Our days spent at Casa Martin really qualify as a completely different trip than the mini-tour that preceded them.

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My dear Sarafina Guio moved to Granada about a year and a half ago, after falling in love with her now-husband Rafa while studying abroad there. By some lucky accident, Aja Pecknold was visiting at the same time before meeting the Fleet Foxes on tour. It seems I’ve known Aja through three lifetimes now, and with how much she’s on tour now any time with her is a blessing… let alone time in such a beautiful place.

I first saw them walking towards us outside the theater and went running to hug them. Fina is expecting her first child in December, making this trip for me even more emotional and wonderful. There was much crying on my part. They sat with me backstage + watched Damien sing his sad songs before we went to have tapas y agua con gas. We talked about everything and about nothing, trying to catch up on several years in a short span of time.

That night we stayed in a hotel across town to simplify transport for the promoter. After being taken for $20 euros by our cab driver, we arrived at our new home. I figured it’s not an authentic vacation to a foreign country if you don’t get ripped off at least once, anyhow. We walked up the cobblestone side streets to Casa Martin, and it was love at first sight.

Our plan to escape the heat midafternoon was to travel to the beach. We had a lucky detour first to the house that Fina and Rafa are buying… actually, as I type this, they may be the new owners of!

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It’s in a small pueblo half an hour outside of Granada. The trees + foliage are much more lush, and medicinal water flows from the mountains + through the village. Their new sweet house has a pool out back; we reached over the fence to pick fruit from the trees that grew in their yard. I literally cannot believe such a fairy tale, for Fina to have fallen in love + created such a life there. With their baby on the way, I look forward to many visits there and watching their dreams continue to unfold.

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Just seeing their home would’ve completed the day for me, but there was more beauty to come. We drove past walnut and cherry trees down curving roads with sharp turns. My fear of heights is usually quite strong, but I felt so safe with Rafa driving. Finally we came to a spot where the road narrowed into a path, and he dropped us off to walk the rest of the way. Crossing the creek and it’s strong current, we continued barefoot along another path until suddenly a waterfall opened up in front of us.

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The only way to explain swimming beneath the falls is intoxicating. The water would hit so hard that it overcame all your senses; like a forced meditation. Aja + Fina + I all giggled and screamed like little kids.

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There were flowers in all different colors, shining desert hills rising sharply above us, white butterflies pausing here and there. We took our siesta for the day in the sunshine cooled by mist from the falls. It felt like a dream. When Rafa picked us up, I filled my water bottle with spring water – not only safe to drink but known to be healing.

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We drove back into Granada + up to a lookout, chatting about home + photos + life.

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After a spell there, we drove to get a “blanco y negro” – gelato with chilled coffee poured on top. Sitting here in Seattle, it sounds silly to say it was the best thing I’d ever had. But it was DELICIOUS, and it seemed that everything we did/ate/saw/drank/smelled was bigger, better, more beautiful.

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As for the company we kept, they’re just always that magic.

The recounting of another day is not far behind….