When my friend Gladys Toulis, in New York, learned I had included Granada on my 2013 travel itinerary, she was thrilled. She and her husband Bill*, both artists and ardent world travelers, had been there, and loved it! In her email messages sent leading up to my departure, and while I travelled, she thoughtfully filled them with suggestions of places to visit and foods to try. And in one note, Gladys briefly and enthusiastically related the life story of early 20th century Spanish poet, playwright, artist, and social activist, Federico García Lorca.
In the modern Camino de Rondo area of Granada, we visited Parque Federico García Lorca, as well as, the Lorca museum, situated within that enchanting, lush, and fairy-tale like setting.
In Weimar, it was Goethe and Schiller, revered and celebrated. In Granada, it’s Los Católicos, the 15th century Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. Husband and wife, second cousins—both descendants of John I of Castile—they were the forces behind the reconquest of Islamic Spain—including Granada—and the goal was to make all of Spain a Christian society.
I say, without hesitation, my favorite times in Granada, besides the day at Alhambra, and the afternoon at Parque Federico García Lorca, were the two consecutive days we spent high up in the hills, in El Albayzín (the Albaicín) district of Granada. The first time we ventured up the steep, narrow winding, cobbled streets—by taxi, of course—we were heading to the Bar Kiki, at the top of the hill. Kiki’s had been highly recommended for it’s excellent, traditional Moroccan cuisine. Besides great food (mine, a classic Moroccan dish—lamb-tangine cooked with aromatic spices, almonds and dates), before departing, we had an informative chat about the history of the area, with our server/and manager, a friendly Moroccan native. Then, once outside, exploring the immediate surrounding area, we discovered an awesome view of the opposite hill, on which the Alhambra Palace is located.
After such a fine experience, the following evening, we returned to the Albaicín. Once again, we dined on rich and tasty Moroccan dishes. but in a more intimate, traditional ethnic setting. Seated against a backdrop of old family pictures, and decorative light fixtures and wall objects, the atmosphere was more reminiscent of a friend’s comfy dining room. A pleasant respite!
*In 2016, Gladys lost her husband of more than 50 years, noted printmaker and Pratt instructor, Vasilios “Bill” Toulis. And in 2017, I lost my dear friend, fellow artist and Cooper Union classmate, long-time art educator, enthusiastic world traveller, lover of people and different cultures, Gladys Toulis.
— The Alcaiceria, Granada’s vibrant and colorful Great Bazaar
Federico García Lorca
Written by: Leslie Anne Stainton
Federico García Lorca, (born June 5, 1898, Fuente Vaqueros, Granada province, Spain—died August 18 or 19, 1936, between Víznar and Alfacar, Granada province), Spanish poet and playwright who, in a career that spanned just 19 years, resurrected and revitalized the most basic strains of Spanish poetry and theatre. He is known primarily for his Andalusian works, including the poetry collections Romancero gitano (1928; Gypsy Ballads) and Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (1935; “Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías,” Eng. trans. Lament for a Bullfighter), and the tragedies Bodas de sangre (1933; Blood Wedding), Yerma (1934; Eng. trans. Yerma), and La casa de Bernarda Alba (1936; The House of Bernarda Alba). In the early 1930s Lorca helped inaugurate a second Golden Age of the Spanish theatre. He was executed by a Nationalist firing squad in the first months of the Spanish Civil War.
Read more of this article about Federico García Lorca: Encyclopedia Britannica
“I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.”
— Federico García Lorca