December 2, 2010 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Spain, Travel, Travels in Spain

After my shepherd-for-a-day experience last Spring, I suppose I thought I’d somehow acquired a magic sheep touch – that I was an urban sheep whisperer of sorts. So, when we came across a massive herd of the critters crossing the road in the mountains of Granada last week, I enthusiastically leapt from the car. I was eager to impress everyone (both my friends and the sheep) with my expert shepherding skills. I placed myself in the middle of the pack, anticipating a friendly encounter with my furry friends. But I don’t know what happened – every time I sachayed my way over to pet or hug them, they all bolted as though I wanted to eat them for Thanksgiving or something! (The turkeys that I saw earlier that day were the ones I actually wanted to eat. Don’t you love how gracefully I’ve made the turn from a vegetarian blog post, to this?)

While the sheep despised me, the experience was impressive nonetheless. I was, after all, weaving through the ethereal white mountain towns of La Alpujarra with two of my very best guy friends. La Alpujarra, a region in the province of Granada, boasts spectacular white villages nestled impossibly into the crevices of Andalucia’s mountains. Walking the steep pueblo streets, I couldn’t help but imagine how the darling Spanish grandpas managed to traverse such inclines. I myself struggled not to tumble to the valley floor.

My return to the province of Granada also brought me back to its namesake city and one of my favorite places on earth – the Alhambra. Having now visited the Alhambra four times, I feel as though I’ve really gotten to know its many personalities as it evolves through the seasons (kind of like my husband, but that’s another story). The Alhambra of the hot toasty summer is vibrant, fragrant and refreshing like a cold drink of water. During the winter, it seems more pensive, humble and, well, vacant. In fact, arriving there at 4:00pm in the afternoon, we nearly had the place to ourselves! The usually crowded Palace seemed to be our own personal playground, finally allowing for photos without a million zombie-like tourists cluttering up the background.

I know what you’re thinking – the Alhambra is fascinating and all, but let’s return to the subject of the food in Granada! I agree – a visit to any given region in Spain requires excessive sampling and analysis of its cuisine (even if one has been there a million times already). And good thing Granada meets this challenge with its famed, massively portioned tapas.

You’re already familiar with the concept of going out for tapas – you hop from one bar to the next, grabbing a drink and downing a small free (or sometimes not free) appetizer. Granada, however, seems to take a Texas-approach to tapas – everything is bigger, A LOT bigger. For 12 euros total, we each had two beverages and two mammoth-sized plates of free food. After two rounds of drinks (and meals, really), hopping into bed seemed a lot more realistic than hopping to another tapas bar.

Between the Alhambra, La Alpujarra and the awkwardly large and satisfying tapas, a trip to Granada is never a disappointment – you know, unless you consider it sort of disappointing to have your hopes for becoming a brilliant shepherd crushed. It’s OK. I guess I’m coming to terms with the fact that I have a certain affect on other living things: I can’t keep a plant alive, I make babies cry, and sheep are horrified of me. I think I can live with this, as long as I have yummy regional cuisine and delicious Spanish wine to console me.

On that note, I leave you now with a video of the sheep running away from me as fast as they can.



I should mention that I did take some really oscar-worthy video footage on this road-trip, but sadly my computer is too ancient to handle it. So, for now, I only have this unedited, albeit rad, video of the sheep. I will keep you waiting on pins and needles until after the holidays when I can fully reveal my awesome video skills. You can also see pictures by visiting the La Tortuga Viajera Facebook page.

6 Responses to “How Granada dashed my dreams of being a shepherd”

  1. Robin Says:

    We also feel like we are getting to knoe the Alhambra at this stage, althought we have somehow conspired to always go there in the Autumn – Granada is beautiful then, with the first snows on the Sierra and the the fall foliage ecerywhere. The afternoons still tend to be warmish right into November as well.
    We wanr to see La Alpujarra, but we haven’t managed as yet to make it beyond this magnificent city…

  2. Erin Says:

    I was there in October as well and actually enjoyed it more in November – the snow on the Sierra Nevada in the distance was spectacular, the Alhambra wasn’t full of people and the weather was surprisingly more mild. I’d never been to La Alpujarra before, so it was quite a treat. The drive through the mountains, while tremendously curvy and narrow, was stunning with all the trees changing colors. I hope to return as there are still so many pueblos blancos in that region to discover!

  3. Erin in Costa Rica Says:

    “urban sheep whisperer of sorts” – that is hilarious! Great post 🙂

  4. Erin Says:

    I could have had my own show called “Erinita – The Urban Sheep Whisperer”. It would have been so awesome. Emmys would have been awarded right and left. Just breaks a girl’s heart, ya know? Hehe.

  5. greg urbano Says:

    great photo of the reflected pool!

  6. greg urbano Says:

    great photo of the reflected pool!

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