These past several days have been incredible and we’ve had ample time to explore and get to know the wonderful city of Cádiz. Even though it’s only my 4th day here, I feel as though I can comfortably navigate myself around the city. It’s not very difficult, because if you get lost and keep walking down streets, you’ll eventually end up in a plaza. The plazas here are open, bright, and beautiful – filled with shops, restaurants, families, children playing. The streets as well are extraordinary and so lively.
We visited the stunning La Caleta Beach on Monday afternoon. The sand is so soft and the ocean was cold but very refreshing. My friends and I walked along the city wall which juts out into the water. From far out, we could see Old Cádiz next to New Cádiz, and the contrast was very profound. On one side we could see the magnificent, old buildings, and on the other was a city skyline which reminded me of San Diego or somewhere in Florida. The ocean breeze helped conquer the fierce Spanish sun, which was nice because we haven’t had anything but good, sunny weather. After a dinner with many delicious Spanish courses with the whole group in Plaza Metidero, we had about 30 minutes to walk around before heading back to our homes, where everyone fell fast asleep.
Yesterday (Tuesday) we had our first class in the morning. On a typical day, for an hour and a half we are inside the classroom, speaking with each other in Spanish, reviewing verb tenses, learning history, and getting to know one another better. Then we take what we learned and apply it to real world situations. Yesterday we brainstormed a list of questions we wanted to ask locals, and then we went off in pairs for 45 minutes to find people to talk to. All of the locals I talked to were very nice, courteous, and friendly, and the things we learned about Cádiz from then were very interesting. After classes we took a siesta in our homes and had lunch. My homestay mother made us a delicious meal of chicken, roasted vegetables, and fresh melon. Then half of the group was off to a Flamenco class! First the teacher told us a little of the history of Flamenco, and then we actually had to start dancing. Although it was tricky and slightly awkward at first, we all eventually got the hang of the dance moves. It was very fun and our teacher was great and helped us a lot with the steps. I’m so glad I got to do it because it helped me experience more of the authentic culture of Cádiz.
Afterwards my friends and I explored the city more, visiting a delicious bakery and coming across a series of beautiful paintings on the side of a building. That’s another great thing about this city – you never know when you may unexpectedly stumble upon something. We went down to the water for sunset and then returned to our homes for a mouth-watering meal with our host mother.
So far today we’ve had classes in the morning and then siesta time and lunch. We are off to the beach in Bolonia tomorrow for our first group excursion! It should be another incredible day in this incredible country.