Living in Granada
I have grown up in a town of less than 40,000 people. Hilton Head Island is tiny – everyone knows each other and it is overall a very homogeneous town. My dream has always been to live in a larger city. This summer, my dream came true. I, and the other ten students on our trip, had the amazing opportunity to live in Granada, Spain for a little less than three weeks.
Granada is the complete opposite of Hilton Head. It is a bigger city; there are six times as many people (approximately 240,000), and it is very culturally diverse. This was not a great shock for me, nor did I feel uneasy about making my way around the city. In fact, I felt quite the opposite. I love the city’s atmosphere and the fact that it is a college town makes me feel even more confident. By day two, we were making our way around the city without using a map. (Travel tip: if you don’t want to look like a tourist, do not stop and pull out a map in the middle of the street!!)
The walk to and from school is different lengths for each pair of roommates depending on where their apartment is located. Madison (my roommate) and my route to school is about a 30-40 minute walk depending on if we make the lights. This sounds like a very long walk, but it doesn’t seem to be when you are talking to your friends, people watching, and enjoying the beautiful streets of Granada.
The food in Granada is something else. From croissants and coffee/juice for breakfast to paella or tortilla Española for lunch to tapas hopping at night, the food scene in Granada is fantastic. My favorite is either paella, a dish that is primarily rice with either chicken or seafood that is cooked in a huge paella pan and shared with a group, or tapas hopping at night.
Tapas are a huge part of Spanish living, especially in Granada. At the majority of restaurants if you order a drink (including soda, lemonade, etc.) you get tapas for free. In many restaurants you can buy tapas, but they are bigger portions. There are also tapas bars, which do not sell full meals; instead they sell solely tapas and drinks. (I recommend the patatas fritas. They are very similar to American french fries, but are cooked in olive oil (like most things in Spain) and are ten times better than any greasy slice of fried potato from America).
When most people think of Spain, the first thing they think of is Flamenco. (I know I do but I may be biased because I am a dancer.) We went to see a flamenco show in Granada as a whole group and it was amazing! The dancers’ feet looked like they were simultaneously floating on air and dancing at warp speed. The amount of emotion that they conveyed was both incredible and mesmerizing. Flamenco is also a great part of Granada. There are many places to watch flamenco in the city as well as right outside of the city in Andalusia. Flamenco is three parts: dance, song, and guitar. While the guitarist plays and the signer sings, the dancers who aren’t dancing are clapping and stomping their feet along to create a beat. It is overall an amazing experience and I recommend watching/listening to flamenco while in Spain.
The first week of Granada has been a whirlwind. Between classes, excursions, and exploring the city, I haven’t had a moment to rest (except during siesta, of course). This isn’t a bad thing though because I am trying to cram as much of this amazing city and country in to these two weeks as possible. After only a week I know that I am going to miss the friends I have made, the restaurants we have frequented, and the city as a whole, terribly. This is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I hope you can tell by all of our blogs that we are having the time of our lives. Now onto the next adventure!
– The above post was contributed by Hayden Garniewicz, who studied abroad with ISA High School in Granada, Spain, during the summer of 2015.