The day wore down and it was getting moderately close to dinner time, so we bundled up and went for a walk. While it wasn’t raining, it was a bit breezy and lots of threatening clouds were scudding overhead. Of course by the time we got down to the street it was sprinkling but it didn’t last long.
Winding around the Alcazar, we took a back route to my favorite place, the Callejón del Agua, named for the aqueduct that ran along the top of the wall that forms this little lane with buildings to the left. There is a section of exposed interior on the other side that has the original pipes installed by the Moors perhaps 1200 years ago. Washington Irving lived in one of these houses while penning Tales of the Alhambra in 1831. There is a plaque today, and you can see his old courtyard. You also pass a house whose balcony was the inspiration for a scene in The Barber of Seville.
It was a beautiful evening, the clouds broke up, the breeze died a bit and the setting sun was working some magic on all these old buildings.
Looping back through our old neighborhood and stopping to read menus along the way, we finally decided on La Moderna, a small place our street. We’ve eaten there in the past, and we couldn’t remember if the service was good or bad. Tonight it was fine, they even gave MLW enough lemons with her fish. We had a tapa of carrillera (stewed pork cheeks,) an interesting racion of stewed wild mushrooms and ham, and a nice plate of fried cod. The food was excellent, the wine portion generous and the experience just fine.
From there we decided to go looking for money and started what became the Tour de ATMs. The first three said “Sorry, technical difficulties” so we tried a different card on the next two and got the same message. Continuing up Constitución we tried several more with the same result. Finally, at Puerta de Jerez we found one willing to play, but it only had 50€ notes which I didn’t want. But now we had an interesting mystery. Continuing on and out of the prime tourist zone I found a machine on San Fernando, across from the Alfonso XIII hotel. It was willing to give me 80€ and like a dummy I took that choice only to end up with the 50 I didn’t want and a 10 and 20. Spain makes me long for Paris where the ATMs ask you if you’d like to participate in the selection of the denominations of your bills.
We walked and stewed about this great mystery until it finally dawned on me – “technical difficulties” meant that those machines had been drained by the locust hordes of tourists today and had not been re-filled. That theory explained why as we went further afield the machines started to cooperate, first with 50s and then with whatever we wanted. Another one of life’s mysteries solved.
The walk back from San Fernando was grand – strolling down a long paved path through the Jardines de Murillo, past the statue to Columbus and under ancient eucalyptus trees, and bordered along our left side by the vine-covered melon-colored walls of the Alcazar. Coming back around once again to the Callejón, a peacock sitting on the ramparts surprised us with his call. I’d seen his tail but thought it was a palm frond.
We took the back way through the Juderia and crossed some plaza whose name escapes me, stopping to take a photo for a young couple who wanted a picture of them with La Giralda in the background. The spot is quite famous, showing up often in advertising and travel magazines and is one of my favorites. But what I was able to get with his iPhone was just as miserable as you’d expect, it being dark and all. They were grateful and I offered to take another but they said it was fine and we left them with it.
Last night I was able to get a couple of nice photos with the moon over the cathedral. Tonight I was prepared with the right camera and my results were much better. Made me think how gorgeous that scene would be with a full moon – top of the cathedral, La Giralda to the right, the moon hovering just off its side. But this being the western sky, that could only happen just before dawn. Maybe a great Photoshop opportunity?