Yes, yes, I know....Jay and I are not still in Europe but I figured I would update everyone on the end of our journey anyway.
So, we left Sevilla in a downpour and headed to Granada. We were very excited to be spending 3 days there and hoped that the weather would cooperate. The train ride there was fairly easy (although, to Jay's distress, no Zac Efron movies). We were also accompanied by some Yankees (One whose name was Shorty, I'm not kidding) who seemed to have accumulated 15 bags of luggage for the 4 of them. We called a taxi in order to avoid navigating Granada's winding streets and jammed out in the car with him to some American pop music. This was our first time hearing music from back home and unfortunately, as Jay recalls, our first experience with Katy Perry's "California Gurls". Who knew that Daisy Dukes and bikinis could make such a horrendous hit? (I secretly like it, don't tell Jay)
We found our hostel, Oasis, with help from a local man. It took a while to understand, due to the fact that he was pronouncing it "Oh-Wah-Cease". However, we finally checked in and were happy to see that they offered free internet and they had a rooftop terrace. Unfortunately, it began to rain, so we spent the rest of the day hanging out around the hostel and talking to other travelers. We met some very friendly people and enjoyed a really delicious (and cheap!) dinner prepared by the hostel staff. After downing some beers and sangria from the bar, we headed up to our room and went to bed.
I don't really want to know how much meat I've consumed in the past 5 weeks. Usually, I'm not a big meat-eater but in Europe, it's either eat meat or don't eat at all. Sometimes, my eyes will come across a salad and I'll get excited. But oh wait, it has meat on it. Ooo! Or a nice stuffed pepper! Hold up....it's stuffed with meat. And then that meat has been stuffed with more meat.
However, you can't really blame them. They know they have a LOT of meat and they know how to make it damn good. Especially in Spain, where the speciality is pork.
Anyway, we started off our second day with a free walking tour provided by the hostel. Our guide was super nice and informative (although, I'm pretty sure he had rabies. He seemd to be foaming at the mouth the ENTIRE time. It kinda creeped me out.) But, I guess rabies didn't prevent him from knowing a TON about the city because both Jay and I learned some really cool history on Granada that we wouldn't have found out on our own. After the tour, we went to a tapas bar with a nice Australian couple that we had just met, Mille and Craig. The great thing about Granada? FREE TAPAS. Oh my goodness, I'm not talking just a bite. It's like a plate of food that they bring out. Of course, you have to order drinks but it's still a great tradition. Props Granada, props.
We left our guide and his foaminess and went to find a real lunch, though, as we were still hungry. We went to this place called Bodegas Castaneda, which had been recommended by our guide book. The food was fantastic. Silly us, we should have know it would be good since there was trash alllll over the floor. You see, the holy word of Rick proclaims that if people are tossing their napkins on the floor, it must be good because that is the local custom. And if there is no trash on the floor, the place is probably inhabited by those pesky tourists because it would be considered rude to throw your trash on the floor in America. So we knew it was authentic. Jay and I, not wanting to stick out like sore thumbs (like our blond hair and blue eyes didn't already give us away), took note and did the same thing. Although, I had to fight the urge not to pick my napkin up.
After lunch, we took our own little siesta and soaked up the sun/napped in the cathedral square. When we felt rested, we went to Capilla Real, where Ferdinand and Isabel are buried. The cathedral was beautiful (although, kind of gory, lots of pictures and statues with bloody severed heads). Later, we wandered the streets looking for good souvenirs. Jay and I decided to go back to our hostel (after I got purred at by a skeazy dude, which prompted Jay to believe that I should walk in front of him from then on). We then took advantage of the rooftop terrace and what a good call that was. We drank more sangria and Jay polished off a bottle of wine while listening to some freakish bells that seemed to have no pattern and were kind of a cacophonous disaster. But very entertaining, to say the least. We got dinner later on at wonderful Morrocan place (AWESOME mint lemonade, tea, and hummus), then headed off to bed.
So far, Jay and I have really enjoyed Granada. The hostel is great and the city has a cool vibe (the free tapas don't hurt either). It actually reminds me a lot of Asheville due to the massive amounts of hippie shops and hookah rooms. It has been nice just to relax and not have to worry about traveling.
We started off our third day with a hike up to the Alhambra, a world famous royal Moorish palace/fortress. The climb up the hill bummed me out a little bit because I was serious about not wanting to see any hills after the Swiss Alps tore my ass up. When we got to the top, however, it was all worth it. It is absolutely gorgeous and the palace is so unique and intricately detailed. The Alhambra is fantastic, has very cool history, and wonderful views of Granada and the Sierra Navadas (with snow peaked caps!) The gardens were also a beautiful sight to see.
Jay and I wandered around a huge market afterwards and went back to Bodegas for lunch where we got an insanely cheap and delicious meal. Their salmorejo (cold tomato cream) and bacon is phenomenal. And their free tapas of paella is out of this world. We got icecream from this awesome place that looked really gimmicky at first but ended up being really tasty (enough so to make us go back another 2 times before we left). Jay and I relaxed on the terrace for the rest of the day with Mille and Craig, drank some great tea, and ate a HUGE dinner of paella provided once again by our wonderful hostel. Madrid tomorrow!!