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Lookouts & Farewell Supper

I have the apartment all to myself this afternoon because Julia and Joanna wanted to do the Arab Baths before they left Granada, and I had already done them with Ian before. I needed to write a blog post and study anyhow, so the quiet is definitely a good thing for today 🙂 Today is my roommate’s 21st birthday so we are going to celebrate tonight! Our host mom bought a ginormous carrot cake (I wish I was a fan!) to have with friends too- it’s going to be a really fun evening.

Today was my last day of classes in Spain! Next week, we have finals and not much else planned. We’re getting to that point where we keep saying oh my gosh this is our last time crossing that bridge, or meeting these people after class, or hiking up to the Alhambra! There’s a lot to cross off the list before we leave, so we’ve been up to something after school everyday.

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On Monday, I had a really nice 5.1 mile run. I haven’t been running far lately, so it felt good to actually get a good run in. In the afternoon, my roommates and I walked up to two different lookouts- in fact the ones we came to on our very first day in Granada. Joanna won’t see them again (she leaves TOMORROW to see her brother graduate high school), so we did our walk before supper and before the sun went down. It was a pretty night and I’m glad she talked Julia and I into going even though we had big presentations to get ready for.

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On Tuesday we went to Carmen de los Martires, a free part of the Alhambra walking grounds. We found some new places and ended up walking around 5 miles! I had run 4 miles beforehand so I was really tired by the time I arrived back at the apartment.

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We saw a ton of peacocks (“pavos reales” in Spanish which means “royal turkey”). They were everywhere, I was so scared to go anywhere near them but everyone else was for a while and the peacocks didn’t really do much. They are way bigger than I realized, but I warmed up to the situation after a little while 🙂

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On Wednesday I ran 5 miles and then went to the park after class to study and read. I’ve only just started reading The Girl on the Train and it is so, so good! I was a little slow getting into it, but now I can’t stop reading which is a little sad because I don’t know what I’m going to read on the plane ride home. I was going to try and read it slowly but that is just not happening with the rate I’m going.

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The Farewell Supper for our program was at a fancy restaurant with a view of the Alhambra that night! It was the actually last time everyone would be all together. There was a lot of amazing food and we had the chance to talk to people we don’t hang out with all that often. Croquetas, fruit salad, kebabs, potatoes, and cheesecake were all on the menu!

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I’m clearly not too keen on leaving in a week:

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And yesterday after classes we were all going to meet up at Parque Federico Garcia Lorca to study and hang out. I hadn’t run yet, so I ran the 2.1 miles to meet everyone there and added on an extra mile along the river! I like point A to point B runs, they make things a little more exciting. We may have talked a little more than we studied, but we all knew that was going to happen!

Thanks for reading, have a relaxing weekend 🙂

Travel

Cádiz Beach Weekend

After a relaxing morning on Friday, we were finally off to Cadiz with our program! We have been waiting all semester for this beach weekend and I was more than ready. With finals next week, we have all been feeling the pressure to study a lot and finish up projects while at the same time trying to enjoy our last two weeks in Spain. It can be a hard balance to strike sometimes. Julia and I usually compromise by doing our studying at a new (or old) coffee shop.

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The bus ride was long, more than 5 hours. But we made it there in time to check into the hotel and watch the sunset, which was gorgeous! It seriously looked like a postcard. We walked down the beach as it was setting, and there were a lot of people out running. It made me so excited to go for my own run the next morning! Two guys asked me to take their picture of them running with the sunset and I think it turned out pretty amazing if I so say so myself 🙂 I wish I had it!

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I woke up with the sun around 8, put on my running clothes, and headed out! I had 3 miles planned but quit at 2.5- it was SO humid. I am not used to it at all and I was sweating profusely. I ran along the beach and it was so nice to break a sweat before they day began.

After a cold shower Kayla, Ashley and I headed down for breakfast and I was most excited for the coffee! They brought it fresh to my table with hot milk, it was a really nice hotel with a really nice hotel breakfast 🙂

We walked far down the beach afterwards, probably 2 miles each way. Kayla gave me her old fitbit, what a great pal 🙂 So I have been tracking my steps and it is so helpful to getting me more and more active! I definitely want to go on more walks during the day to hit my daily step goals. During the walk there was nobody around because it looked like it was about to rain (maybe that’s why it was so humid while running!) They sky looked so stormy and it started down pouring on our way back. Wooo beach weekend!! It was actually kind of fun being the only ones on the beach in the rain.

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In the afternoon the sun came out and it turned into the perfect day, so we all laid out in front of our hotel and the water. I started to finally read The Girl on the Train, we buried Joo in sand, and ended up going swimming even though there was a lot of seaweed at the front. I got taken down by a monster wave, and hit the bottom so it actually hurt pretty bad. I swallowed a bunch of salt water which felt horrible-I haven’t gone swimming in waves like that in a long time and I forgot how dangerous it can actually be! Safe to say we only laid out for a little bit longer before going to get water and take showers before supper.

There was another beautiful sunset on Saturday.

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On Sunday morning I skipped my run. The hotel bed was so comfy, so I let myself soak in the 4-star-hotel-loveliness until coffee time. I read my book in bed and watched the sunlight fill the room. And anyways, I was proud of myself for even getting out on a run the day before!

My friends and I met up at 10 to have a slow breakfast and yup, head back to the beach again. I will shamelessly admit that we did not do much else besides soak up the sun, walk the beach, and people watch. It was the perfect last trip of the semester to relax. It was so nice to just have time to talk about life and be with all the friends I have made this semester.

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We all grabbed a bite to eat before getting on the bus back to Granada! We had one stop for a mini hike in the middle of it to break the bus ride in half. We stopped at El Torcal de Antequera. It is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range in the province of Málaga. It is known for its man-made looking landforms, and is one of the most impressive landscapes in Europe. It was so beautiful it looked fake!

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We got back to Granada to finish up some work before Monday hit us, and now we are in full-blown finals mode! Today, I gave a long presentation about the healthcare system in Spain, something I never would have thought I would have been able to do! Only 11 more days in this beautiful country!

Travel

Barcelona & Día de la Cruz

My first time flying on my own was a total success! I went to Barcelona for the long weekend to see my cousin who is studying there, so I already had a place to stay 🙂 It was so nice to see him!

Before I left, I had almost a full day in Granada, but I couldn’t do much because it was so rainy. I ended up running in the muddy trails for 3 miles and felt so good afterwards! Nobody was around before I left, so I had been feeling really lazy and just did not have the energy to do homework. There’s nothing better than a hot shower after a “cold” (60 degrees) and rainy run. Afterwards I went to get a coffee and start studying for finals! They are still 2 weeks away but there is so much material to go over.

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I left on Friday night and arrived right after midnight, after hanging out for a little while I went to bed, I was so exhausted! Plus Theo and I were going to walk a lot the next day so we didn’t want to stay up too late.

Our first stop was Plaza Catalunya!  It’s a square in central Barcelona that is considered to be both its city center and the place where the old city and the 19th century-built Eixample meet.

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We walked up to Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). We took a metro up a mountain (so cool!!)  to get to the church. There were roller coasters, ferris wheels, and other fair kind of rides which kind of took away from the ambiance a little bit… But it was still cool and had really nice view of the city!IMG_4238IMG_4241Cousins!!IMG_4252
We stopped for food after and then walked along the beach back to the apartment! It was pretty windy and cloudy out but I liked it because it meant less people and less crowds 🙂

There were CRAZY sand sculptures all the way down!IMG_4250IMG_4255

We went out to a discoteca that night with Theo and his friends! I had a ton of fun and we actually ended up staying out later than I had for churros. So we slept really late into the day and then went together to go start out at an art museum.IMG_4263

Then stopped by the Olympic stadium- the fútbol field seemed so small and square to me! Theo thought the same thing.IMG_4264

Then we went to see the Barcelona stadium afterwards! I wish we could have gone inside, but we got there kind of late in the day.IMG_4266

We walked around really late and went to see the Gaudi Museum 🙂IMG_4269

On Monday morning I was on my own since my cousin had a research project to do with his group! I didn’t mind grabbing a coffee and walking around Barcelona though. I walked about 3 miles each way on the beach and it was so fun to people-watch on a Monday morning in Barcelona. There were so many people playing volleyball, running, biking, and skating!IMG_4313

I was hungry after all the walking so I got a chocolate-filled croissant and went to see more monuments! There’s too much to see in Barcelona- and I only had 3 days 😦IMG_4309

The Sagrada Familia was everything I imagined! It still is being worked on and will not be finished until 2026 (hopefully)!IMG_4323

Tuesday was mine and Theo’s last night to hang out 😦 We went to park Guell and the Cathedral at night before getting nachos for dinner. The Cathdrel looked so evil at nighttime!

IMG_4271We were both starving and so happy to see our waitress come over with our food. It hit the spot, I can’t wait to make nachos when I go home.IMG_4319

Tuesday I was totally on my own, since everyone was at work or school! I had almost half the day, started off with this teeny tiny coffee.IMG_4320

I walked the opposite way out of the neighborhood and the street art was 10x better there, I guess that must be where the pros go, I don’t know.IMG_4316

I went to the Sagrada Familia again. It really was so amazing to look at, and there was tons to see! I didn’t want to leave the city without seeing it again.IMG_4325

I got to the airport 3 hours early, which ended up being so much time! I got through security in less than 15 minutes and then set up to watch Netflix until my flight.IMG_4331

I got the window seat for the best view 🙂IMG_4347

We were all back just in time for Día de la Cruz! It was seriously one of the oddest holidays I have ever seen. It was like a cross between a day drink and a serious connection to Empress Helena’s search for the cross Jesus died on. There was a lot of dancing mixed in as well, so I’m still a little confused but it was fun!IMG_4354IMG_4366IMG_4369IMG_4372

We finally found a quiet place to sit and get out of the sun for a while.IMG_4379.JPG

It was such an amazing long weekend, and I’m so glad I finally got to hang out with my cousin and see Barcelona! I can also cross traveling alone off of my list of things I wanted to do while abroad 🙂