I am now three weeks into my study abroad experience in Granada, Spain and I am having the time of my life! As a foreigner to this beautiful country I have made a home out of for the past few weeks, I have taken great joy in observing and adapting to the many cultural differences that I have experienced at first hand. Here are five of my favorites!
In Granada, siesta is a time of the day when the people of the city take a break from work and rest. It’s similar to a “lunch break” for Americans, however, it’s much longer. While siesta varies for many shops and restaurants in Spain, it is typically held between the hours of 2 and 4 PM, and for many lasts until about 6 PM. During this time, shops are closed and the city streets are quiet as a mouse! Being that this time of the day is usually when it’s the hottest, I’m sure the people of Granada greatly appreciate this cultural activity. Who doesn’t love a nap?!
It is very common to drink the faucet water in Granada! It’s perfectly potable and quite refreshing! It took me a while to really feel comfortable doing this, since it’s so different in my home country, but this is definitely at the top of the list of my favorite things. No need to buy bottled water before you leave the house for the day – just fill up your water bottle at the faucet and go! You’re guaranteed to feel refreshed, at no cost.
While Granada is known for its very hot and dry weather, reaching up to 38º Celsius (101º Fahrenheit) in the beginning of summer, it is also known for its very accommodating street designs. Most of the streets in Granada are covered and shaded with the use of long sheets of cloth that cover each street, preventing the streets and the people from getting too hot. Other streets block the sun through the use of very tall buildings, which provide cool shade throughout the city.
Gelato, or should I say helado, is extremely popular in the city of Granada! There are heladerias on every street, sometimes two or more! Not only are they easily accessible, but they are also sooo delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day! Each heladeria has a great mixture of flavors, you’re guaranteed to find a flavor you love.
Dogs = Friends
In Granada, dog owners rarely ever put leashes on their dogs and it really isn’t a problem for anyone; everyone is comfortable with it! If you are one that is afraid of dogs, this could take some getting used to, but I can assure you that the many “loose” dogs that I have seen are very well behaved and aren’t a problem. In fact, the dogs walk around the city, sometimes ahead of their owners or very close by. But really they just mind their own business and keep to themselves! So if you’re a dog lover like me, you may have to practice fighting the urge to walk up to every dog and pet them while rubbing noses. I’m not too sure if the people of Granada take kindly to that. Ha!