Monday, 12 July 2010


WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND!!!!! One of the most amazing trips of my life in addition to witnessing the great triumph of Spain in the World Cup... It was an amazing time!!
First, Granada.
We took the train, four hours, to Granada. We arrived at about 10 or something, and then got confused as to how to get to our Hostel. It was late and I was worried about the Hostel's front desk closing before we got there, so we took a cab. The cab ride was pretty short, but totally cool to see the city at night. It turned off the main road and went down the skinniest road possible, not even slowing down as it squeezed past people walking! I can't believe that no one got hit!!
The hostel, White Nest, was really really pretty, but unfortunately a little dull... not much socializing going on. Kaja and I checked in and put down our stuff before heading out to try to get dinner. We settled on a really nice restaurant with tables outside on a quiet street. I got a jamon y queso y tomate bocadilla and Kaja got a rice and vegetable dish. We also got some really yummy mojitos (Getting a little bored of the Sangria). We learned that in Grenada, you get a free tapa with any drink you order! It's just the way of the area! Cool stuff.
After dinner we decided to go to sleep because it was pretty late and we wanted to be nice and energized for the next day!
The next day, we woke up at 8:30. We had a reservation to go visit the Alhambra at 1:30 (unfortunately one of the hottest moments of the day) but before that Kaja said we had something to do at 10. AND she wouldn't tell me what it was!! She said we had a 10 o' clock appointment and try as I might to get her to reveal what the surprise was, she wouldn't say. She did however tell me the address so that I could get us there with my expert map skills.
Where we ended up was just about the most amazing place, ever. I just can't even begin to explain the excitement and extatic-ness that I was feeling. Imagine that you have just begun the day and already it is over 100 degrees, you are sweating, tired, and sticky. Then you arrive here.
Where Kaja took me was an ancient Arab bath house. She has made reservations for us to spend 2 hours in the bath house, with a 30 minute massage each!!!! AMAZING!!!
The bath house immediately smelled all spicey... like cinnamon and orange and lavender. It was decorated beautifully, with candles and sheets hanging everywhere. We entered the changing room first and Kaja also surprised me by pulling my bathing suit out of her bag (She had secretly stowed it so that I would have one!! She thought of everything!!). We got changed and then entered the bath area. It was so so amazing, I wish we had been allowed to take pictures. It was all dark with candles and low ceilings with star shaped lights in the ceiling. The smell was incredible. There were also only two other people in there with us, meaning it was extremely relaxing and quiet. There were three baths. The first one was the cold one. It was about the size of a hot tub, and the nice cool water felt AMAZING on our hot bodies. The second bath was the hot one. It was long and shallow, only about 1.5 feet deep. The ceiling was also highest in there. Lying down in the hot water was just incredible... relaxing, soothing, and cozy. Last there was the medium temperature one. This one was the deepest, about 4 feet deep, with columns running from the ceiling down through the pool. There was also tea that you could drink, really sweet and tasty tea that wasn't too hot. Lastly there was a big room with a huge hot stone in it that you could lie down on, with a ray of sunshine flowing in and illuminating the stone. INCREDIBLE!!
About halfway through the time in the baths we got called to our massages. They were, as expected, absolutely awesome. Then they had nice warm dark showers with soap and shampoo that we could go into to to clean off the oil. When we left we were refreshed and smelled all spicy! Just absolutely one of the coolest and most relaxing, fun, awesome times of my life!!
After the baths we rushed back to the hostel to drop off our wet suits and then rushed to the Alhmabra!! The Alhambra was up a HUGE hill. The walk was really pretty, but SWELTERING! We also kept getting lost... there were very few signs telling you where to go to pick up your tickets and stuff. We finally got our tickets and JUST made it to the palace tour for our time slot. However, we didn't have enough time to get the audio guides, which we had been planning on getting! We were pretty disappointed that we didn't get the chance to buy them, but even without them, the Alhambra speaks for itself in terms of beauty and awesomeness. The palace was full of amazing walls and arches. There were also lots of fountains and little aqueducts of water running through the gardens and palace. People constantly were dipping their hands, feet, and even heads into the fountains, trying to escape the heat! It was funny. After our tour of the palace we left the Alhambra to get lunch and then went back to see more! We saw the gardens, the alcazar, and another really cool building that I didn't know quite what it was (audio guide would have been helpful there!)
What I love the most about visiting these places is that I just know I will remember them for the rest of my life! The Alhambra is one of those places!
After the Alhmabra we were totally beat as well as HOT and hungry. We went walking to find some ice cream and do some shopping! We got ice cream at some place and went into at least a million tourist shops. The tourist shops in Grenada were pretty different from those in the other cities we visited because there was tons of Moroccan and arab influence. There were lots of hookahs and arab cloths for sale, as well as cool boxes and pottery! When we got back to the hostel it was getting to be dinner time, but we didn't feel like spending the money at a restaurant so instead we walked to a grocery store and got pasta, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, green beans, and garlic, for flavor. All together it was a little under 4 Euros!! Bargain mea1!! At the hostel we cooked it all up and it was absolutely delicious! Then we showered and got all dressed up to go out.
Only problem was, we were both completely tired. We almost decided to go to sleep right then and there... our legs were so soar and we were on our way to pass out! Then we decided to just go out for a little bit of a walk before bed. We walked past a hookah bar, where inside there were a bunch of people who looked about our age. They waved to us to come in, and after a bit of thinking, we decided to join them!
The hookah bar was SO much fun! The people were all ages 18-25, and everyone was so nice and funny! There were two other girls from Canada, Jack from England, Brett from New Jersey, some other dude from New York, and a middle eastern guy (everyone called him Shank) who currently lives in LA. We all hung out in the hookah bar, joking, laughing, smoking hookah and drinking tea! The man who owned the bar kept coming over and bringing us arab costumes to put on! It was so funny!
Then everyone decided to go to some bars and Kaja and I decided to join them!!
We did a lot of walking trying to find a bar that we liked, popped in a few for little bits, before we ended up at this one bar. There was flamenco music playing, a pool table, and lots of fun people!
It was really fun making friends and having a night out with people that you knew you would never ever see again! As the bar was closing, some Englishmen asked Kaja and I if we wanted to go to an after party with them at the Villa they had rented. It was a big intriguing... the idea of going to a villa in Spain, but there was NO way that we would go to some people's home that we didn't even know, this late at night! Instead we walked home, saying goodbye to all our hookah bar friends. The two girls actually decided to go to the villa with the English guys... I hope they ended up alright!
We got home at around 4:30 AM and fell right asleep!
In the morning I woke up at about 10:30, we had to leave the hostel by 11! We got some juice at a smoothie place and I got some toast for breakfast. Then we went to the caves!
There are a bunch of people, some gypsies, that live in these caves in the mountains near Granada! Kaja and I walked around the cave area a little and looked at the caves. It was fascinating to think that there are people that live in caves! However, it was really really hot so we didn't stay for long.
We walked around a lot on Sunday, most things were closed, so we just took our time exploring. We did see a cool church and the cathedral though.
For lunch I got a ham omelet and for desert Kaja and I went to this natural yogurt place that was INCREDIBLE! The frozen yogurt was the sour kind and you could put any toppings on it that you wanted, I got this hazelnut chocolate sauce with crunchys in mine and it was awesome.
We left early to walk to our train. As we were walking I decided to look quickly and see what time exactly the train was leaving, and it was a good thing I did because it was leaving an HOUR before we thought! We rushed and made it with my expert map reading skills with 15 minutes to spare!!
On the train ride home all we could think about was how nervous we were for the final soccer game. Unfortunately, we had booked our tickets before we knew that Spain's final would be at the EXACT same time!
As the train neared Madrid, we looked out the window. Everything was quiet, but it was almost 11, so we assumed the game would be over already! We both were sure that Spain had lost and that was why there was no commotion at all.
When we got to the station, we started walking and then saw a huge crowd around a tv in the station. We then realized that the game was still going on!! We RAN to the crowd and watched as Iniesta scored that AMAZING goal and everyone went nuts! There were people crying and screaming, security guards who were supposed to be working were crying and jumping and hugging, everyone was so excited and happy!!!
Yay Espana! It was their first victory and I think they really deserve it... they didn't play dirty like Holland and they have so much heart and spirit!! Rafita and Carmen are so happy and it is soooo cute!
Today was also really fun because we got to sleep in and stay at the house alone instead of going to the abuelas! We swam at the pool, ate lunch, and had a really chill day in the heat together! Love those kids!
Also, photos coming now to facebook!
Miss everyone, only 3 weeks left!


  1. Julia my love -- first of all, yay for the honor student. That's really great. Second, congratulations on not going back to that house at 4 AM. Your time in Granada sounds amazing. I'm sure you're right, that you'll remember it forever. And the Turkish baths - wow! (Martha, Betsy and I went to one in Paris, but it sounds less fancy than yours. How sweet of Kaja to do that.
    I love you. G'ma Carol

  2. THAT sounds like a weekend to remember. Actually, the whole trip sounds like a completely awesome experience. You really know how to revel in all the beauty!
    I love you!

  3. What an awesome post. It seems like you and Kaja are squeezing every drop of enjoyment and adventure from your travels...(other than going to strangers' villas in the wee hours...) and it is so great that you have each other!
    Way to go Spain! How excellent that you were there to share in the celebration!