An American, A Swiss, and A Norwegian Walk into a Bar…

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Tetería/ Hookah Lounge

Well it wasn’t really a bar, it was actually more of a hookah lounge and tetería (tea place). Had you told me two weeks ago that I would be drinking the most delicious almond tea with a group of friends from all over the world in Granada, I wouldn’t have believed it. But there I was, sipping tea in a cozy yet smoke-filled tetería/hookah lounge in the city center.

I spent this past Saturday and Sunday in Granada and even though it was a short trip, I think it was just enough time to see what the city had to offer.

Right after checking into the hotel we were given two hours of free time to explore on our own, go shopping, and eat lunch. I went with two girls to a small- yet very popular- tapas restaurant. The food was absolutely delicious (we got different types of sandwiches and two tapas to share) and I was amazed by how cheap the food was. I have to say that my favorite tapa dish is still the tortilla española, it is like a thick omelette with potatoes.

Next, we went on a short walking tour of the city. Granada is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which meant it was much colder there than in Sevilla. It also meant that the peaks of the mountains were covered in snow, which was beautiful to see. IMG_7629

The next day we went on a four hour guided tour of La Alhambra which is a palace that is easily one of Spain’s biggest tourist attractions. It was built by the Arabs but also has many Christian influences since it was completed near the end of the Muslim rule of Spain. Both of these religions are seen in its amazing architecture.

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In addition, a lot of the architecture uses plaster.
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My favorite part of the Alhambra was definitely the view from one of its towers. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like it. I especially love how similar all of the white houses look.

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After being here almost three weeks, I’ve discovered that studying in Spain with a language school is quite amazing. Not just because my Spanish is improving or that I get to go on trips like this one, but mainly because my friends here are from all parts of the world. While visiting Granada, I learned a lot about other cultures besides Spain through conversations with my friends and other international students on the trip.

With all of these weekend trips I haven’t had too much time to properly explore Sevilla yet, but that is on the itinerary for this upcoming week!

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Allegra, Meet Sevilla

It’s Sunday and raining and I couldn’t ask for anything more. After a week filled with activities it’s nice to take a moment and relax even though my brain keeps telling me to keep exploring.

On Monday I started Spanish classes at a language school called CLIC IH and I am amazed at how far my Spanish has come in just one week. Though I’m sure this is partly due to living in a homestay with four Spanish host sisters. They are all roughly my age and have similar interests like film and music so there is always plenty to talk about besides the usual comparing of cultures. We live in the center of Sevilla, very close to the Cathedral and La Giralda, and all of the surrounding streets look very similar which means that I have already gotten lost more times than I’d like to admit.

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Las Setas right around the corner from my home.

I have also explored (and gotten lost in) the city center, the surrounding Plazas, and the main shopping streets (their biggest sale season is going on right now and all I want to do is shop!). My favorite area as of right now is la Avenida de la Constitución which is where the Cathedral is located.

The Cathedral in Sevilla

The Cathedral in Sevilla

My excursions, though, haven’t been contained to Sevilla alone. Yesterday my school took us to visit Cordoba, the capitol of Andalusia and a city well know for its Mesquite and one remaining synagogue. It is amazing that you can walk down a street here and stumble into something that was built over 600 years ago, like the Synagogue. That is something you can’t see every day walking through Times Square or downtown LA.

La Mesquita en Cordoba.

La Mesquita en Cordoba.

Just your average Jew in a 700 year old synagogue.

Just your average Jew in a 700 year old synagogue.

Spain is quite different than what I’m used to in the United States, but I can say that I’ve already fallen in love with the customs and culture here.

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I Made It!

Well folks, it’s for real, I officially landed in Madrid! After about 40 minutes of trying to figure out how to access the airport wifi I can finally relax and wait for my connecting flight to Sevilla. Everything here is so trendy, even though it’s only an airport the ceilings are gorgeous and the atmosphere is much more comforting than even the VIP lounge at JFK- which I also got to experience earlier today (or yesterday? This time change is messing with me). Spain, I love you already.

It’s funny actually, the time now is 8am but in my head it feels like the middle of the night so I’m really confused whether I should be feeling hungry or sleepy. The good part about airports is that it’s so easy to grab a snack and take a quick nap. That’s pretty much the best of both worlds when it comes to traveling. Since the time change is so drastic I ended up sleeping for only two hours on my six hour journey so I’m afraid some of my logic is dampened by delirium at the moment. But that’s okay because in two more hours I will finally be in Sevilla and get to start my four month long adventure in Spain!

Now time to find my gate… More adventures to come!

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