Traveling in AndalusiaNovember 11th, 2011
Greetings everyone! I have been in Spain for a little over two months now, and I´m loving every moment of it. To those of you who are prospective students out there, I´d like to remind you that IU has one of the most extensive study abroad programs in the country with over 250 possible trip options! If you are strongly contemplating studying abroad at some point during your undergraduate years, IU will offer you plenty of places to choose from, including destinations that would typically be considered more obscure. I can speak from experience that coming to Spain is, quite honestly, one of the best decisions I have made in my life. My stay here will, without a doubt, be the ultimate highlight of my four years at IU. On top of gaining exposure to a new language, I am learning to adapt to a completely different lifestyle and embrace a culture that takes great pride in its rich history and religious tradition.
Throughout my stay here, our program has taken me and the other students to several tourist cities on various weekends in the autonomous province known as Andalusia, which is situated in the southern part of Spain. In fact, Sevilla is located in Andalusia, hence I am in Andalusia right now. I suppose you could say that Andalusia is analogous to a U.S. state, although Spain would only consist of 17 so-called ¨states¨ as opposed to our 50. Pride runs deep in Spain from the national level all the way down to individual cities as they battle for bragging rights in soccer or giving rise to anything that gains fame (a person, a food, an idea, etc.). You could accuse me of generalizing – however, it is absolutely the honest truth, and even they themselves can admit it. To get to the point, Andalusia is proud of the historic influences of the Moors and the Christians on the region. These two groups have given rise to some of the beautiful constructions that remain tourist attractions to this day. Such structures are scattered all throughout Andalusia. While I´d love to talk about all of them in great detail, it would take me several days and several pages to accomplish such an overwhelmingly difficult task. So I´m only going to mention each city and its main attraction briefly accompanied by a couple of pictures, and I will be more than happy to describe them more if I ever run into any of you readers in person (that is your incentive to come seek me out and hang out with me at IU – I promise I´m friendly haha).
First, we visited Cadiz on the coast – I always enjoy any opportunity to relax by the ocean. I especially liked the walk to the fort built in the middle of the ocean.
Next, we went to Granada (translation: pomegranate – this makes sense because you notice not too long after being there that Granada has a lot of pomegranate trees). The beauty of the mountainous terrain as well as the lower temperature starkly contrasted the warmth and flatness of Sevilla but was a much welcomed change nonetheless. Despite all there is to see in Granada, the Alhambra, hands down, draws more people there than anything else. I’m not joking when I say that it has the most floral beauty I have ever seen in my entire life (I have so many beautiful flower pictures and not enough room to show them all or else I would).
Then, we went to Cordoba. I was very impressed by the 2000 year old Roman bridge that, with some restoration of course, is still standing today. We got to cross that to enter the central part of the city followed by the Gran Mezquita (mosque) of Cordoba with a bosque (forest) of its characteristic arcos de herradura (alternating between brick and stone).
The last trip we went on was to Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez is best known for its Carthusian horses and its sherry (the wine is actually named after the town because jerez translates to sherry in English).
If you have any questions about IU or studying abroad or any question you think I can answer, definitely leave a comment or seek me out on Facebook. Until the next blog, hasta luego!