I decided to go back to live blogging and record our school trip to Granada and Córdoba in Andalucía in the south of Spain. NYU Madrid pays for each student to go on one of three trips: Andalucía, Extremadura and Portugal or Valencia. We all chose Andalucía because we all planned on going to Portugal on our own and wanted to go to Valencia for Fallas – a five day long festival in March. Luckily for us, almost all the girls in our group got on the trip so it’s perfect!
12:15 PM – Friday February 15
This morning we were up way too early (at 6:20) to arrive at school by 7:45 and be on the bus by 8. After a quick ride on the Cercancías (similar to the Metro North in the city). As soon as we got settled on the bus we were all passed out – what can I say, we all need our beauty sleep! Two hours later we stopped for café con leche y pincho de tortilla, shortly before entering into the autonomous region of Andalucía. It is the largest region in Spain in regards to population and surface area. Today we will get into to Córdoba around 1:30, grab a quick bite to eat at a Cafetería then head to the Mezquita and Jewish Quarter.
Though Córdoba is rich in its Arabic and Jewish history, we will only be staying a short while before heading to Granada (home to the famous Alhambra).
I’m in dire need of another nap before we arrive so that’s it for now.
5:37 PM Friday February 15
We are once again back on the bus, except this time headed to Granada. Though my legs are a tad tired from all the exploring, I am sad we are leaving Córdoba after only a few hours.
Córdoba – the old capital of Andalucía – is most commonly known for the Mezquita – a mosque that was converted into a church in the mid fifteenth century. Though the highlight of our trip to this city was La Mezquita, I found some other neat places here. As soon as we stepped off the bus, professors pointed out cute and quaint cafeterias to hit up across the bridge; fortunately for me, my friend Derrick and I were not hungry which gave us a few hours to explore while everybody sat around and ate.
Another Street Performer
We set off to the north east part of Córdoba, completely unaware to what we would find. Before we knew it, we were in the heart of a residential area composed of ancient arabesque architecture. White marble, double entrances and Arabic writing greeted us around each twist and turn – it made me only want to go explore Arabia more. 15 minutes later we stumbled upon ancient roman columns from the 1st century. I was less than impressed by the ten foot tall fences surrounding the site and vowed to Derrick to get an aerial view of the historic site. I must have inherited my sense of adventure from my grandfather, because before we knew it, we were on the roof patio of some social security agency. There were breathtaking views of all of Córdoba (along with the columns), but unfortunately we weren’t able to enjoy them for long, as we were kicked off by some worker. Thank god a bright smile and the phrase, “Ohh no sabíamos, lo siento. Somos Americanos” works wonders and gets you off the hook here in Spain. That one was for you Grandpa.
View from above
The sun began to eat down on our backs so I pulled out my ray bans and we continued on our way, unsure of our next destination. A beautiful park, complete with water fountain and miniature mosque was next up on our adventure. Kids were running and riding their bikes up and down the orange tree lined path as their parents chased them down. We definitely were no longer in the touristy part of the city. As we exited the park, we decided to head back towards La Mezquita because we needed to be back thirty minutes later and still had to score some lunch. Derrick and I ended up making a circle and found the starting point of our adventure and grabbed some bocadillos (sandwiches) before our tour – bocadillo de chorizo for him and a bocadillo de tortilla for me. Yum!
Words, nor my numerous pictures, do any justice to any of the monuments I have visited since being here, especially La Mezquita. The amount of detail inscribed to each column is unreal. I could not even imagine how hard it would have been to work on this Mosque-Cathedral. La Mezquita is a very unique piece of architecture, seeing as it was originally a Muslim place of worship, that was later converted to a cathedral. I have never seen quite the fusion between East and West as I did today. Crosses found their places next to Arabic phrases which were placed among ancient Christian Relics – to say it was a sight to see would be an understatement.
Following our Mezquita visit, our guide María, walked us through the Jewish Quarter. The synagogue we stopped at was nothing more than a 2 story room with a seven tiered menorah on the Southern Wall. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t very impressed with the size nor details of the structure both here and in Segovia.
One more quick snack break and we were once again on the bus. Two hours till Córdoba.
12:57 AM Saturday February 16
We made it to Granada! Though I slept the whole way, I was so happy to just crash on a bed in the hotel room I shared with Alinah and Jess.
Not much has happened since I last wrote, except we went out to dinner. Grace, Hannah, Lindsey, Taylor, Alinah, Jess, Matt, Sacha, Will and I ended up a small tapas bar about ten minutes from our hotel in downtown Granada. The city itself isn’t that big, but it does boast the largest college population in the country. Though its a ton of fun to go out in large groups, it is rather difficult to chose a restaurant at 10:30 at night that will accommodate a group of ten. Next time we’ll be sure to have a more solid plan before venturing out into the cold. Luckily the place we dined at was able to put to tables in the back together. I wasn’t terribly hungry so I split croquetas and a plate of jamón y queso with Will, which ended up being perfect. After some great conversation and finishing our food we set back towards our hotel. We have to get up early tomorrow for our visit to La Alhambra, so that’s all for now!
One of the gypsies we saw