Time In The Hills of al-Andalus, Tuesday


Buying A Guitar In Granada

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On Tuesday morning we went to Granada to buy a flamenco guitar. We took the scenic route from El Canuelo through the Zafarraya Pass to Granada and lost our way only thrice.

Zafaraya Pass

Zafarraya Pass

Granada

Granada

Lisa de Granada

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Lisa was waiting for us on Paseo de Bomba. She is an American who has lived in Spain for over thirty years and knows everything there is to know and more about buying horses and guitars in Granada.

Modern Languages Centre, Granada

Modern Languages Centre, Granada

We parked the car near the stunningly beautiful Modern Languages Centre of the University of Granada and walked with Lisa to the tiny workshop of the first guitar maker on her list – another American. Most top artisan guitar makers in Granada seem to be foreigners. While they talked guitar and flamenco, we sat in a small square with orange trees heavy with fruit and drank beer and ate ham from Trevélez high up in the Alpuharas where the hamon is cured in the sun, laid on snow.

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Tapas Lunch

Tapas Lunch

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Lisa showed Dilu three more guitar makers before taking us to lunch. “We don’t pay for it here” she said. Granada is one of the few places in Spain where you get free tapas with drinks. We drank a good white wine from Rueda and ate at one of Lisa’s favourite bars where no one spoke English and the food was delicious.

Alpuharas

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Now there is a highway to the Sierra Nevada. I could not recognise the spot where the last Moorish ruler of Granada, fleeing the city, stopped, looked back and cried. His mother is supposed to have said: “You weep like a woman for the city you could not defend like a man.”

Lanjaron

Lanjaron

Rene's House

Rene’s House

 In Lanjaron, famous for its spring waters, we drove up a narrow, winding road to Rene’s house – another champion guitar maker who left his native Holland thirty odd years ago, married his Spanish sweetheart and settled in the Alpuharas to make a living by selling one guitar a month. While Dilu made his selection, we walked in Rene’s orchard, ate cakes, drank coffee on the patio with Rene’s wife Maria and watched their dog chase imaginary stones like a modern Don Quixote on four legs. After a couple of hours, there was a burst of flamenco from Rene’s studio and we knew Dilu has finally bought his guitar.

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Back in Granada, we said goodbye to Lisa and drove back to El Canuelo on the dramatic A92. Manolo served garlicky tomato salad, tortillas, fried octopus, prawns in a fiery sauce, and grilled lamb chops in the open-sided restaurant. I did not mind that I didn’t get even a glimpse of the Alhambra and that the bottle of Cune Reserva 2008 I opened was corked. It was just great to go back to Granada after twenty-five years.

4 thoughts on “Time In The Hills of al-Andalus, Tuesday

  1. Dear Bandi, most top guitar makers in Granada are from Granada, but there are a few people from oversees who established themselves in Granada because of the guitar making tradition. In Granada we have consolidated Guitar Makers from the XIX century up to date. Granada Guitar Makers who were not just influenced but who learned and trained for more than five years as apprentices in the workshop of a master guitar maker of Granada; guitar makers with more than fifteen-year experience guitar making, heirs of this profession which is intangible heritage of Andalucia According to David Ganz in the Book of The Granada School of Guitar Makers, “familiarity is literally the key” of this traditional school of guitar making.
    You are most invited next time to visit our workshops.

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