Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

On Monday someone complimented me on looking healthy with a nice sun-tanned face.  The weekend before last I was on the beach sunbathing but for the last week it has done nothing but rain, the water in the Rules reservoir has risen a metre and a half and there is snow almost down to Niguelas.  The ski station closed on 01 May and since then there has been more snow than during the whole of the winter.  Ten people have been killed in Malaga and Murcia provinces.  And my feet are cold!  During the sixties and seventies we could blame it on the Russians’ nuclear testing, but who can we blame now?  I know, Donald Trump.  He seems to be to blame for all the world’s woes at the moment so I will dash off a letter of reprimand to him.  At least he could keep dry here with that Barnet of his.  Malaga football stadium looks like an English Fourth División pitch.

TOPSHOTS A small football is covered wit...TOPSHOTS A small football is covered with on September 28, 2012 after heavy rainfalls caused floods in Villanueva del Trabuco, near Malaga, southern of Spain. Severe rain storms crossed some areas or South of Spain which caused flooding. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERREROJorge Guerrero/AFP/GettyImages

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old, or because I think I’ve seen it all and not much lights my lamp these days, but this weekend I went around the Albaicin (the old quarter of Granada city) with some friends and saw some things I hadn’t seen before. I found it really interesting, probably because it had to do with the Moorish past of Granada and Carmen and I having spent a long time in Morocco and so I’m going to write about it. We initially wnet to see a carmen, a traditional house in the old part of Granada with a walled garden and epitomising their Moorish history. Typically, these carmens are hidden from the street by high walls but when you enter you are confronted with a fantastic garden or orchard with fountains with flowing water and luxurious plant growth everywhere. Most have a view of the Alhambra and are romantic in the extreme. The Albaicin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albayz%C3%ADn and it is easy to lose oneself in its narrow streets. After having viewed the carmen and what a delight that was, we went back through the lower part of the Albaicin and had the privilege of being shown behind the scenes of one of the processional brotherhoods where we saw the gold and silver thrones used to carry the Virgins during the Easter parades for which Granada is famous. We also went into the vestry to see all the robes which the bearers wear. Next door was a church which I had only passed before and had never entered. Again, it looked like nothing of note from outside but inside was like no other Catholic church I had ever been in. It was devoid of almost any gilded decorations and indeed one side had been left un-plastered to show the exposed wall of the original minaret, showing that it had been a mosque before the re-conquest by the Catholic Kings. It was, in fact,the place where Ferdinand and Isabel had celebrated their first Mass directly following the surrender of Boabdil, the Sultan of Granada. The minaret. now converted to a church tower, still has the original Moorish frescoes on its facings, just like the minarets in Morocco..

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And on top of the tower was something I had only seen once before and that was minutes before in the garden of the carmen we had just visited.  I’ll explain. On top of the minarets in Morocco are three spheres, often golden and they represent the three great religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. How enlightened were the Moors compared with the fundamentalists of today.

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But I digress.  The top sphere on this church tower had been replaced by a castle and atop that a cross, showing that the Catholic Kings felt the need to put their stamp on things.

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What a marvellous piece of history.  After that we had a few drinks and tapas in a converted monastery and wended our way home.

I love the Albaicin, every trip there brings something different to light.