General

In Which I go to Spain and Live in a Cave

The Swedish semester is odd, and classes start and end seemingly randomly, but sometimes this strange system can lead to unexpected breaks. With a week between lecture sections I decided to visit some old friends from my wild hostel-working days, one is now living in Madrid and the other in Granada, Spain. I planned to fly into Madrid, do some sight-seeing, stay with my friend there, and then take Blalacar or a bus to Granada and stay with another old friend for a few days before flying out of Malaga, a larger city on the coast nearby. Blablacar is blocked in Sweden, so I decided I would try to download it in Spain and I had the train and bus websites on my phone just in case. I also downloaded google translate Spanish, because you just never know. I was flying Ryanair so I packed light going for just a carry-on backpack and purse, and just my phone leaving my bulky laptop at home.

Landing at the Madrid airport late Tuesday night I started talking with a fellow passenger while disembarking, as we were both staying at hostels downtown we decided to go together. I had decided to hostel the first night since I was arriving so late, and meet my friend the next day after her work. As it happened, our hostels were only a block apart, it was nice to have a large friendly Austrian woman to walk with so late at night in an unfamiliar city, and it gave the opportunity for the first picture of the trip! I’m still not completely sure what the building is, but it was big and impressive and felt like a good beginning!

Madrid late on a Tuesday.

Madrid late on a Tuesday.

The next day was hot and sunny, and after depositing my backpack with my friend’s polite doorman I went out to explore. Madrid is an odd mix of manic city and beautiful parks, and for some reason, one of these parks is full of peacocks! I don’t know why they were there, or why there were so many of them, or how they were kept from wandering out into the city, but whatever the reasoning, there is a beautiful park in downtown Madrid and it is just brimming with peacocks!

A park full of peacocks!

A park full of peacocks!

Peacock displays.

Peacock displays.

That day I managed to download blablacar, although in Spanish—oops!, and find a ride to Granada! In Granada the friend I would be staying with had warned me he had no running water, electric, wifi, and the closest address he could give me was down the street. While organizing this trip in between studies, I had put only minor thought into details such as this, so when I received this message from my friend:

“drawbacks, I don’t have either water or electric light

I live in a cave :)”

I simply thought, “Huh, a literal or a figurative cave?” before writing back

“No worries, sounds great, see you next week!” and returning my attention to Lagrange.

As it happens, it was a literal cave, and the view was breathtaking!

The entrance to the lovely cave.

The entrance to the lovely cave, with a nice couch for taking in the hot sun!

The view from the cave veranda, Sierra Nevada in the background!

The view from the cave veranda, Granada below overshadowed by the beautiful Sierra Nevada!

There is a documentary on these caves. I want to find it now. It seems the caves have become something of a hippie colony and many of the inhabitants are in the local circus, which makes evenings here really fun! My friend is not in the circus, he teaches about indigenous plants and the importance of a stable ecosystem at local schools in the area, but he loves the views and peace given by cave life.

I agree on the views, it was beautiful, but I like running water too much to make the caves my home. After five days, I felt rested and ready to return to the land of showers and clean dishes!