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Granada – The Cave People of Guadix

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Guadix is a beautiful town an hour east of Granada, which we visited on our trip back to Valencia. (It’s also the home of the pyrotechnic company who put on the March 2nd Mascletà — the only non-Valencian company invited, and did they impress!) But I digress.


The walled-in town of Guadix is neat — winding alleys and an impressive cathedral. But we were drawn by famous cave dwellings, found on the hill overlooking the city.

All painted in white, these abodes are stunning. We took a little tour of one. The matriarch let us look around and take pictures, while she provided cave-person trivia, such as: cooking inside them is forbidden; they must be whitewashed thrice yearly; they maintain the same temperature (20° C) year-round.

I can’t imagine living in one, except perhaps during a vacation. And you can actually rent them out for extended stays. They’re not all that expensive. Here’s one booking website.

Guadix was an interesting final stop on our long weekend in Granada. After two years in Spain, this was our first vacation outside the Comunidad. Shameful, considering the amount there is to see in this beautiful.


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March 31, 2010 at 5:43 pm Comment (1)

Granada – Sacromonte and Our Flamenco Disaster(s)

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One of the coolest most interesting neighborhoods in Granada is Sacromonte, famous for its inhabited caves. We found it fascinating. Sure, the caves have been decorated, painted and furnished, and facades have been attached, but there’s no getting around the fact that these people are living in large holes in the ground.


Granada is one of the most important cradles of flamenco, and Sacromonte is famous for its performances. We’d been warned, though, that watching flamenco in a Sacromonte cave is a rip-off tourist trap. And we’re not silly tourists, who give their money out for no good reason! Right, Jürgen? … Jürgen?

Wait, Jürgen, what are you doing talking to that maliciously grinning gypsy lady? No! Don’t go in her cave!! Don’t wave me over! Don’t… are you accepting a drink?! Have you lost your freaking mind?

As a photographer, the opportunity to take pictures inside a cave proved more compelling to Jürgen than the need to avoid rip-offs. We knew that our “cave tour” of 2 minutes would cost us dearly, and it did. €7 per person. But, Jürgen got his pictures, and even talked the exultant scam artist into posing for a portrait. Enjoy:


Our other encounter with flamenco came during our first night in the city. We found a blog that praised Peña Flamenca La Platería as one of the best, most authentic flamenco joints in the city. That blog will go unnamed, and we can strongly urge you to skip this place. What a joke! We were ushered into a huge room with 20 other foreigners, and given a glass of the most terrible, watered down sangria I’ve ever had. And the show was awful — they weren’t even trying. The hideous singer brayed like an ox, the guitarist was clearly drunk (he even stopped playing at one point), and the dancer was chubby, boring and unskilled. It was the worst flamenco I’ve ever seen, and we left during intermission.

The Canadian couple in front of us, though, had clearly never seen flamenco before. They clapped and hooted, and whispered excitedly to each other “Isn’t this amazing?” I wanted to clonk their heads together.

We prefer Café del Duende in Valencia for Flamenco.

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February 18, 2010 at 5:58 pm Comments (3)