Here is the lovely group of girls from our recent trip to Portugal, if you are ever in southern Spain you must make sure you visit the Algarve. Oh, and have a glass of vino verde (green wine) which will satisfy all your needs after a long stressful day lying in the sun on the beach. I have to warn you that the resort we stayed in, and many that we drove past, were very…lets say…bland. Huge apartment blocks, identical to the next, towering over the city which consists of some restaurants and touristy shops. BUT, a big big but, the beaches and scenery in Portugal are mesmerizing and I have never seen anything like them, tropical and truly one of a kind. Long sandy beaches, with turquoise waters and engaging rock formations lying in the sea. We went to Ponte de Pideade, El fin de Mundo (most western point in Europe) and a few stunning beaches a long the way. Next to the fin de Mundo there is surfers paradise; a long sandy beach with huge rolling waves, where we sat drinking sangria watching the sun sink into the sea over the horizon. Oh, I also forgot to mention, if you are a massive kid like I am, the Algarve has a great waterpark in Portimão where you would be occupied for days.
Yet again, i find myself gasping every time I think about how I have been here for over 2 weeks now, which seems such little time with everything I have accomplished and done. It is true that I have been travelling around more than studying, but then again in my eyes there is more to learn outside of the classroom than in, but hey I don’t think my professors would be too happy to hear that. So far I have travelled to Ronda, Juzcar and various places in Portugal all in 2 weeks of being here.
So, more about my life in Spain….there have been more struggles with university, more culture shocks, homesickness, less sleep and the temperature is still hovering around the mid-high 30’s even though we are in October. However there has also been more tapas, sangria, new friends, new destinations, adventures, new vocabulary, laughs, shopping and exploring which completely outweighs the negatives.
More good news is that I have FINALLY enrolled in University, halleluja. This is truly a massive step as everything is so slow here….mañana, mañana, mañana. In the classes we seem to spend at least half an hour doing absoluteley nothing and I find myself wondering around university without a clue in the world as to what I am doing, however my new classmates and girlfriends completely make this whole experience for me, especially my cheese-obsessed roommate. It amazes me, having met so many different people from all different cultures, how we can all sit in a bar or in class and communicate and joke around in Spanish with one another ( with a lot of help from hand movements and facial expressions) It is predominantly still one of the biggest reasons why I am studying a language, it opens the barriers to new cultures, places, expressions and people. Every aspect of my daily life such as shopping with the girls, cooking dinner together, walking to class, paying our rent or anything for that matter, is all in Spain, communicating in Spanish with people from all over the world. It really does continues to mezmerise me that I am living here, luckily with my trusty sidekick of google translate, doing this adventure on my own.
As you can see, the weather was very calm and still at el fin de mundo.
I also travelled to Juzcar, the town of Pitufinas ( Smurfs), where all the houses were blue and pictures of the pitufinas were dotted all around the small mountain village. Next, we ventured on to Ronda which was beautiful. A bit touristy, but beautiful and I highly recommend to pay it a visit, especially if you have access to a car as the mountain windy roads were not overly comfortable in a bus of 60 people. The backdrop of the countryside is stunning, old cobbled streets, and an impressive bridge that delves deep into the high cliffs. We ended the day with more tinto de verano, of course.
So, this blog has pretty much just been about my travels to new places, however there is still so much to explore in Cordoba. Filled with gorgeous parks, old quaint streets, the amazing zumeria del arbolito ( Juice and smoothie shop) hidden along one of the many streets filled with flowers and unknown secrets to find. Only the other day, wondering back from Uni do we come across a local bar in the street with locals playing the guitar, banging chairs as drums and an older lady belting out Spanish songs at the top of her voice whilst people were dancing and jiving on the side, such a social and expressive culture which I love. The best thing about Cordoba is still how cheap everything it is. For example, instead of meeting in the library to discuss and do work you would go to the local bar, buy a beer for less than a euro and enjoy a free side dish of tapas..who could complain?
Adiós, off to learn Salsa ( a required skill to live here) Speak soon!