I just got back from my second (and final) trip through CIEE. It was incredible! I had never been to Africa before, and although Morocco is obviously not representative of an entire continent, it is representative enough to be considered the 5th continent I've visited, which means I only have 2 to go! It was so fun to see all of my American friends again, and it was so weird to not be able to understand what people in the streets were saying! I didn't even realize how accustomed to Spanish I'd become, and how little I'd come to think of myself as a tourist. Nonetheless, the trip was amazing (and packed!) and I definitely want to go back. Here's a rundown of the weekend:
Friday: We left really early (7am!) because the bus from Sevilla to the coast took about an hour and a half. At that point, we got breakfast and took the ferry from mainland Spain to Ceuta, an area in Africa controlled by Spain. The boat ride was really pretty, though more than a little rocky.
After docking in Ceuta, we got on the bus for an hour-long ride to our hotel in Tetouan. We spent the rest of the day there, exploring the Medina ("old city"), going to the only school in the country devoted completely to art, getting henna tattoos, and eating delicious food.
Saturday: We got to sleep in a little more (in comparison to the other days, leaving at 8 felt like leaving in the evening!), but not too much, because we had more driving to do. We took the bus to Asilah, a beautiful seaside town, where we walked around for a few hours. After, we went to lunch, rode camels, saw Hercules' Cave (which is a map of Africa when viewed from the sea), and visited Tangier.
Sunday: We woke up extra early this time (in the bus at 6:45), but it was worth it when we got to see why. We spent about an hour and a half getting to Chefchaouen, a stunning city built into the mountains. Almost everything is painted blue to ward off bugs and the heat (there were also a lot of blue buildings in Asilah for the same reason), and I've never been anywhere quite like it. After a tour, we were given free time to explore and some of my friends and I kept walking up until we came to the wall that surrounds the city. It was one of the most beautiful and serene things I've ever seen, and it was well worth the hike! After that, it was another long bus ride, ferry ride, and bus ride to get back to Sevilla and home. It's crazy to think that I saw 4 major cities in only 3 days!
Although this weekend was so awesome, it was also a little sad. It was the last time most of us will see the trimester students (they leave in 3 weeks), and it's nearly Thanksgiving. Though I think I speak for everyone when I say I could not possibly be more grateful for my time here in Spain, it's also hard not to be with my family during the holidays. I wouldn't say that I'm homesick, rather that I recognize how lucky I am and want to give my family a friends a hug for all that they've done for me. It's nice to know that they, as well as everyone I've met in Spain, are here for me, but it certainly won't be the easiest holiday season of my life!