The land of free tapas.
14.10.2011 - 16.10.2011
Granada was a great trip! We went with a group called ESN (Erasmus Student Network). Erasmus is a work that Europeans use that basically means exchange. People will say, "I'm on erasmus" or "I'm an erasmus student". This was another bus trip, and a high uncomfortable one. Along the way there were acres and acres of trees that seemed to be planted in perfect rows yet there would be no houses or farm looking areas around. But, indeed, I found out that they were olive trees! Kind of a fun discovery. There were a lot of people I knew that went on this trip. And, since there were 2 buses, traveling was a bit slower, which was frustrating. But, we got there. And after we got settled in our hostel (which was a very nice one), we went right to lunch at this restaurant called La Bella y La Bestia. In English it is, The Beauty and the Beast!! It became my new favorite place for 2 reasons. 1) I love the beauty and beast. 2) free and large portions of tapas!!! When you buy your drink (which range from about 1.50-4 euro), you get a plate of tapas to come with it. This sometimes happens in Madrid, but you aren't given nearly the portion size. It was great. You could order 2-3 drinks, eat the tapas and be full!
After lunch we walked around the city. We passed by some very nice looking churches/cathedrals. In one area there were gypsies. They would try to sell you stems of rosemary (I think). They would shove them at you. But, apparently if you take one, even just to look, the gypsies won't take it back from you. You are then forced to pay. So, we just ignored them. This was the same with other people trying to sell stuff. Even at lunch, when we were eating outside, men would come up to the table, reach around you and set down things. For example, once was a lighter, the other was a notecard thing that had something religious on it. They want you to pick it up and buy it. So, you just sit there eating with the nick-nac sitting next to you until the guy realizes that you aren't going to buy it and comes to collect it back. It's awkward, and kind of annoying.
Anyway, Granada. Many of the streets were all so tiny and cute. The city had a very strong Arabic influence. Many of the shops sold things that reminded me of places like Morocco and India (even though I have never been to either and both countries aren't even close to each other!)...but you catch my drift! I liked it.
Another thing I noticed was that the city seemed more family oriented. Well, I just saw a lot of kids, so that is how I am drawing my conclusion. And also, the dogs in the streets. I saw so many dogs that looked to be well fed and healthy, but were walking around town without owners next to them. But the cutest part was that they always seemed to look like they were on a mission. Always trotting, never walking. Clay, Camille's boyfriend is studying in Granada and he said that he has seen dogs that will stop at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to turn, and then when it's clear, they'll continue to walk when all the humans start to cross. How adorable!
We passed a statue of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus. The statue is showing the queen offering agreement to Columbus granting the rights for his voyage across the Atlantic to the New World! Interesante.
The next day, we toured around a little in the morning and then went to La Alhambra in the afternoon. It was gorgeous! And huge! There were magnificent views, beautiful gardens, fountains, and Islamic architecture. It was constructed in teh mid 14th century by Moorish rulers. The palaces were built for the last Muslim "Emirs" in Spain and its court, the Nasrid dynasty. We spent many hours walking around and taking pictures. For dinner we went to, of course, our new favorite place, La Bella y La Bestia!
That night, Anda and I hit the town on our own. We walked to our first destination which consisted of very narrow, steep, and dark roads. But we survived! We went up to this place where you could lookout over the Alhambra with all of the lights shining on it. It was a spectacular view! Then, we went to this club where part of it was built into the side of the mountain/hill or something. Inside, the walls were almost looked like they had just been carved out. It was all just stone and very round. However there was one room where the 2 walls were completely glass, and gave you a great view of the Alhambra. It was a fun place. Afterward, in the wee hours of the morning, we walked probably 40 minutes just to get churros with chocolate at a place that was supposedly famous. We were just about the only people in there and the churros weren't that fancy. And because we weren't that full we also ended up ordering a pizza that came with anchovies (unknowingly). It was nasty. Oh well, it will still a good time!
The next morning we work up and did some last minute touring. I bought an awesome fanny pack and a baby alpaca sweater that supposedly came from Peru...at least that's what I'm going with! Then, to complete our Granada experience, Anda and I embarked on "the Beauty and the Beast tapas challenge"! We bet Camille's boyfriend, Clay, that we could eat 3+ tapas because he said that he had never done nor seen anyone eat more than 3. We ate 4. Mission complete.