Every time I start to write a post about how epic last week was, I get overwhelmed by the fact that there is just so much to write! I don't know why I don't just keep up with things as they happen. Oh well. Last week was the biggest trip we will be taking throughout our program. We left for Andalucia Tuesday morning and came back Saturday night. Andalucia is basically the southern portion of Spain and it is my favorite place hands down. If I ever get the chance to come back to this country, Andalucia is where I'm going to go.
Tuesday: We woke up at the butt crack of dawn and began our journey southward. On they way there we stopped to see the La Mancha Windmills. If anyone knows the story of Don Quijote then you know that these are the windmills he thought were "monsters" and tried to defeat. Kinda a Monty Python-esque story. Read it. Anyways, we were only there for a couple minutes but it's fun to visit places written about in stories and start to make connections. We then continued on to our first official city, Granada. A couple of usgirls got to go to this great Italian place for dinner that night. It was so freaking good! And afterward Chelsey, Lindsay, Jenna and I watched Moulin Rouge. We are kinda obsessed with this movie and might sing it at the top of our lungs every chance we get. Don't judge.
Wednesday: We went a couple minutes outside of Granada to visit the Alhambra. This place is basically a fortress palace complex. I'm not really sure how else to describe it. There is so much history and we spent hours touring and walking through this area. It was a little bit chilly when we were in the shade but other than that it was a beautiful day. There was also a point in the Alhambra where you got a great view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (apparently the U.S. is not original when naming things.)....I mostly just said that as a fun fact...yep.
After that we made our way to Cordoba. By the time we got there we had just enough time to get dinner and watch a movie. We started watching Baby Mama with some of the girls but I had to go to bed relatively early...Why you may ask? BECAUSE JAMIE PICKETT GOT HER MISSION CALL! For the last two weeks I have been carrying my phone around just in case she got it and opened it at some obscure time. Finally she found out she would be getting it on Wednesday and planned on opening it at 8pm Utah time....for everyone's information that is 4am my time...and yes I did wake up at 4am and skype her so that I could "be there". Just for you James, just for you. It was absolutely worth it. As soon as she began the process of opening it I was bawling. I guess it's a good thing I was on the computer and not actually there. Jamie has been called to serve in the Brazil Salvador Mission and reports July 18th!! It was such an awesome experience watching her open it. And I can not begin to explain the selfish happiness I feel that I get to spend most of the summer with her before she leaves. She is going to be a fantastic missionary :) woah a little teary eyed while writing this ha love ya girl.
Thursday: As you can imagine, that morning was a bit of a rough one for me, as was the rest of the day. But it was still a good one. We went literally across the street from our hotel to the Mezquita. It's actually a way cool building with three different religious influences filling it. Moorish, Islamic and Christian. I wish I had been more responsive, I would have learned much more, but if I'm being honest, I was half dead. After we took a tour of the city area around the Mezquita. There are a ton of cool little areas that are fun for picture taking.
We then got to go to the Medina Azahara. This was my kind of place! Located here are the ruins of a Arab/Muslim palace fortress thingy. It was unlike anything we have seen while in Spain so it was very refreshing to see something new. Especially for me at that point because I was walking around like a sloth and for the hour we were there I was running around like a crazy person. It was just wonderful! We got in trouble by the "palace nazis" because we kept climbing on everything but seriously how could you not! All Lindsay and I wanted to do was play some hide and seek. Sadly this did not get to happen but oh well. Afterward they should us a movie about the place...but as soon as the little went off I was out. My bad! We then made it to Sevilla.
Friday: Friday was probably the best day I have had while in Spain..no I take it back. It was the best day I have had while in Spain. And trust me, that is saying something. We got up and toured around the city like we normally do, but Sevilla is the most gorgeous city! Everywhere we went I was just blown away but how beautiful it was and more so that there was all this history! Spain knows how to do things right. When we went to the Catedral de Sevilla I got to see Christopher Columbus...yeah I was standing next to someone talked about in the Book of Mormon...no big deal.
After our tours we were allowed around 6 hours of free time....we would need every single minute of it! We immediately went to eat our lunch and Lindsay, Hilary and I may have split some chocolate cake...it was delightful. When we left the cafe to find Jenna outside she was sitting next to an old man, which isn't that strange since the people here like to talk to us, cause we're awesome. But this old man was great! His name is Carlos and he is 85 years old. When we reached Jenna, she introduced us and told him how everyone else spoke Spanish and how I didn't speak very much..I don't know if this intrigued him or something but he then proceeded to talk to me. He patted the spot next to him and asked me to sit and then proceed to say how "bonita y simpatica" we were. He also did not stop touching me haha. His hand was on my thigh most of the time we were talking. When we asked him if he was married he pointed on the other side of me and said "she's right there". Apparently his sociableness does not faze her. He even kissed Lindsay on the lips! Good ol' Carlos. We will never forget you!
We then went to the park and rode a zip line for probably about an hour straight, rode bikes around the park and then went to Plaza Espana where Jenna, Kristie, Marynn and I rowed a boat around the plaza. Seriously, it was just non-stop fun! I can not remember the last time I was just completely happy to be outside, wandering life, enjoying the simplest moments of life. I need to remember to be more grateful for days like that. And it wasn't over yet.
We met up with the group that night and went to watch a Flamenco performance! It was so cool! It was very small and intimate, I could feel the wind from the women's dresses spinning. I loved every second of it! Seeing the sights is great and all but this was really our first experience with some of the culture of Spain. We were all raving about it afterwards, i'm sure we woke up the entire city with our loudness.
Saturday: We had to head back to Alcala on Saturday. It was very bittersweet.
We were all really tired and ready to be back home but at the same time I could have stayed another week just in Sevilla. On the way home we stopped in Merida and saw some Roman ruins. Man it made me miss Italy. Seriously, once you've seen the Coliseum nothing else compares. But the ruins were still really cool and it was fun watching the other girls get more excited about their week trip to Italy in March.
It's been great to just be chilling in Alcala this week. We went into Madrid on Tuesday but other than that Chels and I haven't really done anything. For some reason we've both been having a hard time waking up this week. No we aren't staying up later than usual. We're getting about 8 hours of sleep so it's not really making sense. On top of it, we keep switching between feeling good and then feeling poopie. Hopefully after this week of next week of just relaxin we can get ready to Barcelona.
Today we took a day trip to Segovia and it was very cold. Ana Maria even bought us each a hat/neck warmer and got me some legging/tights just so we would stay warm. She is really a sweet lady! Anyways, it wasn't the best day I've had so far. But it did mark the one month mark. I cannot believe I've only been gone a month! It feels like I've been gone forever! I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing (maybe a bad thing today) but I can't wait to see what other experiences I'm going to have in the next couple weeks.
I'm gonna try and be better about posting more regularly. Cause let's face it...this is way to much information to put out there right now. I put off writing and then when the time comes to post I get stressed out about how much I need to write so I put it off even more...professional procrastinator right here.
Random note: my hair is getting longer! and I have more mass and weight then I've ever had in my life. WONDERFUL! And I learned how to enhance certain colors with my camera...kinda obsessed right now.
~till next time