Travel Thursday: Chilly Spain–warm up, big lady

Part 6–oh boy. . .

Washington Irving
TO OUR RIGHT, ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF
THE RAVINE, WE WERE EQUALLY DOMINATED
BY RIVAL TOWERS ON A ROCKY EMINENCE.
THERE, WE WERE TOLD, WERE THE TORRES
VERMEJOS, OR VERMILLION TOWERS, SO
CALLED FROM THEIR RUDDY HUE.

Not wanting to cover the same ground today, I’d noticed on the map that there had been an original path between the main part of the complex and the Generalife, not in use now because that way the tourists missed most of the gardens. . . and then I noticed yet another path down to the river, through the forest, and decided it was just the thing I needed, a little nature photography to give my analytical mind a break.
At first I thought “Cuesta de los Chinos,” or at least the last word, was a diminutive for “Chinese,” but then I didn’t know the word also referred to the little pebbles that made up the path. Obviously something I needed to learn in my path through life.
Having stopped to look at the towers closest to me–seeing them from the other side–I now turned around to look for the Generalife, hoping to get a glimpse through the trees. I couldn’t, at first, but then I looked higher and gasped, because it looked so tiny! My feet instantly started hurting as I realized how far I’d come. It looked like it was floating on a green sea of vegetation, reminding me of that shot of the pyramids in Star Wars. . . you know, at the end, the rebel base.
The pebbles were still warm from a morning filled with sunshine breaking through the gaps in the trees, though now the road was in shade. The air here was not only cooler, but sweeter, and as I walked on a bed of pine needles covering said pebbles I wished I had someone with me who could name all the flowers just from the potpourri in the air as I shot them. Turning back, I could barely see any of the Alhambra’s buildings through all the vegetation; I felt like an explorer in America hundreds of years ago, tramping through a virgin forest. {Later I did have someone identify, from the photos, a fig tree, an oak, laurel, jasmine, aloe. . . and are those really pistachios actually growing on a tree instead of on vines like normal nuts? And pomegranates. . . oh, I mean granadas; yes, that’s what the city was named for.}
Turning forward again, I enjoyed the look of sunlight dappling the road, the pebbles giving a lot more texture than mere cement. Again I wished I had a model with me. . . which is a damn rare thought, usually I can’t wait to get away from them. Remembering to use my other senses, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath through my nose; the perfume of the flowers suddenly refreshed me, took away any tiredness, though it quickly lapsed toward overwhelming.
A little while later I reached the river, but I didn’t try to to ford it, since I had to get back to shooting the Alhambra, and I’d already gone to the Albacin anyway. But I did stand and look and shoot for a while, finally searching for the exact spot where the museum I went to yesterday was located before turning back.
Finally I started the walk back, wishing I’d brought a lunch, more in regular mode than photographer’s; for instance, I no longer thought of the overhanging trees and resulting gloom as “romantic;” instead I was checking dark places for attackers. Because of this attention to detail, I spotted a little path off the trail and simply had to see what was up there. Maybe I might find another erotic statue. . . and yes, I laughed.
Luckily it wasn’t that big of a hill, nor that steep once I got over the humpy part, but it was just high enough to see over most of the trees. Due to the towers being the tallest part of the Alhambra, the complex looked a lot closer than it really was, though I made it back away again with a wide angle lens. Someone had brought a chair up here once, then left it, which got me even higher {if I didn’t look down}. When I was done with that, I let out a sigh as I realized I was gonna remember this walk and this road more than the beautiful buildings.
There was one tower, standing all alone on the east side, I hadn’t noticed, so I had to check the books to get that story–morning glory–even if it was as made up as most of them. . . but hell, I was in the perfect place for a romantic lie.
It took a while, but I finally found the Tower of the Infants; its remote and wooded location was said to attract the romantics, though I didn’t see much romanticism possible in the place where the Sultan’s daughters lived. In fact, there was only one story about it at all, and it was Washington Irving’s, which automatically made it suspect: A young and buxom Andalucian damsel first appeared to him in the upper tower, her head covered with flowers. . . . and that’s it. Obviously she didn’t need rescuing, and for sure he didn’t manage to seduce her, otherwise he would have told us. After all, even us romantic guys need sex once in a while. . .

;o)

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