Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That time again...

So since my last postings I've been able to do some more traveling. This time on a program wide trip down to the amazing town of Granada! And if you didn't know that's Spanish for pomegranate... random fact for the day!

Well after the 4 1/2 hour bus ride there (Completely fine because I of course didn't go out the night before) Granada turned out to be quite the place.  The first afternoon we did a walking tour of the city where we wandered the albayzin.  This is the old quarter of Granada where the houses of the original city are located.  We learned (Way too much history everywhere we go) That the Alhambra is a city itself. Inside the walls was were the royal family lived as well as the palace workers, home to some 2,000 people. As we walked around we were really able to get some great views of the Alhambra Palace, the best being from St. Nicholas up on the hill.  Although there were a lot of people here, many Spanish making fun of the tourist trying to get the best pictures possible... yes I was definitely one of them! We then relaxed a little bit and had a draft. What is really amazing about Andalucia is their tapas.  Now, we have our own tapas in Alicante, but down there the tapas are amazing! With one beer you get a mini meal, the more you order at a restraunt the larger the portions that come out are. Probably for the best that I'm not studying there because I could see myself gaining some weight from the food.

That night was a pretty low key night, wandered around the city with some of the USAC folk where we saw the Tetrias (Tea Houses). This is a a great town for some great food. Being so close to the tip of Spain, Granada still has a large Arabic population.  One food in particular is the Kebap. Heaven on earth lemme tell you. I may have had it for 3 of my meals while in Granada... NBD. If only I would be able to get these lovely food items in Chico and I'd be set!

On Saturday the group headed up to the Alhambra where we were split into groups with different tour guides.  Pretty amazing stuff. For those of you who aren't familiar with Spain's history, do yourself a favor and wiki the Alhmabra and get the synops of the place. We walked around and first saw the Generalife, which was the gardens of the Alhambra city. We roamed the grounds and eventually made our way to the Alcazaba or the fortress of the Alhambra. This view from the top of the hill allowed us to see the whole of Granada including the Sacrament, or the gypsy area.

From there we finally entered the the palaces at the Alhambra. After the many years of neglect the wear on the building can be seen in most locations. There is only 1 of the original doors left from the complex.  The acute detail that the can be seen within the palace was pretty amazing. The time within the area was great look into Spain's past and the 700 years of Moorish control.

On the way out of the Alhambra I was even blessed and cursed by a gypsy... but that's another story in itself. Ask me individually if you want the full story. But here's the part you've been waiting for... PICTURES!

 Chico friends with La Alhambra in the background
 Cathedral of Granada
 Almost like I'm home with the almond blossums

 Fountains for DAYS

 Frieds from USAC

Karelli and myself with out great tourguide Imma

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mid Week thoughts

This has definitely been a good week so far! Finished my first first track class of Espanol. You all should be happy to know that I got an "A". I can now almost understand HALF of what people are saying to me in Spanish! BUT hey it can only get better from here.

This past weekend was kept pretty low key.  I was home by 3 am Friday night (morning) and 6 am Saturday night (Sunday morning)! Don't worry, meeting great people here and enjoying the culture.  I mean if you want an accurate description of life abroad, I have to blend in as much as possible... what's that saying?? "When in Rome?"

Life here has started to fall into a routine, but with lots of weekend trips coming up in the next month I'll have some good travel stories for ya'll when I get back.  As for now be content with pictures of my time out and about in Alicante.

Myself, Adeline, Estelle and Bobby
Roomies kickin butt a pool
 Jenn and Bianca... Enjoying a night out
Friends enjoying Havana

Monday, February 7, 2011

- Happy Monday -

Finally getting into the swing of things here in Alicante. Spanish life is... different then life in America, but I feel like I am slowly starting to adapt, but there are some things I just don't think I will ever be able adapt to.  So with my good buddy Jason Tormey in mind (Yes that's a shout out to you buddy) I've been thinking of the ways that I have realized that I am still American...

     1. I like to eat sandwiches way too much (the ones here are either too small or have too much olive oil)
     2. I put pesto on things other then pasta
     3. I still use the phrase "hella" and "hecka"
     4. They have budweiser on tap and I'll get anything but that at the bar
     5. Chico taught me how to rally through a night out, that's for sure
     6. I take lots of pictures... super touristy (All for your benefit)
     7. My personal bubble gets invaded everyday. Is a little breathing room too much to ask for?!
     8. I like spicy foods, and Spain can't fix those needs
     9. Our beds are better

This past weekend I was finally able to do some sightseeing out and about here in Spain. My buddy Bobby and I decided to do a little day trip up to another coastal town called Denia. The train ride was pretty relaxing. There is a lot of agriculture in the area and it was a really good feeling to see the almond blossoms or the flor de almendro.
View from the train on the way up to Denia
By the time we got to Denia, it was lunch time and another great dish from Spain.  After that we decided to go and explore some. We made our way up to the castle that overlooks the town. Castillo Denia is a lot bigger then Castillo de Santa Barbara here in Alicante.  The look of this place was very medieval. Bobby and I were able to roam around at our leisure and do some exploring.  There was so much to see and the height above the city gave some pretty great sights.

After our tour of the Castle we decided to explore the city.  The small beach town of Denia was a great place to explore.  This one of the towns where you can hop on a ferry and head to the Balearic Islands... Ibiza in the future? I think so! After the mini tour it was time to head back Home sweet Alicante where as soon as we got off the train we ran downtown to watch Barcalona take on Atletico Madrid. (Barca won btw) Then the shenanigans of the night took place, but this is a family blog... so you'll only get those stories in person! Miss everyone back home!

AND here is everyone's favorite part of the blog... PICTURES!

 They knew I was coming!

Panorama of Denia
Chico State spotted in Austins! 
Friends supports our local futbol team