When we first arrived to Granada, a friend had made two recommendations: 1) get tapas at Bodegas Castañeda – an institution in the heart of town and 2) buy sweets from cloistered nuns.
We’ve visited the former several times and deserves its own writeup. This post is about the sweets.
When you have kids and someone tells you that you can buy cookies from a nun behind a secret door of a monastery that is in the shadow of the Alhambra, that becomes pretty high on the to-do list. The problem is when we looked for such a thing in July, all our knocks on random monastery doors went unanswered and it seemed we needed additional direction (despite the Tourist Information office’s best efforts).
Anyway, fast forward to September and I’m meandering alone along the picturesque riverside walk of Carrera del Darro and I see the sign below:
Eureka! I just had to check it out.
Sure enough, down one of the alleyways off of the main drag was a large wooden door that was propped open. Not another soul was around and I hesitantly entered the dark entrance portal to the monastery.
There was this wooden lazy susan-like device with partitions that obviously prevented any glances further inside, some instructions, and a buzzer. I felt like I had to be deathly quiet and prepared, so I was sure to take my time reading the instructions before disturbing any of the nuns that I pictured praying in complete silence on the other side of the turnstile.
Once I had my wits about me and settled on what I was going to order, I pushed the button that initiated the loud buzzer.
A long enough time had passed without any response that I was having a debate with myself whether I should ring the buzzer again and risk coming off as an impatient foreigner fool or just leaving empty handed. It was right then that I heard a shuffle and a soft voice from a little opening between partitions of wood.
In my best Spanish I ordered a mixed assortment of cookies.
Not much was said (or seen) on her end, but I pictured her smiling and could tell that she appreciated my attempt in Spanish. We exchanged goods through the turnstile – my Euros for her delicious cookies.
The whole thing is setup so you can’t really get a good look at each other, but I noticed that she was sneaking a peak at me about the same time I was doing the same to her.
It was such a sweet and charming exchange. I’ll have to go back and buy the wine next time.