First Days in Spain

I really don’t know where to start so I’ll just start with where I find myself right now.

IMG_0464This is the small, “viewing” terrace on the roof of our house, here in Granada.  With every word I type, the sky is getting a shade darker and the glow of the setting sun a deeper shade of rose.  There’s a light breeze, very welcome after several weeks of intense heat.

We live in the medieval, Moorish neighborhood of the Albayzin, and what with trudging up the hill every day after our morning activities, we’ve come to understand the importance of the siesta, and why Spaniards here disappear into their homes for the greater part of the afternoon.  If we venture out to eat at 8 pm, we find the restaurants still closed.  I like these surprises.  It’s why we came, after all.  To be surprised.  IMG_0440

When we came across this man, he was motionless.  When a coin clanked in his pail, he abruptly changed position, then froze again.  I couldn’t help yelping each time.


Actually, I know where I’d like to start.  With the kindness of the people here–that is my favorite surprise of all.  The warmth and generosity I encounter with the most fleeting of interactions.  I don’t know that any one example will quite convey it.  The fact that my daughter can take a week of ballet classes or Spanish language classes, and they still haven’t asked for payment.  They know it will come.  Or when we ate at the restaurant and it was time for them to bring us the rest of our meal to take home, they gave us fresh servings instead.

I have always liked to say to people, when something they tell me gives me a surge of pleasure, “That makes me very happy.”  Here it is a common expression.  “Me alegra.”  I have the most surprising sense of homecoming whenever I hear it.

Now, the sun has set, IMG_0469and the Iglesia del Salvador, a converted mosque from the thirteenth century, is starting to glow.


The famous Moorish palace, the Alhambra, over to my left, is also magically illuminated.  Still, what I like best is the terrain of roofs and terraces spread out below me.  No streets are visible because they are so narrow (most of them pedestrian alleys), and a cat can make its way across the city, going from rooftop to rooftop.  Or a person, especially if she’s chasing after her cat who has escaped and is finding her way back to Seattle.  But that’s another story.  It’s actually getting chilly now so I’ll head inside and say bye for now.


First Days in Spain — 31 Comments

  1. This makes me very happy to picture you and Dahlia in your new home and surrounded by lovely, loving people. How gorgeous. Sending love and blessings your way.

  2. So glad to hear from you Karin, and to know the first few weeks are going so well. Having been in Granada 2 years ago, many things you mention are familiar [sort of!]. Alinda and I look forward to future posts. Please know that I’m making progress on my writing, and have added sections and edited existing ones to the period of my life up to 1983. Now I’ve started on post-83, and I have a long list of topics. I still write only sporadically. I don’t have a sustained or regular writing habit, but I’m enjoying it. Continue to savor the new city and be surprised!

    • That’s wonderful to hear, Richard. It’s great to have that list to go to whenever you sit down. Enjoy!
      And yes, I will, too. (I have a good writing spot in Dahlia’s bedroom with a view of the Alhambra…)

  3. Je suis vraiment très heureuse de cette nouvelle vie en Espagne 😘 Je vais pouvoir suivre vos aventures. Merci beaucoup Karin pour l’idée du blog.
    Ton of love ❤️

  4. Wow, it sounds like a fairytale…I love your impressions…the setting sun, appreciation of the breeze, restaurants still not open at 8:00, converted mosque. I’m glad you are experiencing this trip so fully. Keep sending your impressions. Please give a Dahlia a warm hug from me. Me allegra tambien! (Hoping my high school Spanish class is not lost in translation).

    Love to you both!!!

  5. Me allegra, Karin!

    Your photos are lovely and it is so nice to read about your impressions and new experiences. What a great adventure you and Dahlia have entered! I look forward to your continued sharing of this unique chapter in your lives.

    Felicidades y carino,


  6. Hi Karin,
    It’s good to hear of you starting a new adventure. I think I’m about due for one myself – I just have to figure out what shape it takes.
    I was in Grenada some long time ago, there to marvel at the Alhambra, and to think about the circuitous paths of history. I was impressed with the town. But I haven’t lived there. That will be a trip of a different flavour.
    cheers, Ted

  7. What an incredible adventure, Karin! I loved the pictures and the amazing descriptions. Pure poetry! I can so easily imagine you both navigating those charming streets. I can’t wait to hear more about what you encounter. Missing you and thinking of you always! Lisa

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