Granada, what an awesome place. Granada was a trip that was "free" for us, from CIEE. We could choose between two weekends, and I am glad I picked the one I did, because we had awesome people, and we reunited with Fernando, our orientation leader.
After driving on the bus for four hours, we finally arrived at our hotel. Yes, a real hotel. It was amazing...
We had a buffet lunch and then headed to La Alhambra, from the 14th century. It is a palace and fortress of the Moorish rulers of Granada. In Granada, was the last Muslim empire, the Nazaris, so the amount of Muslim influence in the city is absolutely amazing. It was really cool to be able to identify all of the Muslim influences in the buliding, which I had learned from Angel (who was also our tourguide here): the tiles, the arches, the water, etc. La Alhambra lies on top of a hill and has amazing views of the city, full of white washed buildings.
After viewing La Alhambra, for a whopping 4 hours, we treked down the hill, which was a lot harder than imagined, to the heart of the city. Granada is a lot smaller and more concentrated than Sevilla, so within a few minutes we new where a lot was. We went with our group to a tea café, where they sell Morroccan tea and sweets. I personally was not a fan, but to each his own. And I tried it, which was good enough for me.
Later on, we went to the Cathedral, which reminded me a lot of the church I loved in Barcelona. Of course, like every church here, we ran into another wedding which had just taken place.
That night, we went to Mae West which is the largest club in Andalucia (southern spain). It was three floors of people pushed up against eachother, dancing to American tunes and techno. Hits of the evening: Halo, Wild Wild West and Bob Marley. We had a blast because it was so different from anything in the US, and returned when the sun was rising.
After a few hours of sleep, we grabbed breakfast and took the bus to Plaza de San Nicholás. This plaza overlooks La Alhambra, and all over Granada. It is surrounded by winding streets of white washed buildings and houses. The roads are windy and don't have names, from back in the day. The locals knew the streets so well, that they didn't label them in case of invasion, they would have the upper hand....pretty smart.
After walking around the area, we walked down the steep streets for about an hour, until we reached teh center of the city. We approached the same area as the day before and went to the Capilla Real. This is where the Catholic Kings are buried: Isabel and Fernando (the king and queen from Colombus). It was pretty awesome to go down into the ground through a tunnel and see their actual coffins, although a bit creepy. On their tombs, Isabel's head appears a bit heavier and her pillow is pressed further down. They say that she had the brains in the pair, because she was the one who actually gave money to Colombus. My teacher, Magdalena, the raging femenist, loved this insider tidbit when we told her on Monday.
We all headed back to the hotel, grabbed some lunch, and were on our way back to Sevilla. I woke up at one point during the ride, and I think every single person was dead asleep. Again, when I arrived in Spain, I felt like I was home, although I loved Granada and would love to visit with more time. If you are ever in Spain, it is a must see.