*This blog post was written when I studied abroad in Granada in 2009. Though it is certainly not up to the quality of the articles I currently write, I didn’t want to lose the humble beginnings of this blog (at the time called European Escapades). Bear this in mind, and check back, as I plan to write more informative posts with photographs about many of the places I visited while studying abroad.*
Since Sunday much has happened. When I left off on Sunday, I was planning on meeting up with some friends. So I left and found Alex, Frank, Heather (friends from UR) and a couple others and we decided to go back up to El Albaycín. Frank lives in a carmen (a type of house in El Albaycín) and there is a great “mirador” (look-out point) right next to his house, the same place we went on Saturday. So we stood up there for a while and then went to find this other mirador. Eventually we found it and it was really nice so we rested there for a while and then continued to wander. We found this really cool wall with lots of nice graffiti (murales) on it so we took some pictures of that and continued down the road, until we realized that we couldn’t go any farther because there was no sidewalk. We turned around and saw stairs next to the graffiti wall so we went down those and to our wonderful surprise these stairs were covereddddd in awesome graffiti pictures (see above? I haven’t posted pics in my blog yet, we’ll see how it works.) On this stair case there was a quote (the title of this post) that, very roughly translated, means “To do something without understanding it, this shows you blindness.” After we got back down to ground level (El Albaycín is en the mountains) we got gelato and then eventually went wandering around to find a good tapas bar. I can’t remember if I’ve explained tapas yet, so quick explanation. You go to basically any bar, order a drink, and get the drink and a tapa (it’s like an appetizer) all for the price of the drink. So lots of people go out and get a few drinks, and eat tapas for dinner. Eventually found this bar which I found again today called something like “the bar of Elvira street.” We had a lot of fun there and I got 3 drinks and 3 tapas (one tortilla with vegetables and 2 tortillas de patatas) all for 6 Euro. We went back early, around 11:30, because we had to wake up at the crack of dawnnn for an adventure the next day.
Monday we ventured to Cabo de Gata, a place with a Natural Park to hike and swim. Our program’s director, Javier, totally misled us/me into believing that it was going to be like a long walk near a beach and that we would stop 2 or 3 times at beaches to swim and eat our picnic lunches. He fucking lied. We got there around 10:30 am after a 2.5 hr bus ride and stopped at this beach before we began the hike to wait 45 mins for the other bus of students. Finally they arrived and we began. The hike started with us walking along the side of this road in the mountains for about 15-20 minutes. We got to a light house station and split into 3 groups. Then we started the hike. Keep in mind throughout this story that it is about 85 degrees F, really strong wind, and sand constantly whipping our bodies to the point where people would stop and turn around and scream “ow!!!!” Okay so were walking walking walking. I took a few pictures but then I started dying and decided I couldn’t carry the camera anymore. At this point we were going up a slight incline. It was slight, but you/I could definitely feel it. The we see this huge ass mountain with a path going up it and I’m praying to God that the path we are on does not connect to that devil path. It did. According to the sign it was 1km uphill, but I swear it was more. This isn’t a baby hill like the hill to Sue B by any means. This thing was a beast and you had to lean forward to help yourself upwards. I thought I was going to die. I am not a hiker by any standards, and I wasn’t looking forward to this trip even in the beginning. The scenery was kind of nice, but it was desert like, and the ocean was taunting us far below. I lagged behind the group and at times literally said to myself “I’m gunna die,” but eventually we made it to the top of this mountain. Then we went down. Going down was almost just as bad as going up. The descent wasn’t nearly as steep as the ascent, but after climbing, my shoes were killing my feet. In addition to the blisters I had acquired Saturday, my pinkie and ring toes were now rubbing my sneakers so bad and it was killing me. Add this pain to a rocky path and extreme sand whipping, and Chelsea is not a happy girl. Eventually, and this is after like 3.5 hours of hiking, we reach the spot where we are going to eat and swim. I ate my lunch and probably 1/2 cup of sand in the process and could not wait to get in the water. We had to literally climb down like 25 ft of rocks to get to this beach and when I finally took of my shoes and socks, they were covered with blood and there was lots of skin hanging off of my toes. Yum. I went in the ocean for a little bit, but due to the strong winds, it was reallllllly rough and my feet were dyinggg. When we were getting ready to leave I put my clothes back on but really couldn’t put on my shoes again. Luckily I had flip flops with me but I was still hobbling and scaling rocks to get back out of the beach. I didn’t take pics of this beach partly because it was a nude beach, and partly because I was so miserable that I wanted to forget that place altogether. We waited around at the top for a bit and then Javier was asking if anyone wanted to go in the car to San Jose. If you know me, you know of course that I gave up on the rest of the hike (2.5 more hours) and went with this other injured guy to the town that our group was hiking to. The other guy’s name was Mateo and he was from Israel and he was friends with one of the people who works for IES. We went to the doctors office so they could fix his foot, I tried and failed to find band-aids (the doctors office didnt have any?) and then Mateo and I had a beer and took a nap in the shade on the beach. The crazy wind didn’t help much, but I feel prepared now incase I ever encounter the fury of a huge ancient lion head buried in the sand of Agrabah and accidentally steal a ruby. Around 7 we went to the restaurant where the group was meeting and were right on time. We walked a bit to a larger eating area and and ate dinner after an exhausting day. We all ate a lot and drank a little and had a really good time. Frank told us some crazy stories and we laughed a lot. The bus ride home was calm, I got home, talked to my dad, and passed out.
Today (did you know toady is a word? I just accidentally typed it and no red zig zags appeared!) we had class from 9-2 and 5-8. It was fine, we did vocab of body parts and clothing in the morning session, and after lunch we did a little more and pretended to go shopping with 100 euros and then our class met in a plaza to share what we “bought” with the class. Then we played charades for a bit (la mima) and left at 8. The cell phone store closes at 830 so i rushed over to get a phone, but then realized I forgot my passport in my room 20 mins away because i spilled water on it and let it dry in my room and forgot to put it back in my purse. I went to the Plaza Nueva near school and found some people and a group of us went for drinks and tapas. Eventually Frank, Alex and I went back to the bar on Elvira street (from Saturday) and had a few drinks and then went home. On the way back me and this weird guy were walking next to each other at the same pace. I tried to speed up but as I did he asked (all of this convo in spanish) if I knew where something was and I told him I didn’t. Then he asked me if I knew where the Parque de Fuente Trionfa (sp?) was and I told him “down the street on the right, bye.” It was awkward because we were still heading in the same direction so then he kept talking. I was keeping my answers short so that he would maybe leave me alone, but then he kept asking me if a I had un amigO (emphasis on the O, meaning male) and I kept responding no to everything he said but he was really persistent. Finally after a few blocks of awkwardness I told him I had to go multiple times and crossed the street and thank god he didn’t follow. I made it home fine, but next time I’m pretending to be deaf.