It can’t be denied that one of the best things about living in Spain is the weather. Whilst in my first couple of days in Granada in February the shroud of grey sky threatened scattered showers of rain and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada were coated in a thick layer of snow, a few weeks later things had really begun to heat up. Primavera, por fin! By the beginning of March it was definitely time for a beach trip. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I finally got the opportunity to visit the iconic Alhambra in Granada. As a student of Spanish and Arabic, the red fortress truly encompasses both areas of my degree programme- which meant I was very excited to go and see it, in the most nerdy way possible! Continue reading
Holy week is one of the biggest events of the year in Andalusia, welcoming thousands of visitors to the region in search of the countless religious celebrations. In Granada it is no different: in the first week of April the city was abuzz with life, the streets were crowded with people and coloured processions marched through the streets from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday. Continue reading
¡Hola Granada! After only a few weeks I am already in love with the culture, the architecture and the people of the Andalusian city. Surrounded by towering mountains of rock and snow for hiking and skiing, with the beaches of the Tropical coast only an hour away, Granada really offers the best of both worlds. The city itself is an amalgamation of both modern Spain and its historical Islamic heritage. You can spend days at a time walking from plaza to plaza (public transport exists, but isn’t really necessary) admiring the fountains and architecture, along with hidden gems hinting at the past of the city, such as the statue of Yehuba Ibn Tibon in the old Jewish Quarter.
As the Qasid term finished and people began to drift home for Christmas, it became very obvious to me that I was going to have to step up the celebrations to avoid getting hit too hard by the unavoidable I’m-not-at-home-for-Christmas blues. While some of the other stragglers decided to head over to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, my desire for a cosy, comfortable Christmas Day (and my depleted bank account…) meant that me and my friend/flatmate Jasmine decided to get decorating and search for events in Amman to fill us with Christmas cheer.
For the past few days the weather in Amman has been TERRIBLE. Rain, cold and fog- it feels like winter has finally arrived. Because of the mini ice age (slight over exaggeration but I’ve become acclimatised to Middle Eastern heat) I decided to tag along on my friend Ana’s trip to the Dead Sea. She assured me that it’s “warm all year round!”, which I’m not sure is scientifically true…
Last week was was Eid al-Adha (which meant that we had a week off from studying!). As a result, a group of us decided to travel to the south for a few days and tick a few things off of our Jordan bucket lists: Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
After a more than comfortable flight into Amman (three seats to myself along with three pillows and blankets!) I unfortunately had a less than smooth transition into my life in Jordan. My O2 sim I was planning on using until I could find a Jordanian replacement started blocking my inbound and outbound calls, meaning I couldn’t get in contact with my landlady to direct the cab driver on the final stretch to her house. Luckily I met my friend Jasmine at the airport and so the three hour wait until we were able to contact her flew by… (N.B. check that your phone company allows you to make calls in the country you’re visiting before you leave!)
I start my year abroad today: first stop Jordan to study Arabic at the Qasid Insitute and the Ali Baba International Center in Amman.
Goodbyes are always difficult, especially when you’re about to go and join a culture so different to your own. I won’t lie, it’s 7.30am and I’ve already managed to have a mini emotional breakdown (and my flight doesn’t leave until 10pm!). Nonetheless I would say I’m incredibly excited for the coming year.