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Bienvenido a España!

by Sarah H-K. !Hola, bienvenido a España! This is what I finally heard after a rather drawn out journey from Boston to Spain. The extensive travel was worth it though, because Cádiz is absolutely beautiful. It is a city, but the tiny streets and local shops give it a very different feel from the typical American urban area. When we got here on Thursday night I got to know my roomates, Anna and Caroline, as well as my host family. Our host mother, Señora Sánchez, is very welcoming. We also met her daughter Karen, and Karen’s adorable son Lucas, who is 7 months old. Our apartment is on the fourth floor of a building right next to the ocean, so in the mornings we open the big window to see the amazing view and that almost overrides our jet lag. SHK view Friday was our first full day in Cádiz and we visited the beach. We spent much of the day there, tanning and swimming and exploring the area. We then went back to our house to wash up and a few of us explored the city together and tried some tapas. At nine, which is the typical time for dinner here, the whole group met for a delicious meal at a restaurant in the city. On Saturday, my roommate Anna and I started our morning with a run by the ocean. That day our counselor Alejandra led us on a tour through old Cádiz. We didn’t see everything, but it was interesting to learn the history of some of the highlights of the city, especially the huge cathedral near our apartment that we often use as a meeting point. We had some free time that afternoon, and that evening a few of us went to the beach and walked out on a fort which stretches out into the water next to the beach, la Playa de Caleta. On Sunday, we ventured out on a whale watch in the Strait of Gibraltar, about an hour and a half away. Despite a bit of motion sickness we all enjoyed seeing the whales and dolphins. Also, the strait of Gibraltar is the junction of two seas, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as two continents, Europe and Africa. We could actually see the coast of Morocco from the boat. We then boarded the bus once more and headed out to some Roman ruins with a museum giving some of the history. The beach next to it was beautiful and we got our workout climbing a giant sand dune and were rewarded with a breathtaking view. SHK dune Monday was our first day of classe, so we learned in the classroom for awhile then went to the nearby market to record in Spanish what we saw and heard there. Despite being in a class room, Spanish class differs greatly from courses back home. The lesson was more involved because we talked a lot about culture in Cádiz with our teacher, who lives here. In the afternoon we had our electives, so I went to my photography class where we took pictures both at the beach and around the city, learning a lot about photography despite the language barrier with our teacher. So far, living in Cádiz has been amazing and I can’t believe that I have only been here for four full days because I know the area so well and yet I can’t believe that I have already been here for four days. Time is flying by. Hasta Luego, Sarah H-K