Posted on September 12th, 2008
I’m sure that by now you have heard of our safe arrival. It is indeed true that we have arrived safely and happily in Cadiz. The long trip included nine hours in two planes, ten and a half hours in two buses, and an overnight stay at a hostel in Spain. Our first plane ride was hardly “roughing it”. Each seat was equipped with its own movie screen with a various movie and TV options, as well as an up to the minute map of our progress. We arrived jet-lagged in Madrid on Saturday afternoon. The flight was incredibly smooth and, although it was a bit long, the group was generally positive as we boarded the bus headed to Cordoba.
Saturday’s bus ride included a brief stop at a noisy roadside bar where we were served loaves of crusty bread sliced and accompanied by a thin slice of meat or cheese–the classic Spanish Bocadillo. We then drove a few hours and stayed at the Hostal el Triunfo in Cordoba. Many in the group enjoyed the nightlife and beautiful lights of the city, while others headed right to bed.
Morning brought excitement as Moira led 15 or so of us through the city. Here we saw el Catedral Mesquite, once a Mosque in Moorish Spain, but now converted into a beautiful and unique Catholic cathedral. Another beautiful stop was the synagogue which once housed Maimodes, a world-renowned Jewish philosopher, as he studied. Finally, around noon, the group gathered for lunch and then piled back onto the bus for the four hour ride to Cadiz.
Spain’s repetitive landscape of olive trees and vineyards lulled many to sleep, only to wake as we neared the city. Our first glimpse of Cadiz was both exciting and nerve-wracking simultaneously. Nervousness only increased when we arrived at the meeting point, the park across from the University, and realized our families were nowhere in sight. After an hour, it became apparent that they were not coming, and Moira began to call the families one by one. Many quickly arrived, and explained that there had been a miscommunication, and all eighteen families had been at the park for three hours on Friday waiting for us. Soon, all the families had been apologized to, and 19 students parted ways to begin their cross cultural experiences in earnest. With almost a week of classes past, our two day journey feels an eternity away, and our lives with our families have begun to seem comfortable and routine.