Did you know that some people in Andalucia, Spain live in caves? No, it’s not like the cave men of thousands of years ago. I mean people actually build their houses into the land like a cave. Several weekends ago, I spent a night in a Guadix cave house.
You can actually find houses like these on Airbnb. This one and this one look pretty cool. They are typically painted white inside. The idea is that they are super cold in the summer and super warm in the winter. My initial idea was to get a group of friends together and rent one of these. However when I was invited by friends who lived there, I thought “even better!” Chaz and Arielle are English teachers like me who got placed in the town of Guadix. They chose a cave house over a flat because why not? They were super gracious to invite us out there several weekends ago.
I recently wrote a post entitled the 14 things they don’t tell you about Spain. As many of you know, I have been living in Spain for a year and a half. The list was real. I always talk about how you really experience more of the culture actually living abroad versus traveling. Well I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t write a similar list about the United States. My country is far from perfect, after all.
I will just say as a disclaimer that some of these won’t apply to cities like New York or Chicago. In general, the largest cities of a country will always be more ahead of the curve than the rest of the country.
Even though I have been in Granada for a year and a half, I find that I’m always discovering new things. Several weeks ago was the perfect example of that. I had never been to Granada’s Atarfe despite living only a short bus or car ride away. It’s a small town close to I have been working with a new photographer named Miguel and he has a friend who just opened her own boutique called La Boutique de Lulú. He thought connecting the two of us would be a good idea. I always love to support small and local businesses, so I was down.
These looks were created from La Boutique de Lulú. She has a good selection of clothing and accessories in her shop. I was immediately drawn to the blue dress. I paired it with this vest and added the purse. We grabbed a handful of dresses and accessories, and headed to shoot some photos before the sunset.
I did it. I finally had my Alhambra visit. I can finally check it off the list.
What’s the Alhambra? Well it’s one of the must-see sites in Granada. Last year I was a failure because I never visited it. Isn’t that how it always works? We often don’t spend enough time being a tourist in our own city. Every weekend last year I meant to go but things came up. A weekend away or a friend’s birthday. I just kept putting it off even though it’s amazing. However when I heard that I could go for free, I was all about it. I had to finally do it.
An Alhambra visit is normally not free. However on Sundays they offer free tickets to Granada residents (if there are tickets available). All you have to do is go to the Alhambra office the week before the Sunday you wish to go. All I needed was to present my NIE that indicates my address in Granada. If any of you live in Granada, you have to take advantage of this! Many Granadinos simply don’t know that they can get free tickets.
Even if you have spent months saving for your trip of a lifetime, you might find that you run into some money difficulties while you are abroad. This could be because you end up making mistakes in your budget which leads to significant overspending, or it could be for some more distressing reasons, such as being mugged or burgled. No matter how you end up broke, though, there is no denying that it isn’t the best situation to be in while you are traveling. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to get you out of this sticky situation. Here are a few ideas.
I have always been someone who gets cold easily. As many of you also know, I wear dresses year round. When winter hits, this simply means I switch from sundresses to warm dresses. That’s why when I saw this flannel dress from Zaful, I had to get it! It looked perfect for the colder months. When it gets cold out, flannel is always a good choice.
The other thing I was really wanting was a nice, big sweater. This is one I can pair with a lot of looks. Or I can just throw it on when I’m hanging out at home in my sweat pants.
This winter break was quite a whirlwind of a trip. I had yet to visit the Netherlands and Belgium, so I decided that that was where I would explore. It also helped that I found a cheap flight into Amsterdam and out of Brussels. So I booked the tickets and figured I’d fill in the details over the coming weeks.
My schedule sadly only left me a full day in Amsterdam. There were other things I wanted to go both in the Netherlands and Belgium, so my time in Amsterdam was short but super sweet.
What things come to mind when you hear Spain? Likely sangria, Spanish and old architecture. It’s an absolutely wonderful country to visit. It’s also an amazing place to live. I should know as I do live in Spain. However if you went to Spain for a few weeks, you might end up surprised when life isn’t like it was when you were on vacation.
While Spain is a Westernized European country, there are some big differences between cultures. Like any place, there were things I was not expecting. This is in no way to put Spain or Spaniards down. It’s just to say it like it is. These have all been things that have surprised and even shocked me at times. So here goes …
I remember the first time I really felt what it was like to be a foreigner. I was in Nicaragua working as a volunteer and living with this crazy American nun. Seriously … she was legit likely clinically insane. That’s a story for another time, however. I had gone with my American roommate to a shop. She wanted to try on a bra and the employee wouldn’t let her. We were curious as to why she couldn’t.
“It’s probably because you’re an extranjera (foreigner)” said the sister when we explained it to her later. “They probably think that you’re dirty and haven’t showered.”
A lot of foreigners that come to Nicaragua do so to backpack. They often wear loose-fitting hippy pants because of the hot weather. It was amusing to me that that is likely the stereotype that many Nicaraguans have of us gringos. They’d likely be amazed to find people in three-piece suits back home.
The holidays are one way to really see and experience a foreign culture. This year marks the second Christmas season that I have spent in Granada, Spain. While many things are similar, I was surprised to find many differences between Christmas in the United States and Navidad in Spain.
Just like in the United States, the streets get decorated around late November to early December. Christmas music can be heard and people are out buying presents for their loved ones. Children get a few weeks off of school and adults generally don’t work. However there are just a few too many differences … enough that I felt like a list would be a fun and informative blog post. So let’s get into it!