Wednesday, January 5, 2011

As promised here is the next part to my Spain trip. We left last Monday from Cartegena en route for Granada. I heard about Granada from my Auburn team mate who's from Madrid. She recommended going there because of its Muslim and Arabic history. Dad and I decided to take the scenic drive along the ocean which would eventually detour along the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. The next day was definitely one to remember! Tuesday, was one of those days where everything sort of started out against us. We woke up in our hotel and left around 8 or 9 because everything is later in Spain. Our first plan of the day was to see the Muslim built fort Alahambra. But before we went there, we first wanted to find a grocery store possibly for snacks or a sandwich for later. That was a no-go. All the stores we could find were closed and didn't seem to open probably til lunch time. Next, we needed to exchange our American dollars for Euros. So we headed to the nearest national bank and who would have thought that a bank would not exchange money!!! Strike 2. What next? The search for Alahambra. For the trip we brought our TomTom to help navigate us....which really only got us more lost! I plugged in the name Alahambra and one showed up, so we followed it only to end up at a beer factory plant which processed the beer named Alahambra. Whew!!! After driving around in circles trying to find a fort (which shouldn't be too hard to find considering its supposed to be huge), we decided to drive up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains so I could for the first time try skiing or snowboarding.

Probably one of my favorite part of Spain was being able to experience its beautiful landscape. The drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountains was one of these experiences. The road just kept climbing up and around the mountain surrounded by wildlife, as well as,  pine trees and olive trees. Along the drive something I kind of expected would happen eventually along the trip did....we were pulled over for my father not wearing his seat belt! I wish I had video of this for you was typical of my dad. The officer came to the window and announced we would need to pay him 100 euros right then for not wearing a seat belt. When he went back to the police car with my father's license and information my father pulled a quick one on him and pulled the belt across his lap but not over the shoulder. Now keep in mind that we don't speak much Spanish and this officer spoke very little English. So when the officer came back to the window my father some how pulled it off how he was wearing a seat belt all a long and that he had restrictions in driving when he wore the belt across his shoulder! Wow! Of course I was sitting in the front seat trying to in vision how we were going to get out the jail cell they were going to throw us in. Eventually, the cop actually just told us to go probably just so he didn't have to talk with my father again! So off we went.  The ski village on top of the mountain was too cute. The houses and buildings looked as if they were just stacked on top of each other going up the mountain. The stores were all ski or winter related and then there were restaurants that like most in Spain were devoted to selling coffee (cafe) and pastries. We headed first to the information center. Never would have guessed this...the lifts (or the mountain) was closed! What is that strike 3 and a half maybe? At least at this information desk we were able to pick up a map of Granada that had the true location of Alahambra! After a coffee on my part and a pastry of my dads part we left the ski village.

Skip forward to the part where we actually do find Alahambra. So we parked, followed the crowd to this building where a line had formed to enter Alahambra. As we stood in the long line, one of the workers walked along telling everyone that all the tickets to see Alahambra had been sold out for the day! What a day right? Well it did eventually turn around. We decided to walk down to the downtown center of Granada and boy did we walk. It seemed every which way we walked was up hill but it was definitely worth the experience. Granada was beautiful! It was everything you expected an old town to be like and the people fit this image completely. I personally enjoyed the hippies and old palm-readers since I don't come across these personalities quite often in Alabama :)

Our Spanish tour ended pretty quickly. Truthfully we were so set on just going home after 4 to 5 days of being tourists. My dad really enjoyed the beautiful sites but the driving, walking, eating, hotels, and hardly no communication to friends and family became tiring. I really wanted to just go home and relax with friends and family. So we left December 11 from Spain and I have really loved doing nothing at home!!! So whats next? Australia!!!!

Thanks for being patient with me!

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