Fond Memories of Spain

Courtyard of the Myrtles at the Alhambra in Granada

Elevated walkway the Grotto Gallery in Sevilla

In Madrid we stayed in the heart of the old city, our hotel balcony overlooking the teeming central square Puerta del Sol. By day church bells marked the hours and pedestrians, locals and tourists alike, thronged the square and up the broad boulevards radiating out to different parts of the city. By night the activity only intensified with people spilling from restaurants or promenading in loud groups.
In Sevilla we wandered the mazelike alleyways of the Santa Cruz barrio, passing massive wooden doors studded with metal rivets, colorful shops and tapas restaurants all tucked into niches in ancient stone walls. Bricked archways opened into tree-lined courtyards where fountains splashed bright drops in the sunlight and prancing horses pulled shiny tourist laden carriages across the cobblestones. In this magical city we climbed to the top of Giraldi Tower where in medieval times knights galloped their steeds up the same narrow winding ramp we followed to survey the surrounding countryside for invaders.
On the balmy Mediterranean in Nerja we watched fishermen run wooden dories into the sea and return with nets threaded with silver fish. Later in the evening the fish was served in open air restaurants snugged up to the sand. In the mornings elderly gentlemen sat shoulder to shoulder on benches in shady city squares, working over life memories and old arguments.
But my favorites were the palace gardens hidden behind stone walls where centuries ago sultans and kings found comfort in nature and in the play of water over stone. Out of sight of the commoners, hedges of aromatic myrtle offered structure while flowering vines rioted on brick walls and tropical flowers bloomed. With no electricity to power fountains, mountain streams were routed through aqueducts that trickled precious water along channels in the stone floors where it cooled the palace rooms and eventually ran into long still pools in rectangular garden courtyards. Underground cisterns collected water for use by palace residents. Garden gates and pavilions reflect the architectural influences of the occupying Moors and Christians who alternated supremacy over the centuries and elevated walkways provide views of the surrounding city and the fertile plains beyond. We saw two of these fantastic gardens, at the palaces Alcazar and Alhambra.
I’m only a tiny bit embarrassed to say I could clearly imagine sweeping along the Grotto Gallery of the Alacazar in a long diaphanous gown with a pointy topped veil streaming behind me, hurrying to attend to some intrigue of the court…..


6 responses to “Fond Memories of Spain

  1. beautifully written Gail…so glad you had a wonderful time…and I’d be right there with you in my blue gown as well…intrigue indeed…xo

  2. Susan Miller

    Do you remember the young adult fiction novel Ann of Green Gables? Seems as children we read this together and your musings about gardens behind stone walls and sweeping along a grotto certainly flooded me with memories. Looking froward to seeing you and hearing more.

  3. Gail, I enjoyed reading your about your experiences in Spain. It brought back wonderful memories of our 10th Anniversary trip to Spain. I would love to go back. So glad you had such a wonderful trip!

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