After officially hitting the one-month mark in Granada, I have this snapshot in my mind—a perfect picture of my time here thus far. It’s crystal clear to me, but somehow hard to describe when my friends and family ask me how things are going, or what life is like here.
There are so many things I’ve fallen in love with about the city of Granada, and while I’m certainly enchanted by the obvious gems of the city like the Alhambra and the free tapas, the smile that I’ve been wearing these past few weeks has often been the result of the tiny details that are starting to make Granada feel like home. Here are just a few:
The word granada actually means pomegranate in Spanish. If you weren’t aware of this before traveling to Granada, it’s something you would probably figure it out pretty quickly. Little pomegranate sculptures line the curbs to separate the tile-patterned sidewalk from the bustling streets, stones are arranged in the shape of pomegranates on the cobblestone walkways of the historic Albaycín neighborhood, and even the sewer grates are adorned with the symbolic fruit. Each day when I’m walking, I’ll catch a glimpse of one of these tiny little reminders to look up and enjoy the fact that I am exactly where I am.
The Sun at 18:00
If I just so happen to be in my apartment at 6 p.m., or 18:00 on Spain’s clock, there’s no doubt you’ll find me in my room, soaking up the miraculous sun of the hour. Almost every day at this time a golden glow creeps into my room and casts my entire room in a warm orange hue, which I know sounds incredibly dramatic, but is honestly true. Just when I think it can’t get better, I watch the sun leave my room and set in shades of purple and pink over the mountains just behind the cityscape outside of my window. Though I’m usually in class or running errands, my occasional encounters with this golden hour are priceless.
Every day on my route to and from class, I walk up one of the busiest shopping streets in the city. With sale or rebajas signs plastered in every window, what feels like hundreds of shoe stores and three Zaras, it’s no surprise it’s usually pretty crowded. Though sometimes a bit stressful, one of the things I have come to love about this walk is that people are constantly stopping to window shop.
Not just browsing as they walk by, like I do in my hurried American haste, but actually stopping with friends to look and point at the stylish rompers and jean jackets on the mannequins. I’m sure it seems silly, but watching people take the time to do something as simple as window shop has actually helped me to slow down a bit. This is something that I feel like I simply don’t see as often at home and is a small instance that I think represents a bigger phenomenon in Granada: people are just in less of a rush here. I guess stopping to admire the rebajas is their way of stopping to smell the roses, which is an important lesson to learn whichever way you put it.
While you might expect the streets to be lined with pomegranate trees in honor of the city’s name, instead you’ll find orange trees or naranjos almost everywhere you go in Granada. Like many other cities in the province of Andalucía, naranjos color the streets with bright orange fruit and vibrant green leaves. In contrast with the white buildings of the Albaycín and more metropolitan center of the city, they bring life to every part of Granada. While I’m sure they blend into daily life for Granaínos, I never fail to smile when I casually pass by these storybook details on my walk to class.
Finding these small little details has almost become a bit of a game for me, a way to see just how full of wonder this city is. In this big adventure abroad it's important to take a step back and admire all the little things that are already starting to paint such a vibrant image in my mind.
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<p>Hi, I'm Nina! A proud Jersey girl and sophomore at Penn State, I have a passion for all things food, music, culture and crafting. Join me as I test my Spanish skills while living out my Andalusian adventure this semester!</p>