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Gap Year Abroad

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02/06/2014

Beyond Sevilla

"One can travel the world and see nothing. To achieve understanding, it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see." Giorgio Morandi

Yes, being in Europe is overwhelming. There are soo many fascinating, historically important places that seem so close, yet so far. Paris, London, Amsterdam, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, I could just keep adding and adding to the list. Trying to make a priorities list is seemingly impossible. I want to take advantage of that fact that I’m here in Europe (and the significantly cheaper flights) and travel! At the same time traveling is expensive because everything adds up and next thing you know you’ve spent all your holiday money on a three- day trip to Amsterdam. Also a big part of my decision to take a gap year was the fact that I wanted to immerse myself in a culture different from my own, and that just isn’t possible when you are on the road traveling.  Spain in itself is wonderful and there are so many diverse places throughout the country that I want to see.

Luckily the center where we take language classes offers weekend excursions, so 2 weeks ago I decided to go with the school to Granada. 

Saturday morning I woke up and headed to the meeting point where about 20 other students from the Clic center were waiting to board the bus to Granada. Clic is an international language center so aside from having class with a diverse group of students from all around the world, going on these weekend trips is a great way to meet international students. On the trip to Granada, I met a hilarious girl from Belgium, a girl from Sweden, a Sicilian and a group of very energetic Australians.

We boarded the bus and started our 3-hour drive to Granada. For me it was quite refreshing to leave the city. I loved looking out the window at the crop fields and Sierra Nevada mountains, terrain I’ve missed since leaving Chile.  

Once we got to Granada we had some free time to walk around and explore the commercial part of the city. All the bakeries looked enticing with their sweets and so Hazel, Fiona, Cori, Maggie and I decided to venture into one. Maggie and Hazel got some delicious looking chocolate churros, which are a classic sweet treat in Spain. 

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After that we did some store hopping and walked around the city. The strong Arab influence on the city was obvious. A number of stores had a variety of tapestries, lamps, and other intricate trinkets. 

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After shopping we met up with the group to go on a short walking tour of the city, starting with the Catedral de la Anunciación, where Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand are buried. Up until 1492, when Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand took over the city, Granada was under Moorish rule and is known for its Arab-influenced culture, mixed with Catholic monarchy influences.  The Catedral de la Anunciaciòn reminded me of a grand cathedral I visited in Denmark, which also housed coffins the kings, queens, and other royals are buried in.

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After the cathedral we walked up through the city streets to a gorgeous viewpoint of the Alhambra at night. 

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The next morning we woke up and headed to the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a military fortress and has an incredible amount of historical importance along with exquisite gardens, palaces, architecture and designs.

I think my pictures are probably best doing the talking.  

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After the Alhambra we headed back down into town for a quick lunch. We ate at a Mediterranean restaurant, and I got a falafel which was super yummy, especially after a long morning of walking around the Alhambra. After lunch we went back to the hotel, got our stuff and headed back to Sevilla. It was nice to come back home to Sevilla. My lovely host family greeted me by saying “Ah Elena! Te extrañamos!” (We missed you!)  I was, of course only gone a night, but it was really sweet!

Life in Sevilla is becoming more and more normal each day. When I wake up for class I don’t have that slight adrenaline rush like I did my first week here, which makes it harder to get up, but oh well. I went to my first yoga class in Sevilla yesterday and tomorrow the new kids have our last “orientation excursion” to the Cathedral. I keep looking at my calendar and wanting to plan more and more but I know I have to take it day by day. I can already feel the time flying by which is scary but true so I want to be sure to make the most of my time here!  

Ciao for now!



 

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