Alyssa Smoot is a student at the University of Utah and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Granada, Spain.
Looks Like: Sierra Nevada mountains tipped with snow. White houses up on hills in the Albaycín. Cobblestone walkways. Cars, buses, and motorcycles filling the streets. People walking to and from, well, everything. Shopping bags in everyones hands. Monuments. Apartment buildings lining the streets. Famous plazas. Outdoor seating at almost every café and restaurant. Delicious food and pastries being eaten – but never in the street. Tapas with every drink. Amazing views of the city, and of the Alhambra. Fútbol on TV screens. Runners throughout the city. PDA. Couples walking their dogs. African immigrants selling things on the streets like umbrellas. Street performances. Gypsies. Great views from the terrace of an apartment. Cathedral. Basilica. Tombs of the Catholic Kings. Sunday street markets. Arab Baths. Twinkling lights during the holidays. Children in matching school uniforms. Flashing green pharmacy lights. Shoes – lots of shoes. Moorish influenced architecture.
Sounds Like: Spanish being spoken – rapidly and sometimes confusingly (Andalusian Spanish). Little kids playing in the streets; their laughter, their spanish (it’s always cuter when it’s a child speaking), their cries, etc. American students practicing their Spanish. Street music. Two kisses on the cheeks when saying hello or goodbye. *mwah mwah*. The clinking of wine glasses. Families eating dinner until well after midnight. Students out until dawn. Spanish music in the discotecas. Birds chirping in the trees surrounding the parks and plazas. Occasional rain fall. Host-mothers preparing dining room table for meals. Dubbed movies.
Smells Like: Fresh air – no pollution. Fresh baked goods in the morning. Occasional whiff of dog and bird poop. Trees in the parks. Fresh mountain air in the Sierra Nevada’s. Flowers in the Generalife at the Alhambra. The aromas of the Arab baths, Moroccan tea, herbs that the gypsies hand out, and the leather bags hanging in the streets of the Albaycín. Fall leaves or fresh flowers. Jámon y queso. Cigarette smoke.
Tastes Like: Tapas – all the variety you can imagine. Tinto de Veranos. Various types of Jámon. Paella. Torta de la Virgen. Churros con chocolate. Dulces para Navidad. Spanish tortillas. Fresh fruit from the fruterias. Olive Oil. Vending machine coffees in the CLM. Free peanuts and corn nuts from Bar Poe.
Feels Like: A place where you get to know people from all over the world; from different backgrounds, religions, and views. Hot weather – or cold – there is no in-between. The hot, then cold, then lukewarm, then hot again Arab baths. Breeze from mountains and ocean. Arab and Catholic influence throughout the city. The Albaycín – a taste of a Moroccan medina. A place where people will help you excel at your Spanish. Safe. Home. Somewhere you know you’ll return some day.
The world awaits…discover it.