EMILY FRITZSON- If you ever get the chance to go to Granada, I highly recommend that you take advantage of it. I traveled there this past weekend with four others Tufts-Skidmore Spain students. Despite being just a five-hour bus ride from Madrid, Granada is different in many ways. Located in the south of Spain, in Andalusia, Granada’s landscape is much more hilly than Madrid. We certainly got our workout in walked through the city, exhausted after a day of exploring. The Sierra Nevada Mountains also provide a breathtaking backdrop for the city.
Although we only had one full day in Granada, we made the most of our time. We were in line for La Alhambra by 9am Saturday. Tickets sell out online weeks and weeks in advance so we had to get up early to wait to buy our tickets. But it was totally worth it. I don’t even know how to describe La Alhambra. It’s a Moorish fortress located on a hill above the city containing a beautiful landscape of flowers, shrubbery, and trees. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walls and towers surround the perimeter and it even contains multiple palaces. We walked all over, taking countless pictures and climbing the steps of multiple towers to see amazing panoramic views of the city. We were there for little over three hours and we easily could have the day there.
We also visited La Catedral de Granada, which was probably one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have seen during my time in Europe (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot). Headsets were free so we spent a lot of time wandering around the inside listening to the history of the many different elements of the church. We also walked to the house of Federico García Lorca, a famous Spanish poet and playwright of the early twentieth century. The rest of our time was spent walking and admiring the gorgeous scenery.
The Moorish influence is also very evident in the city. There’s much more of a hippie vibe, with many people with long dreadlocks, many piercings, and loose pants. The stores sell Arabic inspired items with colorful designs and big patterns. On every block there is a kebab restaurant offering durum and falafel combos. For lunch on Saturday, we chose one such restaurant with a large outdoor seating area. We soaked up the sun while enjoying the delicious and cheap food. The weather was absolutely perfect the whole time we were there. It was warm enough that you didn’t need anything more than a light sweater but cool enough still to be comfortable in jeans. The sun was out all day every day, and I loved every minute of it despite getting a pretty sunburned face.
Another perk of going to Granada from Madrid is that it is super cheap. I think I spent less than 100 euros for the whole weekend between transportation, accommodations, and food. My lunch at the kebab place was just seven euros! And because the program gives us money to use how we want to travel in Spain, my bus ride and AirBnB will get reimbursed anyway. Four of us split an AirBnB, making it extra affordable, and we bought food at the grocery store to make our own breakfasts and dinners. Not only was buying food cheaper, it was actually really fun to cook a homemade meal after three months of not touching a frying pan. Sharing a living space with three other girls reminded me of apartment living on Skidmore’s campus, and it was really fun to once again be able to hang out in our PJs with a bottle of wine. Of all the places I’ve visited in Spain (and probably even in Europe), Granada was one of my favorites.