Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lucy's guide to Granada

Just sent this to Mom, Alex, and Dad so they know what to expect when they come and visit. I think it gives a pretty good summary of my day to day life and is a bit comical. sorry its so long!

Lucy’s Guide to Granada

Welcome to the beautiful historical city of Granada, Spain! This is the guide to Granada according to me. There are some things in this guide that may be universal to Europe so if you already know some of these things do not take it as an insult to your intelligence. These are things that I wish I had known or took me a while to learn.

My cell phone number is 622 368 504. If meeting times aren’t going to work out call me from your hotel or a pay phone

Brief History (I don’t know years)
Spain was a Catholic country but then the Arabs from northern Africa began conquering parts of Spain. Because Granada is the biggest city the fartherst south it still has the most evidence of the Arab influence. The Arabs were conquering Spain from the south and traveling North. Under the regime of Los Reyes Catolicos (Ferdinand y Isabel) the south of Spain was reconquered. This period of time is known as the Reconquista. When the Reyes Catolicos traveled to Granada they loved the arab influence and mezquitas (mosques). They kept a lot of the architecture but changed the mezquitas to catholic churches. It was then that they built the Cathedral of Granada which is the third largest Cathedral in Spain. They decided to spend the resources and build a cathedral this grand and impressive in Granada in order to portray their accomplishment in conquering Granada. La Alhambra was the Arab palace…although I do not know that much about it yet because I haven’t been yet (eeek)

You will be arriving into the airport in Granada. I have not traveled through this airport but I am assuming that you can take the local bus from the airport considering the fact that I have seen buses with airport on the logo. There is a bus that coordintes its departure with the arrival of flights. The journey from the airport to the city is about 45 minutes. The website says the bus is 3 euros and that a taxi is 17 euros.
Bus: The bus goes to a street called Gran Via which is close to your hotel. To get from Gran Via to your hotel you walk towards the big fountain and turn right. This is Reyes Catolicos. You will talk downhill for like 3 minutes and then on your left will be plaza del Carmen (this is where city hall is with the shield of Granada in the square and a horse on top of city hall). You will walk to the back of the plaza and the street in the middle is called Calle navas. This is the street where your hotel is….if you walk down for like a minute its on your left!

Taxi: Ask the taxi driver to take you to plaza del Carmen en Reyes Catolicos. (for description of plaza read above) walk to the back of the plaza to calle navas!!

One of the best things about Granada is that you can walk EVERYWHERE. The only time I take public transportation is when I’m going to the bus station to leave Granada. Also, I’m a genius, and your hotel is in a great location so you will RARELY take cabs (probably only to and from the airport).

Alex and Mom: We are taking the 10:30 am bus to Cordoba. I will meet you at the bus station with your ticketes at like 10am. You will take the bus 3 to the estación de autobus from Gran Via (double check me on this though because the bus map is confusing) It is the last stop, when I take the bus from my house its 1.20euro yours might be a little more but probably no less than 2. I am taking the bus from the bus station to your hotel on Saturday so I will let you know around how long it takes and how much it costs.

-There are no traffic laws and no pedestrian laws.
-If you are walking on a sidewalk that looks like a sidewalk, is only wide enough to be a sidewalk, and can touch the buildings on either side by simply stretching out your arms, then you are probably on a road and will probably need to jump into a doorway when a bus comes barreling around the corner.
-They do not have laws about dogs on leashes. There are dogs running around but that does not mean they are strays. Entonces, there is a lot of dog poop. WATCH WHERE YOU STEP
-In the 1800s when the city became more urban they put these inconveniently placed metal pole things that just so happen to be knee high. Whoever designed this part of the city knew that I would be spending my semester here and wanted to have some entertainment. I happen to walk into these knee high metal posts on a daily basis and have permanently bruised knees. WATCH YOUR KNEES. No one is safe.

-Spanish people do not understand the concept of time. I do not understand when they work or when they sleep.
-Lunch is from 2-3
-Dinner is from 9-10
-You may think that 3 in the afternoon is a good time to do errands and go shopping but you would be wrong. The ENTIRE city shuts down from 2-5. Every shop is closed. It is very very strange. The shops reopen from 5-9 which is when most of the people do their shopping.

-There are lots of American students in Granada and there are quite a few people who speak English but they obviously appreciate the effort when you try and speak Spanish
-The accent in Granada is a bit difficult to understand.
For example: Gracias is pronounced grathias
Soy un estudiante en España=oy un etudiante en Epaña
-Helpful words and phrases
-Tirar=pull Empujar=push (this way they won’t know your American before you enter the store)
-Me pone, para mi,=ways to order something
Me pone una tortilla Espanola
Para mi una cerveza
-Aseos, servicios=ways to say bathroom they don’t say baño here
-Perdón=excuse me
-Tal luego=see ya later…they don’t say hasta luego o adios
-Vino tino=red wine
-My favorite things I’ve eaten here are tortilla Espanola, jamón cerrano, schwarma, churros,
-Do not eat migas (aka sawdust with squid) or ensalada rusa (mayonnaise and peas)
-Spain is famous for paella so you should obviously try it but I am personally not a fan.
-Tapas (small appetizers) are free in Granada. Tapas are a big part of Spanish culture but Granada is the only city where they are free when you order a drink.
-The bread is incredible and cheap…you must eat it every day
-Another thing you MUST eat are oranges from Valencia…while on this topic do NOT eat the oranges on the trees in Granada…TRUST me
-I am obsessed with the pastries here. My favorite is a palmera con chocolate. Supposedly we have them in the United States but I’d never seen them before. Also, the chocolate crossaints are TO DIE FOR and are called napoletanas. They are very inexpensive and are best when consumed daily.
-Kinder is a Spanish (or European…not sure) choclate bar that is choclate with hazlenut cream inside (another must). My favorite spansih chocolate bar is Bounty which is just like an almound joy but without the almonds (so chocolate and coconut)
-There are lots of candy stores here that sell gummys and stuff. They also sell mixed nuts and various trail mixes! I will stock up on trail mix for you guys or bring you to my favorite shop so we can pick it up for our journey to cordoba (the lady isn’t friendly but its called tutti frutti so I go there frequently)

-It should be high 50s/60s when you are here. I usually get hot when I walk around though so layer up! That way you can shed layers as we go. The sun is really strong here so bring sunscreen just in case! It is also 40s at night so bring a jacket. Right now I wear a long sleeve shirt or cardigan with jeans and boots (or flats or sneakers) every day. I wear a scarf in the morning with my jacket but always take my scarf off after about 10am. At night, same thing, jacket with scarf.

IF ITS NOT COMFORTABLE DON’T BRING IT (obviously…you’re smart packers)

Spanish people are really wear about shoes and feet. We have this joke that you can tell if someone is America based on the shoes that they’re wearing.

Dad/Pete: obviously bring comfy walking shoes (sneakers) but nice shoes are a MUST for restaurants etc.

-The water in Granada is totally fine and tastes great! One of my money saving techniques is that I bring my bucknell water bottle everywhere so I never have to pay for water.
-When you order water at a restaurant they will automatically give you a bottle. To save money you need to order un vaso de agua or agua del grifo

Oh, where to begin. I should probably start of by saying that we love her. She is hilarious and a good Señora. However, she is the most conservative person I have ever met and is incredibly racist. When invited over for dinner I would avoid any political conversations of any kind. We will probably watch TV during our meal (just a heads up)

I have class:

Monday: 8:30-10 1-2:30
Tuesday: 11-1:30 5-6:30
Wednesday: 8:30-10 11-12:30 1-2:30
Thursday: 11-1:30 5-6:30

Tentative alex/mom/lucy schedule
Saturday night: be ready at 5:15ish to see my FAVORITE place in Granada ☺
Sunday: I have Alhambra tickets at 2pm so we can maybe do mass on Sunday morning!
Monday: Cordoba tickets for 10:30am
Tuesday: Cathedral, shopping? Eating? Laughing (definitely!)
Wednesday: Maybe you guys can do Arab baths while I’m in class? Then we can wander around the Albaycin and Sacromonte (the caves where the gypsies live!)

Sorry this is so long (obviously I am not excited for you to come at all) I will probably need to add more. Whenever I’m walking to class I think of things!

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