between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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the duende of Granada4

Posted by Andrew in SPAIN (December 28, 2006 at 8:00 pm)

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alright now..enough stalling…the people want to know about our new (temporary) home. Weve been here in Granada, in the south of Spain for more than 3 weeks. We still havent been inside the Alhambra, although you can see it from all over town.
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Granada is a very old town. It was once ruled by the romans, and then for more than 700 years the arabs ran the show, before the Christians kindly asked everyone to leave around 1492.
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There is a really cool old neighborhood called the Albaicin, with winding narrow streets going up a hill towards the Alhambra.
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There is also an abundance of grafitti:
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For our first week, we lived with a sweet lady named Delores (Lola for short).
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Then for the past few weeks, we lived in a big old restored hotel with other students learning spanish. On Christmas day, we all made traditional dishes from our countries. Food from Holland, Sweden, Japan, England, Puerto Rico, China, and liquid contributions from Brazil and Germany, and Bangladesh made for a great belly stuffing evening.
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This week, we moved into an apartment at the end of this street, further down than you can see in this picture.
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Christmas eve was Jessicas compleano, and we stumbled upon a Christmas singalong in one of the few cafeterias which was open that day. The audio recordings may appear in a future post. Speaking of music, This part of Spain is the home of Flamenco. Weve seen several flamenco shows already.

Click here to watch a movie featuring some flamenco dancing, views of the alhambra, and other various scenes from Granada.

The food here is also very good. LOTS OF PIG!(and cow). And they use it all..believe dat…
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The tapas are also free with every drink(even soda)–you will more from us soon about this gastronomical tradition that is really only still going in Granada.
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For New Years, were headed for Cordoba, another old former Muslim city. We’ll have more pics of Granda next month. Happy New Year to all!
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Oh yeah..Spanish classes continue. Cada dia, yo hablo mejor. Pero a veces, yo no comprendo mucho, por que los Andaluces hablan muy rapido. Algun dia…

Jubrique - Jewel of the Sierra Nevada1

Posted by Jessica in SPAIN (December 19, 2006 at 8:10 pm)

(Jubrique is the swath of houses in the picture on the right side below:)
big rock on the road to jubriqueWelcome To JubriqueCIMG8121-pueblodistance.jpg
After our first week in Granada (more on that later), we headed right away to Jubrique to see my grrrls in da pueblo. We had to take the train as far as it would go, and then Finilla came to pick us up. (There’s no train station in Jubrique.) While we waited, this little bugger came by to say hello!

But there ARE sheep, even cute fuzzy baby ones - just look!

As I said, my friend Finilla came to pick us up, and she and her girl Marina put us up in Jubriqueno style. We hung out in Fini’s bar “Bajo el Arbol” Friday & Saturday nights, and wandered around the narrow spanish streets in the day. Tranquilo, Cabron!

One night there was some music and singing coming from the square. We scampered down to see what was going on. Click here for a movie showing what we found, plus some panoramic shots of Jubrique and some of the ambiance in my friend’s pub :

Jubrique is a tiny pueblo that goes back centuries. It was there when the Moors spread north into the Iberian peninsula. It was there when the Catholic King & Queen Isabel & Ferdinand kicked everybody else out and bankrolled the Inquisition. And it’s still there now. The church in the center of town has also been a mosque. Cars and horses use the same streets.

The architectural style has been maintained as a cultural heritage. There are some really cute little corners in this town. There is a small hotel and some casitas for rent from time to time. Or you can stay in a rustic cabin just outside of town. That is, if you’re ready to UNWIND…

As for the exotic animals, we did come across several kittens and some peacocks. OK, the peacocks were on the road back to the train station, not in Jubrique proper. They reminded me of my place back in Tampa.

That’s pretty much the story. We’ll be going back again during this 4-month stint. And hopefully my friends will come to visit us in Granada. We’ve got a guest room, so come on down y’all!! I apologize for the lateness of this update, AND for the lack of Granada info at this date. We have been here for just over 2 weeks now, and there’s been some drama. But things are settling down now, and as soon as I get the pics ready for you, you’ll be seeing the Albaycin, some really cool street art, and maybe even some live music… Ole!

PS - Andrew’s classes are going very well and he is starting to talk trash in spanish, better every day!

Si, yo aprendo poca a poco…

School is great, as are the free Tapas in Granada. Stay tuned for more!

…and in other news, click on these two links for an article and segments of an interview I did a few weeks ago, which has been published in the Creative Loafing weekly paper in Tampa. Its with Sameeh Hammoudeh, who was accused of aiding a Palestinian terrorist group, but was found not guilty on all charges after 3 years in jail.

barcelona–(almost) time to rest for a while0

Posted by Jessica in JORDAN, SPAIN (December 2, 2006 at 9:35 am)

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Flying out of Jordan, they always let you know what direction to face Mecca. Just in case… I’m gonna miss the call to prayer, even at 5am.

It seems like sooo long ago we decided to “go to Spain”, and then we did everything but. Finally we are here. Sort of – Catalunya is almost like a different country. But officially, it’s Spain. Barcelona is a gorgeous city. There are architectural wonders everywhere.

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My absolute favorite is the Gaudi cathedral Sagrada Familia.
CIMG7767 sagrada from front.jpgCIMG7664 sagrada from distance.jpgDepending on who you ask, it won’t be finished for another 15, 30, or 50 years, but it’s well worth a visit finished or not. I can’t believe this Gaudi guy was designing these things 100 years ago.
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We also visited the Park Guell, originally designed by Gaudi to be a village for Barcelona’s rich folk. CIMG7682 front of guell.jpgIt never panned out as a development, thank goodness, and now people can chill there anytime, soaking in the crazy rooftops and walking along the organic shapes of the “viaducts”. I think Dr Seuss must have been inspired by this place.
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We’re staying with Ms Kassandra, her 5-yr old son Aidan, and Ms Guilia. It’s a great view from the (almost) top floor – we can see the giant castle on top of Mt Tibidabo. Aidan says there is a monster inside, and I hope I don’t have to find out if he’s right.
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Yesterday was our big day – we were responsible for picking Aidan up from school, and getting him fed, bathed, and ready for bed in time for his mama to get home from work. This boy can run you ragged, let me tell you! He’s very considerate too – when he comes into the living room in the mornings (where Andrew & I are sleeping), he whispers while playing with his toys, just so we won’t be woken up. Nice try, kiddo. Clearly it’s time to get up.
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Tonight we will hop on an overnight train for the 12-hour ride to Granada. Andrew’s classes start on Monday.

I am looking forward to classes, just maybe not the early am wakeup. Im making a public pledge here to do a blog post en espanol eventually.

Barcelona was really cool, with art everywhere, old skinny streets, and plazas with benches for chilling on, which I especially appreciate.
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Extra props to Sarah for putting us up in Paris upon our return. Meanwhile, my radio story about building the radio station in the south of Jordan was on air Friday.
You can listen to it here its the last piece of the show..

Well see you all in the south of Spain…
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