Week 5: Portugal

This week marked one month of living in Sevilla! I didn’t do much during the week–I guess once you are living somewhere you stop having big, new events going on each day–but I did finally start to feel more settled. I finally have a set schedule which is COMPLETELY different from the one I started with.

(beach near our hotel in Portugal)

At the University of Seville I am taking Arte Prehispanico, Evaluacion Psicologica, and Historia y Ficcion de Hispanoamerica, and then I am taking a class over the history of Flamenco in Andalusia through my program (yes, this means I had to switch from the cooking class, but this class is really fun too! We spend a significant amount of time watching dance videos on YouTube). Also, I don’t have classes on Friday!

(view of the cliffs near our hotel from the ocean)

Finally deciding on my classes has made me feel significantly better, but I am still having a hard time with some of the differences between American universities and Spanish ones. For one, I have no clue when we have homework/what it is; in fact, I don’t even know if there is a textbook for my classes. Apparently Spanish teachers don’t assign specific readings or assignments, they just suggest books where you can find information related to the class. Also, most of my classes only have one test the whole year, which is extremely intimidating. Hopefully I will figure this stuff out too as time goes along!

(inside the caves and cliffs)

The main thing I did during the week was go with my Spanish friends to see the Cirque du Soleil that is in town! Although we bought the cheapest seats in the house–which made me pretty skeptical that I would be able to see anything–we actually had a good view and I loved watching all of the performances.

(view of the cliffs from the boat)

The next day my friend Sarah and I left for a weekend trip to Lagos, Portugal. The trip to Lagos was organized by a company in Seville that plans trips for students to go around to different cities, so we just paid and they organized everything for us!

(bird’s eye view of the cliffs and caves)

After about a 3 hour long bus ride, we made it to Portugal and checked into our hotel. Although we did get the itinerary and all of the trip information before going, I didn’t realize how great of a location we would be staying in. Just feet from our hotel was a beautiful little beach that was surrounded by amazing rocks, cliffs, and caves.

The first day we went on a sailboat tour that went up the ocean by our hotel and through the caves that surround the area. The sailboat tour was a moment like walking in the Alps when I felt like I could take a picture of everything and everything left me saying “This is AWESOME!”

(view of cliffs and one of the sailboats we went in)

After the tour we just hung out our hotel before heading to dinner. At dinner Sarah and I ended up sitting by a group of girls who are all teaching English in various cities throughout Spain for the year, and we ended up making friends and spending the rest of the weekend together! After the dinner there was a planned party for the people on the trip, but we finished early so we went to a random bar which ended up being a highlight of my trip/semester abroad.

While sitting waiting for the party, the bar was obviously full of Americans from our group, and the bartenders put on country music and we all got up to dance and sing at the top of our lungs.

(Sarah and me at the end of the world)

The next day we went and got a bird eye’s view of the caves and the rock formations near our hotel that we saw from the sailboat the day before. Besides that we spent most of the time just lying around and playing games on the beach. That night we went to “The end of the world”, which is the part of Portugal which is the most western part of Europe, to watch the sunset. During the old days people actually believed it was the end of the world, hence the name, and the wind and steep cliffs definitely contribute to the “end” feeling. After watching the sunset, there was another party, but Sarah and I decided to go on a dinner date and go to bed early. Then Sunday we spent the whole day at the beach before coming home.

Here I just want to let you enjoy the sunset at the “end of the world”

Although spending the weekend in Portugal was amazing, and relaxing, and beautiful, in the end I was ready to come home to Sevilla. Before going to Portugal I was pretty angry with Spain and tired of feeling lost and confused in class, and although I still feel fairly lost and confused, the weekend in Portugal was the perfect amount of time away to make me appreciate home!

(while watching the sunset we could turn around and see the moon–Que guay!)