#KristinaTakesEurope: Granada Recap

Well, I’m not sure where to even start here. A friend of mine from work got married in February, but it was a small ceremony and his family couldn’t make it, so they planned a weekend ‘honeymoon’ for friends and family to celebrate the couple. Truth be told, had it not been for Gareth & Mau inviting me, I wouldn’t have even traveled to Europe. My entire trip sprouted around Granada. Thanks guys!

I can’t explain the weekend without talking about the guys first. Gareth and Mau are both such loving, genuine, open, fun people. I met Gareth at work almost two years ago now. I instantly took to him. He’s sassy and witty and clever, but also wise and always looked out for me and tried to help me when it came to work and my career. Eventually he introduced his work friends to Mau and we all instantly took a liking to him. He’s different from us; he’s creative, artistic and just cool. Together they’re the perfect pair and balance each other out wonderfully. I obviously love them both dearly!

So, I went to Granada. Most of us arrived on Friday, the day the festivities began. Drinks in their penthouse suite had started before I even arrived at 4 pm and were followed by a slightly more formal – yes, I changed out of my signature athleisure travel gear – cocktail hour for everyone to mingle and meet people they hadn’t met yet. It felt like a warm up to the workout my liver was about to get.

Saturday was the big day, but guests had the morning and early afternoon to lounge / spa / walk around. Renee, Isa, Alex and I went for breakfast and walked around Granada for about 4 hours. OK. So I have a thing for churches and cathedrals and older buildings in general…so obviously my heart was a flutter as we weaved our way around and up the streets of Granada. We walked up into El Albaicin, to a point high up enough to where we had an amazing view of the city. Eventually we had to make it down though, to get ready for the dinner! The dinner was amazing – we were all bussed up to a venue facing the Alhambra and essentially watched the sun set behind it. Seriously breathtaking. The ceremony was wonderful – Leon (Gareth’s sister) gave a touching, funny and sweet speech before Mau and Gareth said their vows. Tears. Lots. Of. Tears. Then who could forget Emie (Gareth’s niece) walking up to Mau and him carrying her during Gareth’s vows. If that isn’t symbolic of how meant to be they are then I couldn’t tell you what is.

All that emotion was followed by music, cocktails and h’ors d’oeuvres and then dinner. The table was gorgeous – I’m talking Pinterest perfect. Our place settings were either red lips our a black mustache with our names cutout and the menu had a sweet thank you note to all the guests for being there. I could get into more details but let me just say: the table was beautiful, the meal was delicious and the company was spectacular.

After dinner we went back to the hotel so we could change into our going out clothes. I changed my shoes and we walked over. We had the VIP section and I can honestly say I haven’t had that much fun in such a long time. We laughed, danced, broke bottles (oops) and just overall had the best time. Next thing I knew it was 4 am and I was done.

Sunday was a later morning – my body doesn’t recover like it did in college – so Renee, Isa, Alex and I met for lunch and a stroll before our spa day. Y’ALL. We went to this Hammam Spa and basically luxuriated for 3 hours. It’s a roman bath style spa, so they explained the best process for using the baths – warm, then hot, then cold, then steam room – and we all got massages. After walking all over Barcelona and lugging my backpack, it was the most amazing thing. We walked back to the hotel for snacks and champagne, napped and got ready for flamenco night! We were bussed again to another restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Alhambra for a delicious dinner and flamenco show. Holy amazing. I’ve never seen anyone dance with such passion and raw emotion. It was beautiful, angry, loving, painful and hard all at once. That evening was much more relaxed when we got back, as we were all tired from the night before.

Monday was an earlier day. Brunch at noon was followed by a tour of the Alhambra. WOW. It was a four hour tour but it was well worth it. We had a guide in English for our group who walked us around the whole city and explained everything patiently. Poor guy though: 30 people is a lot to handle! Learning the history of it though, of how many people ruled and lived there, about the harems and the sultan’s summer castle. And the DETAILS. My God the details. There aren’t words to describe the intricate carvings, designs and mosaic work in and throughout the Alhambra. You’ll have to go see it yourselves!

Monday night was probably my favorite night. We took all our leftover wine and alcohol to Gareth and Mau’s room and just chatted and ended up singing – which is a thing in Gareth’s house. It’s ridiculous but everyone in his family can sing! It was an intimate, beautiful, sappy night. The perfect culmination to a perfect weekend.

I’d have to say my favorite part about the whole weekend, though, was looking around at all the guests. Several of us didn’t know each other, but that was never a concern because knowing how well we all individually get along with Gareth and Mau, it was inevitable we’d get along with each other. It was truly beautiful. Different walks of life, different circumstances, different in so many ways and yet the same in our love for those two.

There are no words to describe how beautiful, amazing, perfect of a weekend we had.

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