Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trip to Guadix

I was supposed to go to Morocco for the puente, but that didn't work out. My teacher friend Ana invited me to go to her hometown of Guadix for the weekend with her and her boyfriend, and I'm so glad I got to experience life in an older Spanish town.

Guadix from the top of the town.
Ana and Jose are both from Guadix, so they did a great job showing me the important things in their town. Ana informed me today that I'm now an expert on Guadix since I've been to the cathedral, the barrio de cuevas, all over the town, and to the big cemetery in the town. (By the way, I got to see friars (I think they're friars...they had the long brown robes) for the first time. There's an order that takes care of the cemetery and they live on the property).

The first place we went was the cathedral, but it cost money to walk around so we didn't go. We went on Sunday morning, and it was absolutely gorgeous, but I didn't take any pictures. As we were walking, there were beams of light coming through the stained glass windows, and one beam landed right on top of the votives in front of a chapel. It couldn't have been planned any better- totally felt the Holy Spirit there with us! We listened to a little bit of the misa (mass) in the smaller church, and that was pretty cool, even if I didn't understand most of it.

In front of the cathedral

Right under the tower.
There's a statue of Christ on top of the tower that moves! It does one rotation every day, which is pretty cool.  My pictures of the cathedral aren't that great, but it's absolutely GORGEOUS.

We also walked around one of the squares in the old part of the town, and it had gorgeous buildings! One was the police

Ana y yo en una plaza con el catedral.

Roquetas has nothing like this.
Afterwards, Jose drove us out the the barrio de cuevas (neighborhood of caves) where all the houses are at least partially caves in the rock. He lived there when he was little, and pointed out where his other family members used to live. It was so cool! Some of the cuevas don't even look like caves because they have a house outside the rock, and more inside, while others are houses for poor families and are basically caves with a door and window.

 If it has a white chimney, that's a pretty good way to tell if it's a cueva. There are tons behind me.

Looks like a regular neighborhood, but totally different when you realize you can't see the rooms that are in the caves.

Poorer houses, and tons of the mountains/hills around Guadix.

One of the cueva houses up close! I was fascinated. They're the same temperature inside (20 degrees C) all year, so they don't require a lot of heating or cooling.

Basic house in a cueva.

Not so basic house in a cueva.

We ate lunch at Ana's house with her parents, and her mom made us amazing food! Lunch is the biggest meal here, and also when you eat with family, so it was a great meal. We had a salad of tuna, lettuce, olives, tuna, and some other vegetables with sliced oranges that was pretty good. It's a different mix of flavors for me, but it's Jose's favorite, so that was cool to try something he really liked. For the main course we had paella marisco (seafood paella)! I absolutely LOVE paella marisco, and Ana's mom makes a delicious one. It was absolutely gorgeous too! It had mussels, clams, squid, octopus, shrimp, and even some small lobster looking things. Ana's dad and Jose enjoyed watching me deal with the lobster, because it was completely whole, and totally unnerving. I really can't enjoy having my food served to me with its eyeballs still attached, but I'm totally fine with taking it all apart to get the meat out. I ate so much, and was completely stuffed, and I loved it. For dessert we had fresh fruit, which was perfect!

La Calahorra
We drove out to another village called La Calahorra to see the Castle de la Calahorra, which was built from 1509 to 1512. It was for the Marquis de Zenete, and it's right on top of a hill so you can see it from far away and the castle has amazing views of the area around it. It's only open on Wednesday, so we weren't able to go inside, but I took picture of the outside! I love the round towers with the domes on top- so cool!

Walking up to the castle was a hike, but it was totally worth it to see the views. I can imagine that an enemy would have thought twice about attacking this place! There's nowhere to hide, and it's so steep!

One of the towers. It's not fancy on the outside, but it sure is intimidating!

No big deal, just hanging out in the window, trying to see inside the castle. There wasn't anything to see in my ruin of a tower.

Part of the Sierra Nevadas. I miss snow. How weird is it that this is only an hour and a half from the beach?

Random balcony on the side. Perfect for Rapunzel or Juliet.

Sunday we walked around town for a bit, and drove to see the cemetery. It was huge, with tons of tombs above ground and elaborate gravestones on top. They're all packed in tightly, and there's no grass anywhere. Very different from what I think of when I think of American cemeteries. Another thing that was strange to me was that they have the walls full of tombs. In the states, it's normally where we place people's ashes when they're cremated, but this was for full burials. In front, they have the tombstones, and most of them have color photos of the person buried there so that their family and friends can remember what they looked like. I really liked that idea. You could tell that people visited a lot because there were fresh flowers on almost every grave, and there were quite a few people visiting graves. Ana and Jose were visiting the grave of a friend of Jose's who died in a car accident in high school, and I was busy practicing my Spanish. (DEP is descanso en paz....Rest in Peace.)

Speaking of Spanish, I'm getting better. I spent most of the weekend speaking Spanish, and Ana and Jose were nice enough to tell me that I'm getting a lot better. The problem I have is with verbs. I know how to conjugate them, but sometimes I forget when I'm trying to get an idea out quickly, or I use the wrong tense without meaning to. They're both nice about correcting me, so I don't feel too stupid making mistakes. I really need to write about my feelings when it comes to learning a language by immersion, but it's hard to put into words sometimes.

Ana's mom spoiled us again with a lunch that was amazing. A big salad and then cannolinis with spinach, tuna and cheese and Bearnaise sauce. (I think that's what the sauce was) I didn't know if I'd like them, but they were delicious and I ate three. She even gave me some to take home, so I've got a dinner for tomorrow! Her parents were so nice and welcoming to me, and I loved getting to go home with Ana and be part of her family for the weekend. I can't wait to see my family in June!

Un beso por todos,

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