Sunday, April 1, 2012


Let me start at last Saturday, the day that my mom was supposed to arrive in Granada (SUPPOSED TO being the key words here).  Her flight from Madrid to Granada was scheduled to get in at 5PM so my plan was to take the 4PM bus to the airport and meet her there.  As I was waiting at the bus stop, about 5 minutes before the bus was due to arrive, my phone rings.  It was my mom saying that because their layover flight from London to Madrid had arrived late in Madrid and that she was stuck there for the night.  I was pretty upset so I bought some soft serve frozen yogurt to try to cheer me up and then went back home and tried to study for the midterm that I had coming on on Tuesday.  I also skyped with Alyssa, Aunt Laura, Uncle John, and Nick for a while since they had stayed overnight at my house.  

Sunday I got up night and early, made sandwiches for the picnic lunch at Federico Garica Lorca Park that I had planned for my mom and I, and then went over to the bus stop to catch the 7:45AM bus to the airport.  When I got to the bus station I saw that on the sign it said that there was a bus at 7:15AM, then not another one until 10AM, and then one every hour after that.  I figured that the sign must be out of date because I had been e-mailing two of my program's coordinators about the bus and they had both said that the bus came everyday at 7:45AM, 9AM, 10AM, 11AM, etc.  I waited at the bus stop until about 8:20, and then decided that the bus wasn't coming.  When I went back to my room I went on the bus company's website and saw that as of February, they had moved the 7:45AM bus to 7:10AM and took away the 9AM bus.  Since my mom's plane got to Granada at 9AM, I had no choice but to sit and wait until she tried to contact me. When I didn't hear from her by 10:00, I started to get really worried.  I frantically tried calling EVERYWHERE (the airlines, the airport, a women who's cell she had borrowed, the hotel...).  Finally about 2 and a half hours after her flight landed my mom decided to call me.  She ended up just taking the bus to the last stop which is right near Eva's house.  We ate the picnic lunch that I had ready since 7AM that morning by the fountains that are near my house.  

After lunch we walked over to Hotel Carlos V, the hotel that we were staying at until Friday night.  The hotel turned out much better then I could have even hoped for.  It was really cute and had an adorable terrace with a great view of the city.  Mom and I ate breakfast out there every morning.  The funny thing was though that when we first walked into the building, the conveniently was very close to my school, we were really confused when it was totally deserted.  We didn't know what to do but finally about 5 minutes later I saw the sign that said that the hotel was on the 4th floor.  
Then we walked over the the Albayzin area.  I meant to take us to this spot that my friends and I have gone that has an amazing view but somehow we ended up in this area where there was a huge gathering of young people with dread locks and tattoos.  There were people playing guitars and drums, hula-hooping to music, juggling, drinking, and just hanging out.  There were also dogs running around everywhere.  It was definitely quite the scene. We went over to Eva's house for dinner and she made us each a fried egg with peas, bread, and then croquetas for mom to try.  

Monday morning mom and I woke up around 8 and went for a run along the river.  After showers and a nice breakfast on the terrace I headed to class and mom headed out to walk around the city a bit.  For lunch Eva made us this thick puffy rice and topped mom's with chorizo and this scary looking, dark, crumbly sausage.  Mine was topped with a bunch of vegetables of course because Eva knows that I don't eat sausage.  Unfortunately I had classes from 3:30-6:30 that day, but mom was fine walking around a bit on her own and then taking a two hour siesta.  That night we tried to go to this bar that has delicious tapas and a great atmosphere called Bar Poe, but of course we didn't know that it was the only day of the week that it was closed.  We ended up going on a random tapa hunt and ended up getting tapas at two different restaurants that were right down the street from our hotel.

On Tuesday mom went to the Alhambra during the day.  I had my last midterm at 5PM so after going over to Eva's to eat lunch I came back to the hotel and tried to study.  After taking my Literatura Espanola midterm, which I think went pretty well, mom and I walked around by the Cathedral.  I brought two snow globes for my snow globe collection.  For dinner Eva made us what I think was one of mom's favorite meals here; a large spinach salad with avocado, tomato, cucumbers, green olives, and cheese cubes, and a tasty warm spinach dish with melted cheese on top that we dipped bread in.  

On Wednesday I had a decent amount of class again, so mom went and explored the Cathedral and went inside it too, which is something that I still need to do.  I found out that I got a perfect score on my Civilacion y Cultura Espanola midterm, so I was very happy about that.  For lunch mom got to try the tradicional Tortilla de Patata dish that Eva had made for us with another tasty salad.  That night we went back to Bar Poes, which was actually open this time.  It was really crazy because mom saw a guy that had graduated from the high school that she teaches at (Wheaton Warrenville South).  He said that he thought that she looked familiar when we walked in, and they have actually taught summer school at the same place before.  He's living and working in Granada, teaching English at one of the school's here.  What a small world!  Mom got three drinks and I got two so we got to try five different tapas and have five drinks for about ten euro.  We had a fish dish, two chicken ones, and two vegetable ones and they were all really tasty.

Thursday was my 21st birthday! It was also the day of the nationwide strike for the labor reform, so both of my classes for that day were canceled.  It was up to each professor individually if they wanted to hold class or not.  While we ate breakfast on the terrace that morning I opened birthday cards from mom and dad, papa, grandma, The Swiatlos, and the Nonceks.  I also got an iTunes giftcard and a Fossil bracelet and necklace set from my parents.  Mom and I made sandwiches at Eva's and ate a Picnic lunch at the beautiful Federico Garica Lorca Park (like I had originally planned for day 1).  

On the way back to Eva's we stopped at the Dunkin COFFEE, not Dunkin Donuts, that they have here.  I've never been to it before and I was surprised to see that although it is only a Dunkin and not an ice cream place like Baskin Robins too they still had soft serve ice cream and sundaes.  Mom got coffee and I got some soft serve frozen yogurt.  At 10:30AM U.S. time/5:30PM Spain time I registered for my Fall classes at ISU.  I somehow got into the Psychology class that I need for a middle level endorsement even though my counselor was telling me that the class would most likely be blocked for majors only.  I was very happy to get into that but now I'm going to have a pretty intense semester with 16 hours. For dinner that night we went to another bar with delicious tapas called Mayerlings.  We both started out with the "tapa especial" that I had gotten last time I went there.  It's rolled eggplant stuffed with seafood and cheese and served with some lettuce and dressing on the side.  It was a great birthday and I'm so glad that my mom was here to spend it with me.  

On Friday we took a little over an hour bus ride to Malaga, another city in Spain that is right along the Mediterranean Sea.  I didn't really do the best job researching how to get to our hotel once we got dropped off at the Malage bus station, but we figured it out eventually.  Out hotel was called Hotel Los Naranjos and was very close to the beach.  It wasn't warm enough to swim or anything, but it was still a beautiful view.  After checking into the hotel we walked over to this castle/fortress thing called the Alcazaba. On the way there we stopped at a restaurant for lunch and ordered Paella and salad.  I'm glad that mom got to try Paella since it is such a signature dish of Andalusia.  The Alcazaba dates back to the 11th century and sort of reminded my of Malaga's version of the Alhambra.  It was really cool to see it and also to see the amazing views of the city from the towers.  
We walked back to the hotel along the beach and stopped at good ol' Mercadona (my favorite supermarket in Spain) and bought some sliced ham from the deli, Brie cheese, green olives, and bread for a picnic lunch on the patio in our hotel room.  It wasn't as good as our patio at Hotel Carlos V in Granada though because there wasn't much of a view besides a wall.  That night we walked along the beach and got the most    breathtaking view of the city call lit up at night.  Then we went out for beers, but no tapas this time since we were full from dinner.  They did bring us out some delicious gourmat green olives though.  It's funny that I eat so many green olives now when I didn't even like them before I came to Spain.  

On Saturday we a large continental breakfast at the hotel.  They had a bunch  of fruit, yogurt, croissants, cereal, coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice.  We walked over to the second of the who castles that are in Malaga.  This one was called the Castillo de Gibralfaro.  Since it was even high up on the mountain then the first one, we got an even more amazing view of the entire city, the Mediterranean Sea, and the mountains.  We made another stop at Mercadona to get ham and blue cheese for another picnic meal.  We had to check out of the hotel by noon so we brought our luggage and food to the beach and ate there.  Then we headed back to the bus station and took the ALSA bus back to Granada. 

When we got back to Granada we went to Eva's and mom tried to do the online check in for her flight.  My computer was being really annoying though so she wasn't able to do it.  We went to the hotel that I had booked us for the last night so that mom could shower before we headed out for a final night of tapas at Bar Poe.  I had booked us a room in a hotel that was cheaper than Carlos V called Hotel Niza.  I figured it didn't really matter since it was only for one night.  Don't get me wrong, it was a very cute little place with character, but you could definitely tell that it was a cheaper hotel.  The rooms were really tiny and old fashioned.  At Bar Poe mom decided to be brave and tried the spicy chicken liver tapa for her last one.  It was served with rice and actually tasted pretty good!  The problem with Hotel Niza that night was that there was one room that was playing loud music until 2AM. So rude! The fact that we had to get up at 6AM for that mom could catch the 7AM bus to the airport meant that we didn't get much sleep that night at all.  I was really sad to see my mom go.  We had such a great time here in Granada and had quite the adventure exploring Malaga.  I'm so glad that she was able to visit me here because it is such a huge chapter in my life!  

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