Monday, September 19, 2011

Alhambra and a weekend trip

This Friday our group had a guided tour to the Alhambra, the main attraction of Granada so needless to say I was incredibly excited. The only disappointment of that day was that I thought I had charged my camera yet found out that it had essentially no battery left and I got this one picture of the entrance haha.

That being said, it was definitely the most amazing experience I've had so far in Granada and Spain as a whole. It was absolutely beautiful and learning about the history behind it from one of my professors was awesome. Plus, it's situated on top of the highest hill of the city so it has amazing views of the rest of the city.  So Friday was definitely a great (yet exhausting) day.

This weekend, some of the people who are in the program with me and I went to Málaga and Nerja, two cities on the beach.  We spent Saturday in Málaga which was a really cool city. We ended up going to the Pablo Picasso Museum (he was from there) and then spent the rest of the day at a beach called Pedregalejo which was about 20 minutes outside of the city. It was an awesome beach and all the restaurants were amazing. Each one did this thing where they filled up a boat with sand and used it as a giant bbq for fresh fish. That night we explored the city a little bit and ended up hanging out on the roof of our hostel because there was a free concert which was surprisingly good. The next morning we took a bus ride to Nerja, a small town that is right on the Mediterranean. We went to the Cueva Nerja (Nerja Cave) first. It was amazing, I was blown away at how big the caves actually were and how beautiful they were. Plus it was nice to get out of the sun for a little. After that we went down to the beach and spent the rest of the day swimming in the Mediterranean.  This weekend was so much fun and really relaxing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Catedral en Granada!

This weekend I got the chance to visit the Cathedral in Granada, one of the coolest landmarks of the city because it's so amazing and beautiful and old (built in the 16th century).  It was definitely an amazing trip. I was blown away by the sheer grandeur of the building, just thinking about how many men and how much money it must have taken to build something like this.  The history of the building was crazy as well. We had an art history professor lead us through a tour so she definitely knew exactly what she was talking about. Such a huge part of the city is the struggle between the former Muslim rulers and the conquest of Granada by the Catholics.  Granada was actually the last region to be re-conquered by the Christians.  The whole Cathedral had this theme in it of victory and conquest as everything was a symbol of their triumph over the Muslims.  It was all very interesting and made me happy about why I chose to come to this city, for its rich history.  Despite all of the awesomeness of this building, it got me really excited to go see the Alhambra on Friday and see some of the creations of the Moors.  I'm really pumped to be in a place where you can so clearly see the history and the stories that happened 100s of years before.  I love how they just build around these ancient buildings and you can just walk among them, noticing modern skyscrapers next to grandiose cathedrals.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Visita al Albaicin y Sacromonte

For part of our program, they scheduled a "field trip" of sorts where we walked through the Albaicin and up to the top of Sacromonte (Sacred Mountain).  These are areas of Granada which contain a lot of the oldest buildings in the city and in Spain so it's amazing.  Nowadays, they are where many of the gitanos (gypsies) live so it's also different to see these parts of town.  It was amazing to get out of the lower parts of the city because it's hard to see very much around you.  When we got to the top of Sacramonte we had an amazing view of the Alhambra (which can be seen in the second picture) and the rest of the city which was beautiful.  I felt a little awkward being in such a big group just because I felt like we were invading these quiet gypsy neighborhoods but it was still one of the coolest experiences I've had here so far.  I definitely plan on going up there on multiple occasions throughout this year.