Monday, March 9, 2009

The Greatness that is Granada

I. loved. Granada.
Sevilla is frequently described as having characteristics of both a small and large city. I think this sums it up pretty nicely, it has the narrow cobble stone paths, gigantic cathedral, etc. BUT it also has big office buildings and hotels. Granada really just felt like a small town, but it still had so much energy to it.
All of us piled on the bus early Friday morning for the 3 hour bus ride. We got there, got settled into our rooms and had the rest of the day to ourselves. When we first headed out it was right in the middle of siesta, so not a lot was open, but we wondered around and stopped in a few cafes to get coffee and drinks. In Granada when you order a drink they bring you a tapa with it. Actually this is the case in most of Spain with the exception of Sevilla (I guess Sevilla is too proud of their tapas and wants to make you pay seperately for them). So with every drink came a sandwitch or something similar. We then headed back to the hotel for dinner. I was so excited to eat some food that wasn't fried, but I seemed to temporarily forget that although I was no longer in Sevilla, I was still in Spain, and much to my dismay was given fried chicken. Oh well - the salad was amazing. We then headed back out and hiked up the entire city to participate in what all the professors told us was a UNC tradition - you hike up to this overlook where you can see the entire city of Granada lit up at night. It was really breathtaking but unfortunately really hard to capture any good pictures from up there. There was also this drunken man playing the guitar up there which was also added to the ambiance. From there we headed back down to town and stopped in an Arab tea place. I got a tea called 'Fruit Infusion' and it was by far the best tea I've ever had (as if I've really had that much tea in my life...) I had my own little kettle and there was actual fruit in it and it was so delicious!
Day 2: Saturday we got up fairly early had an amazing breakfast at the hotel and headed out to tour the Cathedral and the Capilla Real. The Capilla Real was first and it holds the remains of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and is absolutely huge. I thought it was the Cathedral at first because of its size. The Cathedral was next which was really really neat. Its a lot different than the Cathedral in Spain because its NOT Gothic like the one in Sevilla, so its really white and bright on the inside, not dark like the one in Sevilla. So...we're in the Cathedral and Rafa, our professor/tour guide asks "Does anyone here sing?" Me, in my dazed, over-whelmed state of awe of how amazing the Cathedral is dumbly respond with "Si, un poco". So Rafa explains how in the Alhambra, the palace we're visiting tomorrow, there is a place that if you stand in the exact center your voice is really amplified, so you can sing for us tomorrow. "Oh, uh...ok." This is then followed up by comments from everyone for the following two days like "Oh, Angela, are you warming up for tomorrow?" "Are you ready to sing". Yikes. More on this later....
So we finish touring the Cathedral and have the rest of the day free. We basically just went around to different bars and got various tapas and drinks. Me and my friend Casey also went and got some frozen yogurt which was no yogurt pump, but definitely delicious. A group of 4 other students from UNC who had already been to Granada decided to come back for the weekend and stayed in a hostel overlooking the city and the mountains where we spent some time sitting out on the porch. Then back to the hotel for dinner and then out for the night. It was really funny because all 30 of us headed out together. A smaller group of us ended up at a Discoteca called Granada 10. It was supposed to cost 10 euros but for some reason we got in for free. Its used a movie theater during the day and turns into a discoteca and night so it was really cool on the inside and 4 of us got up on the platform and started dancing. woohoo!
day 3:
breakfast at the hotel, bags on the bus, headed for the Alhambra. We couldn't have asked for a better day to visit the Alhambra. I am convinced that the sky was more blue than I've ever seen it. The Alhambra is basically a huge palace but we were walking outside a lot too. There is this really big tower we climbed up that overlooked the city of Granada as well as the Sierra Nevadas, which were covered in snow. Then the moment I had been dreading arrived, we were in the place that amplified your voice and everyone was badgering me to sing. Yikes! What was I thinking telling Rafa I sing? I was in Dottie Tippet's choir in high school, that hardly counts as having a voice anyone would actually want to listen to. Another girl and I got in the middle and sung a few lines of "do, ray, mi" before people realized that I was actually incapable of singing. But its ok because probably my favorite part of the weekend happened right there. Everyone stood in the middle, where your voice was amplified and sang the fight song. Ah, the fight song. It gets me every time. It gets me at the end of a basketball game we should have won, it gets me at the end of Clef Hanger's concerts and it most definitely gets to me in Spain, in the Alhambra with a group of people who are going through the same experience as me. I'm a tarheel born, I'm a tarheel breed and when I die I'm a tarheel dead.
After the Alhambra we headed back to Sevilla and I was in my apartment by about 8:00, in time to watch the Duke v. Carolina game. Luckily, there was a website that was streaming it live so I got to watch Carolina beat Dook...again! Its times like that I wish I could just go back for a couple hours to watch us kill Dook, hear Tyler's goodbye speech, celebrate on Franklin Street and come right back to Spain. But I might also have to make a quick stop at Yogurt Pump before I came back.
This weekend...Ireland for St. Patrick's Day. I can't wait!!
Enjoying every minute of it,

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