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Just a day trip to France!

September 1st, 2010 nmmari12

When people in the past studied abroad and spoke about the magical and adventurous trips to different countries that lasted for only a weekend or a few hours, I never believed them. However, this past weekend, I realized how easy it is to travel to another country, even if it is for just a few hours. On Saturday, the 14 HC students and I headed for France. The first stop we made was a small town in Northern Spain called Ochagavia. This small fairytale like town is nestled in the mountains and solely consists of white painted homes. The day we visited, the townspeople were celebrating a festival in which they dress in traditional Spanish clothes, and sell traditional Spanish food. All of us were fully entertained by walking around the quaint town, trying different foods and taking loads of pictures. Next we went to Roncesvalles, which is the first stop in Spain for the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that is famous throughout the world, and ends in Santiago de Compostale. The pilgrimage extends over the entire northern region of Spain and hundreds of people take this pilgrimage every year. After learning about this pilgrimage, my friend Kelsey and I were inspired to complete it after our year in Spain, but we are still trying to imagine walking about 10 miles a day for 30 days…After leaving Roncesvalles, we crossed over the border and entered France! We arrived in the small town of San Juan de Pie de Puerto, about 30 minutes from the Spanish border. From a hill above the town, we could see the entire region, and I can truly say that it was one of the most gorgeous landscapes I have ever seen.

The next day (Sunday), our group traveled to San Sebastian, a beautiful city on the Biscay Bay. We had a very relaxing day of sitting on the beach, jumping in the water, walking around the town and eating clementine flavored gelato (yum!). After a very busy and wonderful weekend, we all came back to the hotel beyond exhausted and still amazed of the places that we had traveled. Yesterday, we went to a castle called “Olite” which was the home of the king and queen of Navarra, which has a similar appearance to the castle in the movie Shrek. We explored the castle for a few hours, climbing up the narrow staircases, looking out on the countryside, imagining that we were the famous kings and queens who lived there hundreds of years ago.

Finally, I would like to give a shout out to all the HC students back on the Hill who start their first day of classes today. I must admit that I am missing HC as my friends move into their dorms and start another great year at Holy Cross. However while I am currently a little homesick, I just remind myself that we will be reunited senior year and of the amazing adventures that lie ahead in Spain.

Dato Divertido: Last week La Tomatina took place, which is one of the many Spanish festivals that occur every year and that we learned about in Spanish culture class today. La Tomatina is a huge festival that takes place in a town near Valencia, Spain and consists of people throwing and smashing millions of tomatoes on their friends. I must say I am a little sad that our excursions do not include a trip to Valencia for this festival.

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