3 Months in Spain

It has now officially been 3 months since I left Seattle.  That figure astonishes me.  I suppose I could now consider Granada as my second home, since I have never stayed three months in one place, other than Seattle and Renton.  The last month has been very eventful for me: I have gone on three weekend trips away from Granada, I finally found a group of guys to play soccer with, I aced my midterms, I have met lots of new people, I have eaten lots of tapas, I grew out a sweet mustache (which is gone now – sorry Grandma), I got my first Spanish haircut, and I have had a lot of fun!


On Friday Nov. 16, I took a train with some friends from Granada to Sevilla.  It was about a 4 hour train ride to the West.  We stayed in a very nice youth hostel, which was fun because we met a lot of cool young people from all over the place (Australia, Canada, Italy, US, Mexico, etc.).  Sevilla is a very beautiful city, with a lot of historical buildings and beautiful ornate Gothic architecture.  It was nice to see Sevilla, because it was my second choice of cities to study in next to Granada.  I am glad that I chose Granada though because Sevilla is a very large city and the night life is not as fun as Granada, and they don’t have free tapas in Sevilla.  While there, we saw many touristic sights – namely La Catedral (which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world), The Alcazar (which is an old palace with beautiful gardens, art, tapestries, mosaics, and arabic architecture), and the Plaza Espana (which is a large famous plaza), among other things.  Apparently La Catedral is home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and you can walk up 34 stories of ramps to the top of the massive bell tower where you can have a 360 degree view of the whole city.  It was amazing up there and walking down was a lot faster than walking up…  Sevilla is also home to one of the most famous Plaza de Toros (Bull Rings) in all of Spain.  I saw it from the top of the bell tower, but unfortunately we did not have enough time to go and see it.  There was 8 of us in our group from Granada in Sevilla, and we shared a room in our hostel with two guys from Melbourne, Australia (Dean and Luke).  They were really nice guys, they had been traveling all around Europe for about 3 months and they were thinking about coming to Granada after Sevilla anyways so they rode the bus with us back to Granada when we left and they stayed in our apartment with us for 3 nights.  They were characters; just picture two best friends traveling together, who both grew out beards along their travels, and the funniest thing about them was that Dean was 6’8′ and Luke was 5’5′.   We had a good time hanging out with them, showing them around Granada, and exchanging stories of our home towns.   It was a very fun memorable trip!


I really didn’t want to spend Thanksgiving away from home and away from family, so on Thursday Nov. 22, I took a flight from Malaga (about 1 1/2 hours from Granada by Bus) to Manchester, UK in order to spend the holiday weekend with my 2nd family – the Takeuchis!  For those of you who don’t know, the Takeuchis are my 2nd family and they have been living in the Northwest of England (near Blackpool) for almost 5 years now.  My family and I visited them last summer so this wasn’t my first time to the area.  It was a very nice, very relaxing weekend.  Dana met me at the airport and we took a train out to the country, to the Poulton le Fylde train station where Brian picked us up in the van and drove us home.  When I arrived at the house Shirley was just finishing up our English Thanksgiving dinner (which included four pumpkin pies!).  So Shirley, Brian, Dana, Dani, and I plus a couple other friends feasted and gave thanks for everything.  And I got to watch my first American Football game of the season!  Even though I was away from home, it was really good to be able to spend Thanksgiving with family.
Since I had already been to visit them before, I had already seen most of the tourist sights in the area, so this trip was nice because we were able to mostly just relax.  I got my Thanksgiving, and my fish ‘n chips, and a proper English breakfast, and as much American food as I could get my hands on.  The first thing Dana and I did when I got there was eat Subway.  And Shirley let me raid her pantry before I left for whatever American food, comforts of home that I could find (peanut butter!).  It was kind of strange to be back in an English speaking country again.  When it came time for me to go back to Granada on Sunday, I really didn’t want to.  It was very nice to be with family for the weekend and very difficult to leave.


My latest trip and my last one until I come home, was this last weekend.  5 friends and I traveled to Barcelona this past weekend.  We left on Thursday Dec. 6th.  We found a Ryan Air cheap flight from Granada to Barcelona for about 30 euros round trip.  It was a really great trip to kind of wrap things up over here.  We stayed in another youth hostel, which was fun again and gave us the opportunity to meet more world travelers.  While in Barcelona we saw many touristic sights: Las Ramblas (which is a really fun tourist street with markets and street performers), Parc Guell (the famous park above the city that was designed by Antoni Gaudi), the Picasso Museum, a Barcelona Christmas Market, the beach (which is quite empty in December apparently), the Sagrada Familia (which is Gaudi’s famous cathedral that he designed but never finished because he died while building it), I ate some delicious Spanish paella, and definitely the highlight of the whole trip for me was going to Camp Nou (which is the largest stadium in all of Europe) to watch FC Barcelona versus Deportivo.  Deportivo’s a really bad team and Barcelona only won 2 to 1 but it was still extremely exciting to be in attendance at a soccer game in Europe.  Watching players like Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi in person was unbelievable.  It was outstanding!
The next day after the game, we flew back to Granada and once again it felt like coming home.  It’s a strange feeling.  I’m sure the feeling will be even more strange when I come home to Seattle in 11 days.

This will likely be my last mass email update since I will swamped with finals next week and packing and getting ready to come home after that.   I will be home in Seattle until February 4th, when I travel back to Granada for spring semester at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas.  So I will begin the email updates once again probably sometime in February. Thank you all for taking time to read about my journeys.