Andalucía parte cuatro: Granada

Granada Travel Blog

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View of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains

¨I know, we lead such hard lives, don´t we?¨my friend Shannon sassed back to me after I complained to her about how tired I was from basking in the hot Mediterranean sun for the last few days. Touché, my friend.

In Granada, the three of us met up with my friend Hilary who was studying in Madrid for the semester. She was a welcomed guest, as I knew she would get along with my other travel buddies. The company really does make the trip- something to keep in mind for anyone planning their travels...

Our hostel in Granada was pretty cool as well. It was a typical backpacker's place with free internet, a kitchen at our disposal, and eight bunk beds per room.

"Joé, qué caló!"
It was nice that we split up our types of accommodation in each city (private room in Sevilla, bunk dorm in Cadiz, private in Marbella, bunks in Granda) so we never really got sick of each place.

On our first full day, we decided to take a walking tour that I found in my guidebook around the city. It took us past some cool places, like mosques, cathedrals, arab baths and an awesome lookout point with views of the Alhambra and the snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the background (even though it was boiling hot). It was a bit of a workout too, as we had to walk in hilly neighborhoods and got off-track a few times too.

Casa Bonita
Needless to say, we were exhausted afterwards, so we decided to take advantage of the kitchen facilities and cook dinner for ourselves that night. But when we returned to hostel with bags of groceries in hand, we found that the people at the hotel were already making an all-you-can-eat vegetarian dinner for just five euros. So we post-poned our cooking plans for the next night and ate with them. We ended up talking to an Australian woman in her thirties who had just finished the Camino de Santiago and was exploring the rest of Europe before finally settling down in her hometown in the Australian countryside. It was really interesting to talk to her and hear about her worldly adventures, although it only fueled my desire to travel and explore more of the world.

So we just hung out in the hostel that night and went up to our room to get ready for bed, only to be greeted by our five drunken Italian male roommates.

Me and Hil at the Alhambra
They tried to convince us to come join them at the bars (as if they needed more to drink), but we had to get up early the next morning to go to the Alhambra. Raincheck, though...

At the Alhambra, we arrived with plenty of time just to make sure we wouldn't miss our appointment and be denied access to some parts(as experienced, unfortunately, by my family when they went in April). And it was a good thing we did get there early because the Alhambra is one of the most confusing and poorly-marked tourist spots I had ever visited (not that I'm surprised, after living in this country for the over five months). Even though all four of us speak Spanish, we had trouble finding out where the print our tickets and which building to go through to enter the palace. But we did make it after all, thank goodness, and got some really cool pictures of the palace and gardens.

Bell tower
I love the Moroccan influence in all the architecture, in fact, Granada reminded me of Morocco, but with Spanish culture and language too. What could be better? Not that I haven't had an absolutely incredible experience in Barcelona, but I decided that if I could start the semester over (knowing what I know now about each city), I probably would have chosen Granada instead. In addition to the authenticity of Spanish culture (and the lack of Catalan), it just seemed to be more "me."

So after exploring the Alhambra for about four hours, we were sweaty and tired once again, so we returned to the hostel for a siesta. We ended up talking to two American guys in the lobby, one who lives in the same town in Chicago as my friend Stefanie, and the other who was a fellow Jew from Chicago, so we inevitably knew people in common.

Flor bonita
When I told them I was from Milwaukee, another American guy said, "Oh, I stayed with a girl from Milwaukee when I was in Germany." I remembered that I do know a girl from high school who has been living in Germany for the past two years and as this small world would have it, it turned out to be her. So the guys ended up joining us for dinner and we had a nice little American feast, but completed it with bottles and bottles of Spanish wine, of course.

On our last day, we explored Granada more and did one thing we missed out on doing in Morocco: Arab baths! Which were very refreshing to end our long trip throughout the south. It was pretty much just a big dark room with baths of different temperatures that have healing minerals for healthy skin. It helped soothe the sting of my sunburn. We also found an awesome vegan, gluten-free, take-out restaurant and went to eat in a park. Yes, I know that sounds gross to some people, but it only added to my love for Granada!

That night, we got on the train back to Barcelona for only three short days before my Spanish journey would end and I would return home.

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View of the Alhambra and the Sierr…
View of the Alhambra and the Sier…
Joé, qué caló!
"Joé, qué caló!"
Casa Bonita
Casa Bonita
Me and Hil at the Alhambra
Me and Hil at the Alhambra
Bell tower
Bell tower
Flor bonita
Flor bonita
Generalife, gardens of the Alhambra
Generalife, gardens of the Alhambra
Fun
Fun
Amigos nuevos en un bar
Amigos nuevos en un bar
Granada
photo by: Chokk