Don't Lose That 'Tourist' Feeling
While Granada has been home for years and it seems like we should know the ins and outs of the city, it can be easy to get so caught up in daily life that sometimes we forget everything that is available to us. Earlier this week we talked about making your host city your home, and while we do truly believe that it is important to create a home-away-from-home for yourself, we also believe in the magic of feeling like a tourist. What does this entail? Well it really depends on who you are and what you are interested in!
Consider when you have visitors―how do you decide what to take them to see and where you want to eat with them? The obvious answer is to share your favorite places, but sometimes it is fun to do something that is outside of your everyday (or every visitor) ordinary. For example, one thing we really like to do is us Tripadvisor and other, similar sites to look for the best lesser-known places to visit and restaurants to eat at. And trust us, we get that it might feel ironic when you are so used to a city to do this, but having a look at what tourists see in your city can help give your perspective of all the places you have forgotten about.
Because sure, at the beginning of your stay you might have visited these tourist destinations a handful of times, but it is incredibly fun to rediscover them when you are already comfortable with the city and know a little bit more about the history and culture available to you. Sometimes this may feel like you are falling into all the guiri traps of living like an outsider, rather than a local, however, you can also consider it as taking advantage of the best of both worlds.
WHAT DO WE MEAN, really?
Generally speaking, this means making an effort to visit and re-visit the most famous landmarks, museums, plazas, etc, sometimes even paying for tours (or going the free walking tour route!) and eating and drinking in the most popular parts of town. And like we said―the first week you spend in your new home in Spain will probably revolve completely around this kind of tourism. The following month will be filled with more in-depth exploration but still consist mostly of ‘tourist’ outings. From there, you’ll probably lean towards one of two tendencies―continuing along the same path and living as a ‘tourist’ or changing your ways, typically slowing you roll, and starting to treat your Spanish city as a ‘normal home.’
This second option is the one we most promote as we truly believe that the way to get the most out of your abroad experience is to create a home for yourself, wherever you may be. However, it also feels healthy to break out of that ‘normal’ every once and awhile, even when you are in your own city. And, when you have lived abroad for a long time, sometimes doing the tourist things feels like a total breath of fresh air!
One way to take advantage of this is when you have visitors. Although it can be a bit overwhelming and stressful to receive guests and attempt to give them the full experience in your city (usually on a really tight schedule), it is also a beautiful challenge. Think about it as an excuse to visit your favorite places that you have to pay to get into―such as museums or other national monuments―and eat out at places that don’t fit into your everyday budget. Enjoy the moments of being ‘on holiday’ in your own city because you are sharing it with people that you care about.
In that way, we recommend you truly take advantage of any visits from friends or family to show off your city and take it in again from a fresh perspective! Our experience hosting people over the years is living proof that there is usually so much more to a city than what you see on a daily basis and we are thankful to all our guests that help us remember the importance of ‘tourist time.’
If we’re being honest, sometimes it can feel silly paying to enter important buildings in your own city or going out for paella midday because you live there, but you can make an exception when doing it for someone else.
And once you get in the mindset that you deserve to treat yourself every once in awhile and view the beautiful city you are living in from a tourist perspective, it will get easier to treat yourself on occasion without guests. That might mean that you take yourself (and your partner) to a show like we talked about in this article, buy yourself a year-long pass to the local museums, or just go have a nice coffee in a place you wouldn’t normally go to… with a beautiful view!
We also recommend following your local tourist guides (it might be in Spanish, but that is a great way to practice your language skills as well) to get insight into the shows that might be on in the city and the other events around. Oftentimes we are so focused on our day-to-day activities that we forget that there are activities going on all the time. For example, every spring Granada hosts an amazing Music and Dance Festival―see more here―but if you are not paying attention to the dates, it is often easy to miss the activities.
So, what are you doing to enjoy the tourist activities offered to you in your home-away-from-home? Let us know in the comments down below!