Granada After the Rain

It’s on my mind, these days, to walk again in Europe after the rain. There are places to go and others to revisit. Granada in Andalusia, in southeastern Spain, is one that is calling me back. When I go back to Granada I will have a night in the white city of Sacromonte and listen to the strumming of Flamenco guitars. Last time I was there, it was a silver springtime, the Sierra Madre spiked with snow. It was cold, very beautiful, but not very conducive to flamenco nights. I explored the Alhambra and roamed through the various sectors of the city of Granada, high and low. There were even times where I could bask in the midday sun, with a drink and, as is the custom, a tapas; free, gratis and for nothing. The scattered sunshine was well seasoned with showers. Afterwards, the city gleamed anew.

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, of Scottish band Eurythmics, wrote this song in 1983 as rain swept over Manhatten. It captures the melancholy and optimism that crackle in a rainy street. I might be singing, softly, in the rain.

I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

In this painting, I am crossing a small city square after a nighttime stroll, and a few stops to shelter for refreshment. The hour has grown late and I am making my way back to my hotel. I know the way ahead through the backstreets. There are places I might stop, such as Hannigan’s Irish Bar, or save for another day.

You might notice a nod here to Vincent Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night. I have it at home in a set of tablemats. Not the original. This is more lonely, the streets washed clean by the rain. But I sometimes think that the reflections beneath my feet, on nights such as these, are persistent echoes of the city tunneling back through time. Who knows, maybe I will get a more Mediterranean night to sink into this city, if ever I go back again.

The official anthem of Granada will be ninety years old next year. It was actually written by Mexican composer Agustin Lara. Jose Carreras fair belts it out in the original Spanish. There are English versions by Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine and Catarina Valente.

When the day is done and the sun starts to set in Granada
I envy the blush of the snow clad Sierra Nevada
For soon it will welcome the stars
While a thousand guitars play a soft Habanera