Sunday, July 4

Granada Day 1 + 2

There is something about traveling by train that makes the whole world look new. It goes by so fast, yet you can see for miles and everything always looks fresh and green, you can almost pretend its unmarred by humanity. Sitting in our couch seats on the train on the five hour trip to Granada; Julia, Gustav and I had a blast. Our conversations ranged far and wide and we talked most of the five hours to Granada. I came to appreciate my pee-buddy once more when it came to the train toilet. Always remember when traveling through Europe to carry a spare roll of toilet paper and do whatever you have to not to touch the toilet in any way. I'm surprised I didn't get a life threatening disease.

This was the first time that my guide books came in handy. Let me explain first my travel strategy involving guide books. The common guide book is large, thick and obtrusive. I find the them annoying, cumbersome, and a blinding red target of TOURIST for thieves, crooks, and scam artists to try something as I carry it through a new city. My solution was to use an exact-o blade to cut out all the pages that related to things that I found important then rolling them all together into tubes. The resulting pages can still be easily read but I can also pull out only the four or five pages I'm interested in and read them from behind my sketchbook or in my lap. So Gustav, Julia and I unrolled my guide books for Granada and started reading through them. We found the names of several hostels and a map of the entire city along with some good recommendations for Tapa bars and clubs.

After arriving at the train station we walked with our large backpacks through the town until we found a hostel we liked for a good price, 20 euro for a single room with a personal shower. Really nice. We showered and changed clothes after our very sweaty day of walking and then hit the town for some tapas. I think we found the absolute best tapa bar in Granada, it was small but not seedy at all and had locals of all ages mixing with a few tourists. Their beers were 1,20 euro and each came with the most delicious variety of tapas I had my entire time in Granada. They were amazing and it was just around the corner from our Hostel.

I could direct you to it with a map but sadly I never learned its name.

Comfortably tipsy and laughing after our marvelous evening we fell into our beds at about 1am, early in Spanish time.

The next morning we took our time getting out of the Hostel. We slept late and woke around 11:30. Leaving our big bags behind we ran a few errands than as the city began to shut down around 1pm we began to walk north away from the city center into the steep hills guarded by a stone wall. The walk was nearly vertical and absolutely lovely. Even in the corners of the is little city you could find passion and heat. Graffiti layered the walls around us but it was beautiful, the act of true artists, not just names scrawled in spray paint.
Weaving our way through residential streets we found ourself at the very top point of Granada, a small courtyard surrounded by bushes and looking down, a steep downward drop back into the cathedrals and markets below.

We sat up there for quite some time. Breathing in the flowers and enjoying the breeze that must have come down off the cold mountain peaks covered in snow we could see in the distance, I soaked up the sun and the beauty around me. I could see my new friends talking together, close lovers and friends, this was the experience I had been hoping for when I decided to make this trip.

Later we made our way down the hill again back into the city. There was a game that evening between Brazil, the record holding world cup champions, and Netherlands. Of course, being with two people from Brazil where, I was told, people are exempt from work for football matches, we had to go to the game. We found a small pub and ordered beers to watch the match. Brazil's loss was a savage blow and so of course what choice did we have but to console ourselves in a beer and tapas.

On the town that night we met two cool guys from England. Who were quite fun to talk to for a while. I got into a long conversation with them and Gustav and Julia said they were going to head back to the hostel. I waved goodbye, intent on my conversation.

It really is these sorts of split second decisions that get me into trouble. It was only after my friends left that I realized I wasn't entirely sure where I was, I didn't remember the name of the hostel, my friends didn't have a cell phone, and was a fool.

To make a long and ultimately boring story short. I met two very nice Spanish people spoke very little English but who walked most of the way across downtown Granada with me, I met the Granada police who didn't speak a word of English, it was suggested that if all else failed I could spend the night in the Granada jail, I walked passed the hostal twice and finally found it almost two hours later laughing with my new friend at my foolishness. We waved goodbye, Gustav and Julia were asleep, it was almost 3am and I went to bed.

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