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  • I first visited Granada when I was 16. I was an exchange student in a town on the coast several hours away, Cádiz. My friend Gaëlle and I took a bus, that seemed to last forever, and arrived on a cold brisk afternoon in the mountain town of Granada. We wandered out of the station, having no idea where to go. After an hour or two, we stumbled upon Plaza Nueva. It was there where we discovered that if you order any drink in Granada, you get a free tapa. We then proceeded order beers until we were full of beer and tapas. After stopping off quickly in an internet cafe we found availability in a hostel located in a neighborhood called the Albaicin. Unfortunately for us, the Albaicin was originally a neighborhood, constructed by the Moors around 900, that was designed to make outsiders get lost within it as a defense strategy. A local tried to help us find the hostel within the walking paths of this neighborhood, reminiscent of the Casbah, but couldn't find it either!

    About half an hour later we decided to just follow a stray cat, of which Granada is overrun by, which led us right to the hostel. This hostel looked the beautiful ancient moorish palace that is the Alhambra. The lights that shined on the edifice and gardens were breath-taking.

    I spent the next day roaming the outside of the palace grounds not wanting to fork out the 15 euros for a ticket. It wasn't until the second trip to Granada last summer that I actually entered. I woke up at 6am to go get a ticket and not have to wait in the 3-4 hour line. I waited for it to open and spent the next 5 hours by myself wandering the dungeons, gardens, ponds, and pools of the Alhambra, which is also overrun by stray cats. For me, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was inhabited by Roma until about 1950 when the government kicked them all out! Perhaps it is my little romantic fascination with this town but something about the gypsy caves, tapas, farms, wine, and hot springs in the mountain seduce be mercilessly. I changed the picture of this story 7-8 times as I feel no single picture can do this town justice. Granada, I love you.
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