Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Celebrating the New Year!

With only four weeks here I'm trying to make the most of my time. I can finally comprehend what everyone around me is speaking, so I have gotten more adventurous in visiting areas nearby.

This Wednesday our study abroad group went to the traditional Arabic Baths here in Granada. There are Arabic Baths here in the city that are a monument that people can visit, but they are not used by the public. Traditionally, the Arabic Baths were used by the Romans here in the city. The Arabic Baths that I visited are different pools that are hot, cold, and warm. You can hop around to different pools at your choosing and drink hot mint tea while relaxing. During the Arabic bath experience you get a massage and lay on a hot stone afterwards. One of the only rules in the Arabic baths is that there is to be no talking. They are supposed to be a completely relaxing experience.

This Thursday I went to the Alhambra which is one of Spain's most visited attractions. The Alhambra is a huge palace which is more like a city within its confined walls. It takes hours to go through the whole palace.

We had a guide that led us around much of the palace and it took three hours only stopping briefly to view the sights and learn some of the Alhambra's history. The pictures of it do not do the Alhambra justice. It is beyond beautiful and took over 250 years to complete! There are Arabic scriptures carved into the walls and ceilings everywhere! Much of the walls are covered with tile or scripture. The ceilings are extremely high and detailed. It amazed me how advanced these people were in science, math, and astronomy, hundreds and hundreds of years ago!

I had gone shopping around Granada this weekend with a few friends and found many unique, homemade things to buy! Of course, while out shopping we couldn't resist buying some gelato for a midday snack! Everyone is out shopping right now because of the holiday season and exchanging of gifts on Jan. 6 (Three Kings Day).

New Years in Granada was very fun! There are so many fiestas and people celebrating the New Year! In Spain there is a tradition that at midnight everyone has to eat 12 grapes quickly for 12 months of good luck in the next year. I spent New Year's with my host family eating a large dinner that we had helped to prepare all day.

After dinner the table was moved and the whole family danced to a variety of music until 1 a.m. My roommate and I then went to the city hall square to see a large concert in the streets that were closed down and dance until late in the morning. New Year’s here is different from the United States, but very fun with many people celebrating in the streets. In addition, almost all stores closed on New Year’s Eve and remained closed New Year’s Day.

The city of Granada is so beautiful, especially during December and January! There are Christmas lights hung up everywhere you look in the city! A large fake Christmas tree is put up and a large statue of Papa Noel. There are small shops set up all over squares and random music being played all around. The spirit of the holiday season in Spain is certainly unique and I would recommend anyone to come visit Granada around the holidays!

Hasta luego until next week!

— Racquel Kreischer #HuskyUnleashed #HuskyAbroad

Racquel Kreischer is a senior engineering major spending this winter break studying abroad in Granada, Spain. Through the Instituto MediterrĂ¡neo Sol Granada she is studying Spanish while living with a Spanish family learning up-close about Spainards lives, language and culture.

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