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

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