Weekend 3: Visiting Granada

November 24 2019

This past week I didn’t do much after Meghann left other than cram for my exam. I’d go to class from 9-13:00. Then go to the gym, then go home and basically study from 16:30 onwards till I went to bed. Pausing for little breaks or to make dinner.

I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable but I have my oral exam tomorrow which I need to prep a bit more for and I also am taking the exam two days early so need to learn some grammar outside of the book that I’ll miss during Wednesday/ Thursday classes

I’m taking it early so I can fly to NY and see Jeff for Thanksgiving! 

Friday I tried to wake up for the gym but I was too damn tired. I didn’t sleep well the night before and had a doozy of a workout Thursday. So I packed my backpack for my weekend trip to Granada and decided I’d at least walk to class and then take the bus from class to my Blabla car ride.

Side note*

Bla bla car is this service in Spain and other parts of Europe that lets you look for rides and carpool with people who happen to be heading that direction. It’s cheaper than a bus and also a bit more convenient/comfortable.

Well on the way to class, it poured. And I mean POURED. I showed up soaking and had to change my pants. Only to realize all my clothes also got soaked in my back pack. 

During class my blabla driver cancelled so I decided to go home first and dry out some of my stuff. Spain doesn’t have dryers really so I used a hair dryer to dry some stuff out. I ate some lunch and then booked another Blabla for 15:30

It was my first time using it so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I found where to meet the driver and it turned out like three other girls were also in the car. The car wasn’t that big so it was actually a little uncomfortable. Plus the girl in the back middle seat with me had like no body awareness and kept flipping her hair in my face. She was annoying. Kept playing loud videos from Instagram and looking at her selfies

Anyway whatever, made it to Granada at 17:00.

It was pretty wet and cold. I had just bought a flamingo child’s umbrella before I left (5€ for children’s umbrellas vs 10€ for adult minis)

So I set out to my Airbnb with my flamingo umbrella.

I found my spot and then went to meet Jon and his gf and her friend. Jon is Jeffs old roomie from Cuse.

It was Jon, Sophia, and Sophia’s friend Mandy.

Sophia is from the US but knows Spanish fluently like Jon. She’s part Puerto Rican and spent many years going to the DR to learn. That’s where she met Jon. Sophia also met Mandy in the DR. Mandy is from France but lives now in Spain and is also fluent in Spanish

It was actually a really good mix of Spanglish 

I got to practice a lot and I think it really help with my confidence as well. They were really nice about helping me and correcting things and not making fun of me too bad when I messed up.

Mandy is trying to learn English so she would speak to me in English and I’d reply in Spanish. It was a good little thing we had going. 

The first night we had tapas and then went to some bars. We ended up getting quite tipsy and eating very little. I went home around 1 am but stopped to buy a bag of Bugels and a can of Aquarius (like Gatorade) before. Thank god for that decision along with chugging water because it made the morning less painful. I didn’t sleep much either bc people below my window were up partying like all night till 6am.

The next day we were going to attempt going to the Alhambra. Jon said we didn’t have to buy tickets beforehand and I was super nervous bc literally everyone and their Spanish mother said we had to but Jon was like no we don’t. I’ll just go early. 

Vale 

So Jon went at 8am and got us tickets. YAY! For 11 am.

We met up for quick coffee and Sammie’s to go at like 10am and then headed to the Alhambra, which was approx a 20min walk.

We got there and spent 3 hours there. It’s insane. It was so so damn beautiful. Let the photo vomit commence!

Court of the Lions
Also from the Court of the Lions
Ceiling of the Hall of the Ambassadors
Court of the Myrtles

Quick Facts:

  • Alhambra means “the Red female”
  • It is a fortress/palace situated in Granada Spain
  • Construction first started AD889 (holy old!) , then paused, then resumed again 13th century
  • This place has 6 palaces, 2 circuit towers and multiple bathhouses
  • There’s also an irrigation system ???

Jon and Sophia being stupidly cute in the Generalife gardens
Sophia sitting in the middle of the Royal Complex (Plaza de Nazaríes)
Royal Complex (Plaza de Nazaríes)

After that, Jons high school friends (from when he did an exchange program) came from Madrid. We met them at some tapas place that was packeddd with locals and had like fancy tapas. Shredded morcilla, paté and strawberries, sardines and some creme de la something

I found out that the restaurant was La Tana which is the place Anthony Bourdain featured in his show

Morcilla – 📷 courtesy of David Suen
Inside La Tana – 📷 courtesy of David Suen

Que cool!

But the way the Spanish eat is like with every drink they get a free round of tapas which is just like one bite per person. So we had three drinks and three little breads with stuff on it and left. 

Jon’s friends were great though. At first I was a bit uncomfortable with everyone bc they’re all like very fluent and although I understand, I’m not good enough to interject. It’s too hard and I got self conscious slowing the flow of conversation. I’d say like one liners here or there to show I understood but other than that no.

Then Jon Sophia and Mandy all went for a cigarette and it was actually just me and all the Madrid people (Jon’s two friends Jesus and Alejandro and their gfs) and it.was. PERFECT. They talked to me in Spanish and then I could reply and the convo went at my pace since the other 3 had left. That helped me build my confidence to talk to them for the rest of the day. Turns out 3 of the 4 of them also work in tech and with Salesforce. So that’s kind of hilarious. Salesforce taking over the damn world.

Alejandro had met Jeff before at Syracuse so we FaceTimed Jeff later and said hi! 

We went to another bar and got a drink, but the tapa was kinda bleck so skipped eating that one. Then we all went to Mirador San Nicolas which is on the opposite side of the Alhambra and you go up to look out at the Alhambra and sunset. People (hitanos usually. Hitano= gypsy) come play flamenco. It was wonderful! The sunset, the music! Me encanta! 

The crew at San Nicolas. Alhambra in the back
From San Nicolas
This guy loves life

After we headed back down to find a bar for the guys to watch the fútbol game at. Mandy and I weren’t interested and also wanted a real meal to eat, so we went shopping for souvenirs and then found an Italian place where we each got a giant set menu of food. It was awesome 

We met up with the group again at like 20:30 but everyone was dead. Mandy and I said good bye and headed back. Not sure if Jon and Sophia stayed with his friends. I’m sure they thought we were crazy for going back to rest and bed at 20:30. That’s when Spaniards like maybe go eat dinner. (Not even they go at like 21:00-22:00)

Jon looked sick and had a fever, Sophia also seemed knackered. It had just been a long ass day.

I went back and showered since my Airbnb’s hot water turns off at 23:00 and then crawled in bed. After talking to Jeff and my parents, I passed out at 22:00 and slept 10 hours! 

Woke up at 8:00 am. Packed up my things and then went to find breakfast and lunch to go before meeting the mini tour I booked to go to the Sierra Nevadas at 9:30.

I found a cafe called 7 cats (purrrfect) which was actually open early for a Spanish Sunday morning.

Had a tortilla and cappuccino and then got tomato toast to go.

Our guides name was Julio and it was me, this guy from Thailand (that wore Nike’s and had never been in snow), and a Russian couple living in Girona that spoke Spanish.

It was about an hour drive up and took us a little bit to find parking because it was the second day the mountain was open for skiing and tons of people were there.

Hoya de La Mora is what this area is called
It was this guy from Thailand’s, first time in snow!

The path was just a nice steady path curving up and around. We went for a little more than an hour and saw the views and then came back down. Honestly I wish I could’ve spent a few more hours there exploring. I’ll have to come back and maybe rent a car or figure out rides next time. It was super beautiful. 

We got down and Julio was kind enough to drop the Thai guy at the Alhambra since he had tickets for 14:30 and we got back around 13:40. Then the Russian couple asked to be driven to some restaurant. I asked to go to this mall on the edge of town since I had booked a blabla car home at 14:00. I was cutting it close since we had to drop the Russians down some narrow roads which took a while with a big van (I totally would’ve been early otherwise).

But I made it there at 14:01! Julio dropped me off right next to my bla bla drivers car. This time it was just me as the passenger. Francisco is my driver and his compañara were heading to Malaga from Granada and are from Madrid on vacation. So we chatted a bit but otherwise it was just a peaceful trip back.

All in all – Granada is freaking amazing. I think I like it more than Malaga. But I think it’s probably better I booked Malaga for school bc it’s central in Andalucia and this easier to do all these day trips from. Also if I had chosen Granada, I might’ve never left on the weekends since I’d want to go hike around the Sierras every weekend 😛 

I definitely want to come back and see more of the mountains and also see a flamenco dance and try more places to eat. 

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