In the months of October and November, I ended up visiting Andalucía, the southern part of Spain, three different times. The first trip I took was to Córdoba with my program, except this time it was an overnight trip. After a nice 4-5 hour bus ride south, our group dropped the luggage off at the hostel and headed towards the Mezquita, one of the most famous places in the city. The arquitecture was one of the most stunning parts of it, being a mix of a cathedral and a mosque. We also got to tour the old, underground Arab baths, which were very cool, although I was a little disappointed that the actual baths were filled in. For dinner that night, one of my friends had a roommate from Córdoba who recommended an authentic restaurant, so we followed up her recommendations and had an amazing dinner consisting of fried eggplant and some delicious dessert. My favorite part of this trip was being with all of my friends from the program, something that we haven’t had many chances to do, although the city was gorgeous as well due to its classic andalusian style.
The next weekend, some of my friends and I headed back down south towards Granada. It was a trip that we planned last minute, having forgotten about the long weekend. We got in kind of late on Friday, due to the 5 hour bus ride down south, but we still got to have a nice dinner and see some of the scenery on our way from the train station to the hostel. Since we planned the trip so last minute, we hadn’t managed to get tickets to the Alhambra, which is one of the most famous monuments in Spain. Fortunately, we found out that we could still buy tickets the day of if we got in the line early enough in the morning. That being said, the next morning we got out of bed around 5 to head towards the ticket line. Upon arriving we found a fair amount of people already in line, but we still thought we might have a chance at getting tickets, so we stayed in line. We didn’t actually get tickets that day, so instead we took a bus to one of the mountainside towns just outside of Granada to do some hiking. We brought some food along with us and we ended up finding some pretty cool waterfalls and views of the mountains.
The next day we decided to get up even earlier to try one last chance of getting tickets. Fortunately, fate was in our favor that day because we got some of the last tickets of the day. After collecting our tickets, we headed back towards the city center to get some breakfast and explore some of the other parts of the city. When we finally got to go into the Alhambra, the only thing that I have to say about it is that if you are ever in Granada, you MUST GO SEE IT. It was incredible, between the history and the scenery, it really makes for a great day. The following day, a Monday that we didn’t have class, our bus didn’t leave until later in the afternoon, so we wandered around the city a little more and ended up in a park where we all decided to take a nap until it was time to leave for our bus. It was another great weekend of traveling, but a little heads up; if you plan on seeing the Alhambra, buy your tickets a little bit ahead of time so that you don’t have to wait in line in the wee hours of the morning.
A few weekends later, two of my friends and I planned another last minute trip to Seville, yet another city in the south of Spain. Once again, we were bombarded with the typical analusian style and culture, as well as the beautiful southern weather. We were able to see the Plaza de España, Catedral de Sevilla, the alcazar (where they filmed some of the scenes from Game of Thrones), and several other very famous sites. The city was incredibly gorgeous, although more touristy than Granada. We even had an awesome guide, a friend of Madison’s (one of my program friends), who showed us around the city and picked out some of the spots for us to see. There was so much to see, that we didn’t get to see it all, but luckily I get to head back there with my family when they come to visit me in Spain. I have definitely gotten to experience a few different areas of Andalucía, though, and I understand why this region in Spain is one of the more stereotypical areas of the country.