Enamorada de Granada by Hanna Sophie Göttsching
Granada Airport, Spain. Saturday, June 27, 2015. Day 22.
Aristotle once said that happiness depends upon ourselves and I couldn’t agree more. It is not about how much we have, but about how much we enjoy what we have. Happiness is the art to enjoy the present – to enjoy every day, every minute, and every second of our lives. Today is the last day of our study abroad trip, which is why I am currently sitting at the Granada Airport on my way back home to Germany. My classmates had already left early in the morning, which gives me some time to reflect upon the trip and everything I have experienced during the course of the three weeks in Andalucía.
The second weekend we traveled to Córdoba and the beach. On Saturday, we left early in the morning, as the drive to Córdoba is about three hours. After exploring the city, we visited the Great Mosque of Córdoba. The most incredible thing about the Mosque of Córdoba was how it is both a Mosque and a Cathedral. The Moorish architecture found in the Mosque was beyond beautiful! I loved the high ceilings, the huge columns and the combination of the colors – red and white. What I found to be very interesting was the location of the mihrab. Traditionally, the mihrab of a mosque faces in the direction of Mecca because by facing the mihrab, worshipers pray towards Mecca, which is east-southeast of the mosque. However, the mihrab of the Mosque of Córdoba points south. Although it was about 40 degree Celsius, I had a great time in Córdoba. On Sunday we traveled to Nerja, one of the famous touristy beaches of Andalucía. The beach itself was very beautiful yet different because of its shingly beach. I have to admit that this trip was one of my favorite ones because we were able to get some rest and catch up on the readings.
The third and last week in Granada included one trip to the Monasterio de la Cartuja. Because we had our final Spanish exam on Wednesday and our final papers due Thursday, we were off during the afternoons. In the beginning of the week most of us were studying for Spanish and had been working on the final papers. The last paper focused on the Spanish Civil War, which we had been discussing in class. I really enjoyed learning about the Republicans and the Nationalists, among others, as it is yet so recent. After submitting the final paper and the last weekly journal, our summer school work was done and we were free to do whatever we want during our last days in Granada. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to the beach again because the tickets for the public buses were all sold out. Instead we decided to go to the public pool near our residence. Thursday night, we had a last group dinner together with our tour guide Adela, who has been taking care of us. She was an amazing tour guide, and I very rarely met a person with such a great personality. She was extremely patient, especially with students at the beginner level, but also very gentle and funny! Having Adela as our tour guide has definitely made the trips and tours a lot easier and much for fun.
Considering that I almost decided not go on the study abroad, I am more than happy I went. Not only because of all the beautiful and amazing places we’ve visited, but also because of all the wonderful people I’ve met! I only knew a few of my classmates before the trip but the group couldn’t have been any better! I’m looking forward seeing them back in Saint Augustine and hopefully in some of my classes. Looking back at my time in Granada, I’m glad I went on the trip and I don’t think my summer break could have started better!
It’s been real Granada but it’s time to say goodbye. I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.