20 Things I’ve Noticed After My First Few Months Living In Granada

Almost four months into living in Granada now and time is still passing incredibly quickly. One small point to clarify first though. After having read the ’20 Things I’ve Noticed’ posts for January and February, the more eagle-eyed reader of this blog may be wondering what happened to March?

Well, the truth is that I was having a lovely time spending time with visiting friends, working and going on weekends away exploring Andalucia (blog posts coming soon) and this distracted me somewhat from writing it, however here is the final post in the ’20 Things I’ve Noticed While I’ve Been Living In Granada’ series of posts:

  • After 3 months living in Granada, each time we go away on a trip, my wife & I increasingly enjoy the feeling of coming ‘home’ to Granada
  • As a big music fan, I love the idea that I can walk around this city and be reminded of the Clash and the Pixies by a shop called ‘Surfer Rosa’ and a Plaza named after Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer Granada

  • Children love the bubble guy ‘buskers’ in Bib Rambla & Plaza Nueva. I think the very cute accompanying puppies don’t do any harm either
  • Brightly coloured trousers – orange, red and green a particular favourite. And though not always, quite often with the pink or pale blue cardigan over the shoulders. Now how did that evolve outside of the golf club?
  • Kurt Cobain & Dalai Lama are among the many people quoted on the back of packets of sugar, turning your morning coffee into a more philosophical experience

Kurt Cobain & Dalai Lama sugar

  • Local restauarant/bar manager serving customers perfectly well and happily while walking around with white Apple headphones in one ear tuned into the Real Madrid game on the TV in the bar
  • I felt like I’d travelled back in time to the 70s while queuing at a bank recently.  There were at least 6 staff in the vicinity looking ‘busy’, 1 customer services assistant at the counter and I counted 12 people in the queue. Why are customers less important than your paperwork? Note I know that this is not a uniquely Spanish experience…
  • I was just having a coffee near my flat with friends one morning recently and then, some people got up from the table next to us and then started singing. My first ever choir/choral flashmob. Outside Granada Cathedral too. Beautiful…
  • I get the bus twice a week for classes in Campus de la Salud at the other side of Zaidin and each time I get off and look at the hills/mountains, the view is phenomenal. A couple of weeks ago, I’d go as far as to say it took my breath away such were the glorious colours and shades of nature from what is essentially an anonymous industrial area – note photo below taken with Iphone so perhaps not as breathtaking. You can see it too at 745am from Campus de la Salud

Industrial estate sunrise

  • So many spice shops!
  • We’ve been lucky enough to meet some really nice people since we’ve been here and although you still of course have old friends and family with whom you keep in touch, our new ‘local’ friends are really important to us
  • Weed is in the air. Everywhere I look around. Inevitably perhaps, especially around Calle Elvira. And now before and during Semana Santa, incense is the more prevalent smell of choice taking me back to being an altar boy
  • And it’s not just weed. Cigarette smoking seems to be everywhere – everyone’s at it!
  • On a previous trip to Granada a couple of years ago, I met a busker who made a CD called ‘Dos Guitarras’ which I bought and still love. And the good news is that he’s back busking in Granada. If you want to catch him, he often plays around the Cathedral area. Here’s a link to the post I wrote about him

Dos Guitarras

  • Manager of a new bar close to my flat tried to very deliberately shaft me out of change. It’s never happened to me before and it wasn’t very nice but perhaps inevitable in a tourist area of the city. However, this is the first time this happened and the other staff in the bar are lovely
  • Although not a huge football fan, I went to a local bar to watch the most recent Clasico – Real Madrid v Barcelona for non-football fans. We watched an Arab channel with the sound turned down as I presumed that nobody was fluent in Arabic. And at the same time, there was cheesy 80s pop coming from the sound system with Kylie and the Pet Shop Boys singing away. So, all in all, quite a multicultural experience
  • The simple joy of breakfast outside in the sunshine. I’d forgotten how life-enhancing it can be to just sit with a cortado in the sunshine and just be…

Coffee Trinidad

  • In the days before Semana Santa, there was a clear shift in ambience in the city. You sense that something ‘big’ was in the air. My wife and I spent a few days on the Costa de la Luz and watched some of the processions in Cadiz
  • We also went to the Silent Procession in Granada last night as I’d heard lots of wonderful things about the Thursday evening silent procession especially, so we went with great anticipation. It was an eerie moment when the street lights went down as if you were in a theatre, however it was quite difficult to focus much from where we were near the Realejo in between the endless shushing, a teenage couple near us who clearly couldn’t find an available hotel room, mobiles ringing and a hippy Russell-Brand lookalike with a dog who seemed to be begging for a fight with another dog nearby. Having said all that, the little girl in front of us who started hiccuping repeatedly made it all worthwhile as she was just so funny and cute… I’m very aware of being an ‘outsider’ at such an event as I have not been brought up with it and so perhaps don’t see the value
  • Archaic door locks. Like everyone, I have keys for different things. Only 2 of them seem to work easily. The others always stick and take a while to open. According to my local friendly locksmith, this is inevitable in a city full of old buildings and doors, though it’s a small price to pay to live here I’d say
  • Like many expats leaving their home country, we started looking for the ‘perfect place’ to live and did lots of research. Aside from there being no such place as perfect, having  now spent some time here, we know Granada isn’t perfect but it is what it is and we love living here and it is perfect for where we are now in our lives

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