Three years ago this week we were visiting Granada, Andalucia, Spain. We wandered the lanes and every nook and cranny begged to be drawn. So did I? No.
This beautiful and intriguing city had been high on my bucket list since the first time I heard 'Memories of the Alhambra' as played by the great guitarist Pepe Romero. As my Facebook reminders popped up with some of my own photographs I revisited both momentous moments. The visit itself and the first time I heard the music.
The Inspiration for the visit: My father had bought the cassette collection to listen to as we drove northwards on our yearly trek to visit relatives over the winter vacation. Each year the June-July holiday would dawn with all five of us up before the sun and in the car. The evocative strains of 'Memories of the Alhambra' played over the car stereo just as the African sunrise happened and we crossed the Elephants Pass in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
My two older brothers were sleeping either side of me on the backseat of our Audi, me a scrunched up sandwich filling between them. My mom was also dozing in the shotgun seat, so my father and I were the only ones awake in the car. The music filled the car and became intrinsically linked in my mind with the beauty of the sky as it changes moods.
The piece finished and I heard my father sigh. I realized that we had both been caught up in the moment. I wanted to know how a piece of music could express so much sadness, yet hope and beauty. But I did not know how to say that. I moved restless on the seat and our collie mix yipped softly. My father looked up at his rearview mirror and saw that I was awake. He softly asked me what was wrong. I said nothing. He just made a little 'hmmm' sound which was his way of inviting us to speak without putting pressure on you. I told him the music had been really pretty. He told me about the piece and his hope to one day visit Granada the city in which the fortress that inspired the piece was located. He laughed and confessed he had made that decision the first time he had heard the music himself, and that had been before seeing any of the beautiful pictures of the city. He promised to show me some pictures when we were home again. He hoped to paint there as there was something really special about the light there according to many artists he admired. I decided there and then that I also wanted to see this magic place that he described as if from his own memories.
The reality of the visit? Beyond my dreams, yet part of some of my deepest regrets...
next post for more on that.