Hello my friends!
From Wednesday to Sunday I along with the other HC kids and our housing director, Pablo, travelled to Andalucía. This trip was prepaid and pre-organized by Holy Cross, so I was excited when I realized that all I needed to pay for was souvenirs and a few snacks…another plus for Coruña! We first flew to Granada, a beautiful city located on the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. In Granada, we had fantastic weather and spent our 1.5 days walking non-stop. One of my favorite parts of Granada was the old city, which consisted of steep hills covered in whitewashed houses overlooking the Alhambra (more on that later) and the snow peaked mountains of the Sierra Nevada. I mean what more could you ask for? My second favorite part was the Alhambra which is an old, but still absolutely amazing, Moorish Palace. Hundreds of years ago, much of Spain (especially the southern half), was greatly populated by Moors, primarily from Morocco and other Northern African countries. Therefore, there is great Moorish and Arabic presence in the architecture, food, dance and other cultural aspects that are extremely prevalent throughout Andalucía, especially Granada. Walking around the streets of Granada and sipping delicious mint tea in the small cafés reminded me greatly of my adventure to Marrakesh, Morocco earlier this year.
After a wonderful two days in Granada, we hopped on a bus and drove the 3 hours to Sevilla, another popular and historic city in Spain. While we were huddled under umbrellas for the vast majority of the time in this lovely city, we still had a great time. We toured the cathedral, panted to the top of the bell tower (and took too many pictures), toured the impressive Alcázar palace and attended a bull fighting event. The last activity (bull fighting) was quite an experience. (Beware of a somewhat graphic description below…) I have long been aware that Spanish Bull Fighting has great cultural significance and is very important in Spanish history, but it is honestly one of the most brutal things I have ever witnessed. In the course of 2 hours I saw 6 bulls wounded and killed, and for a person who has full blown conversations with my 6 month old lab over Skype, I was horrified. Bull fighting is an extremely controversial topic in Spain. Many people are completely against bull fighting and think it should be outlawed due to obvious animal rights issues, while others believe it is a part of the rich Spanish culture and a form of art and bravery. In fact in the province of Cataluña (where Barcelona is located), bull fighting is now illegal. I am very interested to see if and how bull fighting changes in the coming years given the controversy of the activity.
As you may know, a few days ago a bomb exploded in Marrakesh, Morocco and killed over a dozen people; my thoughts and prayers go out to all affected in anyway. This greatly struck and saddened me as I had travelled there earlier this year, and spent several hours in the plaza where the attack occurred. However, during my time in Morocco I never felt unsafe, and was constantly surrounded by warm and friendly people. If I have caught you at the right time, and you are dreaming up trips to plan during your year abroad, don´t be afraid to visit a developing country such as Morocco. Something like this can truly happen anywhere and it is not a reason to live your life in fear. So just be smart and aware of your surroundings and you will have a fantastic and enriching experience wherever you go!
That’s all for now folks!