Cave Living – Intrigued Yet?
Have you ever thought of what life would be like living in a cave? Do you automatically think about huddling by a fire, lacking electricity , fighting to get food everyday whilst not becoming food yourself?
That’s so 100,000 years ago…
Granada, Spain is home to one of the marvels of human architecture – The Alhambra and up above it is an intriguing community of people who come from all over the world to live in a modern day cave system. The winding streets, beautiful views, tapas, and cool hostels keep Granada as a popular tourist spot recommended year after year.
And yet, there’s a fascinating part of Granada that not many English speaking tourists seem to know about. Somehow, one of the points of intrigue to all French speaking tourists, the caves of Sacromonte, seem to slip past many of us… and what a shame.
These caves have been inhabited for over 200 years and continue to be a fascinating melange of different cultures, languages and nomads. Take a quick walk around the cave community and you’ll be impressed by all the languages you hear… this is as much of a cultural mosaic that you will find anywhere in the world.
And that’s not all… you’ll see Marijuana plants growing outside the caves, the cops turn a completely blind eye as these ‘gypsy caves’ are ‘part of the culture’ of the city… and thus have their own little system of laws. Oh and have you looked at the view… yep, you have arguably the best view in the world of The Alhambra… Beautiful isn’t it?!
So you don’t just want to walk around and look at the caves? Well no problem!
Amongst the many countries represented in the caves is a very hospitable group of Senegalese that have little get-togethers on Tuesday and Thursday, and they are more than happy to welcome any passing tourists. You may have to embrace the awkward for the first bit of their little ‘party’ but you certainly won’t be bored. You’ll be wondering where you are for sure. Sitting in a cave, with drums and singing and men (yes, they’re all men) singing and dancing in a circle… step out of the cave and look out over The Alhambra… you certainly won’t find this anywhere else. And don’t worry, the awkwardness will pass. Everyone sits on the floor and dives into some great food (you’re gonna get your hands dirty), it’s nice to contribute a little something towards the food if you can.
Now that the eating has started you’re going to get right involved… so be prepared. You’ll certainly understand why I say that French is a great language to speak as a traveller, it’ll be your best language here (unless you speak Wolof). Of course, if you don’t speak French, these caves will act as another reason to learn Spanish, as you’ll be able to converse with the many of your hosts in this language as well. If you are stuck on only speaking English, (why are you stuck on that?) you’ll certainly miss some of the experience (you get so much more when you learn the language), but take the moment to embrace the awkward and you’ll get a great story out of it!
So get out there, and see what it’s like for people in the present day living in caves. Who knows, maybe you’ll give up everything else and get involved with the cave living lifestyle yourself.