Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On: Spain, the Great Cost of Travel, Growing Pains and Letting Go. Part Two

Verdant. Lush. Unbelievable.
Bear with me.

When I arrived at the entrance to The Alhambra, instead of a sweeping vista of ancient walls, palaces and gardens, I was greeted with a wide parking area adjoining a group of buildings that could have been an entrance to a zoo, an amusement park, anything.
My obsessive research from The States pointed to that there would be no tickets, it being early September, but I just strolled up to a machine and, suddenly, we had an hour to kill before being allowed in. So mom and I wandered around the parking lots, past cars and tour buses, around long lines of tourists, to an area further back, and shaded from a heat that was not oppressive, but aggressive - it actually felt like the heat was pulling moisture out of me.

We sat on a concrete block that formed the side of a large area of earth filled with a colorful variety of plants that would be expected in such a climate, under a tree that sprouted not from this bed, but from the ground just a few inches outside of it. We proceeded to make lunch, which was an odd amalgam of leftovers from the past few days. We had sandwiches, with cheese and milk and some fresh fruit, and I had some sausage. We then sat and talked, made room for a noisy family with a few children also having lunch, drank water and then made our way back to the entrance, to stand in line before entering the palaces & gardens. 

The Partal Palace
That hour, of us sitting, talking, eating, waiting - it is the best memory I have from that trip. It was so simple, so effortless. Over all the years that have brought us here, my mother and I have shared so much, have come so far, that we've accumulated a lot of, well, baggage, if you will. This shared history translates into an invisible weight that sometimes can't help but get in the way from time to time. And so we struggle and argue, over stupid things, over ego and over emotions. And although that's just me talking, right then and there, it was beyond wonderful to just be. While I can't speak for my mother, I felt an ease and a calm that was so complete and so thorough that it left an impression I still feel today, months after. 

And, of course, afterwards, we two spent most of the day seeing one of the highest, finest, most spectacular and complete accomplishments of human art and engineering on the continent. And it changed my life.

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