I got some valuable recovery time in today. Yes I had work to do but I'm pretty much on top of things and I didn't do more than a couple of hours. This afternoon I sat down and worked on my San Nicolas painting. It really needed moving on as I hadn't touched it for a week. Still a work in progress though...
I needed some air and a stretch of the legs by late afternoon and it was a great time of day. The sun was still warm (summer has returned) and the town was buzzing. I bumped into some sort of procession outside the Iglesia de los Santos Justo y Pastor - a magnificent church not too far from the cathedral. A large catholic icon with silver wings was being taken into the church to the accompaniment of trumpets and drums. It was very dramatic and the music was deafening but really funereal. The large crowd of locals who had gathered appeared becalmed by a respectful mood. I don't know what it was all about and regrettably I never had my camera.
Around the corner the atmosphere couldn't have been more different. A large wedding had just taken place at another enormous church. The nearby cafes were full of suited men who I guess had been at the wedding, top buttons undone, ties loosened, having a smoke and watching the Spanish football on the tv screens. As the bride and groom clambered into their car the powerfully mournful music swirling in from just round the corner seemed to take on a more celebratory air.
The whole rhythm of life here is totally different to that in the UK. Nothing happens till midday, then the shops and bars open for a few hours. Around 4pm everything shuts down again for siesta and then, as the sun drops away around 7:30 it all comes alive again. The streets become mobbed with a complete spectrum of demographic types, young, old, whole families, whatever.
Nobody seems to want to eat til way after 10, and the cafes and restaurants are open til midnight. The thing is you've no need to go to a restaurant here. Go into any bar in Granada and order a drink and you'll be served free tapas. Have 4 drinks over an hour or two and you'll get 4 different types of tapas, one after the other. It's fantastic. I'm told Granada is the last bastion of free tapas in Spain and they obviously pride themselves on it. You don't know what you're going to get either. I've been served all sorts from mixed nuts to tomatoes and olives, spicy sausage, chips, crepes, burgers, and fish.
I love it here. Tapas is such a civilsed notion.
A brief history lesson then: A popular theory is that when the 13th-century King Alfonso fell ill, he was prescribed small bites of food with wine to aid his recovery. After discovering the benefits of snacking, he is said to have decreed it law that all bars begin to serve food with alcohol.
Ole to King Alfonso then.