Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sevilla, Córdoba y Segovia

Did quite a bit of travelling over the past week. Took a weekend trip to Sevilla and Córdoba with my friends. We spent one day/night in each of those places, they're both in the south of Spain. Also, the University of Alcala offers free day trips to a lot of the main cities in Spain. This week we went to Segovia, which was also awesome. Since I have way too much to talk about for one blog, I'm just going to talk about my favorite parts of each city.

Rio Guadalquivir, Sevilla
Plaza de Espana, Sevilla
1) Sevilla: literally the most romantic beautiful city I have ever seen in my life. This was by far my favorite one. The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful and the city in itself was what I imagined all of Spain to look like. It had such an antique feel to it, the streets were super tiny and the people were all so relaxed. Some of my favorite things that I saw was the Torre de Oro and the Rio Guadalquivir. But most of all, the one thing that absolutely took my breath away was the Plaza de España. My friends and I took a trip over there around 11pm thinking it would just be something quick and cool to see, but we didn't realize how absolutely gorgeous it was. Though I'm kind of sad I didnt get to experience it during the day so I could really take in all of the details, seeing it at night was amazing as well. There weren't tons of people around taking pictures and getting in your way. It was just my group of friends and I walking around and taking it all in. I'd love to explain to you guys what it was like, what I saw and how I felt but it would be nearly impossible to put it into words. All I can say is, if you find yourself wandering in Sevilla, it is something you MUST go see. 

El Puente Romano
2)  Córdoba: Another beautiful, relaxed and cultural city. My two favorite things that I saw in Córdoba were La Mezquita and El Puente Romano. La Mezquita is the main attraction in this city, due to it's historical significance. Besides the fact that is an absolutely ENORMOUS and intricately constructed cathedral, it has an interesting story. It used to be a Muslim mosque, but after the Christian conquest, it was transformed into a cathedral. What's cool about La Mezquita is that you can still see the muslim influence in the architecture, the color choices and the decorations inside. I'm not big on  seeing cathedrals because they don't happen to interest me very much, but La Mezquita was a really cool experience. It's hard to appreciate all of the work that was put into it because of how massive it is and how much there is to see inside, but to think that it was built hundreds of years ago, without the technology we have today, is incredible. El Puente Romano was beautiful as well. It passes over Rio Guadalquivir (the same one I had mentioned that ran through Sevilla), and was actually the only bridge in all of Córdoba for over 20 centuries! It was pretty packed when we went, but the scenery that surrounded the bridge was gorgeous. Took WAY too many pictures. 

the Aqueducts, Segovia
3) Segovia: As I said before, my friends and I went here as a free school trip (basically everyone in the program took advantage of the opportunity). We started off our day going to La Granja, which is a huge palace in Segovia. It also has a beautiful garden in the back, and an amazing view of the mountains. Afterwards, we went to more of the downtown city area of Segovia, where we were left off by our bus at the Aqueducts. This is what Segovia is famous for, and was definitely one of the coolest pieces of architecture I've seen thus far. I can't really describe what they looked like, so i'll just leave you guys with a picture instead. At the top of the aqueduct you can overlook a lot of Segovia, which was beautiful. Segovia was the kind of city that I imagined all of Spain to look like before I came here. Very European, with golden/orangey buildings and roofs, and random narrow alleyways that had balconies with plants and flowers and stuff. You could tell it was an extremely cultural historical city. We also visited el Alcázar de Segovia, which is a castle in Segovia that resembled the Disney World castle so much it's crazy! Yet another beautiful city I got to visit, 
and it was my first time going north of Alcala!

Overlooking part of Segovia!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Spent this last weekend in León with my host family for my sister's birthday. My host mom invited me to go with them, and to stay at her parents house. At first I'm not going to lie, I was a little eerie about going. I didn't know how I'd feel staying at her family's house, and I kind of felt like I was going to be a tag-along. I also knew there was going to be a big party for my host sister, and the concept of having to talk to strangers all weekend kind of scared me! But, I realized it was a great opportunity to see another city, to get to know my host family better, and to submerge myself in real Spanish culture. Let me just say that I am SO happy I went. Not only did it make my host mom and I a lot closer, but León is beautiful and is also a city I wouldn't have seen unless I went with her. The first day we were there, my mom wanted to give me a tour of the city she was born in (she takes a LOT of pride in being from León). We walked around by the river and the cathedral, and afterwards we went and got tapas together. At night, there was a big party for my sister's birthday and her cousin as well. I'm not going to lie, at first it was definitely a little overwhelming for me. Over time though, I realized that her family wanted to talk to me and wanted to get to know me, and definitely did not want me to feel uncomfortable or out of place. They reminded me a lot of the Puerto Rican side of my family back home; so much talking, so much food and a whole lot of yelling. We played a charades-type game at night (they tried to help me out as much as they could), and it was just really cool to see my mom and sister in their own environment. The next day my mom and I walked around again and talked a lot about her past and stories from growing up. Met up with the family again at night and went to a few different places for tapas. I did a lot more talking this time; my mom's brother was actually really interested in the things I had to say, which made me feel so much better. I was just really honored that she invited me to go, wanted me to see a very personal side of her, and opened up her parents house for me to sleep at. Overall it was a really good weekend :). Leaving tonight for Sevilla and Córdoba with my friends, lots of pictures to come!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Hey guys! Went to Valencia this weekend with some of my friends, it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Breathtakingly beautiful. We spent most of our days at the beach, relaxing on the softest sand. Now normally if I was still back in New York and I even THOUGHT about going to a beach the first weekend of October, I'd 1) be called crazy and 2) probably freeze to death. But Valencia's coast is on the Mediterranean, and the water was so warm. I couldn't believe it was actually October and I was swimming. It was decently hot out too! I couldn't have asked for better weather. My best friend in the program, Christian, is from Missouri and had never been to a beach before. Being from Long Island, I forget how amazing beaches are and how fortunate I am to live so close to one, and it just made the experience that much better for me. Apart from the beach, the city itself is gorgeous. The buildings have an older feel, but there's so much modern architecture as well. There was this big white bridge by my hostel that looked so modern and cool, and there were also tons of beautiful fountains and things of the sort around the city. I highly suggest visiting if you guys come to Spain, it's definitely a great place to go.

At the hostel, we met a kid named Mica who's from the Netherlands. We wound up hanging out with him a lot and really getting to know him, and he was telling us all about where he lives. We actually just booked a trip to head over by him for a weekend, and to Belgium too, for the end of November. It's incredible how many cool people you meet in hostels!

Coolest sand castle I've EVER seen!
Church in the center of Valencia