Today’s guest post is by Mary Apesos.
As you plan your trip to a foreign country, you can look up all the attractions, hotels and restaurants you want to hit up, but it’s not until you get there that you recognize all the nuances of a place. This is what I call the Unspoken Side. It’s super fun to discover while you’re there, but also great to know beforehand, so you can prepare and blend in with the locals.
I lived with a family as a student in Granada, Spain for four months and learned about the customs, language and culture very gradually ‐ it was kind of a sink or swim type experience. But, I’ll give you a head start (YOU’RE WELCOME). Check out the top 12 things you should know before you travel to this beautiful city in Andalucía.
1. If you know anything about Granada, you’ll know that it’s gorgeous. The locals also know how beautiful it is; snow‐capped mountains surrounding a centuries old European city influenced by everyone from the Romans to the Moors…how could it not be? Therefore, never put down the city ‐ locals are incredibly proud.
2. Granadinos are very traditional. Siesta still exists! Between 2‐5 p.m., families leave work and school to go home and enjoy the biggest meal of the day, Comida, then they take a nap. If you’re
visiting, you’ll be able to go to a restaurant, but you definitely won’t be able to enter any other stores, banks, etc. Everything closes down! Then, it’s back to work/school.
3. Tapas, or small appetizers, are free when you purchase a drink at any bar. The drink doesn’t have to be alcoholic ‐ Fanta counts! This is basically how I ate dinner every night. You’ll hear a bunch of myths about how this tradition was started in Granada, but don’t dwell on it too much ‐ just APPRECIATE the GLORY or free food.
4. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot drink alcohol in the streets. There is a designated legal drinking area outside called the Botellón and it’s right near their version of Walmart called Hipercor.
5. Many stores end with an “ería,” making it easier to find the correct place to purchase something. You’ll see everything from the Fruteria (fruit stand), to the Chupetería (shots only bar). Don’t worry, a Ferretería is not a place to purchase Ferrets, but rather a hardware store.
6. People start going out at midnight or 1 a.m. through 7‐8 a.m. on weekends. Mind you, partying in Granada different…classier you could say. There’s more salsa dancing than binge‐drinking. Either way, you’ll need Siesta the day before and the morning after.
7. You must try a Tetería. A place to have delicious Tea, pastries and even hookah. These hotspots are part of the Arab influence on Granada, and are a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy day.
8. Everyone dresses up before leaving the house. Don’t look like crap if you want to fit in.
9. Use gloves to pick up produce at grocery stores ‐ they think it’s unsanitary to touch all the apples before you choose one (BECAUSE IT IS).
10. You cannot escape the jamón. There is ham everywhere, including hanging from the ceilings. It’s a delicacy in the area and many families have their own ham leg in the house.
11. Everything takes a little bit longer. You definitely should never be in a rush. Granadinos are always at least 15 minutes late. SO FASHIONABLE.
12. There are some weird creepy performers…don’t give them any money if they hustle you. Nothing dangerous, just annoying.
Bio: Mary Apesos is a New York City based blogger and travel industry professional ‐ follow her for fun free things to do, local eats and places to go at MaryinManhattan.com and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @maryinmanhattan.