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Tourist Week Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Tourist Week, and quite frankly, some of my favorite parts. Same drill as last time… a little about the city, what we did, and what I liked the best.

Toledo:  Toledo’s claim to fame is the amount of religious buildings it has… meaning there are several synagogues, mosques, and of course cathedrals, which is where the expression “holy Toledo” comes from. Woohoo history… Ok, now for the fun parts. Of course, we toured the cathedral, which like all the others was amazing. I probably sound like a broken record, but who cares.

Every inch of the cathedral is intricately designed to point the viewer to God. The picture below is of the altar (I’m not Catholic, so I’m not really sure if that’s right or not… sorry if that’s wrong.), which depicts the life of Christ. I can’t imagine having the patience to work on something so intricate such as that.

While the cathedral was beautiful, my favorite part was the lookout point featured below. From that spot, you can see the whole city.

Sevilla: My fun fact about Sevilla is that part of Star Wars Episode 1 was filmed in La Plaza de España, pictured below. (Follow the link to see the Star Wars scene: La Plaza de España en Star Wars )

While exploring La Plaza de España was incredible, my favorite part of Sevilla was using some free time to climb the cathedral tour. We entered the cathedral about thirty minutes before it closed and the security guard said we couldn’t make it to the top by then. Little did he know, we skipped the actual tour of the cathedral and practically ran the 35 floors of the tower and made it in about ten minutes. The view was breathtaking, as you can see below. I also made a lifelong friend in Sevilla… but only because I had food.

 

 

Torremolinos: Torremolinos was right on the Mediterranean Sea, which made it one of my favorite cities. However, the hotel we stayed at was unique… unique here having the meaning of ridiculous. Typically, when you stay at a hotel, a meal or two a day is included in the price. At this hotel, a meal was included but drinks were not. You had to pay 2.5 euros for water… WATER. That’s essential to life people… I just had to get that out there.

We also had an entire free day in Torremolinos, which made it pretty awesome. A friend from our group and I saw people out on the sea riding jet skis and decided that would be fun, so we tried to find some to rent. We just started walking down the beach, asked for directions a few times, got four different answers, but eventually we found them. It only cost us about 35 euros (40 dollars) to rent one, and we had a blast! We only flipped it once, and it wasn’t while I was driving.

Last thing about Torremolinos: It has the best ice cream place I have ever been to, and I work at two different ice cream stores… It was homemade ice cream and wow, was it delicious. It also helped that the worker said I had “beautiful Spanish”.


Natalie Rediger is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Criminal Justice and Criminology. Natalie is spending six weeks of the summer studying abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Week One

As of today, I’ve been in Spain for one week. It feels like it’s been one month! I arrived in Madrid last Wednesday, spent three days there, one day in Toledo, and then came to Valencia. It was such an excellent opportunity to see other parts of Spain besides the city I’m studying in. Each city has it’s own diversity and wealth of history.

madrid_sunset
[Madrid sunset]

temple_of_debod
[Me in front of the Temple of Debod in Madrid]

panorama_toledo
[Toledo]

 

san_juan_monastery
[the courtyard of Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo]

The first week has been a rollercoaster of experiences and sensations. There have been moments where I basically went numb from overexposure to foreign language, smells, sights, behaviors. If I could go back and prepare myself before I left, what would I have said? I’ve been trying to figure out what’s so different about the United States and Spain. Both are Western cultures, with similar levels of technology, similar manners of dressing, modern gender concepts, etc. etc.. The differences are not necessarily the big things, but the many everyday things. For instance, Spain is very conscious of energy and water expenditure. My host mom told me that here, water is like gold. At home, I always pretended to be eco-conscious (I recycle cardboard and don’t litter), but here I realized that it’s much more than that. Now, I turn off the water while shaving my legs, brushing my teeth, turn off the lights when I’m leaving a room even if I’m about to come back to that room. Clothes dryers are rare; everyone hangs their clothes to dry, even if they have a dryer. In addition, even though it’s very warm here, many people don’t have A.C. in their homes, and if they do, they use it for perhaps one hour in the morning and one hour at night. For the most part, open windows function as the HVAC system.  Having the mindset of conservation impacts most movements I make in my home here.

Another difference is that people don’t drink very much water here. It’s actually been one of the hardest adjustments to make. As one of the directors of my program joked, nothing is free in Spain. For example, you don’t get a free water with your meal. Actually, a glass of wine with lunch costs the same as a bottle of water! In theory: awesome. However, my body has had a difficult time adjusting to drinking less water.

There are so many spectacular new things that I’m adjusting to as well: living three miles from a stunning beach on the Mediterranean Sea; being able to walk ANYWHERE; the friendliness of the people here; the way people seem comfortable in their skin (as opposed to how much body shaming there is in the U.S., especially for women); the incredible seafood; the weather; the stunning scenery; the relaxed pace of life. I am so lucky to have this experience.

valencia_beach (2)
[la playa]