As with any trip, the time always flies by CRAZY fast and before you know it, everything is wrapping up and winding down. On Sunday night as we were pulling in from Lagos, Abby, Ashley, and I looked at each other and all said some variation of “GIRLS! We have to maximize this week and make the most of it because it’s our last!” And so we did exactly that. 🙂
Monday morning we had in class oral presentations and reviewed for our final before we made tiles that afternoon. I guess in Italy you make pasta and in Spain you make tiles. Let me tell you my pasta making skills were a bit more impressive than my tile making skills haha. I actually totally forgot to take a picture of my tile but here I am attempting to make a masterpiece haha-
We explored some shops in Sevilla Monday after class and found a huge and fancy grocery store that was kind of like the Whole Foods of Spain. It was incredible. My favorite part was finding super yummy raspberries for only €1.69!! #takethat$5walmartrasberries
Then Monday evening before dinner, our group gathered at the Alcàzar in downtown Sevilla right behind the cathedral. I had walked past it multiple times all month but had no idea what it was!
It was very similar to the Alambra in Grenada in that it is an old Islamic palace. It was stunning! It still functions as a palace in some regards as there are government meetings and events held there. Supposedly, President Obama was supposed to stay there 2 years ago when he came to Sevilla but I guess there was a last minute change of plans. Oh! And for anyone who is a Game of Thrones fan (I honestly don’t know anything about the show but there were several avid fans in our group who filled me in)- part of it was filmed here!
As always, the gardens were my favorite. It amazed me that these huge lush gardens were right smack in the middle of the city. The palace is behind huge brick walls that kind of blend in with the other buildings on the street so you wouldn’t necessarily know what it is unless you are on the look for it.
After the Alcàzar, Rachel, Abby, Patrick, Ashley and I decided to walk around and literally just picked a street we hadn’t been down before and set out to see what we could find. We all did a bit of souvenir shopping and wound up finding the cutest little shops and streets. One of the things I love about Europe is that many of the cities are not built on a grid system so sometimes you randomly run into a dead end or find a little side path to a main street. We had so much fun this night even though we didn’t necessarily do anything special- just took in the sights and sounds of Sevilla trying to impress it in our memory. 🙂
Tuesday was a free day and we were so excited to sleep in and not have anything set in stone on our agenda. This day ended up being one of my favorites!! We were slow to get up and lounged around the apartment a bit before Ashley and I met Abby at the pool. It was once again 105 degrees in Sevilla and we were shopped out and it is near impossible to do anything in that heat, so we headed to the pool. A few weeks ago, we were desperate for some sort of water source/afternoon entertainment and we found this lovely hotel that let us come and swim for a small fee. It was so nice! On this day, we got there early enough that we had the pool to ourself for a while and later when it got busy, we just laid out and hopped in the pool every now and then to cool off. One of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. 🙂That evening, we headed to the city center and went on a carriage ride which was SO much fun. It was the perfect time of night where the sun wasn’t beating down on us and there was a bit of a breeze. I loved getting to see different parts of the city (like a huge park I didn’t even know was there because it is kind of tucked away).
While on the carriage ride, we spotted a Mexican restaurant and you had best believe we headed there for dinner right after our ride and ordered all the chips and guacamole we could. It hit the spot! Several of the others joined us as the restaurant so there was a big group of us there to enjoy our last Tuesday evening in Seville.
Wednesday we took our final exam and afterwards, Maribel took Ashley and I to lunch and out shopping. She was looking for a birthday gift for her friend and we were cracking up because she had me try items on that she was thinking of buying for her 65 year old friend. It was comical and classic Maribel.
We were gone for several hours before coming back to siesta and begin to pack.
As I have mentioned, Seville is very hot. Well, one way the city decided to provide some shade for the city was to have “The Setas” built right downtown. They are kind of funky looking but also really cool- and built completely out of wood! Here is a look at them in the day time:
You can go to the top and there is an awesome view of the city. Our group had gone during the day at the very beginning of the trip, but we wanted to go again at night. So on Wednesday night, a big group of us gathered in the city center and then went up to the top. Isn’t the view incredible?? You can see the Cathedral’s bell tower straight ahead.
Thursday morning we were up early for our final excursion to Ronda. This visit was a great way to cap off the trip.
Friday, we toured the inside of the cathedral. Christopher Colombus’ grave is right there in the main auditorium- it is massive! We then climbed to the top of the bell tower for an incredible panoramic view of the city.
So long to the cathedral and downtown Sevilla!
Friday evening, we ended our time together with a group dinner and pictures before heading back to our host homes to get ready to leave the next day. We had a traditional Spanish meal for dinner and I was laughing because the first three courses were all different variations of a potato dish. I’m telling you the Spaniards love their potatoes!
Saturday morning Ashley and I said goodbye to Maribel and of course, took pictures and gave her the gifts we had brought from home.We exchanged emails and gave each other about four rounds of hugs and thank you’s before we headed out.What a month we had together! Despite the language barrier, so many laughs and a lot of fun. She is an absolute hoot and her speciality is clearly the goofy picture. 😉
It seems like forever ago I found myself standing outside Maribel’s apartment waiting to meet her. She introduced herself and brought me inside to show me the tiny quarters that would be my home for the next month. I refrained from gasping out loud when I saw thhe size of our room and within the first two minutes of talking to her, I realized how little English she really knew and mentally prepared myself for the month ahead. There were some challenges and moments when I really wanted to pull my hair out and say “AH! If only you knew English or I knew complete Spanish!” but we made it through and I had a wonderful learning experience.
So that was that and my time in Spain is now over. Wow!
I am recording some of my reflections/what I learned in the next post, so make sure to check that out. Adios! 🙂