Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Semester at Sea_Spain

September 4th
Wow, I woke up today…along with my roommate at 6:00 am to watch the boat dock into Cadiz. It was unreal. First the pilot boat (tug boat) came right up to the ship to drop off the pilot from Spain that is an expert at docking here. It was pitch black so all we could see were the lights from the tugboats and the city…we couldn’t actually see the water but it was amazing. Then the sun began to rise and it lit up the mountain on the horizon and two tugboats attached to the front and back of the ship. After about 30 minutes of maneuvering we were finally docked in Cadiz, Spain. We weren’t officially let off the ship till 9 because all the passports had to be checked and certain people were given precedence to get off the ship first. But when we did finally get to go off…it was amazing. The first thing we did was navigate to the yellow-domed cathedral. It was beautiful (obviously) and it had wifi!! FACEBOOK….I know it is terrible but 10 consecutive days without any form of internet is hard on a college student. So we wifi-ed and then a group of us went off to get some coffee at a little café. After breakfast our next move was going to the beach. It took 12 of us and about 200 pictures later to make it about 1 kilometer. There were so many amazing “traditional” Spanish fountains, benches, parks, along the way and they were all beautiful we just had to take pictures. Then went we made it to the beach a million more pictures followed. It honestly reminded of Greece, there were tons of little white and blue fishing boats along the water and a castle on an island made from brick. The water was a little murky and there was broken beer bottle glass everywhere…typical Europe . But it was amazing and beautiful nonetheless. After the beach we set off looking for Tapas. Which was quite an adventure seeing as everywhere we turned there were tons of students from semester at sea who wanted to talk or see what we were up to. I stopped along the way with Shelley (new friend..YAY) at a pastry shop and I got this pizza sorta thing filled with beans and meat. Everything was filled with meat….never as quite sure what type but it was good every time. Finally we made it to lunch a few hours later and everyone got Italian food and sangria…hahah it seems kind of crazy but it was our first off ship meal in 10 days and the food as been very…blah. Lots of Sangria later we went shopping and then ended up back at the cathedral with a bunch of SASers. The day ended with ice cream and homemade donuts…and me dropping these homemade donuts on the floor and having the women in the shop stare at me like I was a crazy person. That night is when things went crazy. Everyone got all dressed up and we went in search of a fabulous restaurant. And after about an hour of searching we found one yay! More Sangria for everyone, and lots and lots of tapas! I tried Paella, croquetas, tortilla Espanola, spicy sausage it was all recommended and traditional Spanish tapas. Everything was amazing…especially the Paella. We made best friends with our waitress and ended up getting free shots and free sangria and she thought we were a riot. Elenas(our waitress ) sent us in the direction of club/bar that she recommended. The best thing we did all night…we got there and it was pretty much empty so we roamed around the city a bit more and we all took tons of photos. Finally we returned Peliguesme and there was definitely more people this time but all were Spanish. Perfect. The last thing any of us wanted was to be surrounded by everyone from the ship. So we began the night with free drinks...provided by our lovely waitress from the restaurant earlier. We recommended Lady Gaga and we all started dancing. It seemed that every other song was American vs. Spanish and the room was segregated. Then, this traditional Spanish sound came on and I am guessing they couldn’t take our terrible dancing any longer and then taught all of us how to do the dance. Lots of clapping involved and stomping which was pretty much impossible for me, but hilarious. That is when the night really became fun, these Spanish women spent a majority of their night attempting to teach us Salsa and Flamenco, it was Perfect. We didn’t end up leaving the bar/club till about 4:30…which was not a smart move seeing as the next day we had a bus to catch by 9:00 AM to Sevilla.

September 5th.
Another super early morning. Running on only a few hours of sleep we went to the bus station that was right next to the port. A group of us were on the bus together but it was only Loryn (my roommate) and I traveling to Sevilla. Two hours later were there. We got a map from the bus station and attempted to navigate our way to the center. After a tram and about 30 minutes of walking in circles later, we found our hostel. After checking in and a quick facebook relapse, Loryn and I went in search of food. We found the cutest little tapas bar that was super tiny but it was hands down the best food we ate in Spain the whole time. I had Paella again which I had never eaten before Spain but seriously changed my life. Everything we ate at this little bar was amazing. Since had had gotten no sleep the day before we thought lets take a little siesta before this walking tour. Well the little siesta turned into a solid four hours of sleep but in the end it worked out. We woke up and ate some more. We walked towards the center by the Cathedral and there were a ton of restaurants to chose from. We ate another round of tapas and lots and lots of water. The first day in Sevilla was kind of a wash…lots of eating and sleeping but definitely relaxing and worth it. PLUS tons of amazing Spanish food. Once back at the hostel we met a bunch of people from different places…obviously that’s why you stay at a hostel. But our roommate was from Tennessee and he lived in Morocco. So he was the perfect person to run into before heading there. Loryn and I asked him a million questions about what to do and see and if we were going to be shocked culturally.

September 6th
After sleeping in, in our super sketchy hostel. We figured that we needed to get out and see Sevilla…finally. Well it was beautiful. We met up with another friend from SAS..Damien and the three of us began our tour around the city. It was a bit bigger than Cadiz but after a couple of hours of walking around we all pretty much knew what we were doing. The first stop was the Cathedral and the Giralda. It was huge but in the worst spot, you couldn’t get a picture that would do it justice at all. Right next to the Cathedral were two things. Archivo de India, which was insane. We went inside and basically it is all the books and journals of all the explorers that went to the new world. Next we wanted to head towards the river because Sevilla was hot. When we got to the river it was such a relief and there was Torre del Oro. Which is translated to Tower of Gold. Apparantly once upon a time it used to be shelled in Gold from the new world. A short walk over the bridge later we had to stop for some Sangria and then our fabulous this waiter friend gave us all a little lesson in Spanish. It was hilarious and he wouldn’t believe us that we were traveling around the world on a ship. A few hours there and we were off again but this time to go visit the bullfighting ring. They didn’t actually have shows there till the end of September but I wouldn’t have wanted to see one anyways. Apparently the entire process is pretty brutal and about six bulls get killed and there is blood everywhere and that is just too sad for me. But we saw the ring and all that fabulousness and we were heading to our next destination. This time we went to the grocery store because every time I go to a different country I think it is absolutely essential to see a grocery store. So not only did we see it but also we got a tons of bread and cheeses for a little snack to bring back to the hostel. We all voted and a nap was in order before dinner so Loryn and I went back to our hostel. The two of us ended up chatting with Tennessee( we never got his actual name) for about two hours. He was amazing; he works in a handicap school in Fez teaching English Literature. And he was explaining everything that we needed to know for the next week in Morocco. Then Damien met us at the hostel and we went out for another dinner tapas adventure. Along the way we met up with a few SASers and ate dinner with them. Then it was bedtime yay! Not without some Heldado first…it made me think of and miss Italy.

September 7th
Back to Cadiz bright and early. Loryn and I woke up early enough to grab crepes with Damien and make it to the bus station before our short little journey to Cadiz. We arrived back at 1 pm. And figured we would try and find a Laundromat. Well it didn’t happen. Google maps gave us wrong directions twice it was terrible and the sun was so hot all I wanted to do was sleep. So I stayed out and searched longer the Laundromat while Loryn went back to the ship. I finally did find the place and it was a Laundromat for restaurants so I couldn’t even do my laundry. When I finally got back to the ship everyone was starting to get back from everywhere across Spain. We all were planning to go out for our last night so we set the meeting time for 10…well that never happened and a small group of us went out for dinner around 11. We went back to our favorite restaurant with elenas and drank tons of Sangrias and I tired the squid which was the last thing on the list of recommended foods to eat. It was amazing and so was the Sangria. Three hours and 2 free shots later we were all ready to head back to the ship because it was meant to be a really busy day. Not without a photo shoot first. We ran into some of the crew and took tons of pictures with them in front of the MV explorer.

September 8th
TODAY. Wow our last day in Espana It was amazing. I want to come back already. Today is really only consisting of errands and getting this blog posted. We all woke up early to get our last (good) coffee and chocolate con churros.
Morocco TOMORROW…I’ll post again soon ;)

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