I’m lucky enough to be a frequent traveler in my line of work. I know some people hate the grind of cramped airplanes and living out of suitcases but it’s never really bothered me. What has bothered me is the fact that I’m only a traveler of the United States (nothing wrong with only traveling in the USA, I wanted more). Up until earlier this year, I dreamed of traveling overseas and experiencing a different country, culture and culinary cuisine. In March, I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Granada, Spain for a work trip and there was no way I was going to pass that up!
Like any other trip, I did a lot of research: hotels, local restaurants, weather, and things to see and do. Because I have never traveled abroad, I sought advice from my friends and co-workers. This was a tremendous help – Hello multi use converter! Some other good advice I received: Stock up on Euros before you head to the airport, taking a photo of your passport and leave it with close family members, understanding that your room key must be inserted in the light slot in order to turn on/off your lights (or you can use a business card) and attempt to learn basic Spanish before you go.
All of that was extremely helpful but let me tell you, you realize how small you really are when you do not fully speak the language of the country you are visiting. It isn’t a must but I highly recommend knowing key terms or find someone who can be your translator (thank you Rich and Antonio!). Before their assistance, I am sure the locals thought I was crazy. Having a translator elevated my experience because I felt as if I was a local or at least experienced more local things.
As my readers know, I love history and the amount of history in Granada is truly spectacular. The diverse mix of cultures, cuisine and breathtaking views was like nothing I have experienced. I tried to take in as many sites and learn as much information as I could. The Spanish charm was everywhere. Whether you are walking the unique cobblestone streets or seeing the beautiful Alhambra Palace – they are visuals you will never forget.
Once I took in the sites it was time to shop at the Arabian markets and partake in the local tapas cuisine. The quality of items you can purchase is amazing and you won’t be disappointed. In my lifetime I have not eaten much Spanish tapas so this was a new experience for me. Seeing the legs of pigs all over town and people eating them by the plateful was super interesting. I am not a ham person but I did try it and delicious, yes, but not for me. However, the Gambas cocidas o plancha (cooked shrimp or grilled) were out of this world. I couldn’t get enough! Truly you cannot go wrong with anything and the whole idea is to try new experiences… it’s the only way you really know what you like and don’t like!
Before I traveled back to the States, I wanted to see the ocean, more culture throughout the south of Spain and maybe see Africa. I headed south to Motril, Spain where I put my toes in the water, experiences the local cooking and took in one more palace before I headed to Malaga, Spain. Even though my time was limited, I still accomplished a lot in my short amount of time.
Charming is an understatement for Granada, Spain… it is so much more. I highly recommend anyone to travel there and experience all the great things Granada has to offer. The only thing I would change is experiences the fascinating place with my hubby (next time I will pack him in my luggage)!!
My top picks for Granada, Spain
- The Alhambra Palace
- Cathedral and Royal Chapel
- Alcaiceria Markets
- Flamenco Show
- The Albaicin
- Sierra Nevada mountains
- Any local tapas restaurant
Until next time Spain! It’s time to plan my next trip!!
Author: Julie Davis