January 17, 2005

beware the gypsies: stories from granada and cordoba

this entry really isnīt about gypsies, but they are crazy. my friends were attacked by one in granada. she grabbed my friendīs hand and would not let go of it until he paid her, but he did not even buy anything from her, and he didnīt want anything. luckilly he was able to get away. then in cordoba we were walking down the street when we heard shouting. two policemen were arresting two gypsies. we saw a policeman shove a gypsy in the police car, then she jumped out and slapped him, and then he tried to strangle her. it was crazy!

a weekend of touring spain has taught me how lazy and american i really am. we left on friday after class, about 2pm, on a tour bus headed for granada. the bus had no bathroom, so we stopped about halfway there (the trip is 3 1/2 hours). we stopped at a gas station, and i was expecting the typical nasty bathroom that is found in american gas stations. i was amazed to find that the bathrooms were large and clean, and not nasty at all. there was a restaurant and a bakery attached to the gas station. my dad is always cracking jokes about the restaurant/gas station combo, about how he doesnīt want the greasy mechanic making his cheeseburger. but this was really nice. they also sold wine and olive oil, which are made in the spanish countryside that we were driving through. i greatly enjoyed this gas station. the drive to granada was awesome. the city is surrounded by snow-covered mountains, and itīs really amazing. the only downside was that the whole drive was up and down hills, and around curves, and many people were feeling ill on the bus.

we arrived in granada around 7:00 pm, checked into our hotel rooms, and had to meet back downstairs at 7:30 to explore the city with our tour guides. we went on a walking tour, like all of our tours are here in spain. our hotel was on top of this incredible hill, and on the way down we passed by la Alhambra, which we were going to visit the next day. at the bottom of the hill was the main part of the city, with shops and restaurants, and we walked around for awhile. when it was time for dinner we had to walk back up the hill, and i seriously did not think i was going to make it. dinner was a buffet in the hotel, which was interesting, because it seemed to be catered for tourists. almost everyone went to bed early that night because we were so drained from that hill.

the next morning we went to la Alhambra, which is a fortress built during the 1300s by the muslims in spain. we toured the gardens, which have an incredible view of granada and the mountains. then we went inside, and walked around in different rooms. our guides were so knowledgable about the architecture and history, but they only spoke spanish so it was difficult to catch everything they were saying. there were all of these cats walking around la Alhambra, and they were so cute... but i donīt really know why they were there. we had a few hours to explore the city and have lunch, then we went to the chapel to see the caskets of ferdinand and isabella, the most famous rulers of spain. you walk down these stairs and there is a room with their caskets in it, and the bodies are supposedly in the caskets, which is really freaky.

we headed to cordoba next, which is north of sevilla (granada is east). thank god we did not have to walk up a huge hill when we got there. we had dinner in the hotel, and during dinner some of the girls decided to play "makeover" on two of the guys on the trip. we shaved oneīs mustache off and fixed the otherīs sideburns. it was really funny because there were about ten girls in the bathroom watching the shaving, but i think the guys look a lot better. we went to the hotel bar and had a drink and played texas hold īem, because we did not want to walk around the city, it was much colder than sevilla.

the next morning we left the hotel at 9am and walked around cordoba. we visited many historic sights, including el barrio judio y la sinagoga (the jewish neighborhood and the sinagogue- one of two sinagogues in spain). after about two hours of walking, the guides told us that we had four hours free until visiting la mezquita (the mosque)... i think people were a little upset that we could have slept a few more hours. the weather was pretty nice in the sun, so we sat by the river for a few hours and just relaxed. la mezquita was the largest building i have ever been in. it is really unique because of all the catholic influence inside- there is a catholic chapel in the middle of this mosque, and all of these rooms dedicated to different saints.

we left cordoba and rode the bus an hour and a half back to sevilla. the bus is too large to drop us off by our houses; all the streets by the houses are so small that itīs difficult for even a compact car to drive down them sometimes. luckily i did not have too far to walk, itīs probably about two miles or so.

thatīs about it for now, we are going to casa de pilatos today, which apparently has something to do with pontious pilate... i donīt really know though. one of our professors told us that he is going to a soccer game on wednesday night and invited everyone to come. i think i am going to go, but it costs 15€ which is a lot of money. hasta luego.

Posted by JenMagenta at January 17, 2005 7:20 AM

Hi! Great trip, but now I see that you are not going to be a mountainclimer, but you do have both feet on the ground. Your journal is very interesting, you will have a lot memories and I hope also lots of pictures. If you are interested in some place I am shure they have booklets and brochures about each place of their history.
Love you grandma and grandpa

Posted by: grandma at January 17, 2005 10:51 AM
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