Hola a todos!
Yesterday, Elley and I got back from a week of wonderful vacation! We had a super long weekend this week because Spanish people are lazy and like to take holiday whenever possible! :P But aside from that, Monday was the anniversary of something to do with the Constitution and Wednesday was the celebration of the Immaculate Conception. No separation of Church and State here!
Anyway, Elley and I took the bus down to Granada really really early Thursday morning and arrived in the city in the early afternoon; the bus ride is about 11 hrs total with an hour stop in Madrid. Before leaving, we got in contact with a fellow FLC student who is studying down there, Troy, and he met us at the bus station. Neither of us really knew Troy, but he turned out to be an amazing host and has now become a good friend!
That first day, Thursday, we walked around the gardens and the public area of the Alhambra. The Alhambra was the last Moorish stronghold of Spain in the 14th century during the Reconquest. From what Troy told us, it was surrendered by the Moors because they knew they would be defeated by the Spanish. So, many of the building are still in good condition and didn't require much restoration because there wasn't a huge battle there. It is such a pretty place to visit! I love historic places like that because the detail in the passageways and buildings is just fascinating! Unfortunately, we never got to tour the whole thing because the next time we went there, the ticket booth had closed for the day.
We really had a pretty chill time in Granada, we went out almost every night and stayed out pretty much until the sun came up...as the Spanish are famous for! So we usually slept pretty late and then would just tour around different parts of the city. It is a pretty big place, but totally different from Vitoria in the way it is laid out. Granada is on the edge of the Sierra Nevadas, so the landscape is more like the Foothills, instead of completely flat like here.
Probably one of my favorite parts of the city is the area called Albaicin, it's the old part of town where a lot of gypsies hang out. Troy took us to a gypsy tapas bar there that had the best food ever! It's so cheap too, you buy a beer or glass of wine for 2 euro and then you get to fill a plate full of tapas...so worth it!
We also planned to spend two nights and a full day in Sevilla on this trip, but that only turned into one night and about a half a day. We didn't have the best Sevilla experience. Our Irish friends here in Vitoria know a guy who is studying in Sevilla and he offered to let us crash on his couches for the time that we were in town. So that seemed like a great idea, a free place to stay! This guy was spending his long weekend in Madrid and he told us he wouldn't be back until late Monday night, so we go into town in the evening and showed up at their apartment around 9pm. His two roommates from Mexico were there and they were kind of confused as to why we were there cause Karl had told them we were coming Thursday...great. But they said it was fine that we were there and they just had to go get a few things ready, so they cleaned up the living room a bit and then just went about their business...literally didn't talk to us for the rest of the night. Strange. Later, right when Elley and I were going to bed, the Irish guy, Karl, gets home, he introduces himself to us and then says he will put his things in his room and be back. Well, we stayed up for about another hour...and no one ever came back to the living room to say anything to us. It was so strange! So aside from not feeling very welcome at all, the "couches" we slept on were the worst things imaginable, so neither of us slept well at all. Needless to say, we got up in the morning and immediately decided that we would not stay another night there! On top of that, it was pouring rain like I have never seen before, so we were just not in the best of spirits.
I already had in mind that I wanted to see the Cathedral of Seville because it's the biggest in the world, as well as the Plaza de España because I've heard it's wonderful. We decided to make things easy on our selves and took the metro to stop closest to the cathedral...note to anyone who does to Seville, the metro there is not like other cities! We had a hard time figuring it out...But found the cathedral really easily and it was magnificent! Never have I seen a building that compares to that cathedral! We had to wait in line for about 30 mins to get in, but it was more than worth it because we spend almost 3 hours looking around the inside! The details of the alters and ceiling were just breath-taking and a fun fact is that Christopher Columbus' tomb is inside that cathedral! By the time we were done with the cathedral, the rain had calmed, so we decided to walk to the Plaza de España cause it was only about a half mile away. The Plaza is actually in a new part of the city, build in the late 1920's for a World Fair, to showcase Moorish style in Spain. It was a really cool place, but too bad for the cloudy day and Elley started to feel ill, so we made it a quick trip there. We were both tired and ready to head back to Granada, so we hailed a taxi to take us to the bus station. We are still very proud of our city-slicker skills! :)
Our next two days in Granada were kinda like the first, just relaxing, going out at night and doing a little walking through the city. We tried to go to the Arab baths, but they were all booked for about 4 days out, which was too bad cause that would have been so relaxing! And we couldn't go see the Cathedral of Granada because of the Catholic celebration they had a special service or something and it was closed to tourists.
Then we were back on the bus to Vitoria and the cold weather. But big news is coming up in my next post, so stay tuned!!
P.S.- Sorry it took me so long to post this!! I started it the other day and didn't have time til now to finish!
The Alhambra at night.
Troy and me at the Palacio de Carlos V in the Alhambra.
Me at the Plaza de España.
One of the many amazing alters in the Cathedral.
La Catedral de Sevilla.