The final part of my southern Spain adventure ended where it all began: Granada. Depending on the mode of transportation, it can take up to 8 hours or more (including transfers) to get this far south from La Rioja. All year I had been plotting how and when I could make the trek from Logroño to Granada, and post-Fulbright was the best and pretty much only option. I was ecstatic to be back in the first city I had ever visited internationally and enjoy all the little things that made me want to return one day.
The first day I walked around the center, indulged in the best gelato in Granada at Los Italianos and sweat a lot. I knew Granada got hot, but I was NOT expecting 95-100 degrees! Even the Spaniards were complaining of the heat. Luckily, all the gelato places were open and there was an endless supply of stores with cheap water bottles to keep cool. I walked around the Moroccan shops full of color and unique jewelry and stumbled upon a new spice shop I smelled so delicious that I went back before I caught my bus to pick up a bunch! I even met up with my host sister and host nephew who was born right before I left in 2015. It’s amazing how life works and a true blessing to be able to have these connections abroad.
I ended my trip by meeting up with a Spanish friend, my former advisor, and visiting the gardens in the Alhambra. Though I love the entire Moorish castle, I think my favorite part of the Alhambra is the garden area. I’ve been 4 times now and the landscape still takes my breath away. The greenery with the water and flowers decorated against the white and gold building is stunning. Then the backdrop of Granada’s famous white houses only adds to the beauty of all the colors. Of course I recommend seeing the Alhambra! It’s THE tourist attraction for Granada.
Speaking of tourism, I went to my favorite tapas street called Calle Navas. I had a delicious glass of sangria with a mini sandwich that came with it (yay for tapas) and bypassed Navas 14 which was my first tapas experience ever. Calle Navas itself has gotten a tad too touristy for me, so I headed to Pedro Antonio de Alarcón that has a more local Spanish scene for my last night of tapas.
A sentimental part of my trip was going down memory lane and visiting my old school! Centro de Lenguas Modernas is the language school associated with the Universidad de Granada. It’s a beautiful space and I almost cried when walking through the foyer. Studying abroad was the highlight of my college career. I have so many funny and embarrassing memories stumbling on cobblestone, conjugating horribly, and many “AHA” moments when I used the subjunctive tense or “If” clauses correctly in a conversation. I would never say “I found myself” in Spain because that would be a flat out lie. But, studying abroad did uncover the traveling Sojourn-er in me. For that, I am forever grateful to this city.