*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.*
Wow, so just got back last night from a 2 day trip to Ronda and Sevilla. Here it goes.
Friday we boarded the bus at 9am and left promptly. Around 11:30 we arrived in Ronda. Despite the fact that our program directors had checked the weather and told us multiple times to be dressed for fairly hot weather, Mother Nature decided not to play along, and it was actually really windy, cloudy, and cold. I was almost a little happy about it because I prefer a slight chill to being hot, and since we were walking around a lot the weather really wasn’t that bad. We walked to the Plaza del Toros and split into 4 groups of 2o rather than one group of 80. Javier took our group and we walked over to a beautiful look-out point where you could see this amazing country-side landscape. We took pictures there for a bit, and then moved on. We basically just walked around the edge of the city, all while having a beautiful view (see facebook pictures). Around 2:30 we went up to this gorgeous little park area to eat lunch. After trading lunches like we were in elementary school again, everyone was content and we ate. Eventually we met back at Plaza del Toros again and got to go inside the bull fight arena.
It was kind of cool I guess? I have mixed feelings about this place. On one hand, I understand that it’s a Spanish tradition (although, did you know that bull fighting actually originated in some other Mediterranean country?) and that people consider it to be an art form rather than a sport, but on the other hand, I cant get past the fact that hundreds of people gather in a huge arena to watch 6 bulls get killed. Yes, that’s right. Six. I didn’t know this, but Javier told us that there are bull fighting teams. The first guy goes out and has to kill the bull by stabbing it with a foot-long knive between the shoulder blades (supposedly instant death). Then the 2nd guy comes out mounted on a horse and has to stab a hole between the shoulder blades of the bull (I don’t understand what the difference between this and the 1st bull is, other than the horse…). The the Matador comes out and does a “dance” with the bull, waving the flag-like thing and all that jazz. Then eventually he kills the bull. Then repeat this cycle, and you have a complete 3-hour bull fight. There is one here in Granada in a week and Javier highly recommends going, but I’m kind of terrified. I know it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I’m not sure I can get past the blood and stomach the idea of 6 bulls dying.
Anyway, after touring the arena, seeing where they keep the bulls the night before their fight, and getting sprinkled on, we boarded the buses again to head to Sevilla, another 2.5 hour drive. We got there around 6:30, and then Ann, Heather and I met up with Heather’s friend who is studying in Sevilla. We walked around for a while and then got hungry, which is around the time we started realizing the glorious benefits of living in Granada, as opposed to other Spanish cities. All the restaurants here were superrrr expensive compared to Granada, and you don’t even get free tapas with drinks! We were pretty bummed and ended up eating at this restaurant that was overpriced and not very good, and we ended up leaving fairly unsatisfied. After dinner we met up with our group to walk over to a flamenco show together. The show was really cool, I am always mesmerized by the male flamenco dancers. Their feet move sooo fast, it’s ridiculoussss!
After the show we went to this little bar and had a general toast with champagne to open the program officially. Then everyone parted ways to go out in search of a good time. Heather, Ann and I wanted to stop back at the hotel to put away our cameras and purses before going out, but when we got there and tried calling people to see what everyone was doing, no one really knew what was going on. We basically gave up on going out because we were all piles of exhausted mush laying on beds, and eventually Frank came back and we watched TV for a bit, and went to bed around 3.
In the morning we had to be out of the hotel by 9:30, so we all got up, ate at the hotel buffet, and put our bags in this room for the day. We walked to the Jardínes de Alcazar, this gorgeoussss garden that surrounds the Palacio(?) de Alcazar (see pics on facebook). We were here until about 12:30, and then took a break before touring La Catedral. After getting some water and ice cream we were ready to go again. The Catedral was really nice, and eventually we climbed up the tower (thank god there were no stairs, only 35 ramps) and got a beautiful view of Sevilla. After this we broke for lunch and everyone was being annoying and indecisive. Eventually a decision was made to go to McDonalds because they have a 1 Euro menu.
Fast food in Europe is not fast. At least not in Spain. They had 4 registers going, each with its own line. We were probably the 5th people in line. At home you would be out of there in less than 10 minutes, even with 5 people in front of you. In Spain, don’t expect to get out of there for at least 30 mins. We waited in line for a while, and at one point this kid tries to cut us in line. at first we though he was just standing next to us waiting for a friend, but as we started moving up, he was getting in front of us. We were all pissed, but we didn’t know how to tell him to back the fuck up and get at the end of the line, so we didn’t say anything. Fortunately the man behind us did. He gave this kid a good yelling at and told him that he got here after we all did and he needs to stand in the back of the line. Eventually the kid just left cause this man was not giving up…thanks guys! We ordered our food with only slight difficulty (Ann was almost the proud owner of 4 chicken sandwiches rather than a 4-piece chicken nugget) and then when it was the guy-behind-us’s turn, he sternly talked to the employees of McD’s about the poor organization of their lines and how it takes forever to get food and how people can cut in line. Awkwarddd, since I was standing there pressed against the wall waiting for my food.
After McDonalds, we still had 4-ish hours to kill. Heather met up with her friend again, Alex and Frank wanted to rent a bike and go on a bike ride, so Ann and I decided to find this big park that’s on the map to go take a nap in. Eventually we found it and lay down for a bit, but the flies here are really persistent and eventually we got up and left to go back to the hotel. After a short wait, the busses were finally there and we got on and left Sevilla around 7:30.
Overall, the trip was really beautiful. However, It made me really really happy that I chose Granada over other spanish cities. Granada’s size is perfect, we don’t have to use public transportation, everything is cheap compared to other places, we get free food with our drinks, and we get free food with our drinks. Also, we get free food with our drinks. Touring places with large groups of people is embarrassing and annoying, and I am definitely glad to be back “home” in Granada.
Abrazos y Besos