A Travellerspoint blog

El Barrio de Albayzin

a neighboorhood at the top of Granada!

sunny 17 °C

Yesterday we went to da hood.
The neighborhood of Albayzin is at the top of one of the hills in Granada, and it's really great because first we went to Carmen Vista Albayzin , which is this really great rustic garden place. It kind of reminded me of the sculpture garden that we went to for mother's day (see examples below), because it was the whole colorful lights and green arches and just a really wonderfully blend of nature.
Sculpture garden in NJ:
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And here are some of the pictures of the Carmen of the Albayzin (I seriously looked so hard to try and find a good definition of a Carmen sort of garden place to give you guys a better understanding, but there are so many different things that a Carmen is, including a play, a driver of a streetcar or horsedrawn carriage, a type of software... so hopefully these pictures give enough of an explanation):
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I know those have people in them that aren't me, so my apologies, but these are the best I can do!
We learned also while there (with the same Spanish-speaking tour guide that puts us partly to sleep sometimes) that Carmen comes from the Latin carmen which means song (canciĆ³n). I found this also on Wiki, which I now remember her mentioning (from what I could pick up):
Its presence in literature:
In Nabokov's 'Lolita', the name is used in reference to Mr Clare Quilty, the man who takes Lolita from Humbert. Carmen and Clare being both male and female names, Lolita uses them to deceive Humbert into thinking he is a woman and no threat.
So I guess it has a kind of sultry mystery to it... I'm so interested in this whole Carmen concept because whenever we were able to choose a Spanish name to be called in our Spanish classes, I've always chosen Carmen and am lightly toying around with that idea for my future hija (daughter). Obviously I have plenty of time to think about it, but I just love that name so much and now it means so much more now that I learned about it!
Anyway,
so from there we pretty much went up up up to the top of the hill (you'll be seeing the climb) and then took pictures and saw around, and then went back down! But there was obviously much more depth than that!!
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notice the girl doing homework on the roof at the far left! What a lucky chica! Maybe her name is Carmen...
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people hang out here because as you can see, it has a great view of the montanas (mountains) and it seems like a great sunset spot! Before we ventured over to get a better look, there was some music playing which I wish I got to see before it ended!
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here's me! Under the Spanish sun :)
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There was lots of graffiti through this one area we walked through, but it wasn't trashy seeming, it seemed more like a communal type art/tagging thing. Sorry it's kind of hard to think clearly right now, my roommate is video chatting with her friend so she's distracting me
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This is while we were walking back down! Not a bad thing to look up and see, huh??

So that was the Albayzin! Here's the link to a short Wiki description about it to fill in any holes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albayz%C3%ADn

I doubt I'll find many more things as beautiful as those sights were yesterday, but I look forward to trying!!

Posted by Smarks17 08:37 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Sights around Granada

updated whenever I find more to show you!

Here are just some pictures of sights that I have come across while hanging around / getting around Granada. Enjoy!

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The fountain/statue of Queen Isabella and Cristobal (Christopher) Colombus! Soo Spain
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paying for red wine with Euros! don't make me leave!!
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this is in Madrid but I just had to show it!
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Done by a famous graffiti artist in Spain who does most of his work in Granada. "El nino de las pinturas"
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The Alhambra from up in the mountains in Albyzin

Posted by Smarks17 12:38 Archived in Spain Tagged granada Comments (2)

Flamenco! Ayayayayy!

sunny 15 °C

January 10th, first class:
Lots of fun! We learned 2 different dances:
1. something...
2. La Rumba

I tried looking up the Rumba to show you what we did but I can't find any good videos of what we did. But here's something that's kind of similar.. we had a partner but had our hands on our hips and did some stomping and twirling and stayed in place more. But maybe it would be different if 14 of us weren't crammed into a room!
http://www.ballroomdancers.com/dances/info.asp?sid=219

Here are some pictures of my first experience!
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manos arriba! manos abajo!

Posted by Smarks17 12:35 Comments (0)

The reason for my being here has begun - Escuela!!!

sunny 13 °C

So yesterday we didn't start classes, just to clarify, but we did have orientation! I'll have to take a picture of the school, because it's interestingly very small but very pretty looking. It's the lengua (language) part of the Universidad, and I think a lot of people come here to learn Spanish, etc. so I figured it'd be bigger. But maybe there's more to it than I've seen! After our 10:30 orientation yesterday, we headed to the Corte Ingles, which is this huge store with mmmad levels: department store, grocery store, a bakery, etc. It's nuts. So we went there to buy food since, although they weren't freaking out about it as much as I was, a lot of us wanted to buy some snacks/etc. I stocked up on lots of stuff from the Dieteticos section (aka super healthy food), so now I'm getting a lot more whole grain, and I also got carrots, apples, and a package of Pomegranate seeds. Granada, in Spanish, means "pomegranate" so I figured I might as well eat pomegranates in Pomegranate! So we headed back after that and just hung out again.
Also, we told our program director about how we don't have keys and how I want more Spanish food, and yesterday after lunch (a very good one -- soup, SALAD, and chicken and fruit) we got our sets of keys. And then for dinner we had a significantly more advanced dinner! Green beans, this rice thing, and porkchops. Finalmente, some real food!!! And today's lunch was baller too -- lentil/spinach soup, GRILLED chicken, and salad and fruit!! WOOO!!! So I guess I don't need my "healthy" food as badly, but it's still good to fill in the holes that are still present in my current diet. And me and some of the guys are planning on trying to find the gym tomorrow! Hooray for health!!
Last night after dinner, the plans didn't work out for me to get churros with some of the girls (mix up of times for them to get me, etc.) so I just hung out.
Today, we had our first day of real classes!! I'm taking 2 classes: Spanish107 and Spanish 208
Spanish 107 is a more introductory college-level Spanish language class. Most of the students are in SPAN206, which is the next level up, and as we've been talking about which spanish we're taking for school, everyone was very surprised to hear that I was in the lower level. One girl actually became kind of distraught and told me not to talk in class today because she thought I would make everyone look bad!!!! If everyone else would make more of an effort to speak at any chance they get here, I think they would surprise themselves about how good they can be. I only seem better because I actually care about and love this stuff! I don't really understand why people are in SPAIN studying spanish if they don't care about making an effort... doesn't make any sense. But yeah my teacher is really great! She only talks in Spanish but it's fine to understand and she's very nice and has an enjoyable presence so I like her a lot.
And then came Spanish208 after a half hour break in between our 2-hour classes, and that class is about the culture/history of Spain. It's with my entire group, and is taught by my program director, and it's in English, so I think all of us really don't mind being in that class at all. Today Doris (Doris Manzano is the program director/professora) started out by giving a brief background on the history of Spain, and then a few people did their little mini oral presentations, in which they had to explain a current Spanish event. Everyone has to do one by the end of the semester, and the order of who goes depends on ABC order. So since I'm in the middle I have a little bit of time! And then this guy came in to our class to talk about the culture of Granada specifically. The history, the activities (apparently there are some good mountains to go on hikes on, and some of us seem hopefully interested enough to actually go!!), the food, blahblahblah. He gave us insight about a lot of good tapas bars and food to try, so that definitely got our attention!
So that's been my past day and a half! Tonight we're going to our first Flamenco class! We have one every Tuesday (which means I'll have one on my birthday... don't know if that's good or not yet!!!) so I'll update my progress of that dance, if there is any!
Hope everyone's having a good morning/day by the time you read this :)

Posted by Smarks17 06:09 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

The Alhambra Palace!!

sunny 13 °C

So to say the least, yesterday was a really visually stimulating day!! This post will be full of pictures, so enjoy :)
At around 10 am, we met at a central location (the Correos aka Post Office) and from there headed another 20ish minutes up the hill to see the Alhambra, which is by far Granada's biggest "spot" I guess, and also is a big thing that represents Spain as a whole. It is a very old old palace, made of clay mostly, but also has some parts made with marble, like a set of columns at this one part, and also ceramic, but that's mostly for decorative purposes. You'll be able to distinguish it all in the pictures!
It turns out that they actually never finished it because, I'm pretty sure she was saying, they ran out of money. Which is understandable because this things is very ornately and delicately decorated, but from what I saw, it looked pretty good to me! The Moors built it, so it's very very old. It's weird, all the rooms were empty but I guess after centuries and centuries and the re-take over of Granada, there really wouldn't be much left!! The tour guide did the whole 2ish hour tour in Spanish, so sadly, I have less information to report about it. You know, you think you could speak a language that you're so passionate about all day everyday if you finally got the chance, but between host women who don't speak 1 word of English and not one English word is in any store, etc., it gets pretty damn exhausting trying to constantly translate/understand every word you hear. And you know, sometimes you wander from the big cluster just enough where you can't hear her enough, which for me, isn't difficult since I can barely hear people when they're literally right in front of me.
Okay enough babbling, here are lots of pictures of an awesome place!!!
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woo! there you go! oh and of the one of me on the top with Granada behind me, it was really sunny hahaha don't mind me looking all squinty and pained!!

okay so after the Alhambra, we ate lunch on the benches outside the palace which was cute because it was a nice little picnic, except our families all made us lunch and I got ham and cheese on a baguette and a BANANA (!!!!!) and juice box. Sooo for lunch I had 1/4 of a baguette roll, a banana and a juice box. har har har. And then a lot of us went back down the hill and scoped out some little hole in the wall shops that we'll get lots of souvenirs from, and then went through the town to get back home. From there me and Julia just hung out, showered, and then ate dinner at 8.
From THERE started more fun! Around 10 of us met at 9 pm at the Plaza Nueva which is another central location and is really really pretty. we passed fountains and beautiful buildings and great lights decorations... nothing like what we have right around our apartment. But as long as most of our activities are centralized around the pretty part of the city, I guess it's okay! Anyway, so we met up and then headed down the street and just picked one of many tapas bars to hang out in. I got vino tinto (red wine) and then a class of vino blanco (white wine)... I don't know much about wines, but they seemed more grapey-er.. like I felt like I could taste it more.. it didn't really have any grainyness though so I enjoyed! @ Tom: any ideas of what I could have had?? So from there, after about 2 hours just hanging out (I was at the bar, most of them were at tables because we had to split up, but I enjoyed my time up there! It was cool to get my drink so soon, and to converse with the bartenders!), we went to this other tapas bar that's actually run by a British man and his Portuguese/Brazilian wife, and there were friends already there when we arrived so we hung out a bit, but some of us left by 11:15 cuz we had to get back for our curfew -_________- but our friends today said that they really enjoyed it there so I guess we'll head to that place a good amount of times!
Okay well that was my First Sunday in Espana!!

Posted by Smarks17 04:57 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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