have decided to go to Granada and Sevilla. Was planning also to visit Cordoba, but a pretty long night out has made me change my plans slightly…!
There were few things I really loved in Granda and frankly speaking it is difficult for me to find anything that wouldn’t convince me to this city. As I have spent there 3 days, I’d focus on my experiences there.
The city can seem very normal at the first glance – nice old square, cathedral in the centre, some hills in the background and castle on the hill. Well.. How wrong the first glance can be… Surprisingly maybe for some of you, the best part of the city for me was neither Alhambra nor Albaicin, but Sacromonte. Seems that the careless or you can call it free life of gypsies and hippies got into me. Not that I would like to lead their life, but made me think about the life choices we make and how can you escape from reality being just few hundred metres above the big city.
To give you more feeling about this place. There are some kind of caves in the hills in front of which you see some armchairs, sofas, chairs and lots of colorful items (honestly, got no idea what half of them were). You think… some garbage that was blown there by the wind. Then you look more carefully. You see something moving there… When you realize that people actually live there, at first you don’t know if you should run or go there and understand their lives. While walking on those paths between the caves, I have rememberred the book I read by Ildefonso Falconses Le Mano de Fatima. I must say this book was not his best and I definitely preferred Le Catedral del Mar, but what stroke me in that book was the mixture of very strong feelings and emotiones with the struggle and fight every day for their own independency, ideaology and beliefs. Honestly, I thought that like every book it was exaggerated or simply life of course does not look like that anymore. Well, I was wrong.
The history of cuevas has its roots back in 15th Century, where people believed that during the christianisation of the city, Arabs, who were running away, in a rush were hiding gold in the mountains. So people have started digging/creating caves in order to look for gold. As in every legend, I guess there must be some string of truth, but… it doesn’t seem that a lot of people got rich. At least not in our common definition of rich. Cause I really believe they have something, that we don’t. Or maybe I should speak for myself, and say I don’t have it. The feeling of freedom, disconnection, independency from money. Of course, I am not naive.. they do need money, they are dependent on many factors including the government and they rely on tourists in some areas, but… their general mindset is so far from my understanding of the world today. The first day I was a bit scared to come closer, but then I was told that they are safe and actually very friendly for tourists. How embarrased I felt by assuming the worst… So one of them (a guy suuupeeer old) let me have a look inside. You might not believe it, but inside those caves there is electricity and kind of heating. It stinks as hell, but you can also smell the specific smell of weed. 2 minutes in the cave were enough though for me also to understand that this kind of freedom is fascinating but while looking from far away 😉
The big part of Sacromonte is the art. Not the fancy paintings though, but some street art, graffiti mixed with folklore and flamenco elements. When I was walking there in the Christimas Eve I became also a part of the little flamenco Xmas party with some locals. It was very late, so I didn’t stay as I needed to walk down the hill, but the warm atmosphere and smiling faces were very welcoming and bring my belief in genuine people back and made me feel bad again. Assuming.
What I have learnt this time in Spain? To look at the world through another perspective. Discover it with another angle and explore with the eyes of others.
Yes – I will be back there. Very soon.