26 July 2008

Alhambra

In Seville, I stayed with the lovely, Italian Anna, her trenchant husband, Juan, and a number of cats and children. On the way *to* Seville, I met Kevin, a Texan who knew not of the ways of couchsurfing and was actually *paying* for accommodation. Well, I set him straight awful quick, dragging him along to Anna's for what turned out to be a homecooked dinner and, lucky guy that he is, an invitation to join me in my Seville couchsurfing experience. Various combinations of Anna, Juan, Kevin, and I spent the next few days idly wandering around Seville, its day and its evening, at one point completely failing to see the cathedral we had set out to visit, because we spent about three hours talking in the cafe across the street. Que sera, sera?

Despite Anna's nearly successful attempts to persuade me to stay longer, I had to leave her and her insane kitten for Granada, where I was welcomed by my fellow New Jersey escapee, Adriana. Adriana is studying architecture at Berkeley but has been in Spain for a few years, I gathered, and also speaks, in addition to Spanish and English, Arabic, Italian, French, and German. Naturally, there was a party the night I arrived, but it was broken up by the police shortly after we arrived--just like in America! I spent the majority of the next day up at the Alhambra, that famous Moorish monument you've probably at least heard of (I know Kajori has). Since its artistic achievement is in a non-representational style, it would be difficult for me to describe the dream that it is to walk through such a luxuriant series of beautifully ornamented gardens, courtyards, plazas, and fortresses, ornamented beautifully by such tilework, such carving in wood, and such craftsmanship in stone: there is nothing in particular, no focus of attention, to concentrate your gaze (or camera on), just an infinite interweaving of geometric precision and calligraphic sublimity. The tourists were confused--with no statues, idols, portraits, or outstandingly distinguishing features to take photos of, they simply took photos of everything: the walls, the ceilings, the floors, the windows, and even the turban niches. I assume they will assemble them later in Photoshop, though I cannot fathom, for the life of me, why.

In the evening, there was not exactly another party but a dinner to which I was graciously invited after I missed my bus to Madrid. We had burritos prepared by American Amy, and I got to stretch my Spanish speaking "skills" to the limit by chatting with the non-English speaking locals who also attended. I think they liked me! Today, I took a morning bus to Madrid, where I am being entertained by the Italian resident-in-Madrid, Michele. He is extremely tall and even more extremely kind. Tonight, get ready for a surprise, there is a party. But after too many nights in a row staying up until 3 am, I have decided, instead of meeting another gang of no doubt wonderful and interesting people, to rest. And now, as well, I will also rest.

1 comment:

annalibera said...

So "trenchant" will be the new word of the day.
Whatever will be, will be!