Spain: Part II
Day 4: We woke up early, I hadn't gotten adjusted to Spain time, or caught up on sleep, and the fact that we had stayed up till one o'clock in the morning getting back from our dancing excursion and showered, I wasn't in a very cheery mood. Breakfast was heavenly espresso with fresh fruit and rich chocolate filled croissants. We quickly packed so that we could leave later, and then headed out to explore the Alhambra.
The Alhambra. Imagine a picturesque mixture of Arabic and Islamic cultures combined to make breathtaking architecture.
The rain only dampened the ground, but the sun soon made her appearance to shine down on our experience with palace life. Though the fortress was void of furnishings, the walls, floors, and ceiling decorations well filled the rooms. I couldn't help but to lift my eyes, and tilt my head to look at the beautiful ceilings, spinning to take in all views. It was something beyond incredible. Our tour guide for the time was a beautiful, kind woman who was funny and loving. (She offered us a bed if we ever came back to stay for a while. Although mostly just for the girls... She had a daughter.) The walls were white, though they had once been colorful. Blue, and white, and gold. The intricate carvings were unreal in their beauty and ability to withstand time. The gardens though, the Arabs were famous for their beautiful gardens, a tradition that followed through in many palaces in Spain. It was all something wonderful and amazing, yet our journey did come to an end. We had walked 3 miles just inside the fortress, and then it was time to go.
We then headed down to walk the city of Granada, there I was duped into paying 5 euro for a palm reading for me and the girl friend that was with me. To my amazement I understood what she said, though they were mostly vague readings, it still seemed to shock me at her accurate guesses of my life. Though my future I yet to know. After the run in with the gypsy, we explored Granada, stopping to eat pizza and shop in the little locally owned places.
Finally after shopping, eating, getting lost, and finding our way again we were back on the bus and heading to Costa del Sol.
When we arrived in the Costa del Sol, it wasn't as sunny as we thought it'd be, I guess it's not always sunny on the Cost of the Sun, but it was a bit warmer and a nice change. We ate another lovely dinner at the hotel and then retired to our rooms where me and the two girls I roomed with spent quality girl time people watching and talking about everything. And laughing.
You know, it doesn't seem to matter where in the world you're at, if it's rainy, cold, and stressful, sometimes just sitting and talking to friends, and laughing is the best medicine.
We were nearing the end, but we had had our days so jam packed with walking and going, rain and stress, and taking in everything to remember for later, we rejoiced in having a day off. I slept in, sort of, for what seemed like the first time in ages. After having my morning espresso we called a cab and headed out for a little shopping and determination to at least step foot in the Mediterranean ocean.
Our cab driver was very kind, that I remember, he had a picture of his son where he and the rest of the car could see, he was only five and the cutest kid we swore we'd ever seen. He helped us clarify some Spanish, mostly the word for rain, and we made him swear he'd come back to pick us up in a few hours, which he did. We didn't really get any shopping done, to our surprise Costa del Sol all participates in the daily siesta from 2-4. However our feet did touch the icy cold of the Mediterranean and we all collected rocks and wish it had been a sunnier day, but were grateful for what we did get. But the rain didn't dampen our moods as we all headed back to the hotel to spend the rest of the day relaxing.
I spent my time napping, and then getting up to eat. We had more girl time to give each other, and all the kids went to the lobby to listen to American pop and round two of cards.
We were heading towards Seville to spend some time.
Sleeping on the bus was awful, but some of the best moments were spent on the bus where all three groups from the three different schools came together to sing songs we all knew, whatever our differences were before, we lost them all. We discovered even on foreign soil, music could unite a nation.
When we arrived in Seville the weather was beautiful for the first time in what seemed like forever, and the city was like a fairy tale. There were horse drawn carriages, another castle called the Alcazar, and an incredible cathedral whose tower we climbed 34 flights.
After eating, we went to the Alcazar, another beautiful mesh of varying cultures, more beautiful art and architecture, and gardens, oh the gardens. After seeing all the gardens I was inspired like I had never been before to create my very own magnificent garden in my own home. How wonderful would that be? Waking up everyday drinking tea or espresso in a garden like that?
The cathedral though is what go me. The Alcazar paled in comparison the the Cathedral of Sevilla not in interior beauty, but exterior, also known to be the largest cathedral in the world. There I saw the tomb that contains 30% of Columbus' remains. (He got moved around a lot.) Ancient organs and a giant silver and gold alter that would make even the richest man alive green with envy. To show you how big the whole cathedral was, there was a painting above the alter, the inside of the frame of the painting was 400 sq. ft., the size of a small apartment. Just take that in for a second.
Not many of us made the trip of the 34 ramps to the very top of the cathedral's tower, but I was one of them, and it was worth it. The bells in it were enormous, and the view was spectacular. We could see the Alcazar and all of Sevilla. Though I was a bit winded getting to the top of the tower, I nearly forgot the mountain I had climbed to get there.
Climbing back down was a lot easier. We went to our hotel and dressed for the night where all the groups joined in and went on a disco cruise down the river. To my surprise the dancing music was nothing but American pop, and I knew nearly every song on the playlist. (Which made me realize really how commercialized our society is that other nations just use our music.) Again that night, I saw how music could connect people, it was the heart of all nations, at least for the night.
Our dancing shoes were filled with rain water by the end of the night but it was forgivable. One of the most wonderful things happened that night when we were relaxing in our rooms, it was when our art teacher came and talked to us and told us her story of growing up and getting to see the world. And I dreamt that night of seeing the world, seeing more of the world, and the wonders of how I was doing that right then. Already.
Tune in next week for Part III My Last Days in Spain, then a segment the following week of what I learned.