Study Abroad Update No. III

I have officially reached the halfway point! The past 84 days (not counting, or anything) have been a whirlwind, but I’ve made it this far. I have been writing primarily about my weekend travel trips, which are the most exciting part for me to tell you about, but I figured I would update about life here in Málaga.

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August, September, and October felt like the longest months of my life. The best way of describing it would be like getting a shiny new toy that you’ve been dreaming about for the longest time, but once you actually get it, the allure suddenly disappears. I was missing home and my family more than ever, and I jokingly had a little bit of a mid-abroad crisis! But don’t worry, I fixed it with a little bit of tinto de verano and a paella or two.

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During the past months, I went on trips that I planned myself to Copenhagen, the Amalfi Coast, Nerja and Barcelona but I also went on a number of trips organized by the Dickinson program to Madrid, Antequera, Sevilla and Tanger, Morocco.

My trip to Madrid was a bit of a nightmare if I’m being honest. I had already visited the city six years ago with my parents, so I kind of knew what to expect. The museums and food were great, but the hostel we stayed at had bedbugs! I was pretty grumpy, to say the least. Other than that little hiccup, we continued the trip and visited the Escorial, the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and had a gorgeous afternoon in El Parque del Retiro, which is Madrid’s version of Central Park.

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At night, we went bar hopping with my friend Paul’s cousin and we had a lot of fun jumping from place to place. The best way I can describe it is absolute shenanigans! My favorite bar was this hole in the wall type of place that was covered in Ramones, Sex Pistols, and The Clash posters and only played 80s Punk Rock. I wish I could remember what it was called!

The next Dickinson excursion was a day trip to Antequera where we went hiking at El Torcal which is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountains. We then visited the old city of Antequera. It was so nice to get a breath of fresh air, I hadn’t been out of the city for a while.

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Later in September, we made our way to Sevilla. Sevilla was absolutely my favorite! We visited the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo which was an old monastery turned into a modern art museum. I thought the coolest exhibition was “peter campus. video ergo sum,” which was composed of interactive film exhibits. There were lots of cameras that filmed the observer of the piece, turning them into the art itself.

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After the museum, we visited the Reales Alcázares, which may look familiar if you’ve watched Game of Thrones. I was geeking out because I was literally in Dorne! This palace was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, filled with intensely ornate architectural details, lush gardens, and a stunning royal apartment.

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Before we headed home, we walked through the Plaza de España and the Parque de María Luisa. Every time I thought we had seen the most beautiful parts of Sevilla, it just kept getting better and better. Sevilla definitely is tied up with Barcelona for my favorite Spanish city.

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The most recent Dickinson sponsored trip that we went on was to Tanger, Morocco. This was my first time visiting Africa! I am going to write an entire post about Morocco because it was so special and beautiful, so stay tuned for that one.

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On my own, I went to Nerja for the day, where I laid on the beach and walked out onto the Balcon de Europa. I was there during their “Feria” which is basically a city-wide party! Definitely a day well spent.

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The last trip I planned myself was to Barcelona. When I arrived on October 27, I walked towards the commotion of a protest on the street. At that very moment, Catalonia declared independence! It was so exhilarating to witness such a historic moment. I am also going to write a separate post outlining the whole weekend in Barcelona, coming soon!

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Apart from my trips, I have been immersed in my classes in Málaga. I am taking an Art History class at the Universidad de Málaga, and then continuing to take classes at the Centro Internacional de Español (CIE). At CIE I am taking a Culture and Society class, and a class on the Spanish economy. Both have been really informative and interesting so far!

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I have also started running! In mid-October, I ran my first 10k and finished in an hour and 8 minutes! I couldn’t even run a 5k in April, so this was huge for me. After having the double hip surgeries in the last year, I finally feel back in shape and ready to keep challenging myself. San Diego Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon, I’m coming for ya!

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Overall, I have really enjoyed getting to know Málaga more and more. At the end of a long weekend of traveling, I definitely feel like I am coming home when I arrive back in Málaga. I now have my favorite beaches, coffee shops, and have made my way up to Monte San Anton where I go to get some time alone and look at the city from above. I am definitely going to miss it here.

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Much love, as always.

Al

 

 

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