The perfect way to end a beautiful week: going to the beach. Yesterday we (around 20 IES kids) all got up at the crack of dawn (7:30 .. but still) to catch the bus from Granada to Nerja. Nerja is a cute little city on the Southern Mediterranean coast of Spain, kind of near Malaga. The buses were packed with Americans, of course, since the Spanish consider any time before late May unfit for bathing suits. I actually ran into a girl from Greensburg who played field hockey for Greensburg Central Catholic during high school (who WT consistently obliterated), further proving the smallness and connectedness of this world. It is mind boggling, really, the farther I get from my home the closer I get to realizing you're never too far from it.
Anyways, the Nerja bus station is a glorified newspaper stand, and to our disappointment not across the street from the beach. In all our excitement to hop a bus to la playa, no one thought to find a map of Nerja haha. Our initial instinct was to go towards the water, since water = beach, right? So eight of us (me, joya, amanda, meg - who's from erie, pa!, joe, JD, seth, and ali) started a migration towards the bit of ocean we could see ... which ended up leading us towards the high way and out of the city, so we turned around.
(what we ended up walking towards ahah)
We eventually ended up on track, somehow, and found our first beach! Nerja has at least four or five different beaches, the main one -- or at least the one nosotros estaban buscando por se llama Burriana (the one we were looking for is called Burriana). This first beach reminded me of the beach of Rackety Packety (lake erie) with tons of stones, shells, and sea glass (!!) Determined to find the perfect beach, we kept moving, Meg and I fell a little behind collecting sea glass though :)
We walked along a little path by a mini-beach, but it was full of middle-aged topless women and older men, which wasn't really the scene we wanted to sun bathe in all day :) The cool thing about walking around Nerja was listening to all the different accents. Since very few Spaniards have the desire to brave the beach in the frigid 75 degree sun, the beach crowd fell more on the international side of the spectrum. Actually, when we got to our third cove/beach we ran into an older British couple who saw us and told us to try Burriana. All the Northern Europeans decided to take advantage of our Andalusian Southern Spain weather before high season kicks in I guess, I love that I live here and not up in the cold :) The majority of accents I picked up on were British or Scottish.
Accents aside, the other red flag that the population of Nerja was mostly tourist were the outfits. So many shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits, so little boots, jeans, scarves, sweaters. The locals were easy to spot because they were fully clothed and looked on point (in style), where as the rest of us were strolling around looking a little lost, sweating in our tank tops and shorts (I wore jeans, but eventually changed into Meg's pajama shorts because I was so hot), and clomping around in sandals. At one point I made the faux paus (did I spell that anywhere close to correctly?) of walking to get candy in just my sweatshirt and bathing suit (no shoes- I should be ashamed) which garnered numerous "well SHE'S not spanish" looks from the locals. But no pasa nada, toda esta buena en la playa :)
So as I said above, our third cove was a failure as well so we headed back up to the main streets and wound our way through the "city" using the directions from the Brits. Our total commute time from the bus to Burriana was over an hour and a half, but honestly I really enjoyed it. Getting lost really is the best way to get to know a city, and explore it's multiple beaches! Nerja is full of little tiendas vending hats, gafas del sol (sunglasses), sandals, leathers, and many scarves and dresses. Though lacking in Doner Kebabs (the stands that make shawarma/fallafel) there was a plethora of pizzerias fair that catered to a more international crowd. While it's definitely not a resort town, it was apparent that foreigners frequent Nerja consistently. They even offer horse drawn carriage rides haha. Joya and I went up to pet one that was chilling next to playa numero tres, but it was NOT a fan so we backed off. I'm going to blame it on Joya, horses love me ;)
Burriana is gorgeous. There honestly was not a cloud in the sky, not even the hint of one. On one side of me were huge rocky mountains, then hills clustered with white houses stacked one on top of another, and then beach beach beach all around me. We settled in a spot next to some lounge chairs under straw umbrellas, boats with built in water slides on them (but because of the frigid temperatures they probably won't be open for rental until late may, oh spain), and with some pasty British kids camped out next to us. The girls were all so happy to be on a beach we just plopped down without a care in the world, but the boys weren't content to just relax and take in their incredible surroundings, promptly the ran to the water ... only to discover that the Spanish are onto something: in march the water is COLD. Think Canadian water, my heart started racing just from having my feet in it. So after a frigid dunk in the water, both boys and girls were happy to just siesta in the sun.
our campout, which quickly grew haha
As the day progressed more and more IES kids passed through our spot. It was nice to just hang out and relax. For lunch we ate bocadillos (sandwiches) on Nerja's version of a boardwalk. I had chicken, tomato, lettuce, and mayo on buttered up white bread toast. And a nice iced glass of Tinto de Verano con Limon :) [I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but in Spain EVERYTHING is iced). After another siesta we ventured out to find some helado, and I enjoyed a delicious Torte de Chocolate scoop of ice cream on a cone. Spanish heladarias ice excessively tall cones, which at first seemed very wasteful. But if you don't devour your ice cream in five seconds the tall cone becomes your new best friend because it prolongs the life of your ice cream cone! Mine lasted until the very end of my cone, mmm mmm good.
Overall, amazing day. We just relaxed in the sun, took billions of photos (all on my picasa, along with cordoba finally, and some from march in granada: picasaweb.google.com/lilymsteiner). Got home, hung out at the residencia with friends until 3am and instead of heading out to a disco i passed out in my bed and then got up and tanned in my park this morning :) I made a friend with one of the local puppies that hang out in the park all the time:
I'm beginning to realize how little time I have left in Granada on the weekends and it's making me really sad. Since it has almost been officially two months since my arrival in Espana I'm pretty much half way ... the remainder of my weekends look like this:
March 20-22: Morocco (!!)
March 27-29: Granada :)
April 3-5: Semana Santa - Barcelona
April 10-12: Semana Santa -Barcelona
April 17-19: Granada :) with Haverfordian visitors !!
April 24-26: Rome
April 30-5: Athens
May 8-9: IES Viaje :Cabo de Gato
May 15-17: Granada
then finals ....
Time needs to s l o w down. And I need to do work. I actually have a decent amount to do before Morocco, for IES standards. Eek. Alright, time to get movin, hecho de menos a todos!!
(taken by my roommate amanda, who is an amazing photographer!)