Here is a picture of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain that a friend of mine posted on Facebook. About 10 years ago my life seemed pretty stagnant so I packed up my bike and headed to Spain to spend some time getting to know a different culture and to learn a little of a second language. When I was in school, learning a new language didn't really interest me. My father was a full blooded greek and my greek grandmother never learned a lick of english in all the years she lived here. She didn't leave the house much but man could she cook. Baked lamb and potatos, forget it, she was the champ. I never learned any greek except for "hello" or "how are you?" which I don't even know how to spell, something like "ti kanyas" or something of that nature. Anyway, one afternoon I was laying on the sofa with not much drive to do anything except to watch la Vuelta a Espana. As I watched the peloton come flying into a beautiful city I just thought, "That looks like a cool place." I booked the ticket and before I knew it I was there. A friend of mine helped me to find a room to rent at Rosa's Homestay, granadalabella.eu/ and I stayed with a spanish family and a handful of other students for about 3 months and then when I returned for a second time to go to school I found an apartment not too far down the road. This picture brought back a lot of memories. For one, everyday walking around the town you would see the Alhambra up on the hillside. I used to ride up to the backside of it and there was an overlook where you could take in a view of the whole city of Granada.
Also, the mountain in the background of the first picture is La Veleta, probably the most famous mountain in Spain and one of the highest passes in Europe, not to mention the one that I spent quite a bit of time on during my stay. I was just informed from Simon that La Veleta means 'weathercock' -to tell you which way your heart blows. Thats pretty wild. Mountains are like living beings sometimes, things are much more interesting around them. From the center of town, which is about a 20 minute bike ride to the base of the climb, I would climb roughly 2 to 2 1/2 hrs. to get up past the ski station and that still wasn't the top. Then the descent was 30 minutes of eye-watering reckless abandonment where you would be passing cars, mostly in the corners because thats where a cyclist can outgun a car. Spain is a beautiful country and the people are some of the nicest I've met in my life. I always get excited when la Vuelta is on the horizon. Hopefully they'll have a stage through Granada this year. Hasta luego.