“Verde que te quiero verde…“
One line and I was hooked.
I first read Romancero Gitano in high school, falling madly in love with Federico García Lorca at age 17.
So in love that I spent a semester researching the symbolism of nature in his poetry, exhaustively scouring the library for works that could help me expose the metaphor of Lorca’s moon, wind, and the color green. The granaíno took the nature that surrounded him in southern Spain and made it speak.
You could say I came to Granada chasing Lorca’s luna. I romanticized the city; loving the the olive groves, the mountain winds and the gypsies from afar.
I wasn’t disappointed. There was not an evening in Granada that I didn’t find myself in a dream-like state. It is at night when the city grabs your heart. From dusk til dawn, the city is alive.
On a 6 am bus ride from Granada to Sevilla, surrounded by sleeping friends,I found my nose pressed to the glass window. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the full moon hanging low over the rolling olive groves. The fog rose to meet the hovering ball of light. The luna granaína spoke to me, just as she speaks in Lorca’s Romance de la luna, luna. There was something magical about it, something that can’t be put into words. Something that simply washes over you.
After that morning, I found myself constantly staring at the night sky. Upon leaving one of our favorite discos in the caves of Sacromonte shortly before dawn most weekends, I’d sit on the city walls and just watch the moon lower itself over the Alhambra, slowly disappearing behind the breathtaking fortress. I couldn’t tear my gaze away.
Then, there were the gypsies. Hearing the toque gitano, the soft olé‘s that seemed to rise up from the soul, and observing the strong presence of tradition in barrio Sacromonte at sunset gave me chills.
I came chasing Lorca’s inspiration, and Granada guided me to it without me having to look. It’s a magical city. A sensual one that makes you feel deeply. A city that speaks to the heart in both culture and nature, and promises to enchant you each and every day.
I leave you with some words I wrote for the magazine Por Granada at the end of my time living there:
“Quien pasea por las calles del Albaicín o las cuevas del Sacromonte puede imaginar la historia de los árabes y gitanos que una vez poblaron estos barrios granadinos. Esta imagen necesita como complemento indispensable una banda sonora de guitarras y quejíos flamencos. La música de la historia de Granada parece sonar a través de sus calles.“
“Los últimos meses han sido unos de los mejores de mi vida, llenos de diversión, risa y aventura. La historia, la poesía y la música del pasado aún viven en las calles de Granada. Cada vez que salgo de tapas o a las discotecas, la vista de la luna de que habló Lorca y la belleza de la Alhambra me deja sin palabras. Para mi, Granada es un sueño.”
“Whoever walks the streets of the Albaicín or explores the caves of Sacromonte can feel the presence of the Arabs and gypsies that once populated these neighborhoods. This image is complemented by a soundtrack of guitars and the sounds of flamenco. The music of Granada’s past seems to play throughout its streets. The past months here have been some of the best of my life, full of fun, laughter and adventure. The history, poetry and music of the Granada of the past still live in its streets. Each time I go out for tapas or to a club, the view of the moon that Lorca spoke of combined with the beauty of the Alhambra leaves me without words. For me, Granada is a dream.”