Backpacking through Andalucía, España

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Backing through the south of Spain was easily one of my favorite experiences during the past 6 months of traveling. Here’s some highlights from my six-city adventure through Andalucía!

Excited to experience my first bullfight in Sevilla
Excited to experience my first bullfight inside Plaza de Toros
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One of my favorite spots in Sevilla
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Plaza Santa Cruz is a peaceful part of Sevilla
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Beautiful Córdoba and a view of the Mezquita

For my first evening in Córdoba, a few of us took a night bike tour/tapas crawl to get to know each other and the city. At a small bar near the roman bridge, a girl from Salamanca leaned towards me asking in British English: “So if you don’t know any Spanish, then… how are you getting by, all by yourself?”. I smiled, then answered: “Well, I guess I never thought of it that way. I’m learning basics from people I meet and enjoying figuring it all out”.

I know how to order my favorite tapas, my coffee just how I like it, how to ask for directions, and…that’s about it. This was all part of the fun for me though I’ve got to admit.

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Streets of Cordoba
Streets of Córdoba
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A view from Cordoba from my hostel terrace
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Inside the famous Alhambra [Granada]
My second flamenco show
Flamenco show in Granada
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One of my favorite views of Monachil in Granada

If you have time to do the hike through Monachil, I can’t recommend it enough. I’d argue that day was one of my favorite memories with friends I had just met earlier that day through my hostel. You can swim in the water (the waterfalls are incredibly beautiful) and the hike itself is exciting. You feel like you’re in a hidden treasure of nature.

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Hiking in the Monachil village in Granada
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Playing around on the beaches of Marbella
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View of Ronda [Málaga region of Spain]
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Ronda’s famous bridge
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Old town in Marbella

I wrote a snippet about my backpacking trip here, but I’ve also learned that some people come into your life for years and some for maybe just a few hours. But regardless, that time is important. The beauty and heartache of traveling is leaving so abruptly;  and yet it’s amazing to cross paths with people from all over the world. Backpacking opened my eyes to the core of human needs and the simplicity of life. It’s not a style of travel for everyone (understandably), but I never thought I’d enjoy living out of a backpack either. It really challenges you and teaches you–and I’m so grateful for all of it.

“Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, I would stay and love you, but I have to go”

P.S. I’m working on my “favorite hostels in europe” post for all the avid European travelers!

Semana Santa in Sevilla, España

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The Giralda, part of the Cathedral in Sevilla
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When in España… loved the importance of flamenco dancing
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Delicious cafe con leche at a local cafe
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Beautiful day for exploring the streets of Sevilla

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Personal tour guide: my gorgeous roommate Tamara
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Loved the chaos of eating at El Patio San Eloy
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Montaditos and Sevilla’s beer, Cruzcampos at El Patio San Eloy
Beautiful Plaza de España
Beautifully intricate architecture at Plaza de España
a paso, the main attraction of a procesión
A paso, the main attraction of a procesión
sampling desserts
1euro desserts turned into dessert sampling…whoops
Painted flamenco fans
Painted flamenco fans
Inside Alcázar de Sevilla
Inside Alcázar de Sevilla
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Making a new friend after eating churros con chocolate
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Another view of Plaza de España

Jaw-dropping architecture, vibrant streets with blooming orange trees, gorgeous people, cheap tapas, beer and tinto–Sevilla is easily one of my favorite cities so far.

I knew I’d love Sevilla after talking to one of my close friends (shout-out to the lovely Jenn Sanchez!) who spent a month this past summer doing an intensive language immersion home-stay. I had the opportunity to spend Easter break visiting my roommate in college, Tamara, who is currently studying in Sevilla. The moment I got off the bus from Madrid, I could feel the intensity of the city joining together in celebration for their Easter rituals, as men dressed in cultural attire gathered together along with the rest of the city. We could barely get through the streets to the residencia it was so packed. Accidentally speaking in Italian, all I could do was laugh as we made our way to the front of the scene to experience my first paso. I quickly realized, Semana Santa is a religious holiday that is taken very seriously in Sevilla. After meeting Tamara’s speaking partner, he educated us about the importance of the procesións and led us through the crowds.

The pride Sevillanos have about their beautiful city is contagious and refreshing. The intricate Moorish architecture reminded me of Morocco and unlike most cities commercialized by tourism, this city still embodies its own sense of awe in their own culture, which I loved.

*Traveling from Perugia to Sevilla took close to 16 hours of multiple trains, 1 plane, and 1 bus. After arriving in Madrid, ‘Socibus’ can take you from Madrid to the center of Sevilla in 6 hours for only 22 euros.