For those of you that know me, you know I’m a planner and don’t like surprises. During the last year of organizing and prepping for our move, I can’t even guess as to the number of hours I’ve spent online. As dozens of bloggers and online expat forum users can attest, I haven’t been shy about pelting the overly kind and responsive with question after question.
That, and having visited and lived in different parts of Spain a couple of times prior, I didn’t think there would be many surprises. With that said, below is a list of new realizations after living here for the last 3 weeks.
Yes, summers are hot but…
The temperature has hit 90+ degrees (F) each day this week but we have yet to run the air conditioning. What they didn’t tell me is that by nightfall, the temps dip down about 20-30 degrees where you can leave your windows open and re-cool the house down with the night breezes. It also helps that there is very low humidity here.
But I expected seedy!
A friend that studied in Granada 20 years ago joked that I’d probably be pick-pocketed on a weekly basis when he learned we’d be living in the Albaicín. Fortunately I haven’t seen or heard of anything remotely dangerous like this occurring since our time here. Yes, there are some potheads that frequent some of the plaza miradors around the neighborhood, but they largely seem like a harmless, uninterested lot.
When I had jetlag, I could be found wandering the narrow streets of our neighborhood at all hours of the night and not once did I feel intimidated. The city has done a good job of keeping everything well lit. Young women can often be seen walking alone. The one time my wife had come home late by herself after having tapas with some friends from her language school, she said she felt safer at that hour (after midnight) than during siesta time. This is mainly because so many more people can be found out and about at midnight than at 3pm in late July.
Where are the Spanish Queens?
Olives that is. Back home I would buy these huge, magnificent glass jars of Spanish Queen olives stuffed with pimento. I also acknowledged that the best ones always had ‘Product of Spain’ printed on the side.
So why is it I can’t find any here in Granada? I’ve looked high and low for this (apparently) rare find. Most of the larger grocers have a whole aisle dedicated to olives, but for the life of me, I can’t find extra large (Queen sized) olives, pitted, and stuffed. Canned olives don’t count because the stuffed red pimento turns into a gross liquidy goo.
(Many) Spanish websites are terrible
Spanish websites are bad and unreliable – like early 2000’s bad.
Want to know the location of the local public pool? Naw, how about a wordy description about how it’s located next to the University’s Civil engineering building (no address given). I’ve yet to find a helpful site with a Google map embedded.
Need to book an intercity bus? Sounds good until it times out before you can enter all the passenger information (including names, passport numbers, seat selection, etc). It took my wife 4 attempts before she could successfully make a purchase.
Want to buy tickets to the local professional futbol team’s upcoming game? Their website seems like a logical place to start although as of this posting, when clicking on ‘Tickets for home games’, it brings me to a completely empty page.
Spanish women actually use Spanish fans.
Now, I haven’t seen anyone under the age of say, 50 using one but they can be seen pretty regularly around town.