Europe Features Photo Essays Spain

Calling All Vagabonds | Granada, Spain

By Yulia Denisyuk
The frenzy of touristic summer behind her, Granada turns to quirkier side in late Fall. As the days grow shorter and nights become chillier, she wraps her hillsides into all shades of ochre to keep warm during the season’s change. Bright white streets of this Andalusian town suddenly become empty, save for the cheerful locals mingling with the drifters, the crazy souls, the outlaws, and the occasional travelers that flock to Granada for winter. As they all brace for the cold soon to come, they develop a strange bond, one that comes from intimate surroundings, deeper conversations, and slower passage of time.
The Moorish past of El Albayzin, the cavernous neighborhood that sits at the top of Granada, beckons. Up there, the air turns thinner and the city views become grander with the Alhambra castle shining in the distance. Wander for a bit, then stop at Teteria Kasbah, one of many arabic teahouses that are peppered throughout lower Granada. Drink up mint tea, the legacy of the Moors, for hours. There’s no need to hurry—you’ve got all Fall.
Tea is not the only virtuous vice to enjoy in Granada. Like the nearby unhurried river, Darro, the red wine flows and its velvety taste comforts sore joints in the cold. At the many tapas bars that can still be found throughout the town, you are sure to run into Pedro, the regular at the bars. Passionate Pedro will be fast to tell you: “Yo soy Granadinho.” I am Granadian. He packs so much pride for his place of birth in these three little words. Pedro has lived in Madrid, Barcelona, and other places, but he has always felt the strong urge to return to Granada.
So have many others. Mirador San Nicolas, the petit square atop one of many Albayzin hills, serves as the natural gathering spot for the out of town buskers and vagabonds. Spend some time here watching the day unfold and you’ll encounter Juan, the free soul street musician playing fiery tunes of flamenco fueled by copious servings of cheap red wine.
Come as you are. See for yourself. Stay for a while. Granada welcomes all.

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