|Whew! So much has happened in the past two and a half days! This is going to be a VERY long entry, so bare with me. :)
Lisa, Josiah and I arrived at the Madrid Barajas Airport around 3:00 pm on Friday. I was very relieved that none of us lost our luggage, since we had such bad luck with our flights! We couldn’t fit all our bags into one taxi, so I took my own. I made small talk with the taxi driver, because I wanted to practice my Spanish right away.
I was so excited to leave the airport and take in my first views of Spain! I probably had a big grin on my face during the whole ride. I wish I could tell you what Madrid is like, but the only bit I saw was during my ride to the bus station. I will share more with you when I actually visit there.
The bus station was extremely busy. Lisa, Josiah and I bought our bus tickets for Granada, and had two hours to spare, so we ate a late lunch and people watched.
On the ride to Granada, I saw mostly mountains and fields of olive trees. Once in a while we would pass through a small town. Even in the country, Spaniards prefer to live in apartments. I also noticed that in front of many hotels and restaurants, there was windmill of some sort, referring to the famous Spanish novel, Don Quijote.
After the five-hour ride, I was FINALLY in Granada! I went to la parada de taxi (taxi stop) and drove to my new home, Cuesta de Realejo 26. The driver dropped me off at a restaurant in front of a large cobblestone staircase.
“Está arriba” he said, as he pointed up the stairs. After 30 hours of traveling, I had to lug two heavy bags up those steps!
My señora, Manuela, 61, and señorita, Marian, 35, reeted me at the door with a kiss on each cheek. Manuela made me a small pizza, and I conversed with Marian while I ate.
The next morning, Rose, my roommate, was already in the kitchen when I went downstairs. She is from Iowa, goes to school in Wisconsin, and is my age. We talked with Manuela while we had mini croissants with nutella and toast with… peanut butter! I was very happy to see peanut butter on the table because I had heard that Spaniards don’t eat it. Manuela said she got it for her American students!
After breakfast, Manuela took Allison, my other roommate from California, Rose, and me out into the city. She showed us cheaper clothing stores, the main plazas, and stores for books and school supplies.
The night before, Granada reminded me of Ann Arbor. The streets are lined with clothing stores and places to eat at, and filled with mostly young adults out and about. Now, during the day, I see how the buildings are much taller and older. The architecture is fancier and most of the streets are made of stones, some sidewalks are even tile. There are many statues of historic people, like in la Plaza de Isabella Católica, one of the main plazas near my house. I love walking down the very narrow side streets. There’s nothing like those in the States!
We had lunch around 2:30 on the small, but cute, patio. Manuela served us lunch in courses – salad, pasta with red meat sauce, and for dessert, fruit with cinnamon.
After our siesta (nap), we girls played with the cats in our house! Marian and Manuela have had Tito and Cafú for a long time. They like to come to my room to lie on the windowsill. Our señoras just got a new kitten last week, Mimo. He is the cutest thing! He is teething, though. I have lots of bite marks on my hands right now.
Our casa is like a townhouse. Downstairs is a small kitchen, patio and living room, Manuela’s room and a bathroom. The middle floor is my room, Allison and Rose’s room, and our bathroom. Marian lives upstairs.
Marian had her friends over for dinner that night. They made sure we Americans didn’t sit by each other so that we had to speak Spanish. It was a little overwhelming when there were multiple conversations going on across the table!
Manuela served us a feast that night! First, we had tapas, which are like appetizers – stuffed eggplant, fried balls of cream, cheese and chicken, and seafood tarts. Next was cous cous with cooked veggies and meat, then honeydew melon. Finally, she brought out an array of small pastries. All of it was so delicious! If every meal is like this, I will be talking a lot about food in my blog! (And coming back to the states a few pounds heavier!)
I was confused about our large dinner, though. I’ve heard time after time that lunch is the biggest meal of the day, especially in southern Spain. Manuela explained that it was simply because we had company over. This was also the reason why she didn’t dine with us. She said it is the señora’s job to serve her guests and make sure they are enjoying themselves.
After dinner, Marian’s friends invited us to go out with them. We left the house around midnight. First we went to a fancy, modern rooftop bar called Forum. The bar also had a restaurant that slowly revolves, so everyone can see the entire city. As I drank my strawberry mojito, (the best mojito I have ever tasted!) I talked with one of Marian’s friends, Rosa.
Later we went to a different bar called La Percha, which literally means a clothing hanger. It was an 80s themed bar and played some of my favorite songs! I had fun dancing with my roommates. We left around 3:00 am with Rosa, but the party was just getting started then. Manuela told me that Marian and the rest of her friends didn’t come home until 7:00 am! Perhaps by the end of the semester, I will have that kind of stamina.
Yesterday, my roommates and I had planned to go the beach in Málaga (look for it on the map of Spain!), but we all woke up in the early afternoon from our late night. After a very late breakfast, I joined my roommates who were sitting outside of the ISA office, stealing their Wi-Fi. The office is just a one-minute walk from our casa. We just got Wi-Fi for our house today!
After lunch, I decided to skip the siesta and took a walk by myself up our hilly street. I ended up finding a famous garden from the 1800s, Carmen de los Mártires. Here is a very short article if you are interested in learning about it: http://granadamap.com/martires.htm
I took about 150 photos! These are a few of my favorites.
After dinner last night, Rose and I went out. Allison has been feeling rather sick all week. ☹ We met up with two other ISA students. First we bought helado italiano (Italian ice cream) for only one euro, about $1.40. Then we went to a tapas bar. I had a cerveza (beer) with a free tapa. My tapa was lamb shawarma with fried potatoes and of course, some slices of a baguette. One thing I haven’t tried yet that I must – Sangria!
Tomorrow is my first day of class. I can’t wait to write about it!
I have had trouble downloading many pictures because they are not the right size. I will have to work on that!
Lots of love,