I am having the best time. This is a true vacation. I am here in Granada, good choice leaving Madrid early, and enjoying myself thoroughly. I´ve made some good friends mostly from Ireland, one from England in that group, some from Canada, and others from everywhere in the world. Great hostel I´m at, very friendly, very exciting, and always something to do (even until 730 in the morning).
I just got done responding to a great email from Allie, a great friend from Israel Outdoors, and it really took a lot out of me but made me feel great. How did this trip affect us so much? It´s truly been the best gift I´ve ever received, along with Shahar´s pin. So I finish the email and I hear some very familiar words behind me. A nice woman is speaking on Skype in Hebrew, and I interrupted her call to make sure I was right! She said she´d talk to me after the call, but just hearing it while she talks to her loved one is just enough to make me feel great. There are no synagogues in Granada, I´m sure very few in Spain at all. No teach-yourself-Hebrew books anywhere, but definitely Arabic.
I realized what this trip was. It is a vacation, not what I expected it to be. I thought I´d have this cultural experience in which I was participating, but it is not. I am surrounded by new cultures which is amazing, and it´s great fun and amazing from which to learn. I´m learning so much from people everywhere, from everywhere, and eating up every word that they say. However, in Israel it was different. It was me surrounded by MY culture, feeling at home for the first time in ages. As much as I am assimilating to an Irish culture, and yeah, of all places in Granada, I relate to the Israeli culture at heart, and I always will. I went from 96% going home at the end of the summer to 84%. As I told Allie, that week in Israel will have a huge say in either direction.
I´m off to Sevilla tomorrow with my new friends, changing up plans while backpacking is fun! I´m really enjoying myself, feeling like myself and not having to worry about attaching to people, detaching from them, or even being alone. I am always with some new friend and having a great time discussing life and travels with them. I have many new stops coming up on my trip, like Portugal. I´m going to get into Paris a bit early because I wouldn´t be sure how to get there any other way. I hope it doesn´t cost too much when I get to the train station in Sevilla. Or in Madrid.
Big fun night tonight, last night in Granada. I´ll miss it, it´s a really nice town, great time, and great cheap food. Very relaxing, laid back people everywhere, fun nights, beautiful days. Today, for example, I went up to Sierra Nevada with two sisters from Calgary, it was great fun, but my face got burnt (the clouds and wind and cold weather at that altitude fooled me, argh). Tomorrow morning I´m going to Alhambra, it should be amazing. I relaxed the first few days here, so clearly I´m catching up on daytime sights and adventures at the tail end.
I´m loving Spain--to visit for an extended time, wouldn´t live here ever--and I can´t wait to see Emily and the rest of the world!