Granada!

>> October 20, 2010

It is hard to imagine that the trip to Granada almost didn't happen. As Sarah and I were looking at our finances, it just didn't seem smart. Our hopes were rekindled when the professors gave us money for tickets to get into the Alhambra for my birthday. But there was still the concern for paying for a hostel and as we were looking at prices online it was not looking good. The decision was made when our friend Cecilia told us that we could stay in her husbands apartment. Her husband Enrique recently got the apartment in Granada for his new job. Not only were we going to be able to stay there for our whole stay, but Cecilia would be there for a couple days too.

Since we only had one night together before they headed to Sevilla,we had to go out.
Enrique and Cecilia took us on a paseo through the city.
They are amazing people!

The city is full of beautiful fountains. In the middle section you can see big pomegranates as part of the design. Granada is Spanish for pomegranate!

We love cities that are made for walking.

Sarah and Cecilia stop to smell some of the teas from Africa.

The cathedral looked pretty impressive from the outside.
We didn't get the chance to go inside of this one.

We found a nice tapas restaurant to sit down and relax. Notice the "pulpo gallego" on the table. It is octopus prepared in the style of the Northern Spain, Galicia area.

Sarah had a hard time with the texture.

Something told us not to eat here.

Christopher Columbus monument.

As we were walking towards the older area of town, called the Albayzín. We discovered a fairy tale kitty haven below the roadway.

Oh No!

Sarah wanted to find a way down to pet them.

The Alhambra was looking down on us.

We printed out a walking tour off of National Geographic website so we stared to follow the map.

The Alhambra was coming into better view as we climbed.

I put the long lens on the camera to get a shot at some of the people taking picture in our direction. These people are "inside" the Alhambra taking the tour.

Tiny Streets!

Gummy Bear break!

There she is! This is the view from the famous mirador Plaza San Nicholas.

On the way down we were digging the old houses and the architecture.

The street was a lot of fun and seemed to be the main street of the Albayzín.

We found "not so busy and touristy" coffee house and ordered some Pakistani tea and a gofre to share. What is a gofre, you may ask? Imagine a waffle with a scoop of ice cream, banana chunks, whip cream, and chocolate on top. Delicious!

We went back up to the Plaza San Nicholas to get a night shot of the Alhambra.
Photos don't really do it justice.

The next day we decided on a whim to head over to Granada's Parque de Las Ciencias.
Einstein was hanging out in front.

There was some cool exhibits, more directed to children, but we had a good time with it.

I think there was suppose to be ants in the bubble.

California?!? tsk tsk tsk

My little astronaut.

We also went inside their planetarium, which we both fell asleep in for small periods of time. We heard a loud noise on the dome and realized that it had started to rain like crazy outside. But once the rain stopped we headed out to climb up the observation tower.

There was a great view of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Yes, there are Sierra Nevadas here too.

The next day we headed back into the Albayzín to make our way up to the Alhambra.
Notice Sarah's "I want kitty" face.

The road up to the Alhambra was steep! Notice how crazy the bench looks.

I don't think we were supposed to enter in here, but it was open.
So we entered into the Puerta de Justicia.

We had time before our "appointed time" to enter into the Alhambra so we wandered around the Generalife, which is another palace right next door. We managed to balance the camera on some shrubbery to get this picture.

Patio de la Acequia

Imagine making this rock by rock.

It was finally time to enter into the Alhambra, so we got in line a filed in. It is amazing that so many people want to visit the Alhambra that they have to only allow a certain number to enter in every hour. You have to book your tickets in advance because it will sell out before your day to go. I still thought they let too many people in at a time and it made it difficult to take pictures.

The Alhambra is most famous for its intricate carvings and Islamic architecture.

They used lots of fountains and moving water to keep rooms cooler.

Unfortunately the famous, Court of the Lions was in the middle of some restoration. They had removed all of the lions and were fixing the water system. All of the lions were being displayed "fully restored" in another area, but photos were strictly prohibited.



When we got to the lookout point of the Alhambra (which I took a picture with my big lens earlier from the plaza) I put the big lens on to take a picture the other direction. So here is a picture of the Plaza San Nicholas.

This buildings call the Partal. Notice the punk kid in the red jacket.

We had some lady take a picture of us.
She was really nervous with the camera so the picture didn't turn out real clear.

Looking out at the city at sunset from the Alcazaba.
(right before we got kicked out by the guys who were closing up)

Thanks again to Enrique and Cecilia for letting us stay at their apartment.
Wall to wall accommodations! It was an amazing trip!

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My birthday and U2!

>> October 10, 2010

I know its a week late but last week was a little bit busy for us, so here is the post many people have been asking about.
On my Birthday Sarah made me chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. My plan was to stay home all morning and be lazy but she convinced me to come to the school while she had to work on some things. Towards the end of the morning, Sarah told me that one of the blinds in the teachers lounge fell down and they needed someone tall to fix. The rest of the staff were waiting inside to surprise me with a little birthday fiesta.

The staff all pitched in to get me the book Tales of The Alhambra by Washington Irving and enough change(literally a box of coins) for Sarah and I to buy two entrances to the Alhambra in Granada. (We just got into Granada last night and I am taking advantage of the lazy morning to do this post) We are staying with good friends Cecilia and Enrique. Cecilia was my first professor here in Spain and her husband is here working in Granada for awhile. Sarah has been here before when she was a student but is excited to see it all again. We are scheduled to go see inside the Alhambra on Tuesday night!
Thanks again everyone!

The Huelga (strike) took place as planned but didn't seem to be as effective as everyone had hoped. Many stores closed only while the people were marching down the main street. There were reports that some groups of people were harassing workers in banks and stores later in the day but nothing too serious. The lack of public transportation was probably the biggest problem in the city.

That night we had another big bbq on our roof. Actually I think it was our biggest one yet. Our hamburgers with pineapple are getting famous here.

Sarah set up a "good ol' fashion" game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The Spaniards got a kick out of it. This is a picture of Aaron, our pastor's son, giving it his best shot.

Here is Cecilia getting prepped to go.

I got pretty darn close. Pit Stains!

Jonathan played guitar while everyone sang happy birthday in English. It was hilarious.
Sarah baked yummy cupcakes for everyone. (6 at a time)

The next day I headed over to the Olympic Stadium at noon to get in line for the U2 concert. Everyone with General admission tickets wanted to be let in first so that they could get the closest to the stage. Even though I got there at 12pm (5 hours early) there were already about 1,200 people waiting in line. Many of them lighting up cigarettes every 10 minutes. I have seriously never inhaled so much second hand smoke in my life and have never hated smoking so much as I do now (I have been sick since). Sarah joined me at 3pm and they started letting us in at 5pm. We didn't take any pictures because it wasn't something we really wanted to remember. As we were moving forward, they kept everyone calm until we got to the front of the stadium. At that point it was a race for who could run across the stadium and up to the stage the fastest. Sarah and I managed to get a spot about 15 feet from the stage.
After three hours of waiting there, we were well acquainted with the people around us. These are a group of guys that all work for the Guardia Civil at the Sevilla airport. They were a lot of fun. One of them kept buying beers and would not let me refuse to take the first few sips.

The opening band was Interpol. I have seen them before in concert. They have a darker sound calling back to some 80's music and I really enjoy how they weave their guitar parts together.

After their set some lucky stage crew member got the job of fixing one of the LED panels.

The crowd watched and cheered him on as he made progress. This picture also gives you an idea of how many people were behind us.

This gives you an idea of how high up he was. Can you see him in the middle of the red panels?

After much anticipation, U2 came on the stage.

It was great to hear all the Spaniards sing along.

Sarah and I were singing at the top of our lungs with our favorites.

Bono is a great showman.


I wish I could have gotten a closer look at the Edge's guitar setup. He switched guitars every song and his pedal board was HUGE.

Bono and the Edge on the walkway in the middle of the crowd. (behind us)



I was amazed at how many times Adam switched the bass he was playing

Sarah and I thought this girl was going to try to kiss Bono.

The stage and light set-up was amazing!

Larry held it down

Sarah even cried during "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" it was so amazing!


We snapped this on our way out. They had immediately started taking apart the stage to move it to the next gig.

Here are some videos that we took.

First a view of the stadium
video

Bono going over our heads on the bridge.
video

It's Alright!
video

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