By Brittney Durbin
Sorry I have been lacking on the posts, I have been traveling a lot lately.
I must say, though, that the most interesting place I went was Granada. This was the weekend trip included in the CIEE program, so I had been looking forward to it for about a month.
It was a fun-filled, and slightly hectic, three days, so in this post I’ll share all about my adventures and tomorrow I’ll post all the pictures.
So I woke up bright and early at 7 a.m. (OK, not exactly 0-dark 30, but considering I get up at 10 on a normal day, I was not a fan of losing three hours of sleep ). I did it to myself though, because I had not finished packing the night before, and I also wanted to get a bit of breakfast. Anyways, we boarded the bus at around 9 a.m. and headed towards Granada.
I’m not the biggest fan of bus rides, so yet again me and the Tylenol PM became best buds for this adventure. In a blink of an eye, (after a potty/lunch break in the middle) the bus pulled up outside our hotel.
I can’t say I was super thrilled at first, because it was pouring rain and I wanted to explore. However, I put on my rain jacket and trucked on through. Granada is extremely different compared to Alicante in the buildings, stores and even road signs.
There is a lot of Arab influence in Granada because this city was the last Muslim stronghold back in the 700/800s. In fact, the fortress still remains today (but I’ll elaborate on that later).
The point of all that was to share that a great deal of history is in Granada.
After a bit of exploring and eating, the group met back at the hotel to go to our first event: flamenco dancing.
We boarded the bus yet again, but this time I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Some of the streets in Granada are so narrow that you look at them and think cars cannot make it through, let alone a tour bus. Somehow the bus driver maneuvered them with ease, but definitely not without scaring me half to death.
When we finally made it to the venue, I was slightly perplexed. They sat us in this tiny room, with chairs lined all around the edges of the space. All of a sudden, the dancers marched onto the tiny dance floor, and began their performance. It was a spectacular show, and since the room was so small, the whole audience essentially had a front row seat.
The end of the show brought yet another terrifying bus ride back to the hotel, and then I hit the hay.
Saturday brought more rain, but I was ecstatic about going to La Alhambra. Remember when I mentioned the Muslim influence in Granada? Well, this is the prime example.
La Alhambra was built to be what the Muslim’s referred to as “heaven on earth.” It has the most spectacular gardens, water flowing through the entire premises, and beautiful artwork built right into the walls. This is one of these times where I am going to have to let the pictures do the talking, because words alone cannot fully elaborate on the beauty of the structure.
Also on Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to the grave/memorial of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Although their bones are buried in Madrid, there is a tomb in Granada for them. The artwork in this church is also simply breathtaking.
Sunday brought another five-hour bus ride, but before that we got to do a bit of sight seeing. Well, me being me, I got lost and ended up just sitting at a café with a couple other people who managed to do the same thing.
Although not what I expected, Granada was fantastic.
I must admit, I was skeptical about this city. People normally talk about Barcelona or Madrid when referring to Spain, so at first I was/am slightly disappointed that we are not taking a trip to either of those cities as part of the program.
Nevertheless, it turned out to be a wonderful experience all together, and I would definitely recommend it if traveling to Spain.
Like I said earlier, I will post pictures tomorrow! I took a lot, so I figure its best to dedicate a whole post to them.
On Friday I’m going to Murcia, and a few weeks after that I’m off to Valencia, and then a week after that I’m off to London! Definitely have an exciting month ahead, so stay tuned!