Oh, Spain. I accomplished everything I wanted to on this trip: nothing. My goal for Spain was to lie on the beach and relax, and I did just that! It was an absolutely wonderful time of great food, friends, fun, and SUN!
There were fifteen of us total who went to Palma de Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. Though it was sometimes a challenge to navigate that many people and make decisions, for the most part it was a blast traveling in a large group. We’ve all grown to love being around each other and had fun getting to spend time with friends we may not have traveled with before.
As I mentioned, our main agenda for Spain was going to the beach, and our hostel was located a perfect 3-4 blocks from it. I could step outside the front door, turn right, and walk straight for a bout 2 or 3 minutes, and my feet would be in sand. The beach itself was by no means the most beautiful or exotic, but it was perfect for what we were looking for. The sand was soft and warm, and the sun was toasty (hot enough to toast me…I had the sunburn to prove it). The only drawbacks were the wind, which flared up from time to time, and the cold water, which we chose to brave anyway. Overall, the beach experience was great and an amazing change from cold, cloudy Oxford. I ended up being out there all four days and spending all day outside for two of them. Between all of us, we built sand castles, tanned, played soccer and volleyball (with no net…that was interesting), chatted, collected seashells, and played in the ocean. I love the beach and was on cloud 9 the entire time.
In addition to spending time by the water, we went shopping at a nearby beach with shorefront shops, played mafia (we played a lot of mafia…), and ATE. We had everything from yummy gelato on the beach to “Cuban” food at a place that actually had really great pizza, quick but tasty burgers we could take to the beach, and classic Spanish seafood (I passed on the paella…wish I was a seafood fan). Eating, as always, was an important part of our trip. And on our last day, some of us played a game of putt-putt. It was so random but awesome! Part of me wishes I could have seen some more typically “Spanish” places, such as Barcelona. But then again, it’s all a trade-off, and by going to Palma, I was able to experience a taste of “Spain” while also having a relaxing vacation on the beach…while everyone back home was in class. So crazy!
Spain was interesting to me, because I could actually (somewhat) communicate with the people. You should know upfront, I hate Spanish and am completely awful at it. Yep. With that said, though, it was actually refreshing to be in a country that spoke a foreign language I’ve studied and can recognize. In Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany, I couldn’t understand anything. But in Spain, I found myself feeling satisfied after holding a simple conversation with a woman in the bathroom at McDonalds about the air conditioning, even if it was mainly made up of nods, smiles, and short vocab words like “frio.”
This trip, as all have, made me really think about how blessed I am. A few of us girls were at the beach one day and said, “Can you believe we’re sitting on a beach in the middle of the week in April…in Spain?!” It still blows my mind all the time, and the semester’s almost over! God is so good to have given me this chance to see so much of the world. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it: if you’re reading this and have the opportunity to study abroad through ACU (or really anywhere), DO IT! You work your tail off in schoolwork between travel breaks, but the trips you experience in the meantime are absolutely phenomenal. I mean really, would you rather be in a classroom on a Thursday afternoon or on a beach in the Mediterranean?
Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. The moral of the story is, Palma was wonderful and a much-needed detox from crazy trips and insane schoolwork. It was exactly what I wanted it to be–no expectations equals no heartache, right? And now I not only have travel-fever but beach-fever as well. All I have to say is, summer can’t come fast enough!