Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Search for the Hippie Hostel in Granada

Who knew Granada had hippies?
Upon touching down at the Granada-Jaen airport, we were greeted by the burnt backdrop of the Sierra Nevada rising over the vast desert. Granada, located in the Andalucia region in southern Spain, is a mish-mash of many influences over the years - evidence of Catholic and Moorish history, fighting and culture is everywhere. It is only fitting that such an area would still remain a place of many influences - university students, tourists, Muslims, Catholics, hippies and cave people - just to name a few.

One piece of travel advice: Google map the location of your hostel before you leave! I almost always study maps of the places I visit and orient myself before going. However, I was pressed for time trying to plan such a big trip while traveling other places and studying for (if you laugh at the studying part, and think "Ha - he means 'procrastinate'", then you know me to well) and taking midterm exams. As it turns out, we were in one of the most confusing parts of the city - the medieval Moorish quarter of Albaicin.

In the hills on the northern edge of town, we wandered the narrow, cobbled streets past whitewashed houses and litters of stray cats. The rooftops seeming to grow out of each other from the city below - a very beautiful scene, but we had no idea where the heck we were. Even the locals we asked for help (I dusted off my Spanish skills that I've been storing for 5 years) couldn't quite point us in the right direction, even though we had an address. Until, we stumbled across a free spirited group, playing guitar and recorder on the porch of a house. We weren't surprised - we'd already seen many hippies and gypsies mingling around town.
Me (in Spanish): Excuse me, can you help us please? We are looking for this address.
Hippie recorder player: Si. This is it, man.
Us: Oh.
So we got checked in - and it actually a very unique and great place! We had our own cozy room, with an unbelievable view over the entire city (below). The hippie staff was extremely friendly, the common room had board games and cool art and we (somewhat) enjoyed the continuous porch concert that added to the atmosphere. And, they had the same bedsheets as we have in our apartment in Florence (right)! Who knew anyone else shopped at IKEA... 

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