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November 5, 2005


The Alhambra, at sunset

When you get right down to it, the fortified palace behind Jason in the picture above is the reason we ended up honeymooning in Spain. Chosing a destination had turned out to be harder than we had anticipated -- there were just so many places we wanted to go! One day, when surfing around looking for inspiration, I found this itinerary. It was a trip designed for people who "want a balanced mix of beach-oriented relaxation and cultural exploration. Those who enjoy historical sites, architecture, good food and wine, and outdoor activities." Hello, you just described us!

When I was first learning Spanish at Middlebury, I had a wonderful teacher who described the city of Granada so poetically and so intensely that the images of the Alhambra that she painted in my head have stayed with me for years. So when I read the Moonrings* itinerary, and saw that it included a stay within the Alhambra's walls, I was sold. Jason and I share a fascination with forts in general, so he was quickly on board. Andalucia it would be.

All of this is to say that our expectations were very high when we arrived in Granada after three days by the beach. Unfortunately, our first few hours were inauspicious. Has anybody else ever heard of the HALT rule? HALT stands for hungry, alone, lost, or tired, and the rule is that if you are more than one of those things while traveling, you are to stop and rectify the situation before continuing on. Since we were on our honeymoon neither of us were alone, but as we set out that first evening we quickly hit the trifecta: hungry, lost, and tired. We had not yet mastered the timing of meals in Spain, so we'd missed lunch and we were out looking for food when most of the restaurants had not yet re-opened for dinner. We'd had a long travel day, and the labyrnthine streets and alleys in Granada -- utterly charming under normal circumstances -- frustrated us to no end. Oh, and you could also add freezing to my list, since Granada was experiencing some kind of weird cold snap and I had only a jean jacket.

We took immediate action: we ate sandwiches (bocadillos) at a small snack bar rather than wait for the restaurants to open, spent our dinner studying maps to get our bearings, and loaded up on caffeine to temporarily banish the fatigue. Newly envigorated, we set out to wander a bit. We ducked in and out of several great shops, and made our way to the cathedral. In the plaza in front of the cathedral there was some sort of Renaissance Fair going on, including the sale of homemade chocolate (more caffeine!). As we left the plaza, I saw something wonderous, something beautiful, something to help turn our evening around. A yarn store.

We returned the next day for a picture in daylight

I walked in, and encountered for the first time the thing about yarn stores in Spain that I'm not crazy about: the yarn is behind the counter. For somebody like me who prefers to browse on my own, reading labels and fondling yarn, this was a bit of a shock. There was one small bin of sale yarn on the shop floor, so I went there first. And don't you know, it was that very same sale yarn that I ended up buying!

Three balls of red, three balls of gray

The yarn is called Soffio and it's made by Alessandra Filati -- 100% merino superwash, decent yardage, and I got it for 9 Euros. Yep, that's right, six balls of good yarn for just under $11. As if the good sandwiches and serendipitous yarn store wasn't enough, Granada cheered me in other ways as well. The next day we woke up to a still-chilly city, so we decided that we'd head to El Cortes Ingles, the big department store in Spain, and get me a sweater or two to make it through the planned tours of the Alhambra. We had already noticed that everybody in Granada -- men, women, children -- were wearing ribbed, zippered cardigans, so we figured they would be perfect. (They were. In fact, I'm wearing one of them in the picture above!) As I browsed through the racks, I looked up and saw this sign:

Semana de Punto=Knit Week (How did they know I was planning to knit my way through the honeymoon?!)

In the end, we loved Granada as much as we'd hoped we would. It's amazingly beautiful city, as implied by the famous, and oft-quoted line about a blind beggar:

Dale limosna mujer, que no hay pena más grande que ser... ciego en Granada.
Give him a coin woman, for there's no greater sorrow than to be... blind in Granada.

(If you are so inclined, you can see the rest of our Granada pics here!)

*We don't consider ourselves travel agent people, but when we inquired about this itinerary at Moonrings we were so impressed by their approach and willingness to work with us on a plan and budget that we ended up booking our honeymoon through them. Maribel at Moonrings did such a fantastic job that we felt that the fee they charged for planning and booking the trip was, in terms of value for our money, some of the best wedding-related money we spent. I also love that so many of their itineraries are designed for honeymooners who want something between a cookie-cutter resort and an extreme outdoor adventure. I'd recommend them to anybody in a heartbeat!

Posted by shannon at November 5, 2005 9:57 AM | For related posts: Nuptial Knitting


Amazing pictures of Spain. I love it. I went to Europe in '93 and loved it. Spain was my favorite and I went to Toledo and Cordoba and a little of Madrid. On a second trip we went to Barcelona. Thanks so much for sharing your pics. It brings back beautiful memories and the tour you took sounds wonderful. I too like the beach relaxation, but also enjoy learning more about the culture of a place. I'm glad you two had a wonderful honeymoon and that you found yarn too!

Posted by: Wanda at November 5, 2005 11:49 AM

This is the shop where i use to buy the yarn. Really nice. I hope you enjoy you stay in my city.

Posted by: malglam at November 7, 2005 6:44 AM

Thanks for taking me back to Alhambra! I too spent my honeymoon in Spain touring beautiful sites for 3 weeks. Alhambra is majestic! In fact, our 15th year anniversary is in '06 and we plan to return with our children. I look forward to reading more posts about your honeymoon.

Posted by: saleknitter at November 7, 2005 9:33 AM

Cangratulations on your wedding, and I'm glad you enjoyed your honeymoon.

I had no idea that you went to Middlebury. Undergrad or language school? Both my husband and I did our undergrad there.

Posted by: Emily at November 9, 2005 10:05 AM