La Alhambra and Tapa Hop!

On Monday I woke up so excited to visit La Alhambra! I have seen beautiful pictures on the Internet and finally get to see it in person. We ate a delicious breakfast at the hotel before starting the trek to the ancient Moorish city within walls. I use the word “trek” as I had no idea I was about to get the best workout of the trip. Imagine 85 degrees, pure sunshine, highest incline on a treadmill, lasting about 20 minutes while wearing Jack Rogers sandals. Holy cow did I feel the burn. The climb to the top was exhausting but worth it as we met our guide to begin the tour.

La Alhambra was created for a Muslim Sultan beginning in 1238 and the detail in the architecture is unbelievable. Everywhere you look there are colorful tiles, detailed stucco with references to “ala” and beautiful gardens. It’s like living in a dream. After the Inquisition, Christopher Columbus reached an agreement with Catholic kings for funding at La Alhambra which makes it an important part of world history! It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the pictures and videos do all the talking. I hope you enjoy them.

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After our tour (and having to climb back down that crazy hill), we had our comida, or lunch, at Los Manueles. I feasted on a yummy chicken Caesar salad and huevos rotos (French fries with egg and ham). I could only take one bite of the huevos rotos as I have eaten so much on this trip I did not have any more room! Okay I lied. I didn’t have room until the chocolate pudding cake arrived. I suddenly was able to finish the whole plate and it was oddly refreshing being a chilled dessert. Now I was full. 🙂

After lunch, the kids headed out for about three hours of free time to shop and explore. Sra. Perry and I visited the Moroccan district where I paid to have my name written in Arabic for another cultural piece for my classroom. It was only 2 euros and worth it! We went back for a siesta, or nap, before dinner. Thank goodness the siesta is a part of the culture here because I sure have needed it daily!

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Tonight’s dinner was a “tapa hop” where you get a small bite to eat at each restaurant you visit. In this part of the country when you buy any drink, from a Fanta to wine, you receive a free tapa at each restaurant! I wish it was like that in the States! Off we went to see what places we could find! The first tapa we enjoyed was ensalada rusa, a mixture of potatoe, egg and mayonnaise. Not for me. About half of the kids seemed to enjoy it. The next restaurant we visited had a tasty tortilla española made of egg, potatoe and onion. I enjoyed this one and ate it all! The final restaurant we visited offered little bocadillos de jamón, or ham sandwiches. There is so much jamón in Spain. Despite it being a delicacy, I have met my quota on this food item as well. A few of us were still hungry so while others headed back to the hotel, we visited one last restaurant with Pablo, the tour director. There we tried duck ham, and despite my doubts, it was very good! Anyone who knows me knows I eat chicken fingers for every meal so this was a big step!

En route to the hotel, we stopped for a final ice cream in Granada. Pablo recommended Crema Catalana to the kids and they all tried and enjoyed it! I was so proud of them! I stuck with MentaChoco or mint chocolate and was again pleased with my choice. You are probably starting to notice a daily ice cream routine I am sure! As we arrived around 1am to the hotel, we had to go up the the terraza, or rooftop terrace, to get a final view of the city lights. It is so beautiful and relaxed here. The kids from Mason and Merrill had also went to put their feet in the pool, surf the Internet and visit with one another. I love seeing the kids make new friends while sharing such incredible experiences. Makes my heart happy!

I knew I needed to head to bed as we were leaving at 9am for Jaén and then onto Madrid. There was a only 5 hour bus ride separating the kids from their Spanish families whom they have spoken to for the last few months via Skype! I can’t wait to see what happens! ¡Buenas noches!

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