Lost in Granada, Spain
We lost our tour group. Yup.
It all started when I had the brilliant idea of going on a free walking tour of Granada…in Spanish. Porque no? Why not? We’ve been taking Spanish classes at Delengua all week and were up for the challenge! A great opportunity to practice our Spanish comprehension skills! The meeting point was the statue of Christopher Columbus in a busy intersection. We were running a few minutes late for the 10:30 meeting time, but “no pasa nada” as they say (no problem!). Thus far, we have been on time for everything, and everyone else has arrived 15 minutes late. We’re always “the early ones”. This morning was no exception as the tour didn’t get started until about 11. A sea of purple umbrellas and purple t-shirts identified the Feel the City Granada walking tour. “Buenos Dias. Good morning! If you speak English, please step to the left side. Si prefiere Espanol, ve a la derecha” the smiling, young, energetic group of guides instructed. This was our last chance to back out of the Spanish speaking group and maybe actually learn something with the English speakers. We glanced at our friend Esther, a friend from our Spanish school who decided to join us on the tour, nodded confidently, then stepped to the right (a la derecha). We got this.
The guide spoke clearly, enthusiastically, and really really fast. “Si no entiendas, preguntame” (if you don’t understand something, ask me) whispered a Spanish woman from the group with curly blonde hair, probably in her late 50’s, who could tell my Spanish wasn’t perfect yet. An angel, possibly sent from the nearby Cathedral, she was. With the help of this angel, I learned a bit about Christopher Colombus’ voyage, the history behind the labyrinth of cobble stone streets, the “big fire” that engulfed the town, the other “big fire” that engulfed thousands of books from the university, and about the tradition of painting the names of college graduates in bull blood on the cathedral walls, (the first Facebook page she called it). We learned a little about Flamenco dancing, architecture, and the Moops, I mean Moors. Midway through we decided we understood about 60-70% of the tour. I think that’s pretty good!
So after 2 brain-straining, semi-comprehensible, hours of the Spanish tour, we found relief when our guide instructed, “Reunimos aqui en 15 minutos!” pointing to a spot just outside of a cafe. Gracias a Dios! A break! We entered the cafe, ordered coffees and soda, and rested our minds and legs. After 20 minutes, we strolled out of the cafe unhurried, totally aware we were 5 minutes late (No pasa nada, right?) to find that we were not in fact the “early” ones this time, that our tour group wasn’t waiting for us at the meeting spot, but in fact our tour group was no where in the vicinity! They had left us! Thank goodness that traveling for 10 months has calloused us against unexpected road bumps such as these. No biggie, we thought. We got this. We took out the map and found a future meeting spot which happened to be a beautiful “mirador” or viewpoint that we had visited before. So we marched our 5-minute late bums up the hill to the view point, hoping to catch them. After about 30 minutes of hanging out in the shade waiting for waves of purple shirts and umbrellas to ashore, we left with our tails between our legs. We lost the tour. All I could think was “how could they just leave us!? Where was my angel looking out for me?” Unfazed, our friend Esther suggested we get some tapas and wine. Jon, also unfazed and actually relieved to have lost the group (was this his strategy all along!?), seconded the motion. At $2 per drink, including complimentary tapas, my own dismay faded quickly as well. “Salud!” we cheers’d. The fact that we lost the group didn’t come up again in conversation. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon sitting under the shade, with loads of meat in front of us, glasses of “Tinto de Verano” (sparkling red wine) in our hands, and engaged in a lovely non brain-straining, completely- comprehensible conversation….in Spanish.