While studying abroad does include some actual studying, the thing I have enjoyed and looked forward to the most are the weekend trips! For our program, we have a planned excursion every Saturday as a group, and then we can plan things for ourselves on Sundays. At first it seemed overwhelming, because how can I cram all the places I want to go into a single month?? However, I was able to find a great group of friends who help with the planning process.
The first weekend here, we took a trip as a group to Toledo, which is an old renaissance town with beautiful narrow side streets and old architecture – what you picture when you imagine Europe. A similar town is Segovia, where you can find a castle that the kings and queens of Spain used to reside in. Of course, anywhere you go, there will be a giant, grand cathedral!
While group excursions are fun, interesting, and full of facts about the area we are in, I have preferred the freedom to travel as I please on Sundays. Since our week is packed with activities, my friends and I have tried to make Sundays a little more relaxing. My favorite day of the entire trip has been horseback riding in the mountains of Madrid; it was the most breathtaking experience, and some of us hadn’t even ridden horses before. Not all adventures are an easy process, though! Figuring out the transportation here can prove difficult. Just last weekend, my friends and I decided to take a trip to some natural pools in the mountains. After the hour or so train ride to a more secluded town, it turned out that we had to then hike an hour uphill to reach the pools. It was absolutely worth it, but we all had to be very flexible and stay positive throughout some frustrations. I currently have a massive sunburn from the trip, but I have a smile on my face because at least it’s a sunburn in Spain!