4° Izquierda. Sonnentanz was our jam, Brasilia was our hangout.
Finding digs in Granada was not the easiest of tasks for me, as some of you well know, but I arrived in the new city and found myself not living with just Spaniards, as promised (the landlord promised a lot of things, but I’m still waiting for my €350), instead I was one of six in our international flat, and I loved it.
A day in Casa de Monos, the name given to our Erasmus community building (later renamed ‘de problemos’), involved yelling at each other across the courtyard, grand flat meals (be it German, Portuguese, Colombian, Spanish, etc), everyday tapas outings and intense studying… of national drinking games.
Meeting new people is always an interesting experience, but hanging out and living with those from other countries/cultures made moving to Granada all the more unique, and relieved somewhat the pressure of being ‘the foreigner in a new land’ – we were all from different places and all trying to integrate. I say this but I suppose we stuck out like a sore thumb whilst exploring the city.
“You looking for fiesta tonight? Five euro, dos copas!”
The University of Granada receives a massive intake of Erasmus students each year, and the building I called home was an example of the mixed demographic present in the city. Although heavily populated by us studying foreigners, Granada was/is/will also continue to be a place that tourists from the world over flock to see. The city has so many personalities that it’s no wonder so many people visiting feel right at home there. I certainly did.
Plaza de Toros: the best value tapas in town.
Where in the world can you get a (decent-sized) burger, fries and beer for just over €2? Ridiculous as it sounds, it was cheaper to eat out than it was to cook *student heaven*. Living opposite the Plaza de Toros, we had a good selection of tapas bars at our disposal; the faves being Nido del Buho, Brasilia (I and II) and Estrella. Another upside of where we were was of course the bullring itself. Whether or not you agree with Spain’s on-going controversial tradition of bullfighting, there’s no denying the history and iconic status of this building. I never actually managed to attend a bullfight whilst in Spain (I would have liked to have gone just once for the experience), but I do remember taking a nap one afternoon on our living room sofa, and being woken up to the screeching cries of young (hysteric) Spanish girls. Pablo Alborán was playing a live concert from the Plaza de Toros apparently. And I got to hear the whole thing (for free!).
The plaza itself has built-in cafes and bars – I was a fan of the chain La Sureña in particular; a bucket of five ice cold beers for three euros? Ideal! Another place I remember was Magic, the Plaza’s salsa club, where my flatmate (and fabulous dancing queen!) Lisa would go often, and in the beginning of la Vida Erasmus, I tagged along a few times. There, la magia happened, and I forgot how to dance. You know? That feeling. Everyone had their groove on, Lisa was in her element, being twirled and strutted across the Latin beats dance-floor by a handsome Cuban, and I had turned into a total bloke. Into the shadows of the darkest corner of the bar, away from rhythmic couples; holding on tight to my copa, silently praying no one would approach me and my two left feet. If anyone stepped too close I was prepared: “NO POOWEDO BAYLAAR!”. Turns out I was just standing in the way of the loos.
Still, even if salsa ain’t your thing, and you find yourself being shyer than you realised, I would recommend taking a look anyway to see it done, and done well. Maybe have a go if you’re brave enough (or had enough tequilas); worse comes to worst you’ll enjoy treading on a few toes to a reggaeton salsa beat.