I cannot believe how quickly the past two weeks have gone by. Although I have not been here for long, it feels as if I have been here forever. Granada has become my second home in such a short time. I think that can be attributed to the fact that it is such a welcoming city. I have met some great people and I am staying with a wonderful family for my homestay. This may seem cliché but I do feel very lucky to be having this experience, and wish I was staying here longer than a month. I guess that gives me even more reason to come back as soon as possible.
Classes began this week. All of us Australians have been put into different classes according to our level of Spanish. I am in Level 4, which is the Intermediate level. My class is a mix of all different people from all over the World. There are 4 Australians - myself, Hayley, Xanthe and another guy from Melbourne, a girl from Russia, a girl from Poland and 4 people from America. Our classes are four hours in length and are split into two parts, two hours each. For me, my classes go from 9am – 1pm. I am quite lucky as well because I live very close to the Centre de Lenguas Modernas (CLM).
This week we were incredibly busy with activities through our cultural classes which we are taking while we are studying Spanish at CLM. On Tuesday we walked through the Albaicin, where we were able to explore the wonderful winding streets of Granada’s Moorish past. Mariangles, our lovely teacher, told us all about the colourful history of Granada and led us through the beautiful streets of the city I have grown to love so much.
On Thursday we went to the Alhambra again led by Mariangles. The Alhambra is incredible. After the last week or so seeing it from afar, it was quite amazing to finally see everything from up close. The Alhambra was given its name because of its reddish walls; in Arabic al-Hambra translates to Red Castle. It is both a palace and a fortress, with beautiful gardens and incredible architecture. I felt so lucky to be able to be in a place with so much beauty and history.
One thing that Granada is not lacking in is places to indulge. In Spanish class we were told that Café Futbol made some of the best churros, however when a few of us got to Café Futbol, not only did we see churros on the menu, but the most decadent ice cream combinations we have ever seen. Naturally we ordered the most decadent. Feast your eyes on this masterpiece, of walnuts, nougat ice cream, liqueur and decadence. If you are ever in Granada, Café Futbol is a place not be missed. Their churros and chocolate are always pretty tasty.
Our second weekend on the Intensive Spanish Program was jam packed with activities- and I would have it no other way! Saturday we were off to a very early start to get catch the bus to Los Cahorros. Naturally I got myself lost, but after a few Facebook messages and phone calls I found my way to the rest of the group just in time to catch the bus. It was a short trip, but the moment we got off the bus I was met with the coldest weather I ever have experienced. To put it into perspective, there was ice on plants and on the road we walked on. But dramatics aside, although the hike in Los Cahorros was challenging at times where we were literally climbing up and down rocks. I have said this before but it is in moments like this where I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to have the opportunity to be on this program and to be part of such a beautiful world with so many treasures around each corner.
To end the week; On Sunday we headed off early on a day trip to Cordoba, which was about 2-3 hours away from Granada. It was a very busy day with so much to do and see. First we travelled a little bit outside of Cordoba to visit the Medina Azahara. The Medina Azahara is the ruins of a vast Arab Muslim medieval palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir, Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba. It was incredible to see how far the ruins went and how beautiful and preserved some parts still were. I cannot get over how beautifully they built archways back then, with such detail and delicacy.
After this, we then went to stroll in the Jewish quarter and went to visit the only Synagogue on Córdoba. Whilst it was small in size and simply in design, it was a beautiful synagogue with so much history and so many stories to tell. The detail that went into each and every wall, each and every prayer written on the walls - it was simply breathtaking.
Our final visit was to the Mezquita-Cathedral. Originally a mosque, the Mezquita-Cathedral is remarkable in its size and its architecture and interior design. The beautiful red and white archways, the incredible ceilings and the small chapels with surround the borders of the mosque were amazing to walk around and take in all the history that was around us.
There is so much more to come and I cannot wait. I am learning so much about ancient Spanish history, and I can already feel my Spanish improving! I can’t wait for what is to come next, but I don’t want it all to end either!