This used to be my door

Granada - 1 (1).jpg

It looks a bit pathetic now, but this is where I lived for six months in 1974: calle de Elvira, 140, Granada. On the second floor I had rented a room looking out over the street and the medieval arch with the same name. Behind these doors is a passage that opens out onto a small patio with stairs leading up to the apartments.

‘My’ apartment was owned by an aunt of my boyfriend at the time (the relationship did not survive the first two weeks of my stay in the city) who was very Andalusian. She had this strong accent, swallowed a lot of sounds and spoke with an unbelievable speed. Although I did know the language by then, this was far too much for me and for some months I just answered ‘sí, sí’. Later on things improved and after two years in Granada I spoke as much Andalusian as she.

When I stayed here, the block was already not in an excellent condition, just like the other old houses in the street. My parents were quite shocked when they came to visit me. Now the building is being renovated and turned into modern apartments that probably will be sold or let to other people than their former residents.

My contribution to Norman’s Thursday Doors.




21 thoughts on “This used to be my door

    • Yes, that’s right. I suppose that Paris has the same problem. At the moment the calle Elvira is very popular with tourist, as it has a lot of history and an ever increasing number of bars. So I suppose the old inhabitants that were rather poor, have to make way for the more affluent. Or Airbnb hears about it and comes into action.

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      • Fifty years ago beautiful, historic buildings in Paris were threatened with demolition because they had been neglected for so long they were classified as slums. New life came into many areas as buildings were renovated but now a second phase of upgrading is pricing former locals out of the market. It’s good that old buildings are appreciated now but not so good when communities are disrupted by wealthy incomers. It’s hard to see how that can be avoided.

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      • The same process is taking place in Amsterdam that has certain areas that have been completely taken over by foreign residents. Which means not refugees, but the wealthy incomers you are referring too. My home town is not as big as that, although people from Amsterdam are now beginning to establish themselves here, because they got fed up with their own city. Let’s hope that in the end they are not ousting locals from here. How to avoid these developments? That is hard to see indeed.

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    • Although it was an old building, I kind of liked it there, because whole families were living there distributed over different floors. So you were never lonely. This system will get lost inevitably, if the apartments are being upgraded.


    • Oh yes, lots of stories can be told. The lady of the house was very talkative, so she told me all about the other neighbours a number of which were family. Sometimes the stories were amusing, other times quite sad. Unfortunately she did not want to tell anything about a period I was interested in: the Spanish Civil War. But the bullet holes were there as a witness.


  1. Memories, it must bring back many… How brave we were when we were young, heading off to distant countries, pre-internet, writing letters home…gosh, brought back some memories for me! How lovely to find the door again, the graffiti is quite artistic too….

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    • It was brave indeed. Writing letters for me meant writing one page every day and sending a package each week. My parents kept all those letters and before going down memory lane in Granada, I read them all! Quite moving, interesting and funny. I stayed ten days in the hotel I had been working then and met some former colleagues (after forty years!) who still recognized me. Another communication canal was the telephone office where I had to ask for a connection with Holland. During the conversation with my family I heard the clicks that meant: peseta’s and more peseta’s!
      By the way, you said ‘we were’. Did you do something similar way back?


  2. Sometimes a look in the past is a shock. One of the reasons why I don’t go to school reunions:) Saw in the side bar that your hometown is Dordrecht. Have been there a few times in the grey past:). Am Dutch (lived in Ede) and last time I was there was 4 years ago to do some art workshops and exhibits. So, nice to see a landgenoot on wordpress!

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    • Hi, pleased to meet you! Talking about school reunions, I have never been there, but a couple of years ago an old school friend contacted me and suggested a visit to Voorburg, where we were born and went to school together. Fortunately I was not disappointed, although a lot of things had changed. Such as our hbs, that had even been demolished!
      A pity that we did not know of our existence when you were here, I would certainly have visited your exhibits. So please drop me a line in case you happen to return to Dordrecht!
      Like you I love retirement. (I loved my jobs too, but when the opportunity presented itself to dedicate more time to my hobbies, I did not hesitate.) And like you I am ever so busy!


      • Hello Marga, how serendipitous, my son lives in Voorburg (mainly because he graduated last year from the Haagse Internat. College. He didn’t want to learn Dutch, but now he has to, with his job at the beach club. I am snickering (leedvermaak) because his parents suggested I don’t know how many times he should learn Dutch while there:):)
        Have a great weekend!

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      • Nice story, I can imagine your leedvermaak. Enjoy your weekend too! (This Monday we are off to Zuid-West Friesland for a week, so the blog will be a bit quite. But after this short holiday I will be back with more photos!)


      • This is for after you come back from vacation. I asked hubby and he said he knew where Oranjewoud was, but not about the natuur huisjes. Of course things have changed – he moved to the Hague at the end of the 60ties!


    • Yes, Kim, it does. So you can imagine it was an emotional moment when I found that door again and wandered around the area that I had known so well all those years ago.
      Funny, I read about the reason you went to Michigan, the light! That is what I like about my hometown too, the light. A lot of painters came here just to try and capture it in their work, like Whistler. So I know exactly what you mean, I do enjoy it every time of the day and every season.

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