March 21, 2012
The first few weeks of March have flown by. Here’s a run-down of what I’ve been up to…
Finally got to visit La Alhambra with my study abroad group. It was impressive in the sheer size and beauty of the old city/palace. One of my professors acted as our tour guide and showed us around the major attractions that tourists are able to see. Just like in Albaycin, views of Granada from La Alhambra were breathtaking. I have about 100 pictures just from our brief 2-hour tour… if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should find out —> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra :)
The weather has been absolutely perfect (at least in my opinion). The lack of any rainfall whatsoever may not be good news for Spain overall, but it’s been great news for my day-to-day life walking throughout the city. It’s been sunny and around 70F almost every day— the best!
With the warmer weather coming in, a group of six of us decided to take a day trip to Nerja. It’s a beach town on the Southern coast (Costa del Sol) of Spain known for the natural caves, tourism, and beaches. It’s only around an hour away in a car, but it took around 2 because we had to take the public bus that stopped in a variety of other beach towns on the way. We spent the day relaxing on the beach, taking in the Mediterranean, and eventually grabbing some gelato. Although it was 75 and sunny, the water was just a little too cold to tempt me to go in. Next time!
We didn’t go to the caves either. I actually have a weekend long trip planned when Julianne visits Spain at the end of April to go back to Nerja and spend some more time exploring the city, beaches, and caves. Can’t wait— it was definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.
On the 16th, Granada was home to one of the largest gatherings of jóvenes in all of Spain. Basically, Fiesta de la Primavera is a huge outdoor party in the streets and parking lots of one area of Granada. Since most of you reading this are probably from the US, the explanation of the party as the year’s biggest botellón (botellódromo) probably doesn’t clear anything up. To sum it up— around 25,000 university-aged students from all over Spain flock to Granada and party, drink, and dance all day and night: “to celebrate Spring”. Yes, it would be 100% illegal in America and would never, ever occur. The police are aware of it and staff the area accordingly, even on horseback. I’m pretty sure there were 13 year-olds drinking and smoking, but with the quantity of “young people,” people’s biggest concern just seemed to be keeping everyone safe. Surprisingly, for the short times we stopped by throughout the day, none of us saw any fights or injuries. People were having a great time and it was definitely one of the best people-watching days in history. Fiesta de la Primavera happens every year and it seems to be accepted by the majority of Granadinos. Even my professors had told us to go and check it out. Nighttime at the fiesta was a different story… just a lot of trash and bottles everywhere and a lot less people… that’s all I have to say about that.
Here are a couple news articles about it:
The day after Fiesta de la Primavera just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day. It was pretty clear that no one here really cares about St. Patrick’s day except for the students studying abroad and the few Irish pubs. A bunch of us went out for sangria at Cafe Futbol before getting our one and only obligatory Guinness from Hannigan’s. Even though this weekend was full of people partying in Granada, everyone in my program had midterms the upcoming week, so we all headed home early.
So with that being said— midterms! Monday morning at 8:30am I took my grammar exam… it was easier than I was expecting which was a nice surprise. Although technically the exam was on topics I had learned at some point previously in my life, I am actually understanding Spanish grammar better now than I ever have before (it was basically a fill-in-the-blank exam of distinguishing past tenses + subjunctive + a variety of other stuff). My other two in-class midterms were in Flamenco and POE (oral/written work). Both of those exams were on Wednesday and were actually a lot harder than I had prepared for. I’m hoping I do well in all, although I’m not sure if my grades from the Centro de Lenguas Modernas even transfer into my GPA back at RWU or if they just transfer as credits. Need to look into that!
More extranjeros! Although Francisca’s apartment is a tight fit for four, we have two more American students living in a room here for the next two weeks. They are 14 year-old boys (8th grade) from North Carolina— Daniel and Manuel. They both speak Spanish pretty well and are on a two week school trip where they quickly learn all the basics of Spanish culture and get immediately thrown in to host families. I can’t even imagine living all the way over here at age 14, but their program seems really cool. One of the boys is a lot more talkative than the other and has already deemed me in the “older sister” role. He’s asked me for advice about this girl he likes and has already expressed how he wishes there was no drinking age whatsoever. It’s crazy to talk to them because I so clearly remember being in 8th grade and knowing people just like Daniel and Manuel. They seem so young, but it seems like they are having a good time in Granada so far.
Also, I never blogged about it before, but we also had a girl from Ireland living here for a week earlier in the semester. She was older than us— maybe mid 30s according to Francisca— and was taking some classes in Spanish and staying with different host families for an extended period of time. It was neat to talk to her because 1. she spoke English, and at the time I wasn’t understanding much of what was going on in this house… and 2. she had travelled a lot of places and was able to tell us a bunch of stories and tips.
Francisca showed us a paper of students, so it looks like more extranjeros will be staying with us throughout the semester!
Here’s what I’m up to for the rest of March….
Friday: going to Madrid with my program for the weekend!
March 29: La Huelga!
March 30: Dublin, Ireland!!!