the accumulated warmth ofa thousand heathen summers. In Notes on Being a Foreigner, Alastair

Julie Morrice samples winter in southern Spain

and finds it to her liking.

Even in the cosmopolitan bustle of the big cities. the slim palms lining the streets signal that Andalucia is barely Europe. Ruled for seven centuries by the Moors, the bottom quarter of the Spanish map still dreams of minarets and Muslim gold; Africa is. quite literally. never far from sight. The city centres of Granada and Seville turn on the chic with all the crisp glitter of Oxford Street. but at their heart the ageless palaces of the Moorish kings doze in

Reid writes of the traveller‘s dream ofdiscovering a place where he feels utterly, finally at home. Granada’s hilltop palace, the Alhambra, is such a place. Its arcades, towers and water-games are, for all their foreignness, instantly recognisable. They are the exotic landscape of childhood imaginings. Notwithstanding the rash of newsreel cinemas and shady dancehalls which have blackened its name, the Alhambra keeps its mystery. Its delicate courtyards

The Alhambra from the Insight Guide to spam (APA Productions £9.95).

shrug off the swarming sightseers like so many passing flies. It is unpossessable. Amongst the acquisitive, clicking cameras and sleek, silent video-recorders. you wonder if, back home when the

family gather round, the films will be

blank, the videos mysteriously erased. Within the palace confines. beside its still pools or gazing from its airy windows, you are in a world between worlds, where time is a fluid thing. For six hundred years it has stood above the changing city. yet you feel tonight might be the night when the enchantment ends and the crowningjewel ofGranada is stolen

from sight.

Stand in the adjoining gardens of the Generalife and through the fronds of a palm tree you will see the, incongruous. white sparkle of the Sierra Nevada. Even in the baking heat ofsummer there is snow on the peaks. and in December the mountains are awash with sledging and ski-ing Spaniards. (Collective activity is the delight of the gregarious Spanish. In bars. museums and in nocturnal eruptions onto the wintry streets. they mass together like flocks ofchattering birds. Silences are hard-won.) Beyond the Sierra Nevada. a road corkscrews down to the sea. This is the Costa del Sol. the package companies‘ paradise. Even in December the sun shines and lunches are eaten outdoors at breezy café tables. Streets which in summer must throng with bronzed limbs are empty except for British pensioners easing their arthritis at off-peak rates. Outside the pretty white shops, signs offer beans on toast (2 slices) at 250 pesetas.

The tourist trade of the last twenty years has brought wealth to Andalucia. Since the Catholic Monarchs. like children in a jealous tantrum. broke the Moorish systems oftrade and cultivation. this hot. hardy country had been the poorest part of Spain. Foreign visitors and their money when they arrived were

unconditionally welcomed. The







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The List 24 March—6 April 1989 71