GRANADA: A Quick First Stop in Madrid

The guys outside the city of Toledo.

Besides almost being forbidden to board the plane from Chicago to Madrid, causing my parents and I a good 45 minutes of head-over-heels anguish  my first week abroad went smoothly.

The bus ride from the airport was a beautiful introduction to the downtown of Madrid with gorgeous green trees both small and large lining our arrival.  

I was enjoying the tour of the city in English when Curra (our director) began explaining things only in Spanish.  Needles to say, I couldn’t keep up.  I didn’t even know what “vale” (sounds like ‘bahl-lay’) meant.  I later discovered it means, “ok” and that it was a common word to hear in conversations.  It’s already a habit for me now.

Hotel Regina, where we would be staying for three days, was almost in the city center which allowed us to walk anywhere in a good amount of time.   

The time in Madrid flew past.  Between orientation meetings, tours of Museo Predo, the Royal Palace, El Escorial, restaurants, street performers, a few hours of sleep, making new friends, and discovering the secrets of the city I realized that Madrid would have to be on my list to travel to again someday.

When our stay in Madrid came to an end, we headed for Granada but first we had a stop in the beautiful city of Toledo.  We took a tour on foot to some of the popular sites to see and had some free time to wander as well. This tiny city with its cobblestoned, narrow streets and gorgeous scenery had me right away. But Granada was waiting for us.

As we hopped on our buses again and began driving through the more mountainous region of Spain I couldn’t stop thinking about the “Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” There has been this adventurous energy bubbling inside of me the past few years and I have been dying to let it out and take a chance at a new journey.

So here I am on one of the biggest adventures of my life.  I still don’t really know what to expect.  I still don’t know how I’m going to change.  More than anything, I’m just excited to live life to the fullest and take advantage of the time I have here.

P.S.  I muGRst applaud Academic Programs International for a great experience thus far.  I would definitely recommend them to anyone interested in studying abroad.