Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while, but things have been so busy between classes and traveling! Prepare yourself for a long post!
Last weekend, we had our last group excursion to Granada. We left bright and early on Saturday morning—hopped on the bus and in about three and a half hours, we were in Granada. Since it was a group excursion organized by our study abroad program, we got to stay in a four-star hotel. (I can’t get used to this treatment since I know I will soon be staying in hostels once I start traveling to other countries). But, if anyone ever goes to Granada, stay in Los Angeles—very nice hotel!
Granada is SUCH a beautiful city and much more urban than I had initially expected. After we arrived, we had a few free hours to wander throughout the city and one of the first things that we stumbled upon was a giant market in one of the central plazas. The vendors were selling bread, pastries, dried fruits, nut, candy, flowers, etc. Each tent vendor we went to let us try WHATEVER we wanted, which clearly was perfect for a moocher like me. All of the pastries were only 1 euro so we bought a few pastries for our group and shared them. I had a few bites of a coconut macaroon and a pastry that was a mix of a whoopie pie and a doughnut. DELICIOUS.
As we continued to meander throughout the city, I fell more and more in love with Granada. Later in the afternoon, our professors gave us a tour of La Capilla Real (where los reyes católicos are buried) and the cathedral. Although both of these buildings were amazing, I really want to remember the little things that I took note of during our stay; things that make Granada, well Granada:
- Graffiti—I’m used to seeing graffiti throughout Chicago, but the graffiti in Granada is much more prominent as it is painted on many of the walls and alleys. As I was admiring the artwork, I felt as though the artist was telling us stories.
- Strong Moorish influence—Although I didn’t realize it before coming, there is a relatively large Muslim presence in Granada. I believe there are 20,000 Muslims that live in Granada. The Moorish influence was definitely obvious, especially when walking through the Muslim neighborhoods. We stopped at many of the stores (where I bought a really cute leather purse for 20 euros) in this part of the city and went to a tetería, a restaurant completely dedicated to serving tea and dessert (right up my alley, I know!). I tried a tea called Pakistani, which tasted just like chai! Yum!
- Crazy beautiful view of the mountain ranges—No matter where we were in the city, I felt like we had a great view of the mountains that surround the city. After dinner on Saturday, we had the opportunity to climb up to an overlook with amazing views of the Alhambra and the city at night.
- Night life–After a super busy day Saturday, we all found the energy to go out and explore what Granada’s nightlife had to offer, which was a blast! We went to a few bars and a discoteca in order to celebrate Carly and Rachel’s birthday. We didn’t get back until the early hours of the morning, but it was definitely worth the sleep sacrifice!
Sunday was dedicated to a guided tour of La Alhambra, the most-visited monument in the entire world. We saw so many palaces, beautiful buildings, and overlooks that it is hard to keep them all straight in my head. I feel like the pictures do a better job:
This week, I have been getting back into the routine of things with my classes. Since I started my university classes, I have realized that there are SO many international students here. In both my art and linguistics class, there is a strong international presence. Not only is this great because I get to talk to a bunch of different people, but it’s also really nice because the professorts seems to be really understanding of our situation and needs. In my linguistics class, I sit next to a girl from Italy, Francesca. She and I will be working together throughout the semester on a project/presentation that we turn in before we leave. She is definitely much more fluent than me in Spanish, but we do not have any problem communicating. It’s so weird because one of her good friends from home is an au pair right now in Naperville–what a small world!
Other random happenings:
- Yesterday, I met up with Mari and Agustina (my friends from Uruguay) and we booked a trip for the 17th-21st of October! We will be traveling to Amsterdam, Brugges, and Brussels. So excited!
- I’m going to Festival de las Naciones tonight! Festival de las Naciones is a month-long festival that takes place every year in Sevilla. Basically, there are a ton of tents in a park with vendors selling food and souvenirs from all over the world. Last week, I went and had some of a chocolate crepe from France. It is so funny to see the food that is sold to represent the United States: “Obama ribs,” burgers, french fries, and bud light. I’m excited to try some of the other tents!
- Although it was quite the challenge to pick up Carly’s birthday cake last week (biking there and walking back in the rain), it couldn’t have been better! Somehow, it tasted like a giant s’more (without the chocolate)!
- Going to Lagos, Portugal this weekend!
Don’t know when I’ll have the chance to blog next, but I’ll do my best to keep you posted on the happenings over here in Spain. Miss you all like crazy!