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Spain in Context: The Rocks Here are Cooler Around the World, Abigail Beasley '17, Cádiz, Spain

Hola from Cádiz, located on the beautiful southern coast of Spain — not the beautiful eastern coast of Ohio. While the distinct culture of Middle America rocks, the rocks here are cooler. Disclaimer: we went to Gibraltar yesterday just for fun!! I just skipped an entire week of class and two weeks’ worth of café, so let me start from the beginning of our trip.

Here we go: All 15 of us made it safely to this land of siestas and sol on Saturday, which we celebrated with tapas. (The only thing we’ve done wrong yet is not indulging in a paella pan bigger than my face.) Sunday morning, we got the grand tour of this ancient port city before being introduced to the beautiful families that signed up to host us for the following four weeks. Monday was just like any other first day of class back in Lexington, right? We started at 9:30 a.m., we were out at 1 p.m., and spent the following seven hours on the beach.

Some highlights from Week 1

Thursday: Today we hit some hotspots in Cádiz. The Torre Tavira was too cool for school, although it was for school. The camera obscura is like original Google maps live feed without search history. I spent the following four or so hours of my evening flirting with my favorite bakery café in town and the study-abroad 16. After enough of that, I enjoyed our evening dose of culture at a Flamenco show, which is an anagram for both flame and men, but definitely not lame.

Friday: We started our mornings like most — with baguettes, cheese and cured ham. The combination seems to be the holy trinity of modern Spain. Then we traveled to Zahara, Spain, a beautiful pueblo blanco situated beneath a 13th-century Moorish castle. The hike to the castle was absolutely worth the view of the lake (which I selectively unheard was artificial). After a quick café, we made our way to Ronda for lunch with a view. Ronda is beautiful (my mother’s name is Ronda). The origins of Andalusian bull fighting are rooted here. Unfortunately, this original 18th-century bullring only hosts a festival in September; fortunately, no animals were harmed during the making of our experience.

Saturday: We celebrated a classmate’s 20th birthday on a world’s top-20 beach in Bolonia, no boloney. Our history lesson of the day was at Baelo Claudio, an ancient Roman town now claimed as ruins, but I’m confident meets Airbnb standards. Today was totally cool, but also nearly 100°. Upon completion of our tourist activities of the day, we set out for some sand dunes in Tarifa. From the top we saw Tangiers, and at the bottom we mud bathed. When in Rome….

Now that I’ve updated you with a bit of this incredible place in which we are living and learning, I promise to provide more about my personal feelings on this experience in my next blog.

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