Cornelia Mackay ’18, Kalina Majercak ’17, and several other students provide updates about the group’s activities this past weekend:
June 11, 2016 — Cornelia Mackay ’18
Today we went to the Alhambra, the ancient city of the Granada. The precise details inscribed on the walls throughout the city by the ancient Arabs were pure beauty. The views of where we were staying were magnified through the windows of inside the palace of the Alhambra; we stared in awe and continued to take pictures along our tour. We concluded our tour by receiving the best surprise: a taxi ride instead of climbing up the infamous 200 stairs of death.
After the usual 2 o’clock lunch we had our first free time in Granada. A few friends and I traveled down to the Albaicín where we explored on our own and ate ice cream along the Mirador de San Nicholas, with views of the Alhambra. After an hour with the group listening to the street music, we went back into the Albaicín and watched a flamenco show inside a Tapas Restaurant.
During our walk home, this time including the 200 stairs of death, a few of us stopped by the park on our way home and asked the friendly kids if we could play on their playground. Willingly, they let us and we all laughed as we were spun around the playground set. Concluding the day, I found a group of kids playing basketball. I asked to join, and we played a quick game of 2 v 2. I love how friendly everyone is when asking to join in any type of game. I can’t wait to have more opportunities like these to interact with the locals.
Here are some additional reflections from a couple of students about their experience visiting the Alhambra on Saturday:
Tarah Almonacy ’17:
The Alhambra was honestly breathtaking. It was such a majestic yet ancient building, and it almost seemed like a castle to me. I was in awe due to the design and detail of every room. There was so much history literally etched into every piece of the building, which made it so much more than a pretty place. It was definitely so far one of the best parts of the trip, and I feel like I will remember it forever.
Shai Lineberry ’17:
I’ve never stepped foot in somewhere as old as the Alhambra. It was difficult to comprehend the amount of people who had lived there for hundreds of years as I walked through the massive gardens with my head craned up towards another breathtaking detail. The details on the walls inside of the fort were incredible, and so beautiful that no camera could capture its beauty. I will remember the Alhambra for the rest of my life; it was a very special trip for me, even if the group was required to wear obscenely touristy headsets.
Talha Tariq ’17:
I had heard about the Muslim/Arabic influence in Spain and certainly in Granada before, but to see firsthand the architecture and intricate craftsmanship of the mid 16th century was not to learn history, but to feel it. And it is here that I could truly understand the influence, not just see how it affected today’s people. From El Generalife to the palaces of kings past, La Alhambra brings to life the origins of one of the most important cities in Spain.
Andrea López ’19:
Walking into the gargantuan monument I’ve been observing from afar, I was awestruck—none of the conjured up images from my mind could compare to the beauty within “La Alhambra.” With an amazing tour guide, Lorena, I traveled through time by visiting various buildings constructed in different centuries by different people. The group explored the breathtaking gardens of “La Alhambra” and even visited three palaces. Throughout the entire tour, I kept imagining the lives of the people who lived there: how they looked, spoke, and talked. It was a magical experience to explore a place of plentiful history and to walk in the steps of some of the most important people of Europe.
Huge fun fact for avid Game of Thrones fans: Granada’s “La Alhambra” and Seville’s “Alcazar” were both competing to be the set of the famous water gardens of “Dorne.” In the end, Seville’s “Alcazar” ended winning the fight.
June 12, 2016 — Kalina Majercak ’17
On Sunday morning, a group of us went to a cooking class to make tagine – a Moroccan meal of chicken, vegetables, couscous and lots of spices. Two women from Granada, Emma and María, showed how to prepare the food in Emma’s apartment – a process that lasted three hours, since we had a sort of dance party to some of Emma and María’s favorite reggaeton music in the middle of cooking! The rest of our group joined us in the afternoon and we all shared the delicious meal together.
In the afternoon, we visited Granada’s Arab Baths – an incredibly beautiful and incredibly relaxing spa. The details of the walls and the decorations inside reminded me of our visit to La Alhambra the day before. After enjoying the baths for an hour, we went to a restaurant and ate tapas while we watched a play called “Tagine,” a monologue of a woman telling the story of how her grandmother taught her how to cook tagine. The best part was that, while acting, she was actually cooking the food, and at the end the members of the audience were all able to try it.
It was a full day, indeed, but full of amazing sights and experiences!