On Sunday, I was so tired I didn’t even have time to eat breakfast I slept in so long! By the time I packed up my suitcase it was time to hit the road to Granada! There was a three hour bus ride ahead and I was looking forward to a quick nap. We have gone to bed after 1am since we have arrived in Spain due to the late dinner time.
Driving through the countryside we saw rows upon rows of “olivos” or olive trees. Spain has the best olive oil in the world, even though we have always learned in was Italy. If you check your “Italian” olive oil bottle, it’s likely it was produced in Spain. Take a look and see!
We arrived in Granada, the tapa capital of Spain, around 1pm at Hotel Carmen and dropped our luggage off before heading out to lunch! The streets were beautifully lined with colorful flowers and the Sierra Nevada mountain range framed the picturesque city. We walked to the restaurant Maese Pio and dined downstairs in a room all our own! Some students ordered arroz negro which is rice dyed with squid ink while us non adventurous folk ate paella con carillada, or a rice dish with meat. While it was tasty but I’ve hit my paella quota for the trip.
We split into two groups and left on a guided tour of the city. The streets were very narrow and we learned that they constructed the city in this way because it makes it not only easier to defend but also cooler in the summer in the sombra or shade. Granada was the last city to fall to the Catholic kings in the Spanish Inquisition on January 2, 1492.
We visited the chapel where Ferdinand and Isabel are buried and had the opportunity to see their tombs. I was without words. All throughout my Spanish classes I had learned of the power and influence of Ferdinand and Isabel and I was standing in front of their grave! Unfortunately, we could not take pictures or videos inside the chapel but the image will forever be engrained in my memory.
We returned to the hotel to get changed and ready for flamenco! I love the intensity of the dance, the rhythm created by clapping and the guitarista! Flamenco was used as a way to express feelings during processions and began in Andalucía in the south. There are three types of flamenco: religion, seduction and life. We laughed as a native explained to us that the easiest way to dance flamenco is to pick an apple, eat it and throw it away in a set of motions that corresponded. I probably look silly, but it was a great explanation!
Before catching the bus, we all stopped at a heladería or ice cream shop to have our pre-show treat. We all agreed to have ice cream early and dinner late. When in Spain! I chose raspberry and Nutella and both were divine.
We boarded the bus at a plaza and headed up the mountainside to the cuevas, or cave, Los Tarantos. It was a tight squeeze for the bus in the streets but when we entered the cave we sat in rows close to the dancers. The kids ordered their Coca Cola or Fanta to enjoy during the show. Fanta de limón has been a hit with this group especially, but I prefer the naranja, or orange. The show was spectacular and gave the kids a true taste of Spanish culture.
After flamenco, we went on a short walking tour that ended with a view of La Alhambra at night. I have been left speechless more than once on this trip by the views and this was even more beautiful than anything I had seen. As the clock struck 11pm, it was finally time for dinner! Robin, the tour director, studied in Granada while in college, and said Kebabs were one of the best fast foods to enjoy in the city. Boy was she right. Nearly every kid said it was their favorite meal of the trip! A kebab is similar to gyro to give you a better idea.
Before heading back to the hotel, I took a group to the ice cream shop (yes another) called Los Italianos. When Michelle Obama and the Clintons visited Granada, they had ice cream here as well! Of course, I had to eat there too! This time I chose the coffee which again, was delicious. I’m not sure how I’m going to eat ice cream back in the states. It just doesn’t compare.
After a beautiful sunny day, full of lots of walking and authentic Spanish culture, it was time for bed to prepare for a long-awaited visit to La Alhambra tomorrow.