I was hoping that when I got to Granada I would realize that it wasn’t that cool and that I was ok with not being assigned to a school there. Well, that didn’t happen. Granada is sooo awesome. There is something so nice about the size and the atmosphere and the people, and everything about it was just perfect. Even though we stayed at a questionable hostel called Funky Backpackers where the receptionist dropped my computer on the floor, I still had a fabulous time in Granada. I think the thing that really pushed it over the edge is the fact that with every drink you order, you get free food. Any place that gives me free anything immediately has earned my love, so Granada; I love you.
Lindsey and I met up with another auxiliary named Cara who is also from California. We have some mutual friends from L.A., so it was the first auxiliary-facebook meet-up that wasn’t purely creepily internet based. We walked around, had some tapas, ate some chocolate, and just generally enjoyed Granada. Cara is another person who seems to have worked out a really wonderful housing situation. Her balcony looks over Plaza Nueva and is occupied by a number of Erasmus students from all over Europe. It’s a mini version of Granada itself: a ton of students from all over the world just living together in an awesome place. I’m jealous.
After Lindsey set off for Madrid, I headed off to meet up with Julia, the GSE onsite director in Granada and the director of the Barcelona program when I was a student. Julia took me out (via bus yet again L) to her town right outside of Granada, Cullar Vega, which she described quite accurately as the Spanish equivalent of American suburbs. Cullar Vega was my first real look into a Spanish town outside of the tourist destinations (other than what I could see from my bus seat), and it was kind of awesome, for completely different reasons than the things that make Barcelona, Granada, and Madrid so cool. Julia grew up in the town, so she knew people all over the place. We went to get some tapas and then set off for the town’s feria, which was basically a huge carnival/funfair complete with tents housing performers, bars, makeshift restaurants, etc.
After a performance by some sort of student marching band-type deal, we watched a martial arts demonstration in which Julia’s husband was participating. He is American, from Iowa, and it was really interesting to see him there as a normal citizen of the town. I think it gave me a little hope that I could fit in where I was going.
Julia, like Inma, was an awesome hostess. GSE has a great thing going with these ladies! She took me around Granada for a grand tour, GSE style, and I got to see the CLM, the welcome hotel, and a number of other things that anyone outside of GSE (or maybe anyone else besides me) will probably not care about. But I loved it! We were both over-enthusiastically talking about study abroad which made me a little sad to be a former GSE employee. L Boo. But we also ate some great food, which made me happy. J Yay!
The rest of my Granada experiences consist of food. Suffice it to say, I ate too much and drank too much and loved every minute of it. I am going to do a more comprehensive overview of exactly what I ate/drank and where I ate/drank it after I go back to Granada next week, because I was too busy eating to take any pictures. Bottom line: Granada just gets more awesome every time I go back, and I can’t wait to go back again.