On Saturday the group ventured to the beach in New Cadiz: our first excursion out of the old city. We took the city bus to get there, learning valuable cultural lessons along the way, such as to have your money ready when you board the bus and avoid paying with a large bill. At the beach, we lay in the sun and soaked in the clear blue waves. At lunch we chowed down on the picnic food that out Señoras had prepared for us. After a few hours at the beach, we took the bus back to the old city. After returning home for showers and some rest, many of us chose to go to local cafés for dinner, instead of eating at home. I ate particularly delicious paella with my roommates and a few other friends. During free time, many of us went to a concert featuring several prominent Spanish artists.
On Sunday, we embarked on our first true outing: a trip to the town of Tarifa for an afternoon of whale watching. When we stepped off the bus, we were greeted by the perfectly blue waters of the Mediterranean. Before the boat departed, the guide spoke to the group about the different types of whales that we may see. On the voyage, we saw several schools of pilot whales, which sometimes came as close as 10 feet away from the boat. Some of us were brave enough to stand in the bow of the boat as it swiftly bounced over the waves.
After whale watching, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Tarifa, having lunch in cafés, eating gelato and shopping in the local boutiques. That night, we returned to Cadiz exhausted from the day’s excitement and eager for dinner at home.
We woke Monday morning and walked to Plaza Mina to receive our placements and begin our first day of classes. Today in class we got to know each other better by discussing our personal backgrounds. Later, we went out onto Plaza Mina to ask locals questions about the history of Cadiz.
Classes here are so much more interactive and engaging than any Spanish class I have ever taken back home.