Monday, August 25, 2014

My Personal Paradise: Granada

Most of this post was written from Bird Poop Plaza <3

As I said about Barcelona, Spain is my soul sister and being there makes me feel complete.

 Granada is forever close to my heart after being my first taste of Europe back in 2010. Studying abroad in the charismatic city was one of the best times of my life and I’m so grateful to have had that experience.  There’s something special about Granada. Yes, you could say that about any city, but Granada is a place of intense relaxation and reflection, as well as the site of some of my craziest and most memorable nights. Other than the Alhambra, there isn’t much pressure to do intense sightseeing, but there’s still so much to take in. When Holly and I first spoke about her visiting Europe, I knew I wanted to bring her to the Europe I first fell in love with. Booking our trips was a job and it was kind of intimidating trying to do all of our planning, but while looking at our hotel options on Google StreetView, I actually cried seeing where we would be staying. I could quite literally go on about the amazingness of Granada for about 11983740193847093487403872 years, so I’ll narrow it down to a few of the best moments.

Checking into our hotel in Plaza Nueva

Realizing that this was where we were staying was what brought on my Google-Street-View-Happy-Tears. It's such a central part of the city I love so much and was amazing to be back. From our balcony, we could see a little piece of the Alhambra and could look down at flamenco shows being performed in the plaza below. 

The Alhambra

The Alhambra is by far the most amazing place I've ever seen. It magnificence goes beyond beautiful gardens or architecture- ever inch of the incredible palaces is a work of art. The intricacy of the details that cover the walls and ceilings is so breathtakingly beautiful. Holly and I would often catch each other's eye and just shake our heads, mouths hanging open, at complete loss for words. 


Meeting Holly's friend for tapas

One of Holly's friends was studying in my beautiful city and we met up with her our first night. She reminded me of so many of the little things that made the experience what it was, like how slippery the sidewalks were and that there is no better drunk food than shwarma. I was beyond jealous of her for being in the middle of her Granada experience, but it was fun to here about what's changed and what experiences carry through the years.

Tea, crepes, and hookah 

We stayed right around the corner from streets filled with little tea houses that serve all different flavors of tea, delicious crepes, and hookah and spent one sweltering afternoon sampling all three. You wouldn't think visiting a tea house would be a great way to spend a hot day, but it was. Afterwards we got terrible henna tattoos- both were beautiful and intricate when wet, but mine looked like I was scribbled on with magic marker, and Holly's flaked off immediately. A month later, my arm hair is still dyed black... 


Shopping our way through the Albaicin

The Albaicin is an amazing section of Granada that feels like an old Moroccan medina. The little gift shops are filled with colorful, mosaic glass lamps, inexpensive jewelry, beautiful paintings, incense, and more. I love tourist shopping anywhere, but the shops here are my favorites and it was a ton of fun to wander back into my favorites from years past. I bought much too much: A beautiful lamp for my bedroom (Holly and I picked up one for our parents, too), earrings, sparkly pillowcases, a little ceramic pomegranate ("Granada" means pomegranate and you can find them all over the city), and a bunch of great little gifts that I can't name for the sake of a certain sister-reader :) 

Museo de Cuevas Sacramonte

This museum was one of the places that made my little sister love the idea of visiting Granada (other than the fact that I never shut up about how amazing it is). My study abroad group toured the museum, and I was so happy to have Holly experience the view of the Alhambra, and the culture of the gypsies that inhabit the caves. Between the history, the flamenco dancing, and the gorgeous pottery, it's a really interesting culture to learn about!

Photo credit goes to Holly Streisel :)

Tortilla, Tinto de Verano, and Spanish Olive Oil

Three of my favorite foods/beverages/condiments: It makes no sense that an egg and potato omelet would taste good on a sandwich, but tortilla bocadillos are one of my favorite foods ever. Try as I might to recreate tinto de verano with wine, lemonade, and seltzer, it's never the same. Italy has Lemon Fanta though, so maybe I'll be able to do it here! Finally, Spanish olive oil has a very distinct taste and I swear I could drink it. 

Night out at Hannigans and Camborio

Nights out were some of my favorite Granada memories, and most nights out included a trip to Hannigans (karaoke night!), Camborio, or both. Holly and I had a 7am flight back to Milan from Granada, so we went to Hannigans for an early drink. One of my favorite Granada people was supposed to come back and be at the bar (but got there too late), so one of his friends (the bartender) kept us company and said he'd meet us later if we wanted to pack and come back. So that's what we did- packed, took a nap, got back up around 2am, and headed back to the bar. We made a few new friends before heading to Camborio, an amazing club in a gypsy cave that overlooks the Alhambra. Watching the sunrise over the Alhambra as we headed back to the hotel to pick up our suitcases (and treating my sister to her first shwarma) was such a "Granada" experience!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh great post as always. The tattoo looks cool but the sharpie idea kind of makes me wonder :P

    Loved the new prof. picture and the one Holy took, the one you are holding the beer hehehe great one.

    This city seems to be fileld with magic and all this gypsy ambiance. So the great vacations are over? Man it feels that they went soo quickly.

    And say you wrote the post while sitting at the bird poo that the real name or is was the way you baptized it because of all the poo?