I had never heard of Granada until a week-long series of signs from the universe told me to go there. It resulted in me making a last-minute study abroad destination change from Brisbane, Australia to Granada, Spain. The universe, as per usual, did not disappoint. This blog does not state nearly all the reasons why I loved Granada, but it will cover quite a few. Particularly, I enjoyed the abundance of vegan restaurants, amazing fashion, extremely inexpensive food and drinks, tapas culture, and that everything was within walking distance of the amazing apartment that ISA provided me with.
One thing I loved about Granada was that it was not as touristy as other cities in Spain. The only main tourist attraction is the Alhambra, which means even when tourists do come, they most likely only stay for a day or two. With the lack of tourism, it very much forced me to assimilate into the day-to-day life of a true local rather than the American-ized version of Spanish life. Almost no one in the city spoke English, which helped me learn more conversational Spanish.
Another aspect of Granada that I loved was its tranquility. I get anxious easily, especially in crowds. I was relieved to find that the streets of Granada were not overly busy, even in the “downtown” areas. There was almost never an overwhelming amount of people. The city was relaxed, laidback, and pretty quiet, which was perfect for someone like me, who enjoys a peaceful environment. I enjoyed walking around, with no destination, to people watch and admire the historical architecture. It was also extremely safe; I had a million people warn me about pickpockets when I announced I was going to Spain, but I never had any problems with it in Granada. Not that I recommend trying it, but I could leave my phone and purse on a table without worrying about anyone taking them. I even accidentally left my purse in the bathroom of a restaurant and someone brought it out to me with everything still in it. I watched a dramatic pickpocketing attempt when I visited Barcelona, and I just could not even picture it happening in Granada. (Again, though, keep an eye on your belongings anywhere you are, no matter how safe it may seem.)
Additionally, I fell in love with the people of Granada. The ISA staff on site were so kind and available for my every need, even organizing my trip to the hospital and making sure I had everything I needed when I got really sick. Knowing that they were always ready to help me made me feel extremely cared for. I found all of the people of Granada to be very welcoming. I am a creature of habit, so I would go to the same coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes almost every day. The workers there and I got to know each other, so they would know my order as soon as I walked in. Creating that feeling of connection with them made me feel more like I belonged in Granada. It also made it more difficult to leave, though. On our last day, my friends and I made sure to hit up all of our regular places to say goodbye to our favorite restaurants. When the staff heard it was our last day, they were sad to see us leave and gave us our usual orders for free. It was the most bitter-sweet day.
Ultimately, Granada stole my heart. I can’t wait to return one day and feel the memories flood back. Have you ever been to a place that made you feel so at home?
Karlee Kaltz is an ISA Global Ambassador at Nova Southeastern University. She studied abroad with ISA in Granada, Spain.