I was idly browsing in the souvenir section of Madrid's El Corte Ingles when I stumbled upon my roots. There amongst tacky mementos and beautiful damascene jewelry, I found the coat of arms of my grandmother's family. According to the brief history written on the wooden plaque, the Barrios family came from Guipúzcoa in the Basque region of Spain. In succeeding years they branched out to the province of Burgos and established a new ancestral seat.
The Barrios clan belonged to an old and noble dynasty. When the King of Spain set out to reconquer Granada from the Moors in the late 15th century, the Barrios gentlemen accompanied him. This bit of history came as a surprise to me because I was on my way to Granada to see the legendary Alhambra. My journey was transformed.