Today’s blog post comes to us from Drake University student & API Spring 2019 blogger Maddie Topliff! She’s talking about a day trip to Cádiz with API, as well as how she spent the weekend in Spain’s beautiful beach town.
Hey reader! Haven’t talked to you in awhile; let’s catch up! This past weekend, API took us UPO students to Cádiz for a day trip.
Some students went back to Sevilla in the late afternoon, but much of the group opted to stay overnight to soak up as much of the city as possible. Here are some of my personal highlights.
Our first stop took us to El Puerto de Santa María, where we stopped at a local winery. Cádiz and its surrounding areas are world-famous for their sherry wines, which adopt a different type of fermentation process. The wines range from white to dark brown in color, and the more sweet the wine is, the more it tastes like fig newtons! Yum!
Once we arrived in Cádiz, a simple 15-minute drive away, our program personnel took us on a brief walking tour of Cádiz’s old town. Here we got to wind through the streets of the rumored oldest town in Western Europe. We walked through the market, where there were plenty of fish ready to be purchased and even tasted a mini boiled conch. Along the way, Juan pointed out the best places in town for gelato and churros con chocolate, two very important pieces of information. He also recommended his favorite tapas bar, but unfortunately it was full to capacity both meals that my roommate and I tried to go. Next time for sure.
First hostel ever?
After the walking tour, we were left to venture off on our own. My roommate and I trekked over to our hostel to check in and got situated. It was the first hostel I had ever stayed in, so I was incredibly nervous how my introverted self would react. Nothing to worry about, though. The hostel was cute, and I slept incredibly well Friday night!
After settling into our one-night digs, the roomie and I ventured over to the beach. The water was a bit too chilly for swimming, but the sun was out and about, so sitting on the sand was just as enjoyable.
Sunset with a side of coffee
A few steps away from our tanning spot was this cute seaside bar/cafe that we were lucky to stumble upon. I got to combat the wind with a warm cup of coffee and watch the incredibly beautiful sun go down over the Atlantic ocean. Pretty cool, if I say so myself.
The next morning we found ourselves touring the town’s cathedral, and it was beautiful! There were so many sculptures–both old and new–in the different chapels, and the acoustics in the underground crypt were insane. Fun fact: in the crypt, you can feel a slight humidity because it’s actually below sea level! After our tour, we trekked up 72 ramps to the top of the cathedral tower. This was a must, as the Sevilla cathedral tower is one of my favorite spots in all of Europe; I had to compare! Although the wind at the top almost blew us away, there were beautiful panoramic views of the city to enjoy.
Churros & chocolate for a bargain
We stopped at a churro stand near the market to refuel, where we scored our snacks for a great deal! We paid only 2 euros each for a cup of hot chocolate and a huge amount of churros that we couldn’t even finish. You bet I finished the hot chocolate though.
The rocky shores
Not every part of the coast was lined with super soft sandy beaches. And that’s why I liked this trip so much. The better part of Saturday morning was spent splashing through puddles that ran between the rocks on the northern part of the coast. The ocean waves also crashed onto the rocks quite nicely might I add. Whenever I get the chance–I’m from Iowa don’t forget–I like to just gaze out into the ocean and gain a fresh perspective on life. DEEP ALERT (no pun intended): the vastness of the water just reminds me to put my qualms and problems into perspective and remember that life is a lot bigger than a slight annoyance.
That’s all for Cádiz; let’s get a progress report on my personal goals before I sign off.
I’m officially more than halfway done with my study abroad experience, which is simply crazy to think about. The personal goal I’ve seen the most improvement on is the heightened sense of spontaneity I let impact my daily life. Yes, I am still being incredibly loyal to my planner during the week, but when weekends hit, I’ve been trying my best to just let things happen…within reason of course.
The goal I want to work harder on going into this second half of the semester is my Spanish. My introvertedness and fear of failure has really inhibited me from speaking conversational Spanish with my host family. I try to think of relevant things to talk about, but sometimes ideas just get lost in translation, and I clam up in response. But I need to get more acclimated with failing upward; making mistakes is how we learn to be better. But there’s still time to make a change.
Palabra del día (Word of the Day)
The word of the day is hornear, which means “to bake.” I found this out today after my host mom served us chocolate chip cookies for breakfast–not kidding. I asked her if there was a Spanish verb for baking, and she said freír, which means to fry, so I don’t think I did a good enough job explaining what I meant. But we’re failing upward!