Exploring Granada one Adventure at a Time!
Mexican poet Francisco de Icaza wrote…
“There is no greater sorrow than to be blind in Granada.”
I cannot think of a better way to describe this magical city. There is never a dull moment in Granada! The history and culture of this incredible city is visible everywhere. It is so easy to discover new things in Granada that it is an adventure to live and study there.
I just returned from studying Spanish in Granada and I have taken away so many life-changing memories from my experience there. I stayed with a wonderful Spanish host family on the main commercial street in Granada, Calle Recogidas. I really enjoyed my easy walk to the school in the cool of the morning as I could see the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range in the distance. I would always take the long way to school by navigating my way through the maze of narrow cobbled streets. In fact, if you look close at the little metal posts along the sidewalks, you will see that the tops are cleverly carved into the shape of una granada (a pomegranate).
I spent a lot of my time in the most enchanting part of the city, El Albaicín, which is the old Moorish neighborhood of Granada. It is an area filled with intimate plazas, winding alleyways, and spectacular views of the city. From El Mirador de San Nicolas (Saint Nicholas Lookout Point), you can see La Alhambra (the Moorish monarchs’ fortress and palace) perched on top of the hill across the valley. This “red castle,” as it translates in Arabic, radiates with sunlight throughout the day…and the Sierra Nevadas behind it glow pink during sunset. I spent many afternoons lounging atop the terrace that overlooks the Alhambra…enjoying an afternoon snack, snapping some pictures of the landscape, and listening to locals play the guitar and sing emotional, poetic chants that resonate throughout the square.
After class I loved shopping around the Moroccan-esque craft shops scattered throughout the neighborhood. If I needed a place to relax I would sip on a minty tea amidst the beautiful gardens at my favorite tearoom in the Albaicín, La Tetería del Bañuelo. If I wanted to sit down and enjoy a nice lunch with friends I would always go to El Paseo de los Tristes, a palm-tree-studded boulevard full of bars and restaurants, to try a delicious seafood paella, a refreshing glass of sangria, and to have a chance at sitting beneath the Alhambra as it overlooks the city.
To top it off, the Granada school is actually situated right in the heart of the delightful Albaicín. It’s a beautiful, historic building with magnificent views of the Alhambra from several of its classrooms. It is so easy to become attached to the school because of its fantastic location, the incredible teachers, and the stunning secluded garden that surrounds the patio and café area.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Granada to any student looking for the ideal location to learn Spanish and fall in love with the culture. I know I’d go back in a heartbeat!