This Week in Guadix, By Grace A.
It is July 23rd and this week we are in Guadix. The day we said goodbye to our host families in Granada was incredibly difficult because we all formed such close bonds in such short periods of time, but I also think most of us were excited to be with the other members of the group as we had all been living in separate houses. Upon our arrival in Guadix, we ate dinner, but to our surprise, the street in front of our hotel was full of people playing music and processing with a float topped with a statue of a woman on top. When we questioned what was happening, the locals let us know that the procession was to honor Saint Carmen. The next morning, we had our first series of classes beginning with a proper Spanish class which was separated by level as well as a flamenco class where we learned a bit about the dance itself before learning some steps. We also took a ceramics class. It was good for many of us to have both a class that followed the normal structure of a language class as well as the art classes.
That night, we were led on a walk through the city where we were led through many places in the city such as a lookout spot or ‘mirador’ and a view of the cathedral at night. María Rosa also showed us other cool parts of the town such as the old botanic garden sites and shared the legend of the plaster face on one of the city’s walls.
Thursday included another set of morning Spanish classes and an afternoon spent finding supermarkets and exploring parts of the town. Some members of the group found a music shop where they were able to play the piano and the guitar.
On Friday, María Rosa led the group on an amazing walk to one of the neighborhoods where people live in caves in the sides of mountains. We walked to a point where could look out onto much of the city as well as many of the classic cave homes. This adventure gave many people a new view of Guadix as it showed the beauty of a part of town we hadn’t seen yet. The walk back to the hotel was perfectly accompanied by a bright orange sky while the sun was setting and eventually a light purple and blue sky with a few clouds. The group as a whole really enjoyed this perspective of the city.
On Saturday, we had the exciting adventure of going to the market which was largely where the people of the town go to shop for clothes, food, shoes, linens, and anything they might need that week. At the market, we bought an assortment of things including clothes and food and we largely spent the time taking in the hustle and bustle of the market.
After the market, one of our Spanish teachers, Mari Cruz, very kindly opened up her home to us, so we were able to see a classic home in the town. Her home has the structure of centuries ago which she has carefully restored and renovated. We were so excited to see more homes like this that Vanessa and Autumn organized for that evening a tour of the painter Julio Visconti’s house. Visconti’s home is incredibly impressive because it has a large collection of antique pieces of furniture as well as art.
Saturday night, the whole group went to a fiesta in Benalúa, a small distance north of Guadix, where we tried various types of foods, listened to live music, and rode rides. The experience was especially cool because it was a time when we saw a large amount of people from other small cities in one place.
On Sunday, we went to Guadix Cathedral prior to mass time for María Rosa to give us a tour and a taste of the history of the cathedral. It was so interesting to see the different styles of different parts of the church because of eras in which they were made. We also learned about some Spanish traditions such as processions that start at Spanish churches to honor the saints. After the tour, we stayed at the cathedral for the mass service which was interesting for many people in the group because our churches at home are very similar in traditions, but with the language in Spanish.
At the end of mass, we climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the church tower where the bells are and we were able to get a good view of the town below from all four sides of the tower. Sunday night, we went to the Mirador of the Magdalena which is another viewpoint of the city. We spent our time there eating dinner and desserts from our teachers, watching the sun set, dancing, and singing together. On the way back to the hotel, we took a short stop at a playground and had lots of fun together.
Yesterday was our beach day, so after our classes, we hopped on a bus and headed to the coast where we spent the day swimming in the water, taking walks, playing card games, reading and listening to music. For dinner, we had an amazing time following the classic Spanish tradition of tapas.
Today, back in Guadix, we went to our morning classes and are preparing to celebrate Nelsy’s 18th birthday tonight with a water balloon fight and a surprise dessert at dinner. After dinner, we’ll most likely go out to explore more of the city. Vanessa and Autumn have planned an amazing trip to a city with a hike and a natural pool and we’re very excited! Our time so far in Guadix has been lots of fun and well spent