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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the European Countries.
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Hi all, I thought I'd share some observations I've made of the social environment in Granada, Andalucia, and how it compares to the UK. Just for informations sake, it's the city famous for the Alhambra and tapas. I have a friend of mine living there teaching english, one of the reasons for the trip was a quick recon. Here's a brief summary.
During my time there, I had a much better social life that I've had in a whole year at home. Not just people from the hostel, my friends friends etc. but people I've met in the tapas bars.
I met a German girl in the hostel in which I was staying during the first week, who I hung-out with. She knew a Canadian guy who had expatriated to Granada who she introduce me to. We all hung out together for three days in a row exploring the city, but unfortunately, she left to continue with her travels on to Barcelona. Anyway, the thing is, the Canadian had lived in the UK for 14 years and had nothing but negative things to say about the social environment, similar to a lot of the complaints about America on this forum and in the original articles on this site. He described people in the UK as being miserable and aggressive. I couldn't agree more. We talked about some of the topics that typically come up in this forum; the divorce rates, the selfishness, the way feminism spins everything into a man vs. women thing, and how it's most prevalent in anglo countries.
One of the biggest differences from the UK I noticed in public was the women; much more beautiful, low obesity, and next to none of that horrid stuck-up look on the face becoming so rampant in the UK. They were also incredibly well-dressed and fashionable, not slutty. I saw a small handful of women with tattoes, but nowhere near as much as at home.
The atmosphere at night is totally different from a UK town centre. The tapas is really good, filling, and value for money, especially away from the touristy places. The Canadian chap gave my good inside knowledge of where to eat and drink. People were very friendly and warm, it's fairly easy to start conversations with people sitting next to you at a bar. One of the advantages of tapas is that it gives you a reason to go out alone; having it for dinner. Not only that, people just don't give a shit about others going out alone. Many of the people I met in the hostel from the UK, who I had this conversation with feel the same way. In the UK, if you talk to someone outside your clique, just for the sake of being social, it's not uncommon for them to give the 'what's he want' vibe. Of the girls I got talking to, they were all really sweet and warm. Even when I was shopping and asking for help, and booking my bus tickets, girls standing next to me helped me, and smiled. That's just unheard at home in similar situations. I just can't believe how sociable and laid-back people are.
There was a time when a Spanish and a Mexican girl at the hostel invited me to visit a nearby town in the foothills of the Sierras. We didn't get that far into the mountains because it was late in the day and the weather was off. went to a nice bar to see a jazz concert.
As for food and grocery stores; the section of the grocery store dedicated to junk foods and snacks is smaller than what would be typical in the UK. The vegetables; giant peppers, huge tomatoes, all of different irregular shapes, not cosmetically perfect like they are in the UK, full of flavour, and very cheap. The varieties of ham, the chorizo, the salamis, lush. I bought tupperware containers and cooked stuff in batches for lunches and dinner, so I spent very little in the way of money, living off salads, cold couscous, sandwiches etc. Tried making tortilla, but didn't have a grill in the hostel I was staying, so went a bit pear-shaped.
As for the weather, it was very nice in the middle of the two weeks, warm enough to sit outside comfortably in a T-shirt, but we had a mini cold snap in which it snowed. Couldn't believe how abruptly the weather changed. Was surprised how cold it got at night, even though oranges grow.
Oh, the price of housing. The Canadian guy lived in one of the hilly neighbourhoods, Albacyn, overlooking the city slightly outside the centre. He payed 190 euros a month for a place that included two terraces, 3 bathrooms between 5 people, bils included and cleaning included, as well as a good view. That sort of place for that sort of price would be unheard of in the UK. My mate's place near the centre is 150 euros a month, even though shared, but not as nice.
Doing private lessons in English is definitely something to consider. Granada looks like a great location for that sort of thing, I here demand is high and teaching is very popular with expats.
Had a great time down there, definitely going back soon. Definitely have to go hiking in the Sierras when the weather is warmer. Social isolation is a choice, not forced. I had plenty of people to hang-out with and even if I didn't, it felt comfortable to go out alone. Socialising is not confined to quasi-club-like watering holes like it is at home. WOuld love to live in a social environment like that. People don't need to be pissed out their face before they meet people outside their clique.
Oh, and if you go, the Alhambra is a must (as well as the beer by the same name), and the cathedral too.