Mary Diduch is a student at Lawrence University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Mary is currently studying abroad in Granada, Spain, on an ISA Fall 2A program.
To say the least, I LOVE Granada. The more I write about the places I’ve been in Spain, the more I realize that there is no way words can describe how amazing of a place this is. Instead, I would like to give you my top 10 favorite things, activities, or places of Granada – and these things you don’t always here about in the travel books.
1. Shawarma — This is one of the yummiest foods you could possibly come across in your lifetime, especially after a night out on the town. Shawarma is a popular food in Arabic-speaking countries, which is probably one of the reasons why you can find it everywhere in Granada. You usually eat it with pita bread, or some sort of wrap like this. Caution: After your first kebab, there is no going back: you are officially addicted.
2. Becoming best friends with the owner of a café — There is a cafe I pass everyday on my way to classes. Within the first week or so of being here, I finally decided to stop in because I couldn’t merely stand looking at their eye-popping pastries. Plus, I was a little sick so I decided tea would probably hit the spot. I’m not sure if the owner was trying to be nice because I was sick, or because I was a weird American, but he brought me over a pastry, and the numerous times I have been there, I have never seen him do this for anyone else. Whenever I go there, he makes sure I am always well-fed, especially if I bring friends. He loves giving us free gelato, and I am sure to get “besos” on the cheek whenever I pass by.
3. Reading a book in Spanish — Yes, I know it sounds terrifying and time-consuming, but it’s so much fun once you get in the hang of it. I am currently reading “Frankenstein”. It might help to read a book you have previously read; I read this in high school, so I have an idea about what’s going on in case the language barrier gets a little too much.
4. Botellón — Here in Granada, the street is one of the most fun places you can go, pretty much any day of the week. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are best, but there are still a great number of people any day of the week. Be prepared to meet students from all over the world, especially Spaniards.
5. Helado –– If you are an ice cream lover, you must come here!! There are plenty of helado locations that are to die for. I have to hold myself back from getting helado every day…
6. Mi familia — I live in a homestay, and I LOVE my family. Carolina is my host mom, and she is awesome. She always teases my roommate and I about being “guiris” (foreigners). She has a 17 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. Lucia always comes in our room to get our opinion about her outfit or hair and Alejandro is always poking fun at us and making sure we get the little brother treatment.
7. Churros con chocolate — This food is to die for. From what my host mom has told me, Spaniards will eat this instead of dinner (they eat smaller dinners), or they go and get this on the weekends in the morning as a nice treat. The chocolate is rich, yet light and creamy, tasting perfectly with the churro breading. Delicious.
8. ¡Vamos a la playa! — Beaches, beaches, beaches. There are so many gorgeous beaches close to Granada. Nerja is about 2 hours away; I would personally describe it as a resort town. It is so breathtaking. Salobreña is closer, about an hour away. The beaches are not sandy like Nerja’s, but smaller rocks and pebbles, instead. There are crazy cliffs to jump off here, as well. Another beach about 2 hours away is Almuñécar. I’m going there tomorrow — so pumped.
9. Graffiti — You can’t help but fall in love with it here. It is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Some of the most amazing artwork I have seen in Spain is the graffiti, especially in Granada’s Albayzin.
10. Palm trees — There are palm trees in southern Spain! I am from the Midwest, so I am in love with these because I never see them back home. I wish I could take one back to the U.S….
hi Mary! can I email you some questions about Granada? I will be there in the spring!