Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving and Granada

Friends from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and
Germany enjoying their first Thanksgiving!
Some of the food from our Thanksgiving dinner
 Thanksgiving is always a bittersweet holiday.  Obviously, I miss spending the holiday with loved ones from home but I was lucky enough to have a great group of people to spend it with here in Spain! In typical Spanish fashion, we didn't eat Thanksgiving dinner until 10pm, but everything else was pretty authentic.  Five of us American girls got together and provided the main parts of the meal: Roasted Chicken (no turkey here), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green bean casserole,  dinner rolls and banana bread.  Our other 15 or so foreign guests brought salads, desserts and someone even brought mac-n-cheese! To keep with American tradition, we had each guests say what they were thankful for.  Although this is normal to us, this made a lot of our guests kind of uncomfortable; they aren't used to being that open.  Nonetheless everyone participated and we dug in!  The meal was surprisingly authentic and everyone loved it.  It was so special for us Americans to spread our tradition with all of our international guests (7 countries were represented at dinner!).  It made the holiday that much more special to celebrate.

One of the beautiful views at the Alhambra
I spent this past weekend in Granada!  It's only a short distance away (2 and a half hours by bus), so I've been dying to check it out since I got here.  I left late because I had to teach private lessons on Friday but I met my friends Amy and Hannah there.  The first night, we just went out for tapas.

Saturday we woke up and headed towards the Alhambra.  Although we didn't have a scheduled tour for the castle until 3pm, we knew there were a lot of things to see on the way.  Granada is a town that has been extremely influenced by moorish culture due to it's history, so all of the shops we stopped in had a Moroccan/Arabic flare! After some shopping, we sat down for a tapa of paella and enjoyed the incredible scenery.  By that time it was time to make the ascent to the Alhambra, which is situated on top of a hill so it was no easy task.  Finally we made it and spent three hours exploring the giant moorish castle, it's gardens, and the breath-taking views.  The castle was stunning and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Granada. Next, we headed to a restaurant in the Albayzin neighborhood (on a hill opposite the Alhambra) to buy flamenco tickets for later that night.  The neighborhood is notorious for Mirador San Nicolas which is the most famous view of Granada.  From this view, you can see the snow-capped Sierra-Nevada mountains, the Alhambra, and the entire city of Granada.  The pictures I took can't do it justice, but take my word that it was incredible.  Later that night we went to a Flamenco show (sorry, the pictures didn't turn out) which was fun because it was my first!  Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance that includes a lot of stomping and arm movements.  Very cool.  After the show we went out and enjoyed a few more tapas before bed.
View of the Alhambra from "Mirador San Nicolas" with the Sierra-Nevada mountains in the background

Sunday, we did a little more shopping and visited a traditional Moroccan tetería (tea restaurant).  We sipped on mint tea and at delicious Moroccan food.  After that, it was time to go home.

At the Moroccan Tetería
An all around incredible weekend.  I love traveling but I need a break and I'm looking forward to just staying here in Almería this weekend :)

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