One last adventure in Spain before returning home
Friday was the last day of classes in Nerja and the students received their evaluations and diplomas from school and said goodbye to their teachers with dos besos (the traditional one kiss on each cheek).
The rest of the day was free to go to the beach, go for last-minute shopping, and of course stop for at their favorite ice cream shop. The weather at the beach was surprising when later in the afternoon the fog rolled in and covered all of the beaches. It was thick but warm. Made me feel like I was back home in San Francisco except that it was still hot out. It lasted on the beach throughout the night.
Later we met up after dinner to go see more dancing. At the plaza de cangrejos (plaza of the crabs) they have different types of shows nightly. Tonight’s show was a flamenco dance school, so there were several different performances by dancers of all ages. Later the students had some free time to go dancing. I wonder if they used their newly learned salsa moves?
An indulgent breakfast of churros and chocolate
Breakfast in Spain is much different that it is in the US. Here they have a piece of toast or muffin with some jam and a cup of coffee or juice. But they also love their pastries for breakfast. Today we had a typical breakfast and went to have churros which are served here with melted chocolate. Yum! They are made to order and if you have not had them they are long pieces of fried dough, somewhat like a doughnut but not sweet.
Our Last Day in Nerja
Saturday was our the last day in Nerja. We spent time with host families and packing our bags to take off for Granada tomorrow morning. The weather did end up clearing up and we were all able to head to the beach for some more fun in the sun before saying goodbye to Nerja.
That night we all met up for some fun. We headed to the plaza de cangrejos to listen to some music. Most of the kids just wanted to go and sit by the beach for their last night. We had a big day following, so we cut curfew and sent them to bed early. Off to bed and a huge thank you to Nerja for such a wonderful trip. They kids couldn’t believe it was the end of the trip already. Alisha said “I should have done the month trip!”
Goodbye Nerja, Hello Heat in Granada
We left early on Sunday to be able to get to Granada for a full day of fun. This day was going to be packed to the gills. Wear comfortable shoes cause we are going to be running around! After checking in the Hotel Carmen we dropped our stuff and headed next door for some quick pastries before our tour at the famous Alhambra. There are normal buses in Granada but there are also some funny smaller buses leading up to the Alhambra. Luckily we are a small group so we all fit. We had a bit of time to kill before our tour so we played with a friendly cat and told jokes in the shade.
Visiting the beautiful Alhambra
The Alhambra is not just a palace, it’s an actual city and we could have used more than the 2 1/2 hours than it took to visit. The Alhambra is filled with marble columns, stucco carved walls with Arabic writing, and beautiful tiles. Zachary, who has been studying Arabic, translated a couple of the scriptures on the walls. Great job Zachary! We had a special treat and we able to see the court of the lions which are normally either covered up or being restored. Lucky us! Our tour guide was great and kept the kids interested in the history. I had no idea that there are over 8000 visitors per day to the Alhambra and that it is the 3rd most visited site in Europe after the Vatican and Versailles.
Rejuvenating at the Arab baths
After our tour we ran down the hill to the Plaza Nuevo for a quick lunch and back to the hotel to grab our swim suits and off to the Arab baths. What a welcome break from the busy day of traveling. This was definitely a treat!
The baths were lit with dim lights and candles. There were several different rooms; 1 with the small cold bath, 1 long shallow pool with the hot bath, the large lukewarm bath with the arches and columns that came into the water, the steam room which gave off mint smelling steam, the area with the hot marble slab with the fountains and the tea room which served sweet mint tea. They wanted us to be quiet but we could barely contain our excitement. First you go into the lukewarm pool, then head into the hot pool, then directly into the cold pool. Then repeat the hot and cold pool as many times as you want.
We also got massages and had our choice of oils. Olivia said, “This is actually my favorite thing we’ve done. It just keeps getting better!” After our amazing soak we showered up and got dressed. The girls noticed that in the girls locker room there were amazing smelling lotions and body oils which we enjoyed. Ahhhh! Check out the website for the baths http://granada.hammamalandalus.com/en/home/
Before going back to the hotel we wandered into the Arabic neighborhood behind the Plaza Nuevo where it felt more like an Arab souk than the streets of Spain. Colorful cloths and clothing and yummy baklava was being sold and instead of Spanish we heard Arabic being spoken. Thanks again to Zachary who helped with some of the bargaining.
We had dinner at a yummy restaurant right below the Alhambra. As the sun sets on the Alhambra it turns beautiful shades of gold and pink. Dinner took a while but was fantastic and worth the wait.
After dinner we headed up the hill to the lookout for a wonderful view of the Alhambra lit up at night. We had a guide tell us a bit about the history of Granada and of the neighborhood we were in. We walked over to the Sacramonte neighborhood which is known as a gypsy neighborhood. We then headed to the Sacromente caves to watch a Flamenco show. It’s a small cave painted in white and could seat about 20 people. There were several different performers that performed right in front of us. Lots of stomping and spins and wonderful guitar playing and singing. Sam said that was his highlight of the trip. The kids were ready for bed after that full day.
Saying goodbye to Spain
I couldn’t believe how talkative everyone was on the bus at 6 A.M.! They were excited to get home. Well most actually wanted to stay but I know that it will be good for them to get home and back into their routine knowing they had this experience under their belt. We got the airport in Malaga and had to split up. Olivia and Rebecca had a flight on Delta and the rest of us were flying on American. We said goodbye and caught our first flight. In Madrid, everything went smoothly as some students took their own independent flights home before we departed. After our weather delays for the departure, it was great that everything went according to plan for the travel home.
It was a great experience chaperoning this group and I really enjoyed meeting all of them! They were all great and we had a ton of fun! I hope to see them all again in the future. My email is email@example.com for anyone who wants to keep in touch. Besos!
- Marya Kahan, US Leader