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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Andalucia, Spain


Me Encanta Andalucia!


Seriously - I am in love with the Andalucia region of Spain (pronounced "An-da-loo-SEE-yah"). Honestly, I wasn't really aware that there was such a thing as this region... it's totally underrated because all most of us know about Spain is Madrid and Barcelona. I knew a little bit about Seville, only because my friend, Sarah, spent a couple semesters there immersing herself in the language and the culture. But as she pointed out --- Seville actually is considered the heart of Spain... And after having spent time there - I have to agree completely!


There are about 7 cities that make up the Andalucia region, and I only managed to visit 3 of them: Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada. Still well worth it, in my opinion. All three places were visual feasts... My eyes couldn't get enough!


ORANGES


My nose was getting a lovely treat too... Not just because of the tapas... but because you find Orange trees all over, especially in Seville! They make everything look so much cuter --- but beware. You can't really eat them. I mean you can - but they don't taste good. They're sour... Apparently they are used for marmalade only.


LOOK AND FEEL



Everything in this region is so colorful. Parts of the look and feel of the houses and buildings remind me of the French influences in New Orleans. But the old Gothic monuments and cathedrals remind me of Prague or the UK even... They are stunning. Honestly!


SIERRA NEVADA, GRANADA


Over Christmas in the UK, all I ever really wanted was snow. I wanted a white Christmas. I wanted to snowboard. But nada. The UK wouldn't give me any. Only frost... And I completely gave up on the idea, till I got to Granada and saw snow on the mountains! I didn't even realize it even snowed in Spain! I thought it was the warmest place in Europe! I wasn't about to let the opportunity to go snowboarding pass, so I found a friend to come with me to the slopes of Sierra Nevada, and we boarded till the ice ran out!



It was magnificent!!! The Sierra Nevada is AMAZING and we had suuuch a great time! What a great surprise this was... TOTALLY didn't expect snow from Spain... and it turned out to be one of the best days of my trip! I love it when things work out unexpectedly... :)


THE MOORS


So apparently (and I honestly didn't know this), Spain, and specifically the Andalucia region, has had very heavy Islam, Muslim and Mediterranean influences... Which explains A LOT about Cordoba and Granada for example... who have these amazing Mosques and Middle Eastern shops and restaurants dotted around the cities! Even the name, "Andalusia" is derived from an Arabic word -- "Al-Andalus"! Their architecture is Moorish influenced too, and they're all beautiful. There were times when I looked around and thought - "Where exactly am I?" --- because at times I swear it felt like I was transported back to Israel or something.



This actually gives the area more character, in my opinion. It is the combination of Christianity and Muslim that give Andalucia more of an edge, apart from the already colorful political and economical history.


JUST GO THERE

I had only ever been to Barcelona once, about 5 years ago. After Portugal, I initially thought about heading straight to Valencia and then Madrid, skipping Andalucia all together... Just because I didn't really know much about it. I'm SO glad I asked around and that my friend, Sarah, was able to talk me into visiting. Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada, are now my FAVORITE parts of Spain, and I grew to love this country even more after having spent time down there. So the next time you find yourselves in Spain -- you must NOT miss the Andalucia region. It is a MUST! You will have the best time, you'll get amazing photos, and you'll eat amazing tapas. :) Trust me!