by Duane Brown
Rochester Institute of Technology Student
Studied at the Arcadia University Center for Contemporary Studies in Granada, Spain
7/8/10 Through the Albaicin
There was a cool evening breeze when I left the house for my tour of the Albaicin. I was forewarned that the journey up through the Albaicin was going to be a bit rough, but it was far more exhausting than I thought. The first stop on our journey was at a location which used to be a public bathhouse for the villagers there during the 11th century. I learned religion was of the highest importance to the population of the nation at that time, and that the Muslim religion believed that cleanliness of the body was equal to cleanliness of the soul, and a stain on the skin was equal to a stain on the soul.
We headed further up the hill into the heart of the Albaicin. The up-hill trek was long and a bit grueling, but as the sweat was beading down my head I started to look around and noticed how different the Albaicin was from the city of Granada. The small shops, and narrow alleys and roads paved in stone, gave me a feeling of being in another city.
The most impressive part of the Albaicin had to be the view of the Alhambra. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I felt as if I was on top of the world as I looked down on Granada from a viewing point atop the Albaicin. All I could think about was how happy I was that I came to study in Spain.
7/15/10 COOKING WITH PEPA
I have heard from many of the other students in our program that their host mother would only allow them in the kitchen to eat, other than that it was a forbidden area of the house. However, I was welcomed in with an open embrace. I asked my host mother Pepa the moment I met her if she would be able to show me how to make a tortilla. I was first shown the key ingredients to the dish which included eggs, potatoes, salt, pepper, onion, vegetable of one’s choice and a lot of olive oil. We then started by cutting up the potatoes and onions, and drizzled it with olive oil and placed them into a microwavable bowl; cooking them for 15 minutes and tossing them about half way through. We then combined them with the mixed eggs, salt and pepper and placed the mix into a hot skillet.
That is when I learned the most important part of cooking a tortilla, flipping it. I was taught to place a plate on top of the tortilla and flip the pan, so that the plate was then holding the tortilla, and then flip it to the other side! Genius, I know. After that we enjoyed my tortilla with the rest of the family. It was an experience that I will always cherish.
7/17/10 TRIP TO MALAGA & NERJA
I remember thinking that I hope the home of Picasso was filled with art and artists on the streets selling their works. Although I did not see a bunch of aspiring artists, I did see a city that was proud of its famous son. The Picasso museum was the focal point for me. The opportunity to read about the rich history of Picasso before he went to France and viewing his works in person was a thrill. I have always enjoyed art its many forms and I was surprised to see that Picasso was a sculptor as well.
I thought to myself this trip couldn’t get any better. It was perfect weather for us to hit the beach, hot and sunny and not a cloud in the sky. I ate at a restaurant near the water and ordered a mouth-watering piece of sea bass and a salad; the food was fantastic! But it got even better, for lunch the following day we went to a restaurant that served what was the world’s best paella.
7/20/10 JOSÉ GUERRERO MUSEUM
I must admit that I thought that Picasso was the only world renowned painter from Spain, but as I read about the history of José, I was quickly put in my place. I noticed while touring the José Guerrero Museum there was a small film showing José, creating his art. It was invigorating to watch as he put so much energy and power into his painting. Although it looked like someone throwing paint at a canvas, this was actually his technique coming alive in front of the cameras lenses. I have come to find out that this is truly a city that is rich in history and culture.
7/23/10 TRIP TO BARCELONA
I was not going to go all the way to Spain and not see the city of Barcelona. I had heard from everyone back home who had visited Spain that it was second only to the Alhambra. Barcelona was a city that I needed to see. Due to the limited amount of time, I decided to take the tourist bus that would take me to all of the major monuments Barcelona had to offer. I got on the bus and headed to the port area. I was told by Pepa that this was an area that I had to see. I ended up having lunch there and of course, she was on target with her recommendation.
While visiting the port area, I also took a journey through Barcelona’s aquarium which was interesting, I really enjoyed seeing all the different fish and being immersed into an undersea world. The day was drawn to a quick close after visiting just a few monuments. On the way back to the hotel, I enjoyed the rest of the bus tour as it showed me all the great works by Gaudí and my most favorite place, the Barcelona Football Club stadium.
A COMPILATION OF MY JOURNEY
Spain is truly a place I feel everyone on earth should visit at least once in their life. They should at least come to see the Alhambra.
Experiencing the first World Cup victory for Spain was a once in a lifetime event. God must have been looking down on me as I was making plans for my trip. Watching as the whole city united behind their team was something I was proud to witness. It was truly spectacular to watch as everyone celebrated in the streets, without fighting and causing a riot. I hope that one day the U.S. gets a chance to celebrate like we did here in Granada.
The people of Spain seem to live with this energetic and enthusiastic spirit. They take pride of every aspect of their life. If they are shop owners they take pride in keeping the shop clean, if they are businessmen they look the part. The pride people display shows in every aspect of Spanish life I have encountered.
Spain’s rich history and its laid back, relaxed style of living is something I feel everyone should experience. One day I hope to live here. I am grateful to have had this opportunity and it will be a chapter of my life that I will share with anyone who is willing to listen. ~