Well being so far behind on blogs here is my experience in Granada (that happened in October…)! It had been a really busy weekend, I had finals on Friday, an around the world celebration with friends from class, and Asako’s last dinner. This was all the night before leaving for Granada at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday!
After some fun times tracking down one of the girls from our program, we headed out on a fun little bus ride! I don’t remember how long it was I want to say between 3-5 hours but i’m not exactly sure. We went straight from our meeting point in Alicante to the Alhambra.
I was super excited to go see this place! We had covered it in my Spanish Classes before and it was always on the lists of to see on Pinterest! When we got there we got our little headsets and were introduced to our guide!
What I didn’t realize was the Alhambra was an entire city cased by castle walls. I thought it was a really cool Mosque with the beautiful arches everywhere. I must have only payed attention to the pictures in class because I had it mixed up with a Mosque in Cordoba.
Alhambra means the red one, it derives from Arabic.
Anyway… Here is the giant map placed in the front of the entrance:
Map of Alhambra
As you can see it really is very large!
It was really amazing the details that went into many of the buildings. Many of them had the high ceilings and arched doorways. It was absolutely beautiful!
Personally for me what made it so pretty though was the details in the walls and landscaping.
In one area encased in buildings was a pool of sorts that reflected the beautiful details of the plaster Arabesques. Those are the little intricate designs all over the walls and pillars.
*Interesting fact: Many famous mathematicians have traveled to the Alhambra to see the geometric patterns and how accurate they are!
It really surprised me though when you would look up and there was this ugly beat up wall behind that magnificent piece of work. The reason was Mohammed who took over power of this area during the 13th century believed that if people saw your wealth they would want to take it. Thus he had an ugly wall on the outside and a beautiful treasure inside!
Now there was a lot more history about this then I will ever remember! Mainly because I needed to use the bathroom and we weren’t allowed to for a couple of hours! (Quick venting session: We were treated like 5 year olds by our guide that the college provided… It was really quite demeaning and we tried to be respectful but it’s hard when you are not getting any respect! I mean if my parents trust me enough to come here do I need someone 2 years older than me telling me I can’t take pictures because the group is walking down the same long corridor that is damn near impossible to get lost on… Anyway done and over and wouldn’t recommend her to anyone, sorry can’t even remember her name…)
Well now that that is done let’s move on!
The history I remember most or the parts that stuck out to me the most was:
1.The idea of keeping it ugly on the outside keeping the treasure inside! As mentioned prior
2. A room that they had crafted for talking “business” with outsiders. It was crafted so that they had a bit more of a home court advantage. The room was set up in a square with little cut outs in the walls that left room for people to sit. Probably 1 person in each cut out. It was set up so the stranger would come and stand in the middle but be sure not to step on the center floor piece which was not to be touched by anyone (intimidation factor 1). The other part was when the sun would shine into this room you could not see the faces of the people sitting in the cutouts (intimidation factor 2). Imagine going and trying to talk to your enemy in this room…
3. My favorite little history tidbit was learning why there should still be two lines in the money sign! It is symbolizing the new world. Prior to the knowledge that the earth was round and that you wouldn’t just fall off 1 pillar would be placed in images. After the discovering of the Americas and the simple fact that we are a round planet they would represent images with 2 pillars. It would signify not only the new knowledge but also the power of the new world. Thus important government people would be placed between these two pillars to signify power, knowledge, and a connection to the new world! I always knew we should keep both lines and by golly I still do it! I’m too stubborn to change to one, but now I actually have a reason!
The garden in this lovely place was absolutely beautiful! Sadly we were all in kind of a grouchy mood so we kind of rushed through it a bit. I still got some pretty good pictures! As I was walking through though I just imagined being a little girl running around here using my imagination to create a story! It was a very beautiful place with tall bushes separating walk ways and fountains strewn in between! A great place to relax and separate from the worries of life!
Overall this was just an amazing place and absolutely gorgeous! Here are a few other photos from my trip that give you the idea of how beautiful it is!
Hotel, Tapas, and Flamenco
After the Alhambra we headed to the hotel! We were ready to just lay down and relax a bit but then we noticed other peoples items in the room and headed to the front desk. We got assigned another room and as soon as we walked in we saw a purse and headed back down. I guess they say 3rd times a charm because we finally got our own room!
By the time everything was settled it was time to get ready to go out and scope out the scene before we hit the Flamenco show!
Morgan, Sydney and I went to get some Sangria!
One of my favorite parts about Granada is the fact that you get a tapa with whatever you order for a drink! That means yes you pay 4 Euros for a Sangria and you get mini burgers, croquettes, fries, or whatever they have to offer! It is awesome!
Sydney, Morgan & I
Sangria at First Tapas Bar
We went to a little bar and each got a few sangria’s and by the time we were done we had ate a whole meal! It was great! Yet we didn’t stop there we did a little shopping of the local touristy stuff. Well and we decided a pitcher of white sangria would really hit the spot! We stopped at another little restaurant to have some! We met a very nice couple from Canada and helped them order because they were still working on their Spanish.
After our pitcher we decided it was time to head back to make it in time for the Flamenco show. Let me give you a little precursor information… I am horrible at directions here and yes I know it, but it is very hard for me to admit because in the US I could be put into a cement mixer while completely intoxicated and still know where I am. Europe is different… I swear the earths magnetic pulls are changing and its not my fault that I can’t figure out North from South or even sometimes left from right… Anyway… Syd and Mo didn’t believe I knew the way home (this time I actually did!!! The little things) so we ventured on a path to no return… Okay I’m lying but we did extend our trip by a good 20 to 30 mins. Since we got so lost we had to run to the hotel (to wake up the sleeping beauty Kayla to go to the Flamenco show). I am in heels at this point with about a gallon of sangria in my system…
Luckily we made it to the hotel in time! Barely but we did it, also I got a nice workout! When we left to go to the Flamenco show we were informed we would be taking another tour through some old part of Granada. We were not extremely thrilled because our favorite guide was coming too! When we got there the fact that I had just ran at least a mile really started to kick in… I ended up getting sick during the tour and the guide thought it was because I was drunk… Sadly I was not, I am just really out of shape as you can tell, and my body likes my sangria stirred not shaken! After being miserable for the rest of the tour we got on the bus and headed to the Flamenco show!
What I expected to arrive to was not where we were! I expected a stage in a nice auditorium with fancy people there with their eyeglasses out to see in full detail. What we arrived to was what looked like a small city bar where all the locals would meet. The only thing a little weird was a bunch of people were waiting outside this curtain in a line waiting to enter. From behind the curtain you could hear some stopping and Flamenco music.
I thought it was kind of funny that a bunch of college aged kids were here when I swear the average age of everyone else was 60 and older. We were the minority and it made me a little uneasy that this wasn’t going to be extremely exciting… Sorry Grandpa and Grandmas’ you guys are really a hoot but not everyone ages as well as you do!
When we finally got into the little hall a man came around and asked what we would like to drink. Of course I ordered a sangria! I was feeling better but our little guide lady gave me a look and asked why I was drinking… That was when I explained I wasn’t drunk like she had assumed! Sorry still a little bit of frustration here! I ended up getting a gin and tonic which was better for the stomach anyway, plus I love the lime that comes in it!!!
The set up was very interesting in this little hallway. It had chairs lined along the edges on both sides, a few tiers of chairs in the back, and at the front about 6 chairs on 2 tiers lined up separated by the entrance pathway. The dance floor was in the middle from what I could tell because there was a wooden area till about halfway down the hall. I keep saying hall because this area could not have been more than 10 feet across.
Once everyone got their drinks and were situated the show began! It started with people filling the front two tiers. These were the singers, musicians, and sometimes dancers. I got a little nervous that some toes were going to be stomped on but it was actually okay because the dancers knew what they were doing! I mean you could tell this was probably the 15th time they had done the exact dance today!
My favorite part about the whole experience was the music. It was crazy because each person had a different beat going and putting them all together was like this magical soup of music! It was amazing! I can recognize that I have no rhythm (which is probably why I am not an expert at guitar yet…) and this experience proved it to me more because I would try to pick out one and tap my hand along but then I would get confused. Also I really want to learn how to sing Flamenco, it is a very interesting sound to kick out of your mouth but it sounds so good especially with the beats!
Nearing the end of the show a few of us got asked to volunteer to learn some moves! It was surprisingly a few of us girls from the Flamenco class so this was like a piece of cake! It was fun though and our friend John got a little jealous we got to dance with the hot dancer!
Shopping & Henna
Well after a long day the night before Kayla and I decided to skip out on the tour of different things in Granada. We decided to venture on our own and we found a cool little shopping area.
This area was probably a tourist hot spot because you had the bag pipe street performer, shops with practically all the same things competing with who can have the higher price, and a henna artist. It was fun looking at all the shops because they had leather purses, bracelets, wallets, these really cool shaped lights (I want one but I know it will break on the way home), lots of tea, your name written in Arabic, and the traditional touristy souvenirs.
Kayla and I being the tourists we are got some henna! It was actually really cheap compared to the US in most places. It was 10 Euros each for a large hand design. In the US at amusement parks that is the price for a small flower.
After that we picked her dad up some tea and I found singing bowls! I have only ever seen one in my yoga class. My yoga teacher said they are really hard to find in Nebraska so I jumped on the opportunity and got one! Sadly looking back I have seen others but I am very happy with mine I really like the tone it has! Pretty much what it is is a metal bowl with a wooden dowel wrapped in velvet. You tap the dowel on the outside then gently move around the edge to create a tone. This tone is great for meditation as it is simple. When I hear it during yoga it is during the relaxation time and it almost feels like your in a time warp, it is very relaxing!
-Well that was my Granada trip stay tuned for more blogs I am about to be rolling them out like Trump with his money during a presidential debate!