A Dirty Sevilla.
This is how a friend once described Granada to me. Now, I have a deep, undying, unwavering love for the City of Granada, and as you can imagine, I was slightly offended by this remark at first. I had been studying and living in Granada for almost 6 months at this point and loved everything about the city. While I traveled many weekends like most study abroad students, I was always excited to return to Granada. There was something that always pulled me back, and even since I left 3 years ago, I’ve wanted to return every day.
After thinking for a while about Granada being a “dirty Sevilla,” I got to thinking about my daily routine: what I did, saw, ate, and experience every day, including the sights, sounds, and smells. I couldn’t think of one aspect that I would have described with the adjective dirty. I had been to Sevilla before and thought it was a gorgeous, enchanting city. However, it did not reach out and tug at my heart the way Granada did. I understand that I was a visitor and did not live in Sevilla, so I know that it probably would have been different if I had.
Each of the two cities has their own endearing characteristics that make them unique and desirable. Granada has the Alhambra, Sacromonte, and the Albaicín, whereas Sevilla has the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, Torre del Oro, the Guadalquivir, and Santa Cruz. I realize that this is not every single sight or part of either of these cities, but my point is that they are each one of a kind. In fact, nearly every city I have visited is, especially in Spain. All cities bring their own distinct personalities.
Once I thought about both Sevilla and Granada for awhile, I ended up being fine with the comparison. While I still wouldn’t describe Granada as “dirty,” I can see how someone who hasn’t lived there may. Maybe I just got used to dodging the dog poop on the streets walking to school, which I don’t remember doing in Sevilla. Outside of the Alhambra, Granada is certainly less polished than Sevilla and has much more of a gypsy culture. I believe that having lived there for a semester gave me the time to learn, understand, and appreciate all of these things that make up the culture of Granada that someone who may have just been on a visit and not expected to encounter them did not have time to fully appreciate.
Granada is and always will be near and dear to my heart, calling for me to return whenever I find myself lost…even with the dog poop.