Friday, February 26, 2010

Galant promenade in the Alhambra

Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain, I will hop again to the gardens of the Alhambra and take some pictures of the charming former XVth century convent which was built amidst the gardens. Today, it is the Parador de Granada, a luxury hotel which I would love to experience one day...
Could you imagine what was life like in the Alhambra in bygone days ? Surely, one was inclined to be more courteous, romantic and flirtatious...

Have a wonderful week end !

pic : lithography of Léon Auguste Asselineau Sala de las dos hermanas en el Alhambra (c.1830)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The bellas Granadinas

Women in Granada like to dress pretty. I often pass by elegant women and feel too shy to stop them and ask if I can take a picture of them. This beautiful granadina had her back turned to me so I did a quick shot. I was fully concentrated on her woolen frilly dress, which I totally love and before I could think of something not too stupid to tell her,
she was quickly rejoined by another young woman, with the same hair color, and dressed in similar style like her little sister...Cute...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunny terrace in Granada

Some of my favorite words in Spanish are terraza al sol, a terrace under the sun. This is the best gift Granada has to offer on a lazy saturday morning. We were lucky enough to have one sunny day before the rain poured again on sunday. This is plaza Carlos Cano which comes alive when the sun is out. Wouldn't it be wonderful to organize a brunch party there ?
The building on the side needs a bit refreshing . It seems obviously not in use, I wonder what will be done with it. I find its façade so romantic with the little orange trees and the wrought iron balconies.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Give me a patio with flowers.....

Our poor Andalusia is shivering under the rain and cold winds. It is hard to remember what the warm summer days were like. They seem so far away ! This year, Monchéri and I made the promise to go to Cordoba in may to see the famous patios in their full glory. Every year, during the month of may, the city organizes a patio competition and gives an award to the patio which shows the best flower arrangement, best color scheme and aesthetics. So you can stroll through the city and enter private houses which take part to the contest and enjoy the colorful views.

Have a great colorful week end !


pic from here

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sushi in Granada

There are many so-called Japanese restaurants in Granada, run by Chinese people and although the sushi in those places are acceptable I was very thrilled to discover a new Japanese restaurant run by a real Japanese chief who prepares your food in front of you. Zakuro is a simple small place in black and red, ideal for lunch or a dinner sushi party with friends.
The chef who obviously aims to please serves lovely tapas too...




Zakuro means pomegranate, the emblem fruit of Granada
Enjoy !

Zakuro
Calle Santa Anna nº2
Granada
tel : 958 56 13 49

Monday, February 15, 2010

My favorite noise : the bells in my village

There are noises and noises. When I lived in Paris, noise was quickly categorized as a nuisance, something really disturbing and to be avoided. Before moving to southern Spain, I heard many things about Andalusian people being particularly noisy but it didn't matter really. My first exploration of Andalusia started on the coast in Salobreña, in a nice white apartment by the sea. Living there in autumn, winter and spring was divine. I discovered exotic flowers and plants. I could never have enough of the jasmine scent, especially at night and the sound of the waves was the first noise I heard in the morning. And then came summer and its plague of holiday makers and suddenly noise became much varied and louder : mopeds, sellers on the beach, teenagers coming back from the disco at 7am and shouting the latest summer hit.
Gradually, I moved nearer Granada, further inland, in the country side where daily noise got suddenly reduced to the insisting horn of the baker, selling bread in the morning, followed by another joyful tuutut of the fisherman. I then moved from one village to another and after experiencing a quite noisy area due to cars passing by, I find the new house to be mysteriously silent, which surely can be explained by the amazing thickness of its old walls.
Except for the rain which has been incessant since a few weeks and the timid song of a bird from time to time, the church bells is the only loud noise which can be heard. And I love it. And it can't really be called noise, can it ? Some days, the bells ring to announce the hours, some days they remain silent. Although I'm not yet a specialist of their cryptic language, I can now tell if mass is going to be celebrated. On a particular saint day, the bells ring joyfully and loudly several times a day. On a wedding day, the same happy notes convey a feeling of general exhilaration and anticipation. During Easter and the month of may, when communions are celebrated, the bells seem to enter a period of revival and ring ad libitum. Then, when someone dies, they ring in a more discreet and humble way, seeming nearly sorry to announce a sad event.




I wish one day I could make a recording of the bells in my village. In the meantime I leave you with one of my favorite pieces of noise music, (musique concrète) "Psyche rock" by French composer Pierre Henry, from his Messe pour le temps présent (Mass for the Present Time) which he composed in 1967 for choreographer Maurice Béjart, and which contains some very happy bell ringing.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Love a rose

As a helpless romantic I easily fall under the charm of the color pink. All shades of pink from very pale to intense fuchsia. Pink is tender, delicate, voluptuous. Pink makes me smile, makes me forget the negative vibes. I don't resist to pink....Be it pink flowers, a glass of rosé, a set of cards and envelopes, the fabulous rose "religieuse" choux pastry at Ladurée, glorious sunsets or dawns, we all need pink once in a while......
Have a very sweet week end and a very Happy Valentine's !


Don't forget to follow my simple and romantic breakfasts series here !


pic : Paper cake and packaging I made for a Valentine's pink party

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carmen Books in Granada....where you can while away the hours

Out of curiosity I pushed the door of a very tiny bookshop in calle Matias in Granada and found myself quite at home. Not that my home is filled with books and marvelous ancient editions which have this lovely specific smell of old paper. I wish though...What I mean is, once I entered, I just had to stay for a while, put my bag on the floor, take out my reading glasses and pick one book after the other. I was a bit afraid the owner of the shop would mind my leafing through them. So I quickly set my mind on a nice edition of Sense and Sensibility. When I turned to the owner who was quietly seated in front of his computer, I could see that he was so absorbed in his task that actually he wouldn't have minded if I had picked all the books on the shelves. He spoke to me in Spanish as expected but I could spot the English accent and in the end, he reckoned, well yes I'm an English Granadino. I found the phrase quite cute. And to my own shame, when I asked him, oh and is this a new shop, he smiled and answered, well it's been 10 years now....You see, silly me thought I knew nearly all the nice little shops in Granada...
We chatted a bit until a customer entered. Being blogwise camera armed I had to take a picture of John, the very cool shop owner of Carmen's books (on the right) and of his customer whose hat I quite liked.

Don't you like a bit of order and disorder in a bookshop? Now that I think of it, Carmen's books reminded me a bit of Shakespeare and Co. in Paris. When I was an English student, I loved spending afternoons there. Yes, that's it. I found this same feeling of tranquility and the love of books.


Work wise, I'm as ever in a romantic mood. If you're curious to see what I'm doing right now, go here !


Carmen Books

Libreria de Antiguo y Ocasión
c/ San Matias 10 - Granada
tel 958 22 73 42

Monday, February 8, 2010

Festival retroback in Granada

Siempre nos quedara Granada....We will still have Granada. I don't know what Bogart would have said about this ad for Spanish beer Cruzcampo but I found it quite amusing.

Granada is hosting its annual retroback festival of classical movies until next week. It's a great opportunity to watch good dear old movies like The African Queen, The Big Sleep, Casablanca, All about Eve, Funny Face and many more. On sunday, Monchéri and I went to theater Isabel La Catolica to watch Singing in the rain. It was actually quite a rediscovery. We both saw it when we were teens but it was especially great to see it in the cozy and elegant decor of a classical theater. We had such a fantastic time. Also we appreciated seeing it in the original version as here movies are usually dubbed. Monchéri was fascinated by the performance of Donald O'Connor who was indeed a fabulous dancer. I was fascinated by Gene Kelly, of course but I was impatiently waiting for the magical apparition of the gorgeous Cyd Charisse. The audience was cheerful and clapped at each end of the dancing numbers. When we left the theater, still giggling and singing, we both agreed this movie will never age. Although I'm not a 100% fan of musicals, with the exception of Funny Face and Huit Femmes (Eight Women), I must say Singing in the rain is definitely a must-see, a must-song and a must-dance. I can even confirm it gave me enough peps to start the week singing in spite of the rain or rather because of the rain.

One of my fave pink scenes after Debbie Reynolds pops out of the cake
I adored the fashion vignettes
And the marvelous Cyd Charisse
Have a sweet monday !

With Valentine coming soon, I've just started a series of posts titled Simple romantic breakfasts on my other blog Un mariage au soleil, get in the mood for love here !


Festival retroback in Granada : www.retroback.es
until february 14th

Friday, February 5, 2010

Missing the Alhambra gardens in Granada

These rainy days make me long for summer walks in the Generalife gardens of the Alhambra, when all the flowers are in full bloom. Right now my plans for a Valentine's romantic picnic in the Alhambra gardens is not likely to happen, unless on a wet bench or grass. Mmmm...not too comfortable is it ? Never mind, Monchéri and I will wait for spring to have a banquet of strawberries among the pink and fuchsia oleander flowers.



Have a sweet week end !

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Keep your copper lids

A perfect illustration for Spanish colloquial expression se le va la olla, literally meaning, the pot is gone. You use this expression when you want to say that someone is a bit nuts. Never mind if the pot is gone, you can still transform the lid in a funny candle holder like this one I found at Gym's shop, Camel Stop here in the Lecrin valley. It's now hanging in my kitchen above the sink.... quite appropriate to wash the plates by romantic candle light !


Gym just opened an etsy shop. Go and visit here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cauliflower and carnations and a selfish breakfast

The florist in my village is practically next door to me. She's the one who made me discover this sort of decorative cauliflower which is purple in the middle and surrounded by green leaves. I find it so pretty to adorn a table along with carnations. Their delicate frilly edges always remind me of a colorful flamenco dress.
It's a pity, the leaves turn yellow very quickly, though. I have to see if I can plant it somewhere in the patio.
This morning, I feel really grateful for the blue sunny sky which is definitely the most precious gift here in Andalusia in winter. I look at the palm trees in front of me, imagining that the skyline is nearly joining the sea. My mind wanders...while I'm having a very selfish late breakfast, feasting on the leftovers of the week end. We had friends coming over and after many hours spent cooking and baking, I was quite happy to finish the last portion of lemon meringue pie while Monchéri went out for bread.
Have a sweet start of the week !
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