25 January 2011

Granada Update

Well, I'm already going on two weeks back in Spain and even though things aren't really exciting, it feels good to be here. I have been staying at Troy's apartment since last Monday and I am actually going to be living here this semester. Troy is moving across town to live with a friend and I am going to move into his room next weekend. I looked and checked out some apartments, but the ones that I saw I didn't like as much as I like this one, so it works out easily that I don't have to stress about looking and I get what I want! I met with the landlady last week, she's British and really sweet. I think she will also be a really great contact to have, she's a professor at the University of Granada and when I told her I was interested in translation, she said that she knows some people who could really help me and get me into good programs once I was starting that part of my education. So hopefully I will get a chance to know her better and she will remember me in the future!
Other than that, life has been pretty causal. I don't start school until February 7th still, so Troy and I have been doing our best to try and pass time effectively. I found a new coffee shop to regular, where the people are really nice and I have found some good running routes. Where I live is really close to the Alhambra and the hills around it, so I have gotten some great views of the city when I run up in that area.

Granada is a city with a lot of old culture and history. In the 8th century the city was taken over by the Moors and the Alhambra remained the last Moorish stronghold in the Reconquest until the late 15th century. So there is a lot of Islamic influence as well as Catholic/Castilian culture that tried to "cover up" or take over for the opposing religion. The oldest area of the city is called the Alabyzín, it has retained it's Arabic fashion and is known for it's "overwhelming" amount of gypsies and Arabic peoples. By Arabic fashion, I mean, long, skinny streets that wind and turn in an almost maze-like neighborhood and tall white building...to an outsider, it definitely looks a little ghetto, but some of the best shops and food are in the Alabyzín! The hills of Sacromonte are also well known for the gypsies and cave dwelling people who live there. Geographically, Granada is at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which contains Spain's highest mountain at 11,400(ish)ft and is an hour's drive away from the Mediterranean Sea.

Yesterday, Troy and I went to the famous Arabic Baths. It is an old bath house, used before the Reconquest and was recently restored before opening to the public. It's a little expensive, but we got a deal online. It is pretty popular, so groups of about 25 people go in to the baths for about an hour and a half and in that time, you get a 10 minute massage. It was an amazing and super relaxing experience! There are all different types of baths, heated by natural springs; cold, temperate, hot, as well as a steam room and a room with a large, hot stone to lay on. It was all really nice and the place is so pretty, everything is stone (granite or marble) and the walls are tiled in beautiful designs. The lights are dim and the whole place smells like delicious cinnamon tea.

Well that will be all for now. I am planning on touring the Alhambra as well as the Cathedral this week, so I will write and post pictures of both.


A look over Granada

16 January 2011

The new Spain.

Welp, after a long break from writing I am back in the city of Granada! Going back home and taking a break from the Spanish lifestyle was really nice. I wish I could have had just a few more days at home because I was so busy there wasn't a whole lot of time to just relax. It was really great to see all my friends and family and enjoy things being easy and simple in America! Also, on a personal note, I started dating the best guy in the world (I know every girl says that, but I think I'm the only one who can actually say it honestly)! So that poses another exciting challenge in my study abroad experience. :)

After a long plane ride that I thankfully slept most of the way through, I arrived in Frankfurt Friday morning and then in Malaga, Spain that night. I stayed in a hostel in Malaga for the night and yesterday made it to my hostel here in Granada. Hopefully, I will only be staying at this hostel one more night and then stay with my friend Troy for a few days while I look for a room to rent. Everything has gone really well for me in my travels so far! My flights were both fine and I have reached both of my hostels with little difficulty. Going to Europe has been so much easier this time around...knowing the ropes a bit really makes a difference! I have already spoken quite a bit of Spanish and while I was in the bus station yesterday, some really nice ladies started a conversation with me! It was straight Colorado style! That never would have happened in the North; people are just not open and friendly to strangers there.
The weather has been really nice, sunny and warm and the oranges are in perfect season! Even though it feels a little strange to be back, it also feels really good and I have so many more good things to say about Granada. I have a few weeks before I start school to find a place to live and get settled in there. Hopefully Elley will be visiting after she finishes her finals in Vitoria, so that will be fun and we will do some of the things we didn't get to when we were here in December.
I've heard that the spring time is the best to be in southern Spain, so I think I have a lot to look forward to and I think it will be another exciting adventure!

Hasta luego!

Me and my boyfriend, Westin.