“No hay en la vida nada como la pena de ser ciego en Granada”

(The title, translated, means “There’s nothing in life like the pain of being blind in Granada.” – Francisco de Icaza)

Well I suppose it’s about time I update you on the last week of the trip, huh? I started to write on Monday or Tuesday for about 2 hours… and then the draft got deleted. Have you ever had that happen, and then you just don’t feel like rewriting everything, because you liked what you had before but you don’t want to rewrite it because it won’t be as good as the original and you don’t remember exactly what it all said? Yeah, that’s what happened to me. My apologies :p

I’ll start out by saying that I’m in the Detroit airport, and about the only thing on my mind is how much I want my Packers jersey or Bucky Badger t-shirt. Wisconsin pride, yo!

State rivalries aside, my time in Spain was…. unbelievable. Mostly in the literal definition that I had such a hard time believing I was back in my querida Granada… but it was also just amazing. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted (most notably go to a salsa club, boo!) and I had my fair share of traveling mishaps (an accident on the French railways which caused 2-hour delays and provoked a breakdown on my part/me never being so happy to hear Spanish in my life; waking up late and missing my train from Granada to Barcelona; waking up late and almost missing my flight from Amsterdam-Detroit), but come on man, I was in SPAIN last week. This is about all the complaining I can bring myself to do. Even though we never went to a salsa club I still never went back to my hostel before 4 am. I ate doner kepabs and tortilla espaƱola and at least 7 cups of gelato. I had dinner with my old host family and good friends who stayed with them this semester. I went to the beach and swam in the ice cold Mediterranean three different times and got burnt to a crisp on my back. I went shopping and drank wine and ate tapas and went up to the Alhambra at midnight and just walked and walked and walked around my city. I took hundreds of pictures and laughs with friends, both old and new. And it was all fantastic.

The week went by quickly, as I knew it would, and although the 13-hour bus ride from Granada to Barcelona (that I was extremely lucky to catch less than an hour after oversleeping and missing my train) was long to say the least, I never tire of the breathtaking hills and mountains, rolling about the Spanish countryside, and to the other side, the sweeping Mediterranean. I passed through cities I know nothing about but would love to visit someday, and giggled at the extremely random choice of en-route movies shown overhead (Life is Beautiful, an oooold Italian movie; The Mummy; and A Walk in the Clouds, what seemed like a newer movie, with Keano Reeves and Debra Messing, which I also enjoyed a lot – all dubbed in Spanish). Upon arrival after midnight, I made my way to the hostel and spent about 4 hours there before taking my flight to Amsterdam.

At this point, I had maybe gotten 4 hours of sleep in the prior 2.5 days. I was to the point where I would close my eyes and fall asleep almost instantly; I’m extremely surprised I even made it to Amsterdam thanks to the drowsy haze about me. I had a 23-hour layover in Amsterdam, which I chose on purpose in hopes of seeing a bit of the city. On my flight there I wasn’t sure if I could muster up the energy to do so. But of course, put a travel addict in a beautiful and intriguing new country/city, and well, they’ll find the energy for almost anything.

Well I just lost everything I wrote about Amsterdam again, I don’t remember what I wrote and don’t feel like rewriting it again… ugh. I remember writing that I immediately fell in love with the charming brooms and streams that dabble the flat and unimaginably green countryside, and the winding canals that make up “downtown” Amsterdam. I put downtown in quotes because despite the city’s population (and reputation), you tend to forget it because of its laid-back, small-town aura.

In the 9 hours I realistically spent in the city, I managed to find the stamina to learn and see more than I ever imagined with an incredible 3-hour walking tour. I was happy with the (infrequent, from what I heard) gorgeous weather, the delicious tradiional apple pancakes I devoured and the colorful and fragrant floating flower market. I was pleased that I got lost and accidentally found the powerful, to say the least, Anne Frank house, where she wrote her diary and where her family hid during the war. I also marveled, as I always do after speaking and hearing Spanish for any length of time, at how much easier speaking and hearing English is, and how much we take language for granted (and how friendly Dutch people are compared to Spaniards! I loved it!). I was also surprised at how much Spanish I heard, and how much influence the Spanish had on Dutch history. It always makes me a little home-away-from-homesick, but I always enjoy it nonetheless.

Except for the part where my room was on the 5th floor of an elevator-less hostel, and the part where I woke up at 7am before my 8:05am flight back to the states (I think I need a new alarm, for serious), I really loved the strong-willed and liberal (almost to the point of notoriety) and beautiful city. Like I said, I learned and saw so much for such a short period of time, but I’d love to go back there someday and explore more!

It’s bittersweet to be back in the states, but drastically less-so than last time. I know I have lots of people waiting for me at home, and I have an exciting summer ahead of me! It’s so weird to think that I have less than two weeks before going out to DC, and I will definitely enjoy my time at home while I can and update again before I leave! Stay tuned and take care!