Wow. Definitely one of my favorite experiences in Spain thus far!
This past weekend, our CSU IP program had a group excursion to Úbeda to explore/learn about the history and then to Carzola for some serious outdoorsy-ness. I love being outside. I like running. But I'm not too coordinated, as we all know. That being said, I ROCKED this weekend and harnessed my inner Northern Californian for some major hiking, etc.
First of all, Friday night, my landlords threw my roommates and I a mojito party to welcome us to the home. We got to know our roommates (Spaniards, Italians, Americans, etc.). Around 1:30 a.m., our Spanish roommate Miguel took us a to a discotequa called "Mae West" where we enjoyed our free drinks with entry until about 3:45 a.m. After a trip for some late night chawarmas (delish) we headed home and crashed at about 4:30 a.m. We had to get up at SEVEN A.M. Needless to say, it was an ugly, ugly morning.
After a 2 hour bus ride, our group of about 30 study abroad students arrived at Úbeda and beheld its glorious history. (I grasped some of it despite my exhaustion). The town really is gorgeous. This statue is memorial for those fallen in the Spanish Civil War; 1936-1939:
This is a beautiful cathedral called (I believe), "Catedral de la Natividad de Nuestra Señora de Baeza." It took my breath away.
Once we arrived at Carzola in the mountains, we practically had scurvy from the long bus ride. We still had the energy to laugh at our dinky cabin. But we loved it oh so much!
After lunch, we mustered up the strength for "Arbólisimo"! This is Spanish for those obstacle courses up in the trees. It was amazing! As I said, coordination is not my strong point, nor has it ever been. But! I think my long legs really helped me out this time because I flew through this thing. And luckily, unlike the other women in my family, heights don't bother me at all.
Chelsea and I getting strapped in:
Ziplining! Mom will love this. Remember "super chica" in Costa Rica? Hah!
After our tree-ing (as Martín calls it), we went for a short hike in the beautiful Sierra Nevada. The moon was out, but the sun was shining golden light on the mountain tops. Fantastic!
And I spotted some deer! Grandma will love this. :]
And the BEST part of the entire adventure was definitely the canyoneering! There is a beautiful river called Guadalquivir running through the mountains in Carzola. We had the opportunity to hike through it. This "hike" entailed walking through it, climbing up and through its rocks, swimming in the very deep areas, repelling down waterfalls and steep rock structures, as well as leaping off 15+ feet cliffs and waterfalls and plunging into the water below. This was, by far, my favorite outdoor experience of my life. I can't explain how excited we all were. I had the guts to volunteer to go first on many. The feeling of being in the air was spectacular!
So first, we had to don our gear. Wetsuits all around, running/hiking shoes (mine are still drying), and a helmet. In Spanish, a helmet is called a "casco." Now, let me tell you how difficult it is for the students in Granada to understand the stunted Spanish that Andalucian Spaniards speak. Remember how I told you they cut off the last syllable of words as well as the "s" sound? Well, they told us to put on our "cahcohs." We all looked like idiots asking each other, "What the heck is a 'cahcoh'?" Finally, Martín said, "casssscos!" and we knew right away we were in trouble. Imagine doing all the crazy stuff we were about to do and having all the safety rules, and where to put your hands in feet, explained to you in THIS kind of Spanish. Obviously we did alright since no one died. Hah.
Having some issue with my wetsuit:
Thank God for Daniel's waterproof camera! Unfortunately, there are no pictures of my jumping off the cliffs as I always went at the beginning and the go-to man for pictures was behind me. Natasha, Cheetoh (my "plane" buddy) and I:
A group shot of us after a huge jump:
And amazing experience, indeed! :]