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"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." --Antoine de St-Exupery

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There’s a Granada in Nicaragua?

This past weekend, I have found that success comes in many forms. The success of this trip/weekend started with my mishap of buying the wrong bus ticket last week and successfully getting a refund and ended when we watched the Packers successfully take the Lombardi trophy back to TitleTown at 5am Spain time. In between there were many more successes. Starting with finding a hostel at 9pm in Granada after realizing we had booked one in Nicaragua. And after finding that every other hostel in my travel guide was booked.

It ended up being a decent place to stay. It was a very nice older couple, and there were four of us so we were able to get a room only for us instead of sharing with other random people. After feeling secure enough to have a good laugh about what had just happened, we got ourselves ready for a night of tapas and dancing. From what I can tell, the tapas in Granada (the one in Spain that is) have been much better than the ones in Sevilla. And you get them for free with every round of drinks. After fully satisfying our appetites, we made our way to a club where we were the only Americans. I have to say, it has so far been the most fun night I've had here. Although I like everyone in my program, going out with a group of 25+ Americans can make it hard to talk with native speakers since we're probably pretty intimidating being the loud English speakers that we are, so it was nice to be able to actually talk with native speakers and test out our Spanish.

Then next morning we had tickets to the Alhambra. Unfortunately, we had only gotten tickets for the gardens, not the whole palace, but what we did see was beautiful. I feel that I will definitely be going back there, especially since I have the excuse of not seeing the whole thing. However, I did get to see a friend from home who has been in Madrid all year (Sam Fricker for those of you who know him!). We didn’t know that we were going to be in the same city, so it was really fun.

Sam and I!

The Sierra Nevada. Gorgeous.

Alison, Emily, Lauren, and I

Granada and part of the Alhambra

 Later that day, we found a park and took a very nice nap in the sun. I felt like one of my cats just basking it in. After we finally roused ourselves, we went to the Catedral de Granada that Queen Isabella had constructed, and I was speechless when we walked in. It was huge and made me feel so small. Two of the girls had been in the Catedral in Sevilla and said if I was in awe about this one, I wouldn’t be able to speak for weeks after seeing the one there. Now I’m very excited to go see it.

That night we met up with Sam and his friends again and went to a few tapas bars. Really really good food. We then went to a cave bar called Camborio which was a lot of fun. The upstairs, basically on top of the cave, had a glassed in area with dancing and the downstairs was the cave and had more regional music. The next morning we went to la Capilla Real which is where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are buried. We got to see their coffins as well as her crown and scepter and his sword. I’m sort of a sucker for that type of stuff, so I loved it. (No pictures allowed!) We spent the rest of the day walking around the city, soaking it all in. The bus was, again, easy to take home, and when I actually got back to my house, I walked in to find a yellow lab that is 8 months old! Maria got him on Saturday so we now have a puppy running around. It’s nice to be able to get my animal fix ☺
Then, the Super Bowl. Although I am loving my time here (and not homesick at all yet…shocker), I would have done anything to teleport back to Wisconsin that day/night. We watched the game in the bar we had reserved and it ended at about 4am our time so we had to leave right away since it was a Sunday night/Monday morning. We had fun, but people here just don’t understand how much winning the Super Bowl means, so in reality, it didn’t feel much like the Super Bowl.

I’ve now had all of my classes. I’m taking two Spanish classes and two Business classes, but they’re all conducted in Spanish. The first is a Spanish phonetics class which I think will be very interesting, and the Professor seems really nice and had been teaching Americans for 20 years so he's easy to understand. The second Spanish class is a translating class, which I didn’t even realize I had signed up for. I already do some translating for emails that go back and forth between my church and El Salvador and I love it but had never really thought about that as an actual job after I graduate. I’d be an insane amount of work, but something to think about…

My first business class is Managing Cultural Diversity. We were only there for about 20 minutes and the professor didn’t seem very prepared, but I’m interested in the subject matter so I think I’ll still enjoy the class. The final class is European Economy, the one I was most worried about since I know hardly anything about it, but my professor seems really fun and into what he teaches which always makes the class better.

Since I have class starting at 1pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, I’ve decided that I need to get up early(ish) and go see places in Sevilla. Planning trips elsewhere has been time consuming and stressful (probably the most stressful part of the trip so far), and last night I realized that I had hardly looked at the section in my travel guide on Sevilla. So today I got up and actually spent some quality time in the Plaza de Espana. The actual building part is government offices, but by the walls around it are all the provinces of Spain. The tile work is gorgeous, and I can’t wait until it’s warm enough for them to turn on the fountain! Oh and George Lucas filmed part of Star Wars: Return of the Clones on the bridges. 

Torre del sur (and the sign of the mini street it's on)

Wishing I had a panoramic camera, but here is part of it!

Center for the inside

Same area, but from the side.

These are the little alcoves that surround it where the provinces are named

The center. Soon that fountain will be on!


Right before sunset.
P.S. Sorry this one is so long! I'll try and be better about updating so it isn't a novel!

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