We stopped at a vegan restaurant in Granada. What is it with vegan restaurants and these huge displays of plastic plants? Pretty awesome, don’t get me wrong.

There is this palace in Granada, Spain called the Alhambra. It’s a bucket list place. Everybody is supposed to go there. It’s like the Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat or the Louvre. How could one possibly travel across Southern Spain and miss it?

We tried, I swear. But like those other mega-tourist attractions, the Alhambra has a complex process of entry with multiple websites and exclusive tickets and tour packages and language-specific guides and Disney-like fast passes, etc. Everything was sold out months in advance. We had just been biking in Portugal and had no idea that we’d reach Granada. So anyway, we ended up doing something far better (IMO), which I’ll post next.

The photo above is from the public area of the Alhambra where they send the scruffy ill-prepared foreigners like ourselves. I assume it’s a pine cone, but I didn’t have a guide to tell me.

Lousy photo of an entire wall of weird plastic molded fake rocks (which were actually pretty cool) and cut-out trees at the railroad museum. . . Photos like this make me question my sanity. I seriously have no clue what I was pointing my camera at.

My wife visited NYC and strolled down the High Line, so I thought I’d show her pics.

First, I LOVE THE HIGH LINE. It may be my favorite park in the universe. The High Line isn’t just an urban park. Nor is it an attempt at rewilding. Nor is it a simulacrum (although it may be hyperreal). It’s fake nature at its finest. Building a park on an abandoned train platform alleviates all kinds of concerns. You don’t have to sculpt the surroundings to appear more embedded in “nature.” There’s no native wildlife that you have to protect. There’s no worry about invasive species. You can have fake pink trees! In one section they artfully reassembled train tracks to remember the park’s grimy past, and why not? And I love the signs telling people to be “mindful.” Visitors should be aware that the High Line is a meditative, restorative, faux nature experience. Bravo!

I love fake-tree cell towers. They symbolize so much about our hang-ups about “nature.” Apparently they’re crazy expensive, yet for some reason they always look cheap, like plastic Christmas trees from Target. The towers often appear completely out of place. The ones above are fake magnolia? and fir? trees, which of course don’t grow in Tucson. Next to the fir is a real com tower with zero camouflage. What are we doing here? Do we actually believe that our urban centers still resemble some idealized form of nature? Are we embarrassed about our cell towers? Scared of 5G? Why try so hard to create fake nature?

More on fake-tree cell towers . . .

Everybody who enters the glass-flower exhibit asks the same question, “Are these really glass? The stems? The leaves?” Then their mouths fall open as they realize, yep. It’s difficult to fathom the amount of work and attention to detail needed the create these botanical treasures. Mind blowing!

The naturalists and consummate glass artisans, Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, created the nearly 4,400 life-size models, entirely of glass, between 1886 and 1936.