9/15/2010 (Granada, Spain)

Today is September 15th, the Feast of the Virgin, and all day vendors have been selling flowers for pilgrims to take to the Basilica–perhaps the one church we haven´t seen in Granada. Tonight we see the Alhambra–reputedly the most beautiful example of Moorish art in the world. We will be there at sunset, which may be even more spectacular than the view of Granada from the terrace rooftop of our hotel. In addition to many churches, cathedrals, remains of Moorish castles and fortresses, Granada has the best tapas in the world. That’s what they claim and I believe it. Last night we enjoyed 2 outstanding tapas: little sirloins in a whiskey cream sauce and something called ¨Spain-3 ways. These included tomatoes and jamon (similar to Serrano ham or prosciutto) marinated in olive oil and spices, fried olives, and spicy potato wedges in some kind of mustard sauce. Unbelievable. You´re supposed to be able to travel through the neighborhoods tasting specialty tapas in each neighborhood. That would be great if I were a skinny little Spanish woman (hardly anyone is overweight here and I suspect the ones that are came from another country): Of course, the diet is pretty much out the window. I can only hope that walking 5-6 miles a day can help me maintain.

Just in case you thought I was finished talking about food, I need to describe the breakfast included in the price of the hotel. This hotel is very nice, with a swimming pool and terrace restaurant (where we ate last night) as well as a pub (live music–we may go there tonight), a bar and a restaurant with a bigger menu. Back to breakfast–clearly an effort to appeal to the tastes of foreigners from across Europe and America. Besides every kind of bread, including the palest bagels I´ve ever seen, they had a wide variety of meats, cheeses, and fruits (some of which I could not identify). There were also eggs and ¨bacon, desserts, cereal, something that looked like chunks of tofu and several pastes (or patés). Before you hit the buffet line you are given a pot of coffee and a pot of steamed milk as well as glass of fresh orange juice.

Because we´re slow learners we found ourselves trekking around in the heat again while the stores closed around us. I think it´s because we wake up late (9:00) and don´t get outside until 10ish. Tomorrow I´m getting an early wake-up call so I can walk around a little before we get into our rental car (an Audi wagon) and head to Malaga, via the coast. Looking forward to seeing the Mediterranean.

We´re in the heart of the shopping district where everything is expensive and designed to entice tourists. So far I haven´t bought anything–not even shoes!

I’m typing this in the back of a convenience store and I can´t check my spelling on this message because according to the Spanish program, every word is misspelled. Also, I promise to be funny in the next email (as if).