20 Things I’ve Noticed After My First Month In Granada

I can’t believe it’s been a month already. The image of my wife and I arriving at Granada airport with 10 huge suitcases, a keyboard and a guitar already feels like several months ago, not just one. And since then, we’ve sold our house in London, rented a flat in the centre of Granada, started Spanish lessons, started work and possibly most challenging of all, been speaking Spanish as much as possible. It’s been busy and fun and during our first month, I’ve noticed a few things as a ‘newbie’ expat in Granada, fresh from London, so here you go:

  • Food is almost universally fantastic. And not just because tapas are free. Favourites so far are jamon asado at Bar Avila, brewat at Om Kalsum and the feijoada at Bar Poe. I can also get my absolute favourite salmorejo in most places in Granada, with the Cordoba heartland not too far away. And I’ve only been here a month. So much more to explore…
Salmorejo in my local bar
Salmorejo in my local bar
  • I go to my local café and my breakfast turns up without me even asking for it. I dare not ask for anything different anymore as I like having a ‘usual’ and am not sure how the waiter would take to me messing up his system
  • Time and punctuality. Hmm… What can I say? I’m getting used to it though…
  • Very friendly service – although I understand that traditionally the Granadinos are not known for their good humour. I think they’re lovely!
  • Maybe I’m tempting fate here, but the bureaucracy thus far has been relatively painless and incredibly efficient. That is of course, assuming the very helpful man at the Gestoria with the incredibly strong Andaluz accent hasn’t been saving the ‘best for last’ when I go back next week
  • There was a lovely moment one morning when a waiter at a local café waited for a lucky sparrow to finish off the crumbs from the table before clearing it instead of shooing it away to get on with his job
  • No central heating – it’s cold, but I’m English so I’ll be fine
  • One of my local cafes gives you a free pastry tapa with breakfast. How civilised. Free cake with breakfast!
  • So many things to look at and experience. The architecture here is stunning. The Alhambra is just beyond words. The graffiti can be quite creative. Incredible views from just outside the city en route to the Sierra Nevada
View of Granada from a friend's cherry farm near Guejar Sierra
View of Granada from a friend’s cherry farm near Guejar Sierra
  • In some cafes and bars, why just have the TV on when you can have the radio on as well?
  • People across the board have been so welcoming and helpful. Friendly barmen, the hotel where we spent our first fortnight, colleagues at my school, my students, our estate agent, shop staff and the very supportive expat community here. It’s been lovely getting to know people here
  • I was a student in Grenoble, France about which the writer Stendhal wrote ‘there is a mountain at the at end of every street’. Walking around this city, he could have written about Granada. Even walking to the Hipercoor, you can have some wonderful views…
  • One of that most English of dishes, ham egg and chips, is everywhere – though it sounds better in Spanish and tastes better here with chorizo
  • Slippery surfaces  are not built for wet weather. I’ve only slipped once so far but most of my students seem to have a story about slipping on treacherous slippery surfaces across Granada. I look forward to the summer…
  • Pomegranates. Nuff said…

Pomegranates

  • On our first trip to a big supermarket, we had a sit down afterwards at the café by the entrance. We ordered a couple of tintos as seems to increasingly be the norm these days and looked forward to the accompanying tapa. However, unfortunately although I’ll try most things, neither of us are big fans of prawns, so I went to the bar and as politely as my Spanish could muster, said we couldn’t eat prawns but thank you anyway and didn’t think anything more of it. Five minutes later, a large tapa of lomo with garlic and onions arrived. We were lost for words by both the kind gesture and the tapa itself. How often would you be served an alternative without even asking for it in London?
  • I’ve seen lots of ladies of a certain age with fur coats which I was expecting, however I‘ve also seen a couple of them playing video games on a machine in a café. The fur coats carefully placed on the nearest chair. A more elegant type of gambler here in Granada then…
  • Early mornings are very dark. I sometimes leave for work at 7am and I can’t believe how dark it is. Men of a certain age also like a little shot of something in their coffee in the morning. Maybe it’s because it’s winter and cold at 7am or maybe it just helps them to see better – either way, I’ll give it a go one day…
  • Children still seem to be children here. Yesterday walking through Plaza Nueva, I saw 3 children of about 8 years old chasing a paper plane time after time and having such a good time
  • Like perhaps many other music fans, I came here with stereotypical ideas of flamenco music being played all day every day and everywhere and this has happened to some extent, however, if I were an alien visiting Andalcuia for the first time, I’d swear that the hugely successful 70s/80s MOR band Supertramp were Spanish as they always seem to be on the radio and in cafes here. Same goes for 80s pop but I’ve always had a weak spot for that anyway…

supertramp-breakfast-in-america-album-cover

A friend recently said that I had too many superlatives in my posts so far and that I needed to perhaps make them more realistic. No doubt, the more mundane things of everyday life will affect me the longer I stay and I guess I’m still in the honeymoon period, however in the meantime, with my rose-tinted specs on, I think Granada is one of the most fabulous places I have visited and lived in. And we’ve only just started!

So, there you go. A handful of things I’ve noticed since I arrived in Granada a month ago. No doubt you may have noticed other things that have completely passed me by when you have been here. What did you notice when you first came to Spain? Or the country/city that you moved to? Do you live in Granada? Noticed anything else? I’d love to hear about it.

I’m going for a coffee at my local bar now. Though actually I’m going to listen to Supertramp. But don’t tell anybody…

10 comments

  1. Oh, Jason, why do I have the feeling I definitely live in the wrong place after reading your blog??? Your description sounds lovely, apart from the central heating bit – it hasn’t been working in my house all day today, so be assured of my deepest sympathy ((;
    Enjoy every minute, every free tapa and cake! You’re very lucky and I’m sure you know it!
    Love, Sandra

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  2. Hello! Stumbled across your blog today. Though I never lived in Granada, I lived in Spain for a few months last year. I can definitely relate to your observations regarding music. My Spanish friends love Supertramp!

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  3. Hi Megan. Firstly, apologies for not replying sooner. I must have missed this. Maybe, it’s a fashion thing but I don’t seem to hear Supertramp in cafes as much these days. The band of the moment, in fact the song of the moment that I seem to hear most other than that ubiquitous Enrique Iglesias song of course, is ‘Take On Me’ by Aha?!

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