Christmas in Granada

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I knew at some point on my year long trip that it would be Christmas Day and I would not be home.  This fact didn’t make the day’s arrival any less sad for me.  I do love my current travel life, but I really wished I could have magically transported home for just one day and then transport back.  I left Sevilla on the morning of the 23rd by bus and headed for Granada, Spain.  Prior to leaving Sevilla, I kind of regretted not staying because I was having fun hanging out with the hostel staff (as almost no one else was staying there).  I arrived in Granada early in the afternoon to an equally empty hostel,  in a town that was much colder, and not as beautiful as Sevilla in my opinion.  Despite my initial disappointment, the people I met in Granada turned out ok, and I had a fun Christmas holiday time there.

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I read and heard so much about Granada prior to arrival.  Many had told me it was the most beautiful city in Spain.  It’s also a big university town, and has a well known alternative scene.  After taking a local bus into the city from the main bus station, I headed up the hill into the older part of the city to find my hostel.  I immediately noticed the Moroccan influence in the street market like bizarr that was going on.  Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo of that.  I also noticed a lot of people with dreadlocks or rastas.  Between this, and the smell of marijuana I had a couple times, I got the sense this was a pretty relaxed and welcoming place.

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The hostel I booked, Makuto, was interesting as well.  It was a typical Andolusian style home in which the house served as one wall, while three other adjacent walls formed a central courtyard for the home.  They had a treehouse, along with a bar area in the middle of it.  They also had this huge outdoor brick oven with a large paella pan in the center.

 Christmas Day

So Christmas day started like any other on my trip…  waking up in a hostel dorm room.  We decided as a group that the best thing to do would be to share a meal of the traditional Spanish seafood dish… paella.  It was cool to see everyone in the hostel that day band together like a little traveler family.  Almost everything was closed anyway, so other than walk around the neighborhood, there wasn’t much to do.  The other travelers that day included a young couple from Greece, another couple from Poland, and a guy from England who seemed to be temporarily leaving in the hostel.  As for the hostel staff, there was Daniel, a Spanish rasta guy who had lived in the US for a couple years and spoke English with a mid-western US accent.  Aaron from Wales who is a musician and had moved to Granada to learn Spanish guitar.  And Syrmo, the hostel manager who was from Greece.  We mostly spent Christmas day drinking Sangria and beer, eating paella together and having a lot of laughs.  In the evening, we sat in the hostel’s “chill out” room, drank more Sangria and played guitar and drums.  I know a few guitar chords, and I managed to put something together that seemed pleasing to the drunken crew.  However, I had the most fun following the beat of the better guitarists and playing drums.  Not sure if it was the alcohol, but I remember thinking as a group, we sounded pretty damn good playing together.  Definitely a good vibe.  At one point, Aaron used an empty wine bottle as a slide to play the guitar.  It was a grungy bluesy tune that sounded incredible.  That moment was the only image from the day I managed to capture.

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I wish I had been recording it with my phone.  It was a great blues tune of some sort, and the slide effect of the wine bottle was perfect.  Not everyone in the audience that day got it.  Some thought it just sounded weird, but it was definitely bad ass.  That guy has talent.

So that was my holiday intro to Granada.  I decided to stick around at that point since I still had tons to see.  As I’m writing this, it’s actually late January, and I’m way behind on the blog.  I’ve had trouble finding reliable internet as I move away from the more developed parts of the world.  I’m going to try and write several smaller updates for each city in the future.  Lots more to come on Granada.

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