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Published: December 16th 2014
So, since Turkey I have been hard at work with my final year at University, and two weeks ago was the compulsory field trip (yes, I actually had to go on holiday this time!) to Granada in Spain. Like all my university trips, it was very busy, but I still managed to see everything as well as meet up with the Spanish girls a few times!
So, let's start at the beginning - Day 1
It was an early start on Sunday morning, catching the flight at just after 7am, however luckily as the flight was from Luton I didn't have to get up too early. As it was a group booking we had to go the old fashioned way of physically checking in, rather than doing so online, and to my surprise this was carried out by one of my old classmates from school (despite her not recognising me). After this, many of the group including myself gathered to await further instruction on what we would be doing next - only to find our lecturer had already gone off towards the departure lounge without doing so (quite the reverse from the
"We must all stick together" attitude at check in just moments before). Making our way towards the departure lounge, and subsequently the gate to board the plane, we eventually found our lecturers being the last to enter the room - to which is sarcastically commented "Hi Darren", in an effort to make him aware of our much more organised nature.With easyJet having now changed their policy to allocated seating, and the lateness of our booking, it meant that the class was dispersed around the plane for the flight, with the majority of us being seated at the rear of the plane, but with our lecturers at the front. Whilst standing upon the staircase to board the plane I again noticed our lecturers, and presumably high on the banter with my classmates I again shouted "Hi Darren" across the plane at my lecturer - something that subsequently stayed with me throughout the trip.
Having finally arrived in Malaga, being seated at the back of the plane caused us to be the last off the plane, which meant that by the time we arrived at baggage collection there were very few bags left on the carriage - however one
of our classmates' bag was not there, to which our lecturer claimed "well, it could be worse". Despite being lunchtime, the concern for the coach driver who was due to pick us up was greater than that of eating, and so we had no time for lunch. We then arrived at the hotel in Granada two hours later to find a damp and cold city (even the UK was warmer), and being Sunday all shops were shut. We were due to have a group meal that evening, and so despite high levels of hunger by 3pm, I managed to wait. However the city walk around the cold city after being both tired and hungry was probably the least entertaining part of the whole trip - and after teasing us with places that were "really good" before walking right past them, we were finally free to find somewhere to eat by ourselves - at which point my levels of tiredness prevailed and I was already way past the ability to sit and wait for a three course meal to be cooked, and satisfied myself in Burger King, before making it back to the hotel at around 8pm and going straight to
bed. Day 2
Our second day was spent exploring the city of Granada further, with a small lie in given to us following our busy day the day before. We started off the day by walking into the centre, and then taking the route into Albayzín and Sacromonte, two of the oldest parts of the city, where great views of the Alhambra (the Islamic Palace that overlooks the city) and cave homes can be seen. In the afternoon we were then going into the Alhambra itself, where spectacular Arabic designs can be seen, somewhat similar to the Topkapı Palace in İstanbul. It was here we were spectacularly photobombed by a Chinese man! We then finished our tour of the day by visiting the summer gardens - the Generalife.
With everyone else wishing to go back to the hotel before going for dinner I decided to leave the group and visit parts of the city by myself, as I knew going back to the hotel with the levels of tiredness I was experience would end up with me not wanting to leave again, and so I visited the Elvira Gate, the Gardens of
Triumph and the Royal Cathedral, before grabbing some food and going back to the hotel via the supermarket. As I has still not fully recovered from the previous nights sleep, I then took an early night in the hope I could then enjoy the rest of the trip. Day 3
On our third day we attempted to visit the ski resort in the morning, and be on the beach in the afternoon. We first visited Sierra Nevada National Park, where we found a significant amount of snow had already fallen, leaving the area with a very Alpine feel - including much black ice that almost everyone slipped on.
After a few hours we then took the coach back down the mountain and towards the coast, which we arrived at a few hours later, giving us our typical view of Spain for the first time. We then spent a couple of hours on the beach relaxing, before walking back towards the centre of Salobreña, and taking the coach back to Granada for the evening. It was this evening that I met up with my Spanish Erasmus friends for the first time, all of whom
live in Granada, and we went for Tapas. Although it was only a couple of hours I spent with them, it would not be the last I would see of them this week. Day 4
The next day we took the trip to the northern slopes of Sierra Nevada to the mining village of Alquife, to see the remnants of the industry that had previously employed much of the village. It was whilst walkign around the village that Saman decided she would great the locals by saying "¡Hola!". It was however when the lady then greeted back by replying "¡Hola!, ¿Buenos Dias?" that Saman's proudest achievement in the Spanish language came - when she exclaimed "Ah! I don't speak Spanish!", leaving a bewildered old Spanish lady.
Leaving Alquife, we visited the town of La Calahorra, which is home to the huge Castle, one of the first Italian Renaissance pieces outside Italy - where stunning views of the local countryside can be seen backdropped by the Sierra Nevada. After this we went to Guadix, where we again visited cave homes, before walking past a shop named "Kevin" and grabbing some food.
evening we were taken by minibus to Flamenco. However we were led to believe that we would be the only ones on the minibus - so when we clambered aboard, every one of us was shocked to discover two Chinese sitting in the front seat. This minibus would then take us to the Albayzín area that we had visited on the second day - however we were to discover that the windy hilly streets that we had believed were pedestrian only, were infact open to local vehicles - despite there being as little as 10cm leeway either side of the road with the minibus in the middle. Eventually making it we were entertained to some stunning Flamenco performances! Day 5
On our fifth day we took the long trip to El Ejido, and first visited a farm to see how ecological techniques can take place, before visiting the site of the worst race riots in Europe - a bit of an anticlimax when the only thing we saw was an African man shouting that he loves English girls. We then went to a fancy restaurant, where we walked in, sat down and grabbed a menu before
being greeted. Saman's Spanish also came back as she exclaimed she wanted a Spanish Omelette. However when the waiter who spoke no English pointed to Tortilla de Patatas, she again shouted "I want a Spanish Omelette"....only to realise that this was in fact what she had wanted in the first place, whilst the waited was nervously looking for an English menu.
In the evening I again met up with my Señoritas, and was joined by Laura who had come from Madrid for a few days, and we spent some hours drinking at Teresa's house, before going to a club beneath the city's bull ring - in a complete reversal from the 8pm bed time I had taken on the first night, I arrived back at the hotel at 4am to find that I had no idea how to get back in. Waiting for 5 minutes whilst needing a wee outside the locked door, I finally realised the sign in broken English was telling me to clamber around the corner between a bollard and a parked car and place my hand through a fence to ring a bell. Nevertheless, I eventually made it to bed safe and sound! Day 6
On our last full day we went to the Alpujarra region on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, where we walked from the village of Bubión to Pampaneira. We then took a coach to the hippy village of Beneficio. After making our way back to Granada via the town of Lanjarón, I packed my things before meeting with Teresa for a final drink before saying goodbye - what she did not know what that it was in fact a coup into a surprise birthday party - part of which being that her birthday was in fact at the beginning of September. After intitally not wanting to meet due to tiredness, she made it 45 minutes late to find many of her friends waiting for her. Meeting many of her friends as well as foreign exchange students in the club, I stayed for many hours partying, until it again reached 4am, when I made the journey back to the hotel for the last time, where our coach was due to pick us up ay 7:45am.
All in all I can say Granada is a very interesting city with its history and entertainment. Visiting the nearby areas was also of great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip - particularly with the opportunity to meet up with some great Erasmus friends!
I am now back working on university assignments, before I will make a return visit to Bremen in a week and a half for my last trip abroad this year.
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