This time last week I was having a hearty brunch in Fuengirola, relaxing after the tango trip to Granada the day before.
A trip that I had nearly missed, because of the change to summer time. I was happily pottering about the apartment, getting breakfast, when Gema called, asking where I was, saying everyone was downstairs sorting themselves into the different cars. So I grabbed my evening clothes, tango shoes, and camera and ran downstairs, where I was introduced to lots of people and bundled into a car with three strangers – Juan, Carmen and Sirkka. We set off in convoy, and were soon chatting happily in a mix of Spanish, English and Finnish.
Our convoy stopped off for a coffee half-way to Granada, which is a couple of hours’ drive away. Here, we were shown around the cafe’s collection of vintage cars (very unexpected!). We also threw in 10 euros each into a kitty to cover coffees etc. Juan was voted the most financially responsible and we handed the money to him. After counting it, he indeed decided it was not enough to run away with, so we knew it was safe in his hands.
After around an hour, we arrived in Granada, parked the cars, and headed on foot to the old part of the city, the Albaicin (where the gypsy flamenco caves are). After a scenic tour, led by Sergio, he took us to a good tapas bar for lunch. As it was beautiful weather, the outside tables were unfortunately packed, and since there were 13 of us, we had to make do with being seated indoors – but we coped admirably. Half of us opted for beers, the other half for ‘tinto de verano’ (a mix of red wine and lemonade), which came with a selection of free tapas – from paella to ‘migas’. We ordered more drinks, and more platters of food, chatted and joked and got to know each other. I was starting to slightly dread the bill, being an artist of modest means at the moment, but apparently our 10 euros from earlier only needed supplementing by a further 5!
As we left the bar, we stopped briefly to listen to the street musicians, who had installed themselves on the terrace, then got led to a lovely tea-bar overlooking the Alhambra by one of the group’s daughters, who lived in Granada and who had joined us. I was chatting to a couple of English girls in the group, and getting to know the Finnish couple better too. The tea-bar was lovely, but they were not able to seat such a large group of us very comfortably, so we decided to opt for a different ‘teteria’, which Granada is full of.
We had started feeling like a little siesta would be in order. However, we took a leisurely walk down to the ‘new’ city, and found an Arab tea house, with a menu of hundreds of teas. We explored, tasted teas, and relaxed in the semi-darkness. After a while, the caffeine did its job, we felt a little more refreshed again, and we headed back to the cars for the short drive to the Milonga.
All of us girls piled into the bathrooms and changed into our tango gear, put on make-up, and in general behaved like teenage girls on their way to a party. When we came out, the rest of our group had been joined by another one of Sergio and Gema’s tango students, and they had grabbed a couple of tables by the bar.
Our group was of very mixed abilities, from complete beginners to the pros that are Sergio and Gema, but everyone got to dance, and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. It was quite a quiet night, seeing as the Granada tango convention had happened just the weekend before, and people were resting!
Something that emerged from the evening was a little sartorial learning for the guys – when dancing, best not to wear trousers with zippered pockets on the thighs – these will rip our tights to shreds! Although returning from the dancefloor with ripped tights did allow one to adopt an air of ‘I danced till my clothes fell off me’ vibe, which isn’t altogether a bad thing.
The drive back home was quiet, and farewells were quick, everyone anxious to get to bed. However, I would still be there on Tuesday, which was the date of their regular class, so would see them all then.