Parque Central, Granada

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Granada's Parque Central is flanked by two-story, columned buildings in Easter-candy colors. It would look like a Disney attraction or the set of a movie except for the weathering—wet, dark tracks that begin at the ground and creep upwards. The first time I saw it, when Calle La Libertad ended and opened into the park, I reeled. I'd seen this square before but only in pictures, lots and lots of pictures, and seeing it in real life was uncanny. I looked over my shoulder for cars or motorcycles and crossed the street, immediately recognizing the squat trees with waxy leaves manicured into blunt rectangles, the fenced-in fountain with its lemon yellow trim and pale turquoise water, and the coral gazebo that sits in the middle of the park like the pendant on a cameo necklace. But the weathering, that was more prominent than in pictures; in fact the heat, which my light coat trapped against my skin, and the rain, and the weathering they created, were all more noticeable than I had imagined. But they made Granada more real, more wholly itself—not something I could have ever imagined from pictures or travelogues.