Dancing, a Fortress, and Tons of Hiking

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Ah Madrid, a city with so many great sites and sounds. So for this blog post, I’m not going to talk about it. Instead, I want to tell you about my excursions.

These are pre-planned trips that API scheduled for us, and all I need to do is show up to the bus. I ventured to Granada and Extremadura, two trips that involved dancing, a fortress, and tons of hiking. Brace yourself for photos.

Granada

Give alms woman there is no greater pain than to be blind in Granada. -Francisco A de Icaza

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Granada is a special city with variety. The sidewalks are made out of some type of marble stone, which meant we got to slide while walking! (The inner 5 year old in me was loving it).

I took a walk to al Albacín with some friends and our resident director. After a long uphill walk, we were greeted with some beautiful views.

See that mountain? Some of our group was skiing and snowboarding. When they came back, they were exhausted but said it had great slopes.

After perusing the market, I was able to tour the tapas bars and shawarma locations. There is a strong Muslim influence in Granada, and Baha (our resident Arab-culture expert) made a ton of new Arab friends. He introduced us to Arabic food…which he ate 6 times on our trip.

That night we saw Flamenco dancers (after another uphill trek). It’s basically a combination of tap and salsa dancing. I don’t have pictures from that night because it took place in a hallway sized room with low lights and lots of moving. But here is one of my friends Caroline getting to dance!

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La Alhambra was our final stop. It is an old military fortress with incredible architecture. The pictures do the structures some justice, but when you realize how much math and planning went into these constructions, you realize why this is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Extremadura

You know if we fell off the side, it’s a long way down. -Me

Don’t worry, we were fine.

First, we went to Trujillo and viewed ancient Roman Ruins. These are two of the very few that exist outside of Rome. In addition to touring the sites, we learned some useful Jeopardy facts for the future.

Fun fact: Gladiators rarely were killed in the coliseums, because they needed them for more shows.

The next day came my favorite part…a 10 mile hike!

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We traversed up a mountain, stepping on jagged rocks, gazing at sublime views, and spending quality time in nature. Granted our feet did hurt after, but the experience gave me the hiking bug, and I plan on doing more here in Spain.

The best part about hiking with 30+ people is everyone could go at their own pace. You always had someone to make jokes with. I was a part of the “A-Squad” (self-proclaimed) as we remained at the front of the pack the whole hike…but I’m not bragging.

We finished with a visit to a monastery (no photos allowed), seeing ancient paintings, sculptures, and fabrics. We were all very tired, but it was a nice “cool down” from the weekend we just had.

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These are great opportunities to enjoy some quality time with old/new friends while experiencing parts of Spain that some people never take the time visit.

Final thought:

Think of what you do on a free Saturday. I hiked a mountain.

Hasta la vista!

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-BC

P.S. I went for another hike with my friends. You really can’t beat these views.

Brian Cudina is a student at Hofstra University and an official API Student Blogger. Brian is studying abroad with API in Madrid, Spain.

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