As I start my walk through the city center, I’m struck again by how happy and alive the Spanish language sounds. All around me, the air buzzes with conversation. It seems all of Granada is out tonight. I can hear people chatting about their day at work, what they’ll do for dinner, or asking after one another’s family. The air is crisp and cold, and with the Christmas season approaching, there are roadside stands selling roasted chestnuts and filling the air with a sweet smokiness that adds to the festive mood. I continue walking and pass a Spanish delicatessen. The smell of the salty cured meat strikes me, and I slow for a few steps to admire the deep golden colored hams hanging in long rows from the ceiling and the wheels of cheeses for sale.
Continuing on, I pass El Sabor de España, which sells sweets, candied nuts, pastries, and traditional wines. Before I know it, I’ve followed the warm scent inside, and I chat with the barista as I sample a piece of turron, the almond-butter sweet melting in my mouth. Next, I wind through several narrow cobblestone streets until I reach the Cathedral. By now my fingers are chilled and I can’t feel my nose, but it’s too pretty of a day to stay inside. How can I describe how beautiful the Cathedral is with the sun striking it? The sky is a clear, vivid blue, and the late afternoon light filters through in shades of gold and a deep rosy pink. This is one of my favorite spots in the city, and I pause again to admire the highlights and deep shadows on the gothic façade before moving on.
Next, I pass a tea vendor, with baskets overflowing with countless colorful teas infused with dried fruits, herbs, spices, and nuts. Somehow the combination of scents is spicy, refreshing, and fruity all at once, and the colorful variety begs me to try each and every flavor. In front of me is another of my favorite plazas, with the “El Aguador” statue in the center. I smile as I walk past, remembering the bar beside it was the first place I came for tapas with my new friends. Shortly thereafter, I turn onto Gran Via, one of the main streets in Granada. The Christmas lights above are still waiting to be lit, but the brilliantly yellow gingko trees lining the road add happy pops of color every few yards.
At the end of Gran Via, I’ve almost come to the end of my route. I round a corner and walk through a plaza filled with restaurants and cafes, their outside patios lit with little heaters and fires so guests can eat outside. I can smell churros and chocolate as I approach the café where I see my language exchange partner; we exchange “besitos” on the cheek and sit down to our plate of churros. As we begin to chat about our days, I smile again at the warm hum of Spanish conversation around me.
Wow, I love this city.
Megan V.L. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Political Science & Spanish at University of Tennessee.
Megan Vande Linde is the Fall 2017, Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Tennessee.