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A Visit to the Alhambra with the Neighbors

On the Bus! We’re Off to Visit the Alhambra with the Neighbors from our Village

Pinos Genil, June 2017–Everybody agrees that the Alhambra in Granada is a worldwide wonder. And it’s ours. It lies in the same Sierra Nevada foothills  as our village, Pinos Genil, which is just 15-minute drive away from the monument. Nevertheless, we seldom visit the Alhambra. We take it for granted. We can go some other day. So it was a nice incentive when Elisa, the culture delegate from our town hall, organized a tour for the people of our village a couple of Saturdays ago.
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Such is our complacency here in Pinos that we only managed to fill 28 places of a 55 seat bus. The other 27 missed out on a smashing excursion. It’s a shame because the “new” Alhambra is an authentic marvel that shines as never before (at least in the past 500 years). Apparently this has to do with the fact that all the money earned from the millions of people who visit the Alhambra each year is re-invested in the monument.  And our guide was a polite, cultured and patient young man, a bonus.
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The Alhambra appears to have grown since I last saw it a couple of decades ago. Every visibile aspect of the monument has been lovingly renovated and areas once closed to visitors have been revamped and opened up. Everything shines, including the extensive gardens (El Generalife) which are impeccably kept. There are even some new excavations.  Both the Palace of Charles V (Palacio Carlos Quinto) and the church of Santa María de La Alhambra (two massive buildings that were constructed by the Christians when they culminated the Reconquest and expelled the Moors in 1492) have been had their exteriors beautifully renovated.

Note to travellers. Everything about the Alhambra is so large and so labyrinthine that you can get lost in there. (N.B. If you get lost inside the palace don’t try to trace your way back to the entrance. If you do manage to find it they won’t let you out. You have to turn around and go back through the maze till you find the proper exit. Which you won’t find unless you manage to encounter a compassionate employee to guide you out. Definitively, getting separated from the group converts a visit to the Alhambra into adventure tourism.
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Here are the photographs:

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Have a Look at Our Village, Pinos Genil (Granada)

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

An Album of Snapshots

These snapshots from the past few years should give you an idea of what our village and its environs are like.

The Gallinero Rocks!

David Little working in El Gallinero

Thanks to Spanish Musician, David Little

“I can’t do serious work at home,” says 27-year-old Spanish musician, David Little, founder, songwriter, vocalist and lead guitarist of the Málaga-based Spanish rock group, V de Vodka. “At home I’m surrounded by friends, family, bars and all sorts of other distractions. But I’ve got work to do. I’ve got to get a record out! It was clear to me I had to find a secluded and inspiring place where I could hole up for three weeks and do all the arrangements for the 10 songs destined for our new record.” Read more…

Six Things that Surprise Artists When They Stay in the Gallinero – I/II

The Gallinero bedroom/workroom with view through to kitchen/sitting roomMaureen Booth, Granada, July 18, 2011–I’ve had artists coming to stay in my “Gallinero” artists’ residence and work with me in my printmaking studio for a year and a half now. I’ve welcomed all sorts of people: working artists, advanced beginners, people between the ages of 15 and 82, a Canadian return-to-art person, a couple of delightful veteran artists and art educators from Colorado, a Hungarian sculptor, an Australian painter… All of them have taught me something, and I’d like to think the experience was mutual. And there’s one thing they all agree upon: Printmaking here in Granada and staying in the Gallinero is a unique creative experience. That compels me to try to figure out what makes it so. I’ve made a list of possible factors: Read more…

Six Things that Surprise Artists When They Stay in the Gallinero – II/II

11/10/2011 1 comment

El Gallinero's kitchen/sitting area with French doors to terrace, passage to work/sleep area.4.   The Focus—When is the last time you’ve had two or three weeks with nothing to think about, nothing to spend your time on but art? It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But that’s what happens to people when they arrive in Granada for one of my printmaking workshops. This is especially true of the artists who come to do one-on-one collaborative work with me. Their existence here is almost monastic.

They divide their time between the creative cloister of the Gallinero and my studio. We usually work together for five hours each morning. Then, after lunch, they make their own hours, either working in the studio or sketching glimpses of the village and the surroundings. Some of them stay in the studio past midnight. Read more…

What’s a Gallinero? Why Should You Want to Stay There?

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Interior of El Gallinero, Maureen Booth's artist and writers' residence in GranadaA “Gallinero” in Spanish is a Chicken Coop

We called our new artists’ and writers’ residence “El Gallinero” because it’s located where our chicken house used to be. Sometime after the chickens had an unfortunate encounter with a weazel, we built my first painting studio there in the mid-70’s. When I got my new etching and painting studio 10 years later, the old one was relegated to storeroom status, and deteriorated over the years.

For a long time I’ve needed a place to accommodate the artists who come for my summer etching workshops and those who come to do collaborative work during the rest of the year. Then last fall we decided to get started on it. The plans were a bit vague: re-roof and restore the original studio, add a kitchen/living area in the available space behind it, and a little terrace with a view off the kitchen.

“Why Does This Casita Have to be Limited to Artists?”

Luckily our village builders are tolerant and creative, and they signed on for the project. Little by little the new artists’ residence began to take shape.  We were delighted with the results, achieved in spite of five straight weeks of record monsoon winds and rains during the building work. At one point someone said, “Why does this casita have to be limited to artists? Wouldn’t writers appreciate it’s spaciousness, tastefulness and tranquil setting, too?”  That’s how the Gallinero became an “artists’ and writers’ refuge.”

We’re Open for Business

We have now begun to accept reservations. Please take a look at the information and photographs in the pages of this site and see if you don’t think a shorter or longer stay in the Gallinero might not get your creative juices flowing. Of course, the appeal of this residence is not limited just to its own spaces and installations. It’s located in Spain, at the edge of a village nine kilometers (an easy 15-minutes) from the historical Andalusian city of Granada with both the Sierra Nevada ski resort and the Mediterranean shore within a 45-minute drive. If you haven’t been to Granada yet, it’s about time. If you’ve been here already, you know why you’ve been yearning to come back.

The Spanish say, “Todo es ponerse.” A rough English translation: “Just go for it!”

Exterior of El Gallinero, Maureen Booth's artists' and writers' residence in Granada