It’s not a secret that Spain is an expensive country to support yourself compared to Polish reality. Similarly to Italy, Spain is a very diverse country. One lives and functions differently in Andalusia, Catalonia and even more differently in e.g. Galicia. I got for Erasmus exchange to Granada in 2006/2007 which like Cordoba, Malaga and Seville is situated in the south, namely in Andalusia. In my opinion this is a dream place to live for students. Tapas is not the only reason.
Granada is famous for many traditions such as throwing a chamois from a bell tower but few of them are used in practice. The best tradition for me and the one I still can’t get enough of is “tapas”, different kinds of snacks served with beer, wine, ice tea, juice, etc. Granada is the only place on earth where you get them completely for free with your drink in every bar. The Spanish simply understand that it’s good to have a bite to eat with your beer. Of course every bar has its own menu for tapas. You just have to be well oriented what is served in the biggest quantities. In some restaurants or bars they can replace the whole dinner. The most frequent tapas are hamburgers with chips, tortilla de patatas, octopuses, squids, toasts, etc. They are all delicacies. You just can’t not love Granada. The price for such a pleasure was from 1,5 to 3,5 €. I usually didn’t exceeded 2 €. You want to recommend you the best places for tapas? Just let me know in comments.
However, these are not all pleasures yet. On selected streets such as e.g. Calle de Elvira, which is famous for its discos and pubs, you can, at each corner, meet people who start a conversation with: “Hola! Que surpresa! 6 churrios por 3 € o sangria gratis…” It’s not Warsaw where we get buried by piles of language schools or bars leaflets which end up in a garbage bin right away. Here it’s worth having as many leaflets as possible. Thanks to such a leaflet we can, for instance, get a free sangria or shot (Spanish: chupito), get 6 beers (Spanish: cerveza) for 3,5 € or, let’s say, 16 mini drinks for 5 €. You simply walk down the street, visit 6 pubs on your way to get a free drink and then hit a dancefloor. Of course there are different bargains on tapas as well, but it’s impossible to write that all down. You simply have to come to Granada and experience it all yourself.
Granada seems to be a paradise for the young. The age average at a street is 20 years of age, and cash is streaming down the streets. One doesn’t even counts how much one spends. You just go out to have some fun and get a bit crazy not thinking of anything else. Two first weeks of my stay passed only on partying. Each of my friends quickly got used to the mode- first meeting at around 10pm for “botellon” (English: big bottle), which is drinking together at a square, and then setting off at 12 to a party, which is nothing else but a real clubbing because nobody sits in one place only. Streets are full of people who move from one place to the other.
The word “botellon” as you may correctly think, derives from the word “bottle” so what can it mean in practice? A collective drinking on a street. In Poland, perhaps due to its climate, most people meet in a pub to have a beer or at a house party. In Granada, like in elsewhere in Spain, people spend very little time at home. It is a common practice that people spontaneously make appointments at some squares simply to have a drink with their friends. It’s not just about getting drunk but about meeting people and talking. Walking down a street you can meet people drinking at every corner. There’s nothing wrong in that and police don’t react to it either. Sometimes they only ask the group to walk away. Then people move to a different square and a party still goes on.
4am is also a good time to start partying because then you can enter most discos for free. You’ll think- well it’s obvious since nobody is inside so why not. None of these things. There is a totally different mode of functioning in Spain. 4am is just as good time for partying as any other. All clubs are open even until 7 and a dancefloor is full of people. As you may think I usually went to bed at 9 as well which, in practice, meant sleeping until 3pm. Later some quick dinner and getting ready to another party. At first it may seem abnormal but I, like the rest of Erasmus students I met there, quickly adjusted to this mode and after a few days we couldn’t imagine a different life. The best thing was that an academic year was to start soon. Luckily it was also taken into account and everybody had a choice to attend morning classes (usually 12:30) and afternoon ones (around 5:30).