Hola everyone!! I apologize for the delay in this blog post, but I must admit it has been a busy week! I also realized that I had to upgrade space storage on my blog because I post so often, and so many pictures!! I now have to be careful about how many pictures I put in my posts, so I don’t go over again! But I worked it out because I didn’t want to let down everyone who’s been following me on this journey!! I promise to put together a video of my best pictures and videos at the end of the semester for everyone to see!
This past weekend, after a day trip to Cordoba, we traveled to Granada for two nights! It is a beautiful, old city, hidden between some mountains! It was one of the 3 Arab capitals of Spain (the others being Cordoba and Seville, like I mentioned) and has a great deal of Muslim and gypsy influence!
Our first night in Granada consisted of a Flamenco show in the gypsy caves!! So beautiful! For anyone who is unfamiliar with flamenco, it is a very well respected art in Spain. It represents all types of emotions, ranging from joy to pain. Most women and men who dance Flamenco are older, because it is a dance that requires you to have life experience before being able to portray the right emotions through dance!
The small dance floor and seating area in the cave!
A picture of my roommate and me (aka my twin) near the gypsy caves, that overlook Alhambra before the show!!
The following day we headed off to actually visit and tour Alhambra! This palace was built by one of the Moorish King’s, and was later turned into the main living quarters of the Arab Sultan around 1,000 A.D. It is absolutely massive, and is set high on a hill overlooking the City. The two main areas we visited were the Palace and the “La Generalife” or the royal Gardens of Alhambra.
The above picture is an outdoor theater located in a separate palace built by the Catholic King Charles V within Alhambra. They still have shows and concerts here during the summer! So beautiful!
Now for some pictures inside the Sultan’s Palace!!
The details painted and sculpted into the walls were incredible!! This was one from the King’s bedroom!
One of my favorite shots of Alhambra! Beautiful reflecting pool!!
I didn’t know this, but the famous author Washington Irving actually lived in Alhambra for a while, observing and writing about the people that lived there!!
After touring the Palace, we headed along a windy path to “La Generalife” where the royal gardens are located.
I really like this picture from inside La Generalife, but I bet it is more beautiful when everything is in full bloom!
My small group of “Spring 2” students who study at the University of Seville with me! There are other programs studying there as well, and at other schools but this is our small group!! Everyone is so awesome!
After an almost two-hour tour of the massive and beautiful Alhambra, my friends and I headed for some Tapas! Granada is famous for their tapas in Spain and still does the traditional version of tapas. (Remember, tapas are little appetizers!) In Granada, if you order a drink at a tapas bar, they bring you a little dish of food! The more drinks you order…the more food you get! It just comes with the drink, so they are considered “free tapas”. A lot of cities in Spain were like this for a while, but then started switching to a the modern version of tapas we see today. However, Granada has maintained the tradition! Since we are college students, we love anything with the word free in it (especially when it comes with a beer)!! And since we were hungry…we ordered a couple round of drinks and received a few tapas!
The rest of the day we had some free time to shop, relax and enjoy more tapas! In the morning, we toured the city and visited the Royal Chapel and Cathedral in Seville! King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel (the first Catholic monarchs of Spain) who reconquered Granada from the Arabs, decided to build this cathedral in honor of their victory. They are both buried inside the Royal Chapel, along with their daughter, Juana “La Loca” and her husband!
Believe it or not, the bell tower on this cathedral is not actually finished! It was supposed to have two more blocks (like the one with the bells) on top of this!! But, the architect who was designing it died and they ran out of money! It is still massive though! I could not imagine it any taller!!
The only good shot I could get of this massive Cathedral!!
Like all Cathedrals in Spain, the architecture and design is breathtaking! We were actually unable to go inside, since it was a Sunday and there was services going on! We did tour the inside of the Royal Chapel however!
This is on the outside walls of the cathedral! They are the signatures of students who graduated from the University of Granada (the first one established by the King, across the road from the Cathedral). Our guide told us that students would slit their arms after graduating, and mix their blood with a type of paint and sign their names on the Cathedral! Not exactly what I will be doing when I graduate from St. A’s next year, but hey, whatever makes you happy!
Now technically we were not allowed to take any photos in the Royal Chapel, but since I’m such a rebel I snapped two quick shots! The first is of the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabel!
It is hard to tell in this picture, but along the gate in the front there are stairs that you walk down and can look through a glass window and see the King and Queen’s actual caskets!!! It is honestly a little freaky but I went down and looked anyway! So amazing!
In the second picture, I zoomed in on the wonderful art and statues behind the altar! I have now been inside a great deal of Cathedrals, all of which have some grand design displaying the gospel or life of Jesus behind the altar, but I have never seen one that shows the death of John the Baptist! His head is off and about to be placed on the platter! I couldn’t resist taking this picture because I have never seen anything like it in a church before!!!
My weekend in Granada was very nice, but come Sunday afternoon I was ready to get home to Seville! I missed my host Mom, my room and the warmer weather! Although Granada is very beautiful and old, I am thankful I chose Seville to study abroad in!!
Tomorrow, I am off to Cadiz (city in the South of Spain along the beach) for the night for “Carnaval”, which is a two week long celebration in the city! It is one of the most famous festivals in Spain, so I am excited for the chance to go! Everyone dresses in costumes for Carnaval, so Kayla and I will be going as fairies (wearing tutu’s and painting our faces)! I will try to write a short post on my experience at Carnaval but I will not be bringing my camera because I do not want to damage or lose it! (Don’t worry, we will take some pictures of our costumes before going!!)
Also, I am skipping my Wednesday classes (very unlike me, but it’s for a good reason) because I am flying to Rome on Tuesday night with Kayla! I am so excited to visit Italy, I have always wanted to go there!! (I know my Nana who is Italian is very excited about this trip!) I promise to do a couple posts about our trip there as well!!
As I write about my upcoming adventures, I always am reminded by how blessed I am to have this opportunity to travel and see the world! I am so thankful, and couldn’t have done it without the help of my family and friends! Love you all!