Week 10: Granada

This past weekend I went with my entire group from my program to Granada. I knew I would have a good time since I was going with all of my friends, but I was a little skeptical that it would be great since I had already been to Granada and done the main tourist activity. Luckily I couldn’t have been more wrong!This trip was kind of like a giant reunion with everyone in my program because we all take different classes in different facultades throughout Seville, so if we don’t have a class together we rarely see each other. When we all got on the bus to leave in the morning it felt like when I used to take field trips in middle school; although it was extremely early in the morning we all were chatting with excitement, joking around, and catching up.

(Kathryn, Sarah, and me eating cream puffs)

It is really hard to describe how our group is together because it truly is extraordinary. We all are so different, but the same, everyone is friends with everyone, and we have formed incredible, strong bonds in a really short time. The dynamic was kind of evident when that morning one of our group members, Aaron, slept through his alarm.
(Liz, Katie, Me, Ryann, Alex, Ina, and Sarah)

When we realized he was missing and we called him and he said he was jumping in a cab headed towards the bus, but our program director told us we didn’t have time to wait. As the bus started to pull away without everywhere everyone let out a gasp of horror because we were so upset that he was being left behind. Luckily the combination of Aaron calling the director and our insisting on pulling over the bus worked and Aaron caught up to the bus and then got on board to a round of applause!

Anyways, I feel like the story of everyone panicking when we thought Aaron was going to be left behind shows how close we all are and how much we care for each other.

(Ryann, Sarah, and Me with Granada in the background)

Once we made it to Granada we first stopped at the hotel to drop off our bags and have lunch–a buffet–which was delicious. That is another thing everyone in our program shares; we all appreciate food and dessert and we all went a little out of control with so much food in our grasp.

(Granada from the Alhambra)

From lunch we went to take a tour of the Alhambra, the giant old palace that apparently is the second most visited attraction in the world (behind the Taj Mahal). Although I had visited the Alhambra before, I still really enjoyed my second trip because we had a tour guide to give us historical information, I was with my friends, and since my last visit fall has settled in leaving landscape!

(Door in the Alhambra)

After visiting the Alhambra our guide left us in the centro area to wander around. A few friends and I walked around, found a patisserie to get a snack, and then went back to our hotel room to hang out and chat! Once dinnertime rolled around we were starving and headed out to have tapas. In Granada they have a deal where at every bar and restaurant you can order a drink and get a free tapa for 2 euros. This deal sounds great, and can be for those with a light appetite, but my friends and I were starving and ended up just ordering giant plates of tapas.

At dinner we played a little game where we all went around and talked about what city we are from and what city we live in and then explained why everyone should visit us. It was really fun hearing everyone describe their hometowns and then talking about our plans to visit each other in the future, and I really think that we will!

(Carvings along the walls)

Once we finished dinner we walked to our hotel and continued chatting outside on the hotel steps for hours before going to bed! The next morning we woke up and headed to another tour, this time of the cathedral built around the tombs of los Reyes Catolicos: Isabel y Fernando. We couldn’t take pictures of the cathedral, but it is one of my favorite churches that I have visited in Europe! The tombs are in the center of the church, beside the tombs of Juana la Loca and her husband Filipe el hermoso.

(Arabic along the walls in the Alhambra)

These two royals have a really interesting story. Apparently Juana wasn’t actually crazy, but her father, husband, and son–not wanting to share the power and have Juana be Queen–conspired against Juana, claiming that she was crazy and locking her away in a tower for around 40 years.

The tour was the only planned activity of the day, so afterwards we all wandered around Granada more before returning to the hotel, having lunch, and heading back home!

(Alhambra)

Our short weekend trip to Granada was so much fun and I had such a great time hanging out with all of my friends from my program. At the same time the trip started making me think about how little time we have left in Seville and how, in spite of all the difficulties that come with studying and living in a foreign country, I really really am going to miss Spain a ton.

(Gardens)

I actually started to panic a little bit thinking about how little time I have left in Spain and with my friends from my program, and this led me and Sarah to reconsider our plan to go to Rome this coming weekend. With our trip to Rome and our big trip to Prague, Munich, and Salzburg, we are only going to be in Seville two more weekends before we leave. Whaaaa!?!?

(Walk on the way into the centro)

Anyways, Sarah and I decided that cancelling our trip to Rome would be nice not only because we would get to spend more time in Spain and with our friends, but also because Rome was looking to be really expensive. Oh, also, I would have had to miss class to catch our flight, which is obviously the main concern. So, now Rome is cancelled and I will be in Seville this weekend, then next Thursday we have a group Thanksgiving dinner, and then most of the people from my group are all going to take a short trip to Madrid together from Friday to Sunday.

(Alhambra and Sierra Nevada in the background)
(Alex, Ina, Sarah, Ryann, Liz, Katie, and Me)
Also, on another note, my woman and I have totally bonded. First of all, we cooked the pizza together on Friday which was so much fun because not only did we get to chat and bond, but I also learned a great recipe that I can make when I get home! I also have been spending a lot more time hanging around in the living area and talking to her whenever I get the chance. Then, yesterday she came home with two pink lady apples, one for her and one for me, because I was saying how much I like them; and, to top it all off, just a second ago she stopped in my room and gave me a little sweet that is apparently one of her favorite Christmas treats! :)My dad said he sent the package with all of the baking ingredients I asked for last week, so hopefully it will get here soon because I can’t wait to give them to her!

(Cloister where you can order dulces after reciting a phrase in Spanish)
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