5th November 2016
For the third year in a row, I celebrated my birthday in Granada.
The first year I was living there, up in the Albaicín, the old town. The crowded, white-clad houses and their cobbled streets sit on their hill looking out to their protector, the Alhambra palaces.
Later, the town became the Jewish quarter, named Elvira. Today, it is home to long-time residents, students and guiris (the blond sort of foreigners).
The year after, I returned to celebrate with my friends there. We drank a lot (I’m sure) and I stayed with my Irish friends (who I’ve mentioned many times before).
This year, they had both left (one to Madrid; the other for Barcelona) and I stayed with a Spanish friend who variously claims to be madrilleña or granadina. She is certainly a whirlwind of contradictions.
Each time I see her, she has a new job. Or three. I’ve given up keeping track. Her and her boyfriend were charming hosts though we also raced around the city seeing scattered friends.
It was a calmer weekend (being both exhausted and ill) but we found room for some music and drinks and to visit the latest bars. As always in Granada, the stasis was palpable. The way of life changes little and time weighs heavy on the streets. But I have known the city only after a drawn out crisis and it seems that a recovery has finally arrived.
New bars and restaurants had opened up; not just refurbished but redisgned and repurposed. And there were new shops for nee markets, betting on new trends. The Granada I saw this year felt on the cusp of change.
A fitting place then for me to turn however old I’ve turned (26 if I’m counting correctly). A little continuity; a little progress; still a lot of life.