It’s been 3 years since I enjoyed my first trip abroad. I was a freshman in high school and I had the lucky opportunity to travel to Spain with my Spanish teacher and a few of my classmates.
Let me rephrase: a few of my ‘older’ classmates. I was the only freshman.
Talk about outcasted.
Regardless of my age difference to the rest of the group, I still had a fabulous time. Since this was my first trip abroad, I was a little culture shocked at first, though.
I took a class on Spanish for 3 years prior. I knew the basic language, sort of. I could say hello, goodbye, and that I don’t speak English well. Although I learned lo siento while there because I am literally so clumsy and bumped into everyone. #clumsy
But my classes did not prepare me for the cultural differences I would face. I could rant about the American education system for hours, but that’s a story for a different time and day.
Anyway, here is a rough version of our Itinerary:
June 12, 2012:
My group and I boarded a plane in New York City bound for Madrid. I honestly don’t remember much from that plane ride. We left in the late evening, so I believe I just slept most of the time.
Wait, I’m getting a few details now. I remember being served breakfast. It was a chicken sandwich. I was dumbfounded, aka culturally shocked. I mean in the U.S all I had ever eaten for breakfast was fruit loops, or some other type of cereal.
I don’t know why, but that memory makes me laugh so much.
June 13, 2012:
Since we left in the evening we arrived in Madrid the next morning. We all went to the bathroom to freshen up after our 6 hour flight. We were split up into 3 groups, with a group leader. Each group leader had to make sure everyone in their group was there before we moved to a new location, blah, blah, blah. You get the point.
Well, my group leader hated me. I was still in the bathroom and she told the teacher everyone was there. She left me!
So I walk out of this bathroom in the Madrid airport. I was completely by myself. Talk about being scared. Well I sat there for 10 minutes and my teacher finally came running back for me.
You could say my first experience in Spain was traumatic.
After the whole airport incident, my teacher felt bad so she took us to Parque del Retiro, or Retiro Park.
Let me just say that this park was way better than any park I’ve ever been to. We saw the Palacio de Cristal (pictured above), and many other monuments. I bought a painting of a waterfall, and tasted my first lemon granizado.
It was a great time, but I wish that we would have had time to just sit in the shade of a tree and people watch and relax.
That’s how I felt the whole trip. We never got a break; it was always rush, rush, rush.
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t remember any of the hotel’s we stayed in, but here’s a picture of one of our room keys to make up for it!
June 14, 2012:
I believe we just toured Madrid this day. We saw a few monuments, and toured an art gallery. Also we went souvenir shopping!
June 15, 2012:
Toledo! It was so pretty, but my camera’s battery died right when we got into the city. Lame.
June 16, 2012:
This day we hit a 2 for 1. We went to Avila and Segovia. I felt like I was a princess when we were at Avila! Those walls were awesome, but the freaking birds were crazy!
At first I was pretty bored with Segovia. I didn’t know much about it prior and I think we toured a church. Our tour guide made us climb this steep street to see something spectacular, or at least that’s what she said. When I reached the peak I was in awe of the aqueducts. They were huge! It was just crazy.
June 17, 2012:
Next, we flew to Malaga, and toured Mijas. This is where I rode the donkey from Hell. It also hated me. It tried to buck me off 3 times.
June 18, 2012:
We went to Granada. Let me just say the Alhambra Palace is heaven. Words can’t even describe it, you’ll have to see for yourself.
June 19, 2012:
Seville was next. I don’t really remember much, but I have pictures!
June 20, 2012:
We had a free day at the Costa del Sol! We all went to the beach and sunbathed. I was the only one that was smart enough to put on sunscreen. It was hilarious, everyone looked like a lobster and I was fine. Except I did get a small sunburn. Who would have thought to put sunscreen around your mouth and by your armpits. Not me!
So probably the coolest experience I had in Spain was having a pedicure. Well, you see, this was no ordinary pedicure. I had the dead skin eaten off of my toes by these cute, adorable, little fish! I know it’s kind of gross, and it felt weird, but it’s still a cool story to tell people.
June 21, 2012:
Today was our last day in Malaga. We mainly lounged by the pool and went souvenir shopping!
June 22, 2012:
We came home! Remember how I said everyone got sunburnt? Well they had to struggle through a 7 hour flight! Haha! I don’t feel any remorse for them either because they were jerks the whole trip.
All in all Spain was a great adventure! I will someday go back and experience it all again. I’d really like to see Barcelona! Maybe even travel out to Ibiza. For now though, I’ll have to just enjoy my pictures.
Have you ever traveled to Spain? What was your favorite part?