One of the things I love most about studying abroad is the chance to travel. Last spring when I was in London, not only did I get to visit some of the best places in England (Liverpool!) but I got to see a lot of other amazing locations in Europe (some of my favourites were Firenze, København, and Edinburgh). This semester, I’m trying to do a little more of my traveling in Spain, rather than galavanting all over Europe, because I’m trying to learn the language, but I do have a couple trips outside of the country planned, and even staying within Spain there’s plenty to do and see.
Last week I took a day trip to Ronda with some friends. It’s a beautiful town near the coast, about an hour away from Sevilla. We saw plenty of traditional Spanish architecture, with whitewashed houses on the hills. Then there was the amazing Puente Nueva, an enormous bridge that spanned across a gorge.
It’s always fun to take day trips, just to be able to hop on a bus and go somewhere else, whether it’s a trip sponsored by the school or just something I can choose to do on my own. And it’s something you get the chance for when you’re in a country for an entire semester; I would never take a vacation to see Ronda, as beautiful as it is, but when I’m here for three months and I have a free day, it’s a great way to spend part of a weekend. There are several cities around Sevilla that I have heard are good candidates for day trips, such as Cádiz (where we went for Carnaval, but that was definitely a different experience, so it might be worth visiting again, in the day time… and sober, haha), Cordoba, and Jerez. The great thing about day trips is they don’t have to be planned in advance; just pick somewhere you can reach by bus or train and you’re on your way!
Then this past weekend, I went to Gibraltar, on a day trip planned by my school. It made me miss London a little bit, with everyone having English accents and using pounds and watching the Premier League in a pub (although I’m glad I was forced to leave at halftime, because seeing monkeys on the rock of Gibraltar was definitely better than watching Arsenal thump Liverpool, especially in the presence of another bar patron who had just told me about his and his son’s season tickets for Manchester United).
I didn’t know much about Gibraltar beforehand, except that it is British and that John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married there (“Peter Brown called to say, ‘You can make it, okay, you can get married in Gibraltar, near Spain'” – The Ballad of John and Yoko) but it was a really exciting place to visit. There are incredible caves in the mountain (the famous Rock of Gibraltar), and of course, there are monkeys, who are not at all afraid of people and will come up and touch you (or, unluckily for one tourist, leap onto you without warning).
The next few months are going to be busy, and not just with school (I’m taking 15 credits, which means I have class four days a week—three classes on lunes, martes, and miercoles, and two on jueves). Here are my travel plans for the rest of the semester:
This weekend CC-CS has planned a trip to Doñano, to ride horses on the beach. Then next weekend I’ll be traveling by myself (always exciting, if a bit nervous-making) to Bilbao and San Sebastian. The week after that is another CC-CS trip, this time overnight to Granada. Then from March 30 to April 8 is spring break, during Semana Santa! My friends and I are hitting three cities in seven days: Berlin, Prague, and Munich. The week after that is a trip with DiscoverSevilla, a local tour-planning company, to Morocco. I’m so excited to ride a camel! Then, from April 20 to April 27, my mom and aunt are going to be visiting! We’re spending a weekend in Barcelona and perhaps we’ll take a day trip before they leave the following Friday. The last of my trips is another day trip with CC-CS, this one to la playa. What a perfect way to spend the second to last weekend of the semester (the last weekend I’m going to be staying in Sevilla, but I have something equally exciting planned, finally seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert!). At the very end, I’ll take the train back to Madrid and spend a day or two there before I fly home.
It’s a lot of travelling in a short amount of time, but who knows when I’ll be back to Europe, so I’m going to make the most of it!
As always, check out more of my photos on my tumblr. 🙂