This past weekend I finally had my first excursion outside of the city. This was a great feeling. I hadn’t left Seville since arriving three weeks ago, and I was anxious to start seeing other parts of Spain. My program, CEA, offers many different included excursions and this past weekend we got the chance to go to Cordoba and Granada.
We all woke up bright and early and made our way to the bus stop where we boarded three large coach buses that would take us to our destinations. Although tired, everyone was so excited to depart for the new adventure.
About an hour after leaving Spain and stopping for breakfast, we finally arrived in Córdoba. This place was filled with beauty. It reminded me of a smaller version of Sevilla. The streets were narrow, the buildings were old, and there were many historical points all around.
The first thing we did when entering the city was tour the Mosque-Cathedral. CEA sets up all tours so we simply just have to walk to the door and follow an English speaking guide. This is especially helpful for us to learn the history and get the most out of the city.
The Mosque was incredible. Seeing two different religions blend into one was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The architecture was immaculate. The high arches, the detailed ceilings, and the colorful murals, it was all simply breathtaking. The tour started in the Mosque section and slowly moved into the newer part, or the Cathedral. We spent around two hours touring the Mosque and taking in its beauty.
After leaving the Mosque, we made our way to a small restaurant for tapas. I had jamon croquettes and a nice refreshing glass of sangria. After lunch we had some free time. We shopped around a bit, and I picked up a postcard, then we headed back to the bus. We were supposed to make a quick departure for Granada, however the door on our coach bus broke and we ended up spending an extra hour waiting for it to be fixed.
The drive to Granada was something out of a storybook. There was rolling hills of green olive trees, snowy mountains, and fields that seemed to go on forever. I did not expect to see so much un-populated land; however, for two hours that’s all we encountered.
Granada is famous for the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a palace and fortress that was originally constructed in 889. This was, once again, something that cannot be described through words. Right after arriving to our 4 start hotel, we got back on a bus and headed for a night hike on top of the mountain. This hike provided us with a wonderful view of the Alhambra lit up in the night’s sky.
After the night hike, we set out for dinner. Granada is known for its wonderful cuisine, and boy did we experience just that. I had my first taste of cous cous (an Arabic meal) as well as some papas fritas (french fries with a garlic mayo sauce). For dessert we went out for frozen yogurt and a few drinks. After this we were so exhausted from the day and we went to bed.
The next day we were woken up to an amazing breakfast provided by the hotel. There was fruit, bread, eggs, BACON, toast, cereal, coffee, milk, DONUTS, and much more. I stuffed myself full and then we got on the bus to head to the Alhambra.
The tour we were so fortunate to have was four hours long and took us all throughout the different parts of the Alhambra. I saw gardens, palaces, fountains, bedrooms, plazas, and even some original ruins. Unfortunately, it was very rainy and cold (50 degrees) so we were kind of rushing through at the end.
After the long tour we headed back to the buses, grabbed some lunch, and departed for ‘home’. I put home in quotations for the fact that this was the first time that I actually became homesick for Sevilla. It really started to feel like home after leaving it for a few days. The bus ride home was quiet, everyone was sleeping and we were all so happy to arrive back in Sevilla.
I had such a great time venturing out of Sevilla this weekend. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful program that sets up everything for us, and I am excited for the excursions to come. Thank you all for keeping up with this crazy journey of mine.