Food, Felines, and Flamenco, Oh My! / Comida, Gatos, y Flamenco, Por Dios!

Melanie Brown Arcadia in Granada, Spain


March 5, 2018

This weekend has been full of itinerary changes, rain, and gray skies, I’m not going to lie. That all was, however, very easy to forget with Nick here! He had the pleasure of coming to Granada, a city in Southern Spain in a drought, during its first full week of rain in an incredibly long time. We woke up to it every day and it lasted forever, but we didn’t let that stop us. We walked around every day, tried some amazing food, made some awesome dinners in our airbnb, went to my favorite art exhibit, saw a movie in English (I wanted to like The Shape of Water, just couldn’t), saw the cats at the Alhambra, had tea overlooking the city, and went to the most amazing flamenco show.


Since I came to Granada, I’ve wanted to try “leche rizada,” a milkshake-like dessert with cinnamon and hidden citrus flavors. It was absolutely incredible. Spanish food is really good at concealing certain flavors while they still add to the overall dish. Now Nick and I aren’t Spanish chefs ourselves, but we did make some pretty sick concoctions in the kitchen of our airbnb. We saved a ton of money by doing this and managed to eat gnocchi, lots of pasta, and cheesy rice dishes. I highly recommend limiting restaurants if you’re traveling on a budget; it’s a super fun way to save money.


If you don’t get tickets to the Alhambra, you can still walk around inside its walls, just not in the more popular parts like the palaces and spots with the best view. Nick and I took full advantage of that. We didn’t miss the views either; I took him to the cafe at Hotel Alhambra Palace overlooking the entire city! While at the Alhambra, we got to see a very sneaky woman drop off some food for the myriad of cats that live there, an act that is prohibited by law. Thank goodness she did it right in front of us because we were instantly surrounded. Normally the cats there are super skittish, so it was great to see the little cuties up close. Another fun part of being there was being able to relate all of the facts that I’d learned on my real tour to nick.


Finally to the flamenco. To start, booking the show was stressful for me. Granada is known for its impressive flamenco caves and zambra-style flamenco, so I initially wanted that. I just had no idea how to avoid the tourist traps, and I really wanted an authentic experience that showcased this beautiful art in its purest form. We chose a different place called “Casa del Arte Flamenco,” and I am SO happy we did. The performance consisted of a singer, a guitar player, and two dancers, all incredibly passionate. I’ve done projects on flamenco in Spanish classes before, so it was really interesting to see what I’d learned come to life—and in an unexpected way at that! The combination of the music and dancing, from beginning to end, told the most beautiful story. Everyone on the stage was a part of the story, and they all worked together beautifully. Flamenco dancers, to me, act just as much as they dance. From their strong facial expressions, to their hand gestures, to their fierce footwork, they were storytellers. For someone who has never been to a show like that, it was definitely hard to tell which parts were specifically choreographed and which were pure emotional improvisation. Overall, it was absolutely amazing, and I see myself going back very soon.



Semester Spain Travel