Today I packed up my room. Today I walked down Calle San Anton and Recogidas and Puentezuelas for the last time. Today I said goodbye to the city that’s become my home.
I’ve been reflecting back on how much of a whirlwind this semester really was. I’ve seen so much, I’ve done so much, and most importantly, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned so much about myself and who I want to be and how I can handle situations on my own and in foreign countries and without being able to speak the native language, and those are skills you can only acquire by traveling for an extended period of time.
That being said, I want to share these things I’ve learned with people who are not only going to study in Granada, but visit Granada in general. I think these are all some pretty good tips for someone planning on visiting the city that was voted the most beautiful in Spain (according to an ambiguous Facebook source, of course).
1. Granada is the Most Amazing Place Ever
There are not nearly enough words (in either English or Spanish) to describe the splendor and the beauty that Granada holds. I’ve been to 30 cities in my time here, and nothing compares to how entirely unique Granada is. I can say with certainty that I have never been anywhere that reminds me of this city, and luckily I never came across a city that I loved as much.
2. FREE tapas?
Perks of living in Southern Spain? With every drink, the restaurant brings out an appetizer or some sort of entree for the table to share, therefore making going out so much cooler and less expensive than if you went (literally) anywhere else in Spain. You’ll find some tapas bars around the rest of Southern Spain, but Granada is unique in that ALL the tapas bars have free tapas.
Honestly, looking at my suitcase today, I should have have packed so much less when coming here, because much like tapas, clothes are SO CHEAP. I bought more than I should have… I’m not ashamed of it, because it’s all stuff I’ll wear at home, but lugging this suitcase around tomorrow is going to be one of the more miserable things I’ll probably do in my life (but it was worth it!)
4. Tinto de Verano. NOT Sangria
Pro-life tip when you live in Spain- if you ask for sangria, a lot of places will give you a tinto de verano (wine and lemon soda) and throw a lemon/orange/citrus wedge in there, and charge you double the price and call it sangria. When you come across the real stuff, it’s fantastic, but those experiences are few and far between. So just order a tinto (Bonus Pro-tip: it’ll make you sound like a local too).
So, there’s a train station in Granada, there’s trains (I’ve seen them), and there’s a train schedule posted online. Plot twist? THESE TRAINS DON’T RUN. I think they’re working on getting the train system way down here, but honestly, it is not here yet. So even if goeuro.com is telling you that you can buy a train ticket out of Granada, you can’t. So just for your own benefit, don’t even try. Maybe one day we’ll get there Granada…
6. Travel Ease? lol
Around here, you’re either saving time or saving money, but trust me, you’re not saving both. There’s a major airport about 2 hours away, and to get there, you can either take a bus (about 10 euro) or a taxi (super expensive). And if you’re traveling with a budget airline, chances are you’ll be flying out of Malaga often and at inconvenient times, so you’ve got to learn to sleep in the strangest places.
But hey, it’s all part of the European travel experience!
7. The Andaluz Accent
If you’re coming to study in Spain to learn Spanish, that Andalusian accent is quite the accent to learn from. It’s super difficult to understand the locals, I’m not going to lie, but it made for a really good learning opportunity for me, and now I keep the mentality “if I can understand “Granaino” Spanish, I can understand anything!”
8. The Albaicín
I can’t possibly begin to describe how much I love the Albaicín, the old Moorish district that is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Some parts of it do feel touristy, but other parts feel so old world, it’s like walking into another country or time period all together. If you’re living in Granada, get to know the Albaicín and all it’s nooks and crannies, you won’t regret it.
What will I miss the most about Granada? The pastelerias on EVERY corner, and also the 1€ coffee… Enough said.
10. Siestas Are Very Much a Thing
From 2:30 to 5:00 p.m., the whole city basically shuts down, even classes, so if you’re trying to be productive, you’ve got to do that in your room and resist that siesta culture, because believe me, it is very much inviting…
Tomorrow morning when I get on that plane, I’ll be leaving a piece of my heart here in Granada. I’ll miss the people. I’ll miss AIFS so much. Mostly I’ll miss the essence, I’ll miss how being here made me feel so free and how it gave me just a wanderlust bug.
Until next time, mi amor Granada….