I’d definitely intended to blog more while we were in Spain; but at a certain point the trip calls to you to leave the computer alone + just enjoy.

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The morning of the 18th we left our little home sweet Barcelo to head towards Malaga. The beauty of the drive was shocking – fields of sunflowers and olives as far as I could see. Between my Spanish and Carlos’ English, we spoke Spanglish the whole way. I didn’t know much about Malaga, and was pleasantly surprised to learn our hotel was only half a mile from the Mediterranean. Two blocks in other direction we found a cathedral + sat to have lunch in the square just staring in awe.

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Our promoter, Olga, took us to dinner that night. The restaurant was 50 feet from the excavation of Roman ruins, in the shadow of an old castle. Having never been to Europe other than our brief stay for the Tanned Tin festival, the sheer history of things shook me. They rang out like a bell, reverberating in deep tones, humming with stories of all the lives lived in these same spots.

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Damien’s show that night was cathartic. Both of us cried through much of the set. I stood in the back of the hot room, surprised that the songs were having such an effect on me. We felt lighter after spending an hour with the sad characters he creates – the killers + the cheaters. Lambchop’s set blew me away – when Tony Crow began playing the piano, it made me wish I’d never quit my lessons as a kid. After the show, everyone was in good spirits… we went back to the hotel to eat chocolate and laugh at the television.

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I already miss waking up to cafe con leche.

After the show in Malaga we turned around and went back to Sevilla. I watched the thermometer rise as we drove, until it finally reached 40 degrees as we reached the hotel. For me, it was just impossibly hot, and even plans to go to the pool were shelved for room service in an air conditioned room.

That night we again went out to dinner with Elena, Francis, Carlos, and Lambchop. It was a place I would never have found left to my own devices; one of the many things that were so great about our drivers + promoters was that they sought things out for us, made sure we had authentic experiences. The restaurant felt almost like a cave, no windows other than the front entry, dim lights + hanging meats.

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But the fried peppers? Killer. We had mushrooms, roasted peppers, salmorejo, asparagus… for a country so famous for it’s meat, they did a great job of finding vegan foods for Damien.

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That night I had the first experience of my Spanish skills failing me. I spoke it fluently as a child; in fact, I spoke no English at school until I reached high school. But having gone years without speaking, I stared blankly at our merch girl as she repeated “fractura” over + over. Luckily Elena came over + saved us, and now I’ll never forget how to say invoice.

The next day we got up early to go to Granada + see the Alhambra.

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Things I recommend for a good Alhambra experience: good shoes, water, sunscreen, and a stop by the restroom. We had none of the above, and ended up missing our window to see the Palacio in my flustered state. We settled for a 45 minute walk of the grounds + then two relaxing hours in the shade out front. Of course we thought we would have time to return later, though it didn’t work out that way. It’s one of many things that we’ve added to our growing list for “next time.”

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After the show that night, we said goodbye to Lambchop, to Carlos, to our mini tour. But we still had two days left in Granada, days with Fina + Aja + Rafa, days that deserve their own post, days that I probably cannot do justice in words or photos.

To be continued….