On Sunday we went on an organised trip to ‘The Famous Gypsy Cave’ to have a meal and watch a flamenco show.  At €62 a head it seemed quite steep, but it was something I really wanted to do.  We were picked up from the campsite in a small coach which then drove all round Granada through the tiny back streets to pick up other people.  It was quite an intense experience and you had to admire the driver’s skill, as he managed to miss everything, despite the fact that it looked like there was about 2cm to spare one each side of the bus and he didn’t slow down much.  (you could pay an an awful lot of money in a theme park for such a prolonged white-knuckle experience!) We finally came to the Cave, which looked like a normal restaurant on a steep hill, the far side of the city.  Inside, however, you could see the place actually went underground.

1 Flamenco 1

We were given a very good three course meal with bread, water and a bottle of wine all included.  Tim liked his main course, but I am not so sure that chocolate sauce goes with beef kebabs!  We had a nice time chatting to the German couple who had also come from our campsite.  My German seemed to improve with every glass of wine, or they may have just been very polite.

We could hear the performers warming up as we ate and then I amused myself taking a few shots of the place.  I liked the effect of this photo, the only stovepipe hat in Andalusia, I suspect. 

4 stovepipe hat

The funny thing was that, after I took the silly photo, the other tourists there copied me.  I was wondering about a new hobby.  See which stupid things you can get other people to take photos of.

Finally, at about 10pm, the artists filed onto the stage and sat around looking pretty chilled or bored.  That stopped the minute the performance started.  I was so moved by the young woman’s dancing that I was almost in tears.  The way she held her self and moved was powerful, proud and looked full of raw emotion. 

2 Flamenco 2

In fact she danced with so much passion that the zip on her dress broke!  Luckily it is within the style of the dance to bunch up your dress, but I am sure she was relieved when she reached the interval so she could change

The man danced very well, but I was somewhat put off by the faces he kept pulling and the way he kept grabbing his jacket.

3 Flamenco 3

I didn’t think much of the older woman at first (along the lines of ‘How nice! They are going to let dear old mum dance’).  That didn’t last long- she was absolutely fantastic, with beautifully elegant hand movements and incredibly strong and fast feet.  (According to Tim’s research on Wikipedia, flamenco dancers are not considered to be worth looking at until they are over 35 and the older ones are better because they have more soul.)

5 Flamenco 5

6 Flamenco 6

It appears that the dancer is like the conductor, she sets the rhythm and the others follow.  I don’t like flamenco singing, but along with the guitar music, the stamps, finger clicks and clapping it all comes together in a most exciting and moving experience.  It is all very tortured and I suspect the songs are mainly about loss and heartache.  It is hard to imagine any of the songs following the ‘I met the girl of my dreams and now we are still  happily married after 30 years’ theme.  More likely ‘I met the boy of my dreams but my father shot him’.

All in all it turned out to be an excellent value evening and worth every Euro.  Despite Tim’s original doubts about the trip, he really enjoyed it too.  As icing on the cake, we had the most fabulous view of the Alhambra all beautifully lit up.

7 Alhambra at night

On Monday we caught the bus back to Granada so that we could visit the Alhambra properly.  It is a little complicated- you have to book ahead, be there to pick up your tickets at a certain time, be at the entrance at the right time and you are allocated a timed slot to visit the Moorish palaces.  We spent over three and a half hours there and it was as spectacular as we had been led to believe.  (I won’t rabbit on about it, as its all on Wikipedia if you want to know more.)  We used the recorded tour thingies and I can honestly say that my brain was nearly fried by the end of it.  I got half way round the palaces and my mind just gave up.  It was very beautiful there, but the significance of all the decoration was way beyond me.

8 Alhambra 1

9 Alhambra 2

10 Alhambra 3

11 Alhambra 4

12 Alhambra 5

We ended up eating in the restaurant again, it’s a hard life but someone has to do it!

On Tuesday we spent the day cleaning and mending things and coming up with a cunning plan to stop the fridge sliding forward when Tim has to brake hard.  It’s quite hard to track down a small piece of wood where we were camped, but we came up with a solution using roller blind stops and so far it seems to be working.  While we were searching for a solution we ended up in a shopping mall where we were delighted to find…..

A cow on roller skates

A cow on roller skates