Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tapas Gratis

Week 3 in Sevilla and I am still just as excited to be here as the day I arrived! Now that we are fully getting into the swing of things, I am truly beginning to appreciate the value of a Spanish siesta (nap). There's nothing quite like coming home from school to a delicious meal made by my senora, followed up by a little nap before heading back out into the city to explore a bit before dinner; I just love how quickly this place has started to feel like home.

Scavenger Hunt
This week, in order to get better acquainted with the city, Maria Angeles put together a scavenger hunt around the city center. Each team of three students was given a list of tasks to be completed, such as finding the oldest bar in the city and asking a Spaniard to teach us a traditional Sevillian song. While my group got a little side-tracked speaking with a few locals and didn't end up finishing in first place, it was a lot of fun exploring just a little bit of what this amazing city has to offer. 

La Alhambra
Over the weekend we packed our bags and took our first weekend trip of the semester to Granada! Only about 3 hours away by bus, Granada is a beautiful city surrounded by snow covered mountains and picturesque countryside. After leaving early Friday morning, we arrived around noon, dropped off our bags at the hotel and headed straight to La AlhambraLa Alhambra, situated on a hillside overlooking the city, is an enormous compound of palaces and fortresses dating back to the ninth century. The group met our tour guide and spent the next four hours wandering around the many different parts of the compound and learning about all the history that has taken place in this magnificent city. We had the chance to stand in the middle of an open air coliseum (where my roommate Ariel had an impromptu vocal performance), wander through the Sultan's summer home, and  even stand in the exact place where Christopher Columbus received permission from Isabel and Ferdinand to venture to the New World. Each room, patio and garden we saw was even more breathtaking than the last. Needless to say it was truly spectacular experience! That evening, we were able to head out into the city and take full advantage of the free tapas customs in Granada. Basically, anytime you buy a drink in Granada it will automatically come with a freshly made plate of tapas, usually chef's choice...definitely a rule I could get used to!

The next day we were up early and headed back out into the city, this time to explore the gypsy caves nestled in the hillside on the outskirts of the city. It was crazy to see just how many little houses and caves lined the steep and winding roads; definitely very different from anything I've ever seen before! After enjoying a cafe con leche at an overlook at a high point of the city, we were set free for the day to explore the many shops, plazas and, of course, pastelerias (bakeries) the city had to offer. We spent our last night enjoying a few more free tapas and made our way back to Sevilla early on Sunday morning. While it was an exhausting couple of days, I am so happy to have had the chance to explore this amazing city with such an awesome group of friends!

Open Air Coliseum
View from La Alhambra
The Sultan's Summer Home

Overlooking the city

Street in Granada

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