Well I have now been in Spain for a full week… wowzas. In that week, I have toured parts of 9 cities, taken about 500 pictures, and had the absolute best time of my life. Since I have seen and done so much it’s hard to write and capture every memory in a brief post so sorry ’bout the lengthiness. I’ll add in a lot of pictures so it’s not so boring. So here’s the first segment of this week with some of the top moments in each city:
Madrid: My first thought landing in Madrid was “crap everything is in Spanish”. I thought traveling to a foreign country would be scary and take adjustment, but I’ve been studying Spanish long enough that it really didn’t require much more effort than flicking a small switch in my brain from English to Spanish. Some friends and I had the same flight into Madrid so we met up, went through customs together, and then found our luggage. Eventually, we exited the airport and our first challenge arose… it was a debate over who could properly get a taxi and tell the driver the hotel address, but between the five of us, we did it. Even though we didn’t have to, we tipped the driver because he was so nice. The reason tipping isn’t necessary in Spain is because the tax and/or tip is already included when looking at a ticket or price tag.
One thing that really stuck out to me was the lack of a door on the shower… as said in the Hunger Games, “the showers are weird”. My favorite moment in Madrid was going to the roof of the hotel on the very first night and looking out at the city. There aren’t many skyscrapers and other tall buildings in Spain so on the roof of the hotel, I could see for miles.
Segovia/La Granja: Segovia is a smaller city to the north of Madrid and it is known for its historic architecture, such as its Roman aqueduct. We did a walking tour of the city and saw all sorts of interesting things such as a church from the 13th century and a huge cathedral (pictured below).
My favorite part of Segovia was a tour of an old royal palace (pictured left). The tour itself was pretty dull, so a few of us broke off from the group and did our own tour. We found a dungeon that had been turned into a wishing well and explored other parts of the castle that probably weren’t meant for the average tourist. Side note about the tour, our guide was Luis and he was with us for most of the week. He was the complete opposite of boring, but during the castle tour there was just a lot of history and factual information that was far less interesting than closed doors and roped off stairs.
In the same day, we traveled to La Granja, which used to be the summer palace for the monarchs. The best part of that excursion was the 48-acre garden surrounding the palace. In the picture to the right, we’re standing at the top of a massive fountain looking back at the palace, which would’ve an epic picture if there was actually water in it. About 20 minutes after that picture was taken, it started down pouring, which would’ve filled the fountain, and I’m still a little salty about that.
Córdoba: We only spent a few hours here but we toured the Mezquita-Cathedral which was fascinating. It is a hodgepodge of architecture on the inside because control over Córdoba changed between the Christians and Muslims quite frequently during its construction.
For example, in the picture to the left, the columns are from the Roman Catholic Christians while the high archways are from the Muslims. That’s about it for my factual knowledge on that. Everything in Spain is just so interesting and beautiful. The buildings are old, but wonderfully preserved and all the cathedrals have super intricate designs inside. I could stay here for years and still be left wanting to see more.
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.
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