Good Friday –
The start of a four-day weekend and the prospect of lots of time alone to fill. Not to be beaten I had bravely planned my weekend and splashed out on a day trip to Granada to visit the Alhambra, I shall be a tourist for the day, join a coach party of strangers and get some real life research for my novel under my belt.
Good plan eh?
I awoke excited, a little nervous and determined. From the moment I woke the fates were against me. I knew immediately that today would be a dreadful tinnitus day, any other sufferers will know where I am coming from. I pushed the incessant buzzing to one side, after all, it’s all in my head, isn’t it?
Off I went driving to the coast to meet the coach at a local hotel pick up point, as I got out of the car I stumbled and twisted my left foot resulting in extremely painful and bruised TOES! Yep, those little podgy things on the end of your feet, boy can they hurt when twisted and abused.
Off we went making one last pick up in Malaga where lots of people got on, in fact it was full. Strange, but I couldn’t hear a word of English from where I was sat. You guessed it, I was the only English person. I had joined a coach load of German and Russian tourists!
Still smiling we arrived in Granada at 11am. Our entrance to the Alhambra was booked for 2.30pm, they have a strict ticketing entry system to control the flow of visitors. We had three hours free time in Granada which the guide told us would normally be spent visiting the cathedral and then free time for lunch and shopping, however, as it was Good Friday, the cathedral was closed as were the shops!
Like I said sometimes you just gotta laugh!
I actually really enjoyed my three hours in Granada city centre, limping around and seeking out the square. All good tourists know to head for a square. You can always find cafe’s around the edge and you have the best of chance of street entertainment. Granada was no exception and I spent a lovely hour sat with my coffee watching a ridiculously dressed young man cavort around the area in front of the cafe on a bike trailing a cart with tinny circus music playing. He was superb, his entire act was based on fooling around with passers-by, which is risky for this kind of entertainment as good old Joe public can be dismissive of such advances!
After a ridiculously cheap lunch whilst sitting in another cafe / restaurant and jotting notes for this blog entry I rejoined my somewhat unfriendly compatriots on the coach and we headed for the Alhambra. Here we were separated into groups by language and I was tagged onto the end of another tour’s English group.
I was handed a small listening device and ear phones. I don’t want to bore you with my details of my physical imperfections but I have strange shaped ear canals, really it’s true, I know this as I have extremely poor hearing and have had immense problems with attempting to get in the ear hearing aids. I digress, the point is those little black pad things DO NOT stay in my ears!
The tinnitus was unrelenting and I was reduced to trying to keep my fingers on the ear phones whilst juggling with the camera and trying to take pictures, hobbling on my throbbing foot and remaining cheerful throughout. However I was not to be beaten.
The Alhambra tour was excellent, our guide, Patricia, was brilliant and extremely knowledgeable. She seemed genuinely pleased to answer my questions and when I explained the purpose of my trip as research for my novel, she was more than happy to point out all the pertinent parts of the tour to my research era IE: the thirteenth century founding of the palace by the Nasrid dynasty.
Much to my amusement we established quickly that Patricia’s English group was in fact made up of a family from Sweden, an Irish couple, a Hungarian couple, a Japanese couple, four friends from Denmark and ME, the token English person! However they were a jolly crowd and at least they spoke English! The tour was superb and I was much encouraged as I could see that my imagination has not been too far from the facts in my book. Now I can go back and tighten the imagery.
I was enthralled throughout and could almost see my heroine Fadila, lurking in the shadows hiding from the soldiers as she waits to meet her secret and forbidden lover Abbas. The trip was, after all, worth while.
We returned to Malaga and I was dropped off saying a cheery “adios” to my fellow tourists who mostly looked the other way but I did get a shy smile and a curt nod of the head from one or two. My goodness, I thought it was us Brits that were the reserved nation?
Back home, safe in the ever-present solace and company of the ever faithful Muttley, I gingerly uncovered my left foot to be greeted by a middle toe that displayed all the colours of a thunderous sunset.
Like I said – sometimes you just have to laugh…