The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, and I haven’t made a lot of time to update my blog. But today’s the day!
Anyways, two weeks ago, I went to Cádiz (a small port town in southern Spain) for the weekend. On the way there, my study abroad program group went wine tasting at a bodega (aka winery) in one of only three towns in the world (which are all in the same area) that make Sherry wine. The bodega was 200 years old, and it was definitely pretty cool to see all of the barrels and different types of wine
BUT, to be honest, I didn’t really like the wine that we tasted. I actually thought it all tasted pretty disgu
sting. Haha. Like, imagining the flavor right now makes me nauseous. hahaha.
But really, they were very extreme flavors. Three of them were white and very very dry (muy seco) and the other two were sickly sweet (one of which actually had a syrupy texture). I mean I’m sure a lot of people love these wines, they just weren’t for me at all…
After that, we arrived in Cádiz, which was so exciting! I was actually thinking about studying abroad there initially, so it was cool to finally see it.
Cádiz is actually the oldest town in Europe- I has over 3,000 years of recorded history! And the people there were very very friendly. I really liked the vibe of the town- very laid back, and very beachy. I had the opportunity to run on the beach with fellow Grovers Emily and Eliza, and that felt so good! We rented an apartment with 5 other girls (there were 8 of us total) and the apartment was right on the shore. The only thing with Cádiz was that there is a 40% unemployment rate, and for me, that definitely was in the back of my mind the whole time I was there. I didn’t see a lot of people on the streets or anything, but still..that’s is a staggeringly high number to say the least. It is actually the highest number in all of Spain. But nonetheless, the beauty of the town was incredibly spectular. From the white sand to old fortresses to breezy palms, I really enjoyed my time there.
A week later, and on to Los Lagos, Portugal!
That was my first reaction when I stepped off of the bus and saw the western coast of Portugal for the first time. If you ever have the opportunity to to to Portugal, go to Lagos!
It is beyond words. The town is pretty touristy, so everyone who works in restaurants, shops, etc can speak English. Which is good, because it is apparently offensive to speak to people in Spanish there, and so I found myself speaking English a lot.
I traveled to Lagos with a tour company that weekend, and so I had a lot of opportunities to explore. On Saturday, it was raining, so spending the day at the beach was out, but my roommate Jenny and I decided to go on a mini hike to a place pictured on a postcard I bought. It was SO GORGEOUS. Oh my gosh.
On Saturday night, we took a bus to watch the sunset at the “end of the world” AKA cliffs where explorers initially thought that the “flat” earth dropped off into an endless sea. That was such an amazing experience even though it was raining a little.
On Monday, I went to Málaga with my friend Beth, and it was definitely not what I was expecting, especially since I didn’t leave very much time for myself to explore the city. It honestly was a little disappointing for me to see, only because it was very large and very modern, and didn’t fit the idealized Spanish beach town mold I had constructed in my mind. Nonetheless, Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso so Beth and I visited his old home, viewed an original collection of sketches in an exhibition, and saw some other art pieces of his. Oh, and I also got a selfie with Picasso himself. Overall, it was a tiring and long weekend, but such an adventure!
Algarve, Portugal was definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.
As the sun was setting, I got to see shimmering coral rays peak through a break in the sky, and it felt like viewing a masterpiece from God. Whenever I see something beautiful like that, I try to let it sink in that God didn’t have to create beauty like a sunset. He didn’t have to create a cool ocean breeze, the calming melody of waves lapping against the shore, nor the sweet smell of hibiscus flowers. He didn’t have to give us blue skies and aquamarine shores. To me, beauty is the evidential reminder of God’s glorious and infinite love. He loves me enough to give me flowers and smiles and sunsets. He loves you enough to give you these things too.
Now, I know there is enough ugliness in this world to occupy your senses for your entire life.
But there is so much beauty illuminated through god’s sacrificial love, that it can captivate you for all of eternity.