Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Jimena De La Frontera - Week 4 & Granada

Back at work, felt like a zombie to start with and a stiff neck from couch but white washing soon turned the pain from my neck to my arms.
A new woofer arrived today, Pier from Norway, he has spent the past few weeks traveling around Morocco and is going to be here for a week before going off traveling through Andalusia again.
The water in the pool is now luke warm to get into, this country is really starting to heat up!

Finally finished white washing! Thank god for that! Am now onto painting the bars on the windows black, which is mainly in the shade so I’m happy.
Fi left today on a family holiday to Cadiz, was sad to say goodbye to them all, didn’t expect to be there as long as I did. Little Daisy told me how much she loved me and that she hoped to see me again soon.
Headed back down to the farm soon after lunch cause the net stopped working at the house and was desperate for a swim, tried my hand at the guitar and found that I might actually be able to learn an instrument after thinking that I am musically retarded until now.
Pier has been learning the guitar just since the start of the year and unfortunately he is just terrible! He hasn’t learnt any songs at all, he just tries to make all his own stuff up and it’s just painful to listen to, especially as he plays for hours and hours trying to figure out the same awful song and gets up early in the morning and starts playing straight away. Then he puts lyrics to it that you can’t really understand through his Elvis style voice, so yea a few times I was nearly driven crazy.
Pier also has an attitude where if you aren’t hitch-hiking everywhere, sleeping with homeless and not eating then you aren’t a REAL traveler. He seemed to have the attitude that because I have been staying in hostels and catching trains and buses that he was better than me, and said a few times how he would hate to travel with me cause I do that and tried to put me down for it.

Worst job ever – moving a horse paddock when the field you are moving them to one that has no grass and instead thistles and thorns long enough to puncture through my crocs and rip open my legs, I bitterly hated todays job with a passion and in the end I gave up with an hour to go and went back to my painting.
With Fi being away I just stayed at the farm and we cooked lunch there, later in the day we went for a walk up the hill and to the castle on top of it, was an awesome view of the valley and the towns below.
Frizzle followed us from the farm the whole way, but we had to drop her off at the house so we could go up to the castle.
Still going through my Italian CD’s, I’m totally determined to learn the language, everyone I meet can speak multiple languages and I feel bad for only knowing English.

Last day of wwoofing here, cant believe I have been here for nearly 4 weeks! Didn’t expect that!
Super late start to the day, didn’t get out of bed until after 9am and just pottered around the house for a couple of hours packing my pack again and realising how much stuff I have that I just can’t wear anymore cause it’s so hot, but that I am going to need to keep with me if I’m still in the Northern Hemisphere through winter.
Cleaned a couple of the houses next door to mine as they are getting guests in them the next few days and then painted one lot of black bars and it was 2pm, so went and sat by the pool for about 4 hours baking in the sun trying to get my last bit of tanning in before traveling again.
Fi’s daughter and her friend was there and they gave me some tips on how to get even more brown
-          Pour beer all over you
-          Pour sea water all over
-          Jump in and out of the pool and dry in the sun as much as possible
Do any of these and apparently you go browner quicker.

Spent the morning repacking my pack, had a taxi ordered for 11.45am so was a pretty chilled out morning.
Pier came with me to the train station and caught the train to Ronda while I continued on to Granada. A few stops later, some people got on the train and were asking each other where they were from, one couple said NZ then the other couple said they were kiwis too. I kept listening to the standard next question of where in NZ they were from, one couple from somewhere in the North Island and the other couple said Nelson!
I piped up at this stage and said I was from there too, was so great to hear super strong NZ accents.
They asked me who my parents were and I said, then they looked at me and said ‘Are you Samantha?’
Was weird for people to know who I am on a train from Jimena de la Frontera in Spain.
Got off the train in Granada and found the bus to the city easily enough, but the right stop to get off at I couldn’t find so easily, eventually tried to ask the driver where Gran via 1 stop was and he pointed back the way we had come.
I jumped off and with it being about 40 degrees and me not knowing anything about where I was and without the ability to really ask anyone I just jumped in a taxi, turns out I wasn’t very far from the hostel and it only cost a few euro so was all good.
Walked past all these amazing middle eastern shops on the way to the hostel, was looking forward to checking them out later on.
The hostel was great, completely filled to the brim with Aussies, can’t get over how many Australians are traveling around Europe and hardly any kiwis, probably cause they can save a lot faster and better than kiwis can and their dollar is stronger.
It was happy hour and was dying for a drink so grabbed myself a mojito and met some girls from Oz, they were heading out for dinner at a Moroccan restaurant down the road so I went along with them. A guy from Holland called Thomas also came with us, not sure where to begin in explaining Thomas.
He is one of those intellectual guys who is very socially awkward, he studied physics at university and is a maths teacher too. When learning everyones names, I usually shorten them to make it easier and when he said Thomas I replied ‘Ok Tom cool’, and he stopped me and seriously looked at me and said ‘No, not Tom, it is Thomas, with an H’. There was a real awkward silence across the courtyard, with everyone swiveling their eyes around to one an other, then I broke it with a giggle, I couldn’t help it.
Dinner was so nice, we all got a dish each then just tucked into each others stuff, so yum.
Afterwards there was a flamenco show, the girls were pretty tired so bailed but I was keen and Thomas wanted to go so off we went.
Wasn’t as good as the they flamenco I saw in regards to the music but the dancer was amazing.

Had a wicked sleep in then headed out in the scorching heat with the free walking tour, love this about hostels, I’ve been on a few of these free tours now and they are always an awesome way to see the city.
The tour guide had a very thick accent and didn’t speak great English though which made listening to what she was trying to say very difficult, but it was great to have someone lead us around the city, its really beautiful here.
Went back to the hostel in preparation for the night ahead as it was to be a massive one, catching a bus at 7.30pm and not getting back to the hostel till 8am the next morning.
After a wee siesta I went down to the shops to buy more kohl as you cant get it in NZ and its just so amazing to use, they also have it in colours so I got pink and grey aswell as black. Its funny though, I hardly ever wear makeup over here and I’m so used to looking at myself without any makeup that now when I do wear it I feel like I look weird, I actually prefer how I look without it for the first time in my life which is really nice.
Decided that I had better get some cash out so went to the bank and tried my Loaded for Travel card, I knew it didn’t have much left on it and it didn’t have enough to get out anything, but wanted to run it dry anyway so I can use my new bank cards that were sent to me.
The banks told me that the cards were activated and would work exactly like the old ones with the same PIN etc, turns out they are not activated and don’t have a PIN set up on them, so I had no way of getting any cash out and I only had 30 Euros left in my pocket of which I had to use 15 euro the next day for my bus.
Gutted I figured I just wouldn’t drink and I didn’t really need to spend anything, knew I’d still have a good time, but wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the next few days while I waited for my money to transfer! I figured I’d worry about that the next day.
I packed my little backpack with a change of clothes, water, red bull and other bits and pieces, also tried my waterproof pack cover doubled up over my bag and it fit it perfectly. I went and waited out in the bar for everyone and Thomas came and sat down, I asked him what he was taking with him and he opened his bag and started telling me what he was taking.
I laughed when he pulled a novel out, I was like ‘Ha you better take that out, no point taking that’, assuming that it wasn’t meant to be there, but when he looked at me seriously and was like ‘oh really, you don’t think I should take it?’, I awkwardly giggled and then continued to make fun of the fact he was bringing a novel with him, thinking that surely he would lighten up about it at some stage. He didn’t take it too well, he was very serious about taking his book with him but eventually removed it from his bag.
Tonight we were going to Lanjaron fiesta del agua (massive water fight) then to San Juan on the beach(fire festival). For the water fight they close off the streets and everyone goes mental for 1 hour between 12 and 1am, its meant to be cleansing of your sins and you are meant to choose 3 things to get rid of and 3 things to gain in your life, I’m still trying to figure mine out ha.
There were about 17 of us from the hostel that all went, nearly all of them Aussies, I was the token kiwi and then there was Thomas and Brian from Holland. We all walked to the bus station together and everyone had brought with them water pistols and buckets, the water pistols were already loaded which was great seeing as we had to sit on the bus with no air-conditioning for ages before it finally left so the water fight started a bit earlier with us.
Before the bus left lady organising our bus did a roll call of everyone who has booked to be on the bus, she was Spanish and couldn’t speak a word of English and everyone on the bus were English speakers. It was hilarious her trying to pronounce everyones names and knew my name would get a pretty funny reaction from everyone, as for some reason in Europe they cannot pronounce the H at the start of Hitchcock. But with this lady’s accent, she said it like itchacocka, needless to say it got a great reaction.
The bus dropped us off in the tiny town in the mountains, it was roasting hot in Granada when we left, close to 40 degrees so we were looking forward to the waterfight. It started with a parade that went down the main street of the town, and they had a band like Samba De Sol in Nelson, it was amazing.
They were all dressed in ripped clothing, covered in mud and had ears like elves. They played for about an hour slowly travelling down the road with a few hundred people dancing like crazy behind them including me J
Anyone that threw water at anyone before 12am was told off by either the locals or people in high vis jackets, was so funny how serious they were about it.
The girls and I queued for this one toilet for about 30 mins, during which time I went and bought some chicken on a stick for 1.50, which I had to take back 3 times to get cooked as it was raw, so I ate nearly a whole stick of raw chicken, wasn’t really the most ideal place to potentially get food poisoning but I was all good.
Getting close to 12am everyone was getting really excited, the streets were filled with people armed with buckets and water pistols, it looked like a civil war with fluoro guns.
Then the cannon fired and it was all on! The fires hoses began drenching everyone and there was water everywhere, complete strangers throwing water over each other and going mental. It was the most amazing sight to see a whole town in a water fight, they had about 7-8 fire hoses lining the main street taking people out left right and centre. There were witches on balconies that had hoses coming out of their broomsticks for people to fill their buckets from, and it was a battle to try and fight everyone for space in the fountains to fill their guns.
It was significantly cooler in the mountains that in Granada, so after an hour things were starting to get a little chilly, but in the main square they started pumping loud music so everyone was dancing and keeping warm that way. The cannon went off again at 1am and the crowd just went wild in applause for that epic fight.
We headed back to the bus for it to take us to the beach for the fire festival, which we were all really looking forward to so we could warm up and dry off. All of us had this image in our heads of what we thought the fire festival was going to be like, myself I envisaged huge bonfires, music, partying, people with fire pois and sticks etc.
We got to the beach and we weren’t sure if we were in the right place, all we saw in front of us was a few small fires with families around them with their gazebos and chilly bins, nothing really festive about it.
We got there at about 2.30am and we weren’t getting picked up again till 6.30am, so that’s 4 hours on a beach with nothing happening on it, there was no wood to feed the fires so the fire we managed to get ourselves around was very quickly dying.
We all tried to lie down and get some sleep, but the beach was real stony and wasn’t really sandy it was more like dirt, so it was a long 4 hours.
Then we has trouble finding the bus at 6.30am, our bus was letter F, all other lettered buses started to pick people up on the main beach road so some of us waited there thinking that logically our bus would also go there if A, B, C, D & E were all there. Turns out that wasn’t the case and they were picking us up a few streets away, but we found it in the end.
Everyone crashed out on the bus back to Granada, and we were all exhausted from the amazing water fight and then the anti-climax of the fire ‘festival’.
At least we weren’t hung over, just tired, so it was manageable.
I was hoping to get a few hours sleep before I checking out, but we got back to the hostel around 8.30am and I had a bus to catch to Jaen at 10.30am, so I had breakfast packed my bags, said goodbye to everyone and headed off.
Needless to say I crashed out on the bus.

In Jaen I was picked up by Kadija & Jave and we went for breakfast before heading off to Cordoba, again I crashed out in the car as soon as we started moving, however had explained my night before and that I probably wouldn’t be the greatest company.
In Cordoba we went to the Old Mosque which was then converted into a catholic church, it is one of the most stunning buildings I have been inside.
Muslims definitely know how to decorate that’s for sure, Catholics however I don’t really have the same taste. The mosque is huge then smack bang in the middle of it, the Catholics built a cathedral, so you have all this beautiful Muslim architecture then in the middle is all this typical catholic cathedral style architecture and lots of awful gold plated stuff.
We then continued to walk through the city, it was so hot, we knew it was definitely above 40. I brushed against a wall to take a picture and my leg got burnt by the stone, then walking down the street, the heat from the footpath was burning my calves!
We got back to the car and the thermometer read that it was 49 degrees!
Got the air con cranking and eventually found some relief from it, it was a nearly 4 hour drive to Madrid from there and I pretty much slept the whole way, I woke up now and then and saw that the scenery had not changed at all at any point, it was like a desert.
We had dinner when we got back and then I crashed out yet again, guess that’s what not sleeping for 36 hours does to you.

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