When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
Makes you laugh, doesn’t it? If you’re like me, half of your mind thinks that would be impossible or foolish, battling the other half that argues you definitely need much less to survive than you think…
Ask any world travelers though, and Susan is spot on!
Tuck that nugget of wisdom into your stylish frocket for later (“front-pocket” for anyone who’s wondering…), and let’s think about some trips.
...Big idea. Excitement. Research study abroad. Apply. Get in. Woohoo! Plan. Get excited. Finish semester. Pack. Get on the plane. Get really excited! Arrive in country. Fall in love with the country. Eat, see, do, explore, repeat. Want to see another city or country. Pause.
Lots of people are stuck at that last period. Now that you are in your country, you want to see lots of places! History, restaurants, big cities, you name it. But then, most people don’t even know where to start.
Enter CEA Excursions.
One of the things I love most about CEA is that they plan trips to some of the best, most popular cities around you, so you can see the best of the best, be local, and have to plan very little, all at the same time.
My first CEA trip, or “excursion,” was a few weekends ago to the Spanish cities Córdoba and Granada. CEA organized the transportation, hotel, dates, times, and our tickets to get into the cities’ best attractions.
We left Friday morning, and headed for Córdoba! This beautiful, old city is home to one of the oldest mezquito, or mosques, in the country. Built in the 1300’s, this is one of the few Islamic mosques that was converted into a Christian cathedral after the Reconquest, instead of being razed having a cathedral built over it. Hundreds of columns hold up twice as many arches, each with a different design and story. Absolutely breathtaking.
After a long lunch eating tapas (see my other post about tapas here) in the afternoon sun, we traveled through the olive-orchard countryside to Granada. A smaller, but bustling, city at the foothills of the Spanish Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is home to delicious meals, wonderful people, and (most famously) the Alhambra. The Alhambra is an extremely old, amazing palace that was built by the Muslims. Walking through the extensive gardens, meandering through ornate hallways older than my country, you can’t help but be speechless. In the throne room of this palace is where, in 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed Christopher Columbus’ papers, giving him permission to sail west. And to think, I was standing in that spot!
Amazing trip with even more amazing friends. And it was perfect: had I been asked to plan a trip to either of those cities, I would have had no earthly idea what to see! This trip organized by CEA helped us have a great balance of sightseeing and low-key free time. We saw the most historical, picturesque parts of Córdoba and Granada, and came back very, very happy campers.
|La Alhambra - in that big door is the throne room|
|La Alhambra Gardens|
|Córdboa bridge with Mezquita in background|
|We pretended to be CIA with our guided tour headphones|
|View from the top of the city looking out at the Alhambra!|
Jansen Nash is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Seville, Spain. He is currently a sophomore at Clemson University.
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