Andalucia is a huge region and I’m going to attempt to cover 4 of it’s cities in just one blog post. It’s a bold aim but I reckon I can do it… let’s find out, shall we?
Ah, my very first weekend trip from Madrid which also happened to be my very first weekend, full stop. Yep, within a few days of moving into my new flat I was already busy making travel plans with new friends… I have a travel-disease (I think most people are expecting me to say something like ‘it’s called wanderlust ✨’ but I’m deliberately not going to now)
Anyway, we booked the trip through a student company called CityLife. They basically organise a ton of trips for Erasmus students from Madrid to a variety of places in Spain and Europe. I visited Cadiz in February during carnival season and it was absolutely the perfect time to go. We had so much fun gallivanting around the streets in face paint, dancing and listening to music, meeting drunk people in the huge botellóns whilst also exploring the streets of Cadiz.
Sadly, our hotel was in the middle of nowhere (it was nice though and had a fancy pool and free buffet food), so we weren’t exactly able to visit Cadiz at our own free will – we always had to wait for the organised buses to take us there. That said, if no buses were running we just went to the beach, ordered pizza or hung out in our room – all very good ways to spend time if you ask me – and on the nights that we weren’t at the carnival, CityLife made sure to organise us transport and entry into local bars and clubs.
This weekend was my first taste of Spanish party life and it made me feel super optimistic about the semester ahead. I can’t believe this year counts towards my degree… it feels wrong to be having this much fun!
My best friend in the entire universe, Leonie, is also on her year abroad in Spain and we decided to spend a weekend in Granada together. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favour – the rain and wind persisted for the entire time that we were there. I’ll admit that this really affected my opinion of this city (although I wish that it didn’t) but bad weather can sometimes make a grey and beige place look even more grey and beige. So, despite the fact that Granada is home of the Alhambra, one of the most beautiful Islamic palaces in the world, I struggled to see the beauty in the same way as I would have if the sun were shining perhaps.
Nevertheless, when you’re in good company the weather becomes secondary and we were quite happy to sit on the top bunks of our hostel beds, doing BuzzFeed quizzes, blasting cheesy music and singing at the top of our lungs. The problem is that this doesn’t make for the best travel blog post, so I apologise to you guys for not really having a lot to say here. Of course, we did visit the Alhambra and we admired the views of the city from as many ‘miradors’ as we could locate. There were plenty of beautiful things to see, it’s just a shame that we could only really see the rim of our umbrellas…. ☔
I can assure you that a visit to Granada won’t leave you feeling disappointed if you’re interested in Al-Andalus culture and want to dig deeper into that part of history. Just because I don’t have completely positive opinions about it doesn’t mean that my opinions are fact. All the more reason for you guys to go and visit for yourselves – let me know what you think!
PRIEGO DE CÓRDOBA
After our visit to Granada, Leonie invited me to see the place she’s living and working in. It’s the tiniest little village just outside of Córdoba and although I could never imagine myself in such a quiet and traditional area like Priego, it made me happy to see how settled and content she was with her life there. Each to their own, I say!
Once again the weather was awful but I wasn’t there for very long and I wasn’t exactly spending my time outside sightseeing. Instead, we just had a night out with her flatmate and Spanish friends (the highlight being the huge tub of chips we bought afterwards) and a quick stroll around the town so that I could get a feel for life there (it takes about 10 minutes to walk from one side to the other – I’m not sure I could handle that kind of perimeter for a whole semester!)
It was so nice to experience a true Spanish town and the lack of tourists definitely makes for a much more authentic experience. That said, visiting Priego made me realise how much more suited I am to the lifestyle in Madrid but it also made me realise that the big city definitely isn’t for everyone – pretty sure Leonie would be super uncomfortable if she had to spend a semester in the capital. That’s what I love about Spain though – it’s so varied from region to region (even city to city) and there’s definitely something for everyone.
My favourite flatmate, Sarah, and I decided to visit Seville together one sunny weekend in May and it really was the most amazing way to end my Andalucian adventures. Seville (or Sevilla) is one of the most beautiful Spanish cities that I have ever had the pleasure of exploring. Every single street was a work of art, there’s culture oozing through every wall and the Plaza de España feels like it should be a separate city on it’s own.
We rowed boats and hired a bike carriage, we caught the open top sightseeing bus to the outskirts of the city, we climbed up the Metropol Parasol (or the Mushroom, as it’s more commonly known) and, of course now the sun had arrived, we caught some rays at our hostel pool. All of this in just one weekend, as well as an on-foot city tour to see all the major tourist attractions – I think we did a pretty good job! Seville, you are divine 💕
So that’s all of my Andalucian adventures for now. I’d like to visit more places but sadly there just isn’t enough time this semester 😔 Hopefully, I’ll be able to return in the future and see what more this region has to offer. Until then….