What a fantastic two weeks we have had, can’t believe it’s come to an end, the last week has just flown by and I have enjoyed every moment of it. It’s amazing how quickly you can get used to the lifestyle in Granada. I found myself having to embrace the pace and opening hours of Granada, most of the shops and offices close from 2 pm and don’t reopen till 5 pm. So, all you can do is take walks, enjoy the Spring sunshine in the quiet streets or enjoy the many cafes and tapas bars in the city, where all the locals like to relax, until the city bursts back into life for the evening trade. We enjoyed many tours of the city this week, but the cave-studded neighborhood of Sacromonte was the highlight for me, it’s spread out over the countryside high above Granada, where people have lived for centuries in the manmade caves and tunnels. Work has been great and I feel I really did have a very productive few weeks with Anera Travel.
Learning & Positive Aspects of Week 1
My Spanish has really improved this week, which I can’t believe it could in what has been a very short space of time. Work has been really interesting and I have learned a great deal about the travel industry in Spain from the owner of the company. It’s a very friendly but fast-paced environment, and really easy to settle in. I have enjoyed working here for the duration of my placement, they are very understanding and always try to cater to whatever needs you may require. I Never felt as if I couldn’t speak to them about issues about work or what could affect my work. They have taught me a lot and I have progressed massively since starting. The group really clicked this week which is great, we have had quite a bit of fun around the city and I will be sorry to say goodbye.
Obviously, the language barrier is one of the major issues. There are many situations where there is miscommunication or misunderstanding, but compared to last week it’s a great improvement. I had a whole new set of tasks to do this week at work, I wasn’t expecting that the owner would take me off one project and get me started on a new one, as I was only here for a few weeks! I would have liked to have seen the first one though to the end, but he needed me to get as much done on the new project as I could, as the base and plan I created will help him more in the coming weeks when the rest of his team start to put it into practice.
The week seemed to move very quickly and before I knew it, it was very nearly the end of the week. This experience for me has been brilliant, with mostly highs throughout the whole week. There are two things that amazed me about my experience. Firstly, was how much I learned in only a few weeks about the travel industry, I have made so many new contacts including quite a few in Ireland. Secondly, I was amazed by the hard-working, laid back atmosphere that the company produced and how each and every one of them made my stay very enjoyable and I really do think I will be back to them at some stage in the future.
So I’m in a coffee shop and they ask for my name to write on the cup ” like Starbucks but with nice coffee” So instead of saying my first name “Padraig” I did not want to scare the guy serving me, I said my last name “Murphy”, as soon as I said Murphy the Spanish man behind me “who later explained was a history teacher from Sevilla “asked “your name is Murphy? what part of Ireland are you from? Once I said Mallow in Cork, he replied “Is that anywhere near BlackRock? At this point, it got very odd as he quickly asked “do you know if you’re related to James Cavanah Murphy? Once he realized that I didn’t have a clue who he was talking about I got a quick history of the James Cavanah Murphy, the man from BlackRock who made Alhambra, and Granada famous around the world. After enjoying my coffee with my new friend, I felt a bit Googling was in order to find out a bit more. James Cavanah Murphy (1760-1814) was a Blackrock, Cork-born architect. Who’s book The Arabian Antiquities of Spain (1815), was published one year after his death. This book is full of drawings and writings on the great Arabian architecture of Granada and Cordoba, it became like a tour guide to the Victorine traveler on their famous grand tours, it has been republished 14 times to keep up with demand, and is still on sale in Granada’s many gift shops, this little-known Cork man has helped grow Granada to the city it is today, and because of his book, Alhambra has become one of the biggest tourist spots in Spain. It just goes to show that some cultural experiences when aboard can be a lot closer to home than you think.