Walking up and down Calle Gran Vía de Colón in Granada might not seem like much to the regular population. For most people it’s part of the commute to work, or to school, but for me it was a little bit more than that.
I lived in Granada, Spain for three weeks to learn Spanish. El Centro de Lenguas Modernas de la Universidad de Granada had a great program and I met some amazing people there. One of the things that I learned was there is something special about being the token Canadian. That being said, Granada was the last leg of my trip, I had rocked Northern and a bit of Eastern Europe previously, and I was getting tired. I was about ready to go home.
While I was in Granada, I had a lot of time to myself. Sure, I spent time with my wonderful roommates and family and went to classes, but I’d say there were a solid 4 hours a day that I had to myself. Considering that the past 6 weeks of my life had been filled to brim with going places, meeting new people and trying new foods, my life felt a little emptier than before. This is where La Gran Vía came into play.
Whenever I go on vacation with my family, we walk everywhere. The only time that we’ll take a cab or public transit is when our destination is well over an hour walking distance away. With this history, it would only be natural for me to want to walk around in Granada when I was homesick, and it was incredibly therapeutic. Considering La Gran Vía is one of the more central roads in Granada, it’s where I started and ended all of my walks.
Sometimes I would walk along the river, flowing from La Sierra Nevada, finding solace in the bubbling, clear water. Sometimes, I’d walk up to the Alhambra and follow the footsteps of many generations before me, taking in the incredible valley Granada is so beautifully nestled in. Other times, I would just walk up and down La Gran Vía, marvelling at the incredible architecture and little cafés or markets. The one thing that all these walks had in common was a walking meditation. I always asked myself what am I grateful for? I asked this because all I could hear was my mother saying, “When you get back you’re going to miss it so much, so enjoy it now.” So that’s exactly what I did.
Whenever, I walked past a market I would remind myself how thankful I was for fresh fruit, and when my family would have it for dessert, it would always taste a bit sweeter. Whenever I was wandering around the Alhambra, I would remind myself how lucky I was to be studying in such a historic city, and class would always end up passing more enjoyably – despite the uncomfortable chairs. When I would walk by the river, I would think about how beautiful it was and I found myself falling deeper in love with Granada with each little stroll I had.
Even though I only lived in Granada for three short weeks, what I took away from it will last a lifetime. Walking Calle La Gran Vía de Colón may be an everyday thing for most people, but it reminded me how lucky I am, and how to appreciate those little things people always talk about.