Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer has arrived

The gardens and foundains
at the Generalife

Ornate stonework
We have spent the last few weeks adjusting to life without Opa, enjoying the summer lifestyle Spain has to offer and spending time with our Granadian friends. Summer has arrived with a big change in the weather. Suddenly, it is very hot outside during the day and the air feels warm even in the evening. Lovely for being outdoors at night but a bit unbearable in the direct sunlight during the day. Shade is now a requirement.

Uncle Paul

My brother Paul and I
celebrating his 50th birthday

At the Plaza del Tores (bullring)
with his broken leg
My brother Paul turned 50 this month so planned a few special vacations in commemoration. As he enjoys motorcycle riding, he planned to visit us in Granada after a week long motorcycle tour out of Madrid. But 3 days before he was supposed to fly to Spain he broke his fibula (bone in his lower leg) during an accident on his motorcyle in Mexico. 

Uncle Paul and los chicos

Paul on top of the Alcazaba
Fortunately he was able to cancel the upcoming tour and delay his flight by a few days so instead came direcly to Granada, walking boot and all. Although not an easy place to get around what with all the cobblestone streets, stairs and hilly climbs, he hobbled his way around just fine. And his unhurried pace forced me to slow down and take the time to look around, walk at a very leisurely pace and stop and smell the roses so to speak, so was a good exercise in going with the flow. We enjoyed a relaxed day at the Alhambra where I got to explore the Generalife (hen-er-al-leaf-eh) for the first time and really appreciate the beautiful gardens and fountains there. And we had some amazing lunches out and probably the best food I've had all year. Not sure if it is just good luck or I am appreciating things more.

Book club

Book club friends
Fun with straw making kit sent
by Aunt Kate
I hosted my American book club the other night and 7 friends and I enjoyed an amazing potluck feast in our home and garden. It's the first time we've eaten outside but the change in the weather made it rather pleasant. No bugs either.

Olafur, Nat and Tom
Refugio Poqueira
Nat, our Icelandic neighbor Olafur, and a Canadian friend of his just spent 2 days hiking up and over Mulhacen, the highest point in Spain which is right near Granada in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains. Although the trip was only overnight, it required some serious planning and acquiring the appropriate gear as it is always best to be prepared in the great outdoors, wherever it be. They took the bus to the jamon (ham) famous pueblo of Trevelez in the Alpujarras and after lunch climbed 1000 meters up to Refugio Poqueira where they spent the night before the summit the next day.

Taking a break
Summit at 3483 meters
Up and out by 9am, they climbed an additional 1,000 meters to the summit (3,483 meters) around noon time. They enjoyed the views for a spell and even greeted some juvenile mountain goats who were also "sumitting." Then they started the trek down; the plan being to traverse a valley beneath neighboring Pico de Veleta and meet up at the ski area some time that afternoon. When Anna and I didn't hear from them by 8 or 9 at night, we started to get a little worried and called the Refugio for a weather report but heard that the weather was fine and that cell phones didn't work that high up on the mountain. Finally, at 9:30pm I got a call from Nat as they had fortunately just gotten cell access.

Nieves (snow)
Mountain goat
Although they knew exactly where they were the whole time, there had been a slight problem with the maps. Since they never found the correct trail from the botom of the valley across to the ski area, they needed to walk out the length of the valley. Now they needed a pick-up from a trailhead in a completely different area which required many more hours of walking for them. Fortunately I had a pretty good idea how to get there having been there a few times before (mind you, the drive is about an hour away and along a very, very steep incline with sheer cliff drop-offs on one side so thankfully it was pitch dark). I arrived at said empty parking lot out in the middle of nowhere at 11:15pm and within 5 minutes I saw the lights of a headlamp exiting out of the woods and towards the car. There was Nat and his two companions, thirsty and tired, and looking a bit ragged, but completely safe and sound.

Memorial Service for Opa
The entire family is heading to Concord, MA to attend Opa's Memorial service on June 12th. We'll head back a few days early to get over the jet lag and help out Oma where necessary. Although it will be a sad affair, reunions with family and friends will be much welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment