I had planned to follow up on my last entry about day one of our free EAP Andalucía weekend much sooner, but, hey, I’m living in Spain, traveling Europe. Updating this blog isn’t exactly my top priority when Madrid’s wonders are beckoning me. But I’m determined to write about all my travels, so all of you back home can stay updated, but mostly so I have a personal record of this time when I’m 93 and feeling nostalgic.
Day two of the trip, we woke up in our Córdoba hotel, enjoyed a free breakfast buffet (you have no idea how magnificent free buffets are when you’re living the study abroad student lifestyle), met in the lobby, and then took a bus to Granada. I wrote in my last entry about how epic it was for me to finally go back to Granada after almost three and a half months of fantasizing about going back, though we arrived in a part of town I was unfamiliar with, so it didn’t hit me for a while that I was back. We checked into the hotel and then were given an hour or so of free time, so I dragged my friend Connie to the main part of the city to find lunch. We soon stumbled upon Camino de Ronda, the street on which Jessica’s and my señora lived, and then we were back in the Granada I knew and loved. It was kind of fun still perfectly knowing my way around that area.
Our route took us by our apartment, which was really trippy to see. I know we only lived there for three weeks, but those three weeks were such a significant part of my life that it felt like I was visiting an old home. We turned up Calle Recogidas, the street we took every day to get to school and the main area of town, and I recognized our friends’ Haley and Laura’s apartment building and all the shops and restaurants that became so familiar to me in the summer of 2006. Crazy. Because we weren’t given a ton of free time, we only saw a bit of that street before turning around, getting lunch at Dunkin’ Coffee (as Dunkin’ Donuts is called here in Spain), and then meeting back up with our group at the hotel.
Our old apartment.
From there, the group took a bus up the hill to the Alhambra, Granada’s main tourist attraction, an ancient Moorish palace/fortress. I had been in it in 2006, and it’s definitely impressive, and the Generalife (the gardens that I like to pronounce with an American accent) is beautiful, but, eh, I kind of feel like one tour of it is enough. I’m still glad we went back, though.
View of Granada from the Alhambra. God, I love this city.
Generalife of the Alhambra
After our tour, we hiked down the hill, took a group photo, and then were given the option to visit Mirador de San Nicolás, a lookout up in the Albaicín (the Moorish-influenced area in the hills of Granada) that has a gorgeous view of the Alhambra and lower Granada. I remembered the Mirador de San Nicolás being one of my favorite spots in Granada, so of course I chose to go. Bill Clinton is quoted as saying he saw the most beautiful sunset of his life from the Mirador de San Nicolás, and though I’ve yet to see an amazing sunset from that point, I still love it, especially when it’s filled with tourists, locals, and gypsies selling crafts. After spending some time there, we climbed back down to the lower part of Granada. I had intended to pass my school from 2006 on the way down, but the streets are windy and difficult to navigate, and apparently I missed it by one street. We did get to pass by the fantastic Arab shops in the lower Albaicín, so that was great.
Me at the Mirador de San Nicolás with the Alhambra in the background.
The Arab shops.
We stopped in a few souvenir shops and then headed back to the hotel, where we were provided a free dinner buffet! Oh man, like I said, buffets are amazing when you’re living the student lifestyle. I’m not normally one to overeat, but there was so much good stuff and it was all free, so I ate so much I felt sick. In a good way. After dinner, our tour guide was organizing a trip to discotecas and bars, so we were planning to join him, but no one was really sure about his plans, and we were tired, so instead we just hung out at the hotel talking.
The next day, we visited the tombs of Isabella and Ferdinand, known in the U.S. for sending Columbus to the Americas and known in Spain for expelling the Moors and reuniting Spain, and then we were given free time before our bus left in the afternoon. We looked in the souvenir shops around the cathedral and then headed back to the Albaicín, retracing my daily walk to school from Granada 2006. It was super cool seeing all that again, especially the school (which was closed, but I still got to see the familiar green doors with black cats) and the Albaicín, which we had only seen after dark the night before, was even prettier in the day. Also, it felt fantastic to not be climbing those hills in 100° heat as we always had to do in 2006. We explored that area, then came back down, walked by a tapas bar I visited last time I was in Granada, grabbed lunch at Burger King (we were running out of time so didn’t get to enjoy anything better), and then met back with our group to head back to Madrid.
On the walk up to school.
Going back to Granada was awesome. When we first arrived and had an hour of free time to rush through the city, I thought perhaps I had idealized the city and was disappointed that revisiting the city wasn’t the same as reliving the amazing memories I had there, but it didn’t take long to fall back in love with Granada. It’s silly to say this since I was only there for three weeks, really, but going there felt kind of like going home. I just felt so comfortable and at peace there. I’ve found this to be the case all of the times I’ve revisited Andalucía while I’ve been here, so I don’t know if it’s the laid-back atmosphere of the region or that it was the first part of Spain I got to know or what, but being there just makes me so happy. Granada, original Spanish love of my life, you’ll always hold a very special place in my heart.
See my Granada photos here.