It has been a month since arriving in Granada, Spain and I have to say, it feels as if I've been here forever. It’s small enough that you can figure your way through the city quickly enough, but it is also big enough to discover new places every day. Sometimes after my siesta, I take short walks through the streets and it always amazes me that I could end up somewhere else simply by making a turn in a new direction! So my goal I made for myself is to visit as many parts of Granada as I can within the time I’m here, and I have to say that I think it's been going along pretty well.
Before starting off with a specific location, I’d like to first introduce some basic information along with some “street etiquette.”
- Commonly seen people/things. Though someone might think differently, these are my top three picks for things I think are pretty common here. First, there are many old people (los mayores) walking along the streets. Actually, this age group is the most numerous in Spain’s population, and this is no different in Granada. Also, people here walk their dogs throughout the day and if I’m sitting in one of the plazas, I could count at least 20 dogs within less than half an hour. And one last thing that I have noted is the number of babies/baby carriages/toddlers passing by – ¡qué bonito!
- The actual physical sidewalks. Most of the streets in the main commercial area are made of marble, as the floor inside the houses are too. Be careful, they are slippery, especially when wet. And cold in the winter. On the other hand, I guess I won’t have to worry about my feet getting too hot in the summer. I prefer to walk on the cobblestone that appears in the winding alleyways and in the Albaycín instead, and I recently learned that it keeps you from slipping in the rain.
- Cleaning/sanitation. Granada’s streets are very clean and are kept that way during the day (though we didn’t think so when we arrived because of the strike by the garbage collectors in January). The street-cleaning trucks go through the city several times a day, not several times a week.
- Bumping into people. People here do not apologize when you bump arms while passing each other, and nor do they really care. However, people do say “perdón” (excuse me) if you really bump into them, from maybe turning around the corner or stepping back into someone.
- Staring. Beware, almost every old person will stare at you, especially if you're American. I like to reciprocate this gesture by staring right back, and some will even say "hello" to you!