I have to admit, while planning this trip, I was most excited about Granada. (Ok, and Italy too, but thats about a week away...) I left the hostel in Lisbon early in the morning, and took a taxi to the airport. Navigating through the airport was easy, and I surprised myself taking the metro in Madrid to the bus station. A couple tourists even followed me, thinking I knew where I was going. Once at the bus station, I had a couple hours to kill, so I bought a few snacks for the 5 hour bus ride ahead of me. As I got on the bus, I hoped no one booked the seat next to me, but as soon as I sat down, a hairy middle aged Spanish man sat next to me and started babbling...Now, I understand Spanish a lot better than other languages (and believe me, Portuguese, although it sounds similar - is very different.) I just shook my head at him and he propmised he'd be quiet. Now, I'm not sure if I'm the only one who knows the 'arm rest rule", but if there's two seats, there's two arm rests. Seat, arm rest, seat, arm rest. You only get one! This man decided to take both arm rests, leaving me to squish my elbows to my body, which is not easy to do with such large bazoongas. Five hours of squished Sonju. I got off the bus and headed right to the local bus stop. My directions that I saved on my iPhone told me to take the #33 line to the cathedral. But, being the lost little traveller that I am, my dumb-ass got off one stop after the cathedral, and I wasn't really paying attention to which way the bus was going. So I got off the bus, and basically guessed which way to go. The directions on my phone said the walk from the cathedral would only be fifteen minutes... 45 minutes later, I finally made it to the hostel. I passed it a couple times, asked a father playing with his son for directions, and almost passed out from heat-exhaustion on the way. Once in the hostel, they tried to go over the map with me, but all I could think about was bed. I fought through my exhaustion and stayed up for a few mojitos and spanish guitar on the patio. So glad I did...it got a little chilly outside and I went to my room for my hoodie. The very same hoodie I left on that DAMN BUS. Gah!
I went to bed early, and tossed and turned all night. I could feel the metal springs on my back, on my side, and on my back again. Plus, the music outside was so loud, and combined with the uncontrollable giggling from the other hostel guests, I was amazed I got a few hours of sleep.
I skipped the free breakfast, and went exploring instead. Mission number one: FOOD. I found a cute little outside cafe, and had the most amazing sandwich made of eggs, ham, sirloin, lettuce and tomato. Might grab another one tomorrow, if I can find it. The roads from my hostel (or should I say, the narrow, uphill, alleyways...) are full of Arabian shops - hookahs, linens, scarves, little jewel-y trinkets...and everything smells like incense. I bought a few pillowcases and some coin purses from one of the stores, and got a little discount because I said "thank you" in Arabic. Thanks Mom and Dad for dragging me to Egypt when I was little. I knew it'd pay off.
THREE HOURS LATER, I found my way back to the hostel. There was a man in one of the alleys sitting on a step, and being nice, I smiled at him and said hello. He smiled back, and then looked down at his magazine laying in the street. Once I noticed he was looking at a pornographic magazine, and ... I can't even describe it. I walked faster. Uphill.
A quick siesta later, I got the guts to go exploring again. This time, I brought the map that the hostel staff drew all over for me, and ended up at the cathedral. Gypsies post up outside the cathedral and try to shove rosemary in your hands, telling you "gratis, gratis..." I've read about them - once you accept the rosemary, they ask you for money, and if you decline, they claim the rosemary is now cursed, and you have bad luck for life. Ha. I win.
Tomorrow - La Alhambra.