From where I sit, I can see cacti from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. There are succulents from all over the world. I think to myself, these plants didn’t come here of their own free will. And I wonder how many did not survive this transplantation? I’m looking at the living, not the dead.
At each turn a hidden art gallery, a local ceramic store, a poetry inscription on the wall, a panoramic view of the Mediterranean.
The sunshine, the bubbles, the cathedral, and the history of Cádiz inspire me. And in From Cádiz to Málaga I pay homage to Gloria Fuentes, Carlos Edmundo de Ory, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Allen Ginsberg. All these poets are connected through time, space, and words.
Boabdil’s mother, Aixa, lived in the Hall of Two Sisters, Sala de Dos Hermanas, named for two marble flagstones on the floor. But it’s the ceiling that takes your breathe away.
The mathematically precise splendor of Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo de El Escorial pulls me through the last stretch of our uphill walk from the Phillip IItrain station. It’s exquisite.
Malaga is a vibrant cultural hub with a fusion of ancient and modern heritage spread over a 7,000 year old past since the Phoenicians.
We continued our trip and I tried to lose myself in Washington Irving’s The Alhambra: a Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards, which was published in 1832. I held on to it to force myself into the magical space that I remembered from that black and white photograph in my sixth grade reader.
I enjoyed going to meet the windmills at the top of the hill to sit at the feet of “those giants with blades” feeling that all my problems could be ground down in the wheels of the mill and thrown to the wind that would take them far from me into the infinite space of that endless Castilian plain.
Throughout history people have taught others what they learned from those that came before them. Some of us acknowledge our sources for creative inspiration, others don’t, but no one has ever created something out of nothing.
For it was right here in Bailen on 19th of July, 1808 that the heretofore invincible almighty military leader who had by then conquered much of Europe and was crowned “Emperor” of France just 4 years earlier, would face his first ever open field defeat of his illustrious career.
As we walk between the olive trees along a dirt path, I wonder how old they are. A cylindrical extraction from the bark to the core is enough to find out the age of tree. But olive trees are a challenge because they tend to be gnarled and twisted. Could they be the variety that was brought over from modern day Palestine 6,000 years ago? by the Phoenicians? For some reason, I had thought it was the Greeks.
King Solomon had a penchant for opulent temples/palaces, obsessively embellished with gold and silver… and a fine collection of 700 wives and 300 concubines!
We’re all here for something—to enjoy what this peninsula has to offer: olives, silver, purple dye. These Phoenicians, brothers of Jezebel, are my brothers too.
“I don’t want to discourage you, but a mismatched sock has no future,” said a stiff, cocky shirt that also hung from the rope.
Read A complete translation here: The Story of the Unpaired Sock Jamás se le pasaría por su pequeña cabeza de lana a aquel viejo calcetín que cuando saliese de la… Read more Historia de un calcetín desparejado por Eduardo González Constán (with a complete translation) →
By Nasser Tufail The day arrives and we both show up early at Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, eager, but anxious, about our personal experience of Death in the… Read more Death in the Afternoon: In the Footsteps of Hemingway →
The Sun Also Rises, a story was inspired by Hemingway’s first bullfight experience. His graphic description of the running of the bulls at Pamplona’s Fiesta de San Fermín certainly helped popularize a local event into the world’s most recognized ‘bovine madness party’ which attracts over a million visitors every year.
“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.” ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I do, eventually, reach Avila, but not in the death grip of a Simurgh’s claws. The high-speed train, AVE, of Spain is a lot more comfortable and it has a well-stocked café-bar to boot. If this had been an option available to Sinbad, I’m sure he would have done the same.
Ours is a world where opposites serve as a counter balance to each other. When a balance is created and maintained between extremes, that is the space where we will find peace.