Spark´s location in El Puerto de Santa Maria in the Province Cadiz is great during the summer for going to the beach and doing watersports like windsurfing and kiting when the days are hot and long. But what to do when the days “get colder” during fall and the nights are not made for long party nights at the beach anymore? For one who loves being on the road like me there is only answer: Travelling! And who is not curious to see the beautiful and with history stuffed cities and little towns of Andalucía?
In my 8 weeks with Spark I study Spanish every day during the week and work during the afternoons for my Work-Experience-Programme but my free weekends I love to use for getting to know new places and the Andalusian history and using my new learned Spanish in real life.
The towns in the Province of Cádiz are all easily reached and seen during a day trip and especially the cities Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz are in a 20-min reach of El Puerto de Santa Maria and a must-to-see for everyone studying Spanish here, no matter the length of the stay. Most of the other towns of the province we visited during the cultural events like San Fernando, Sanlúcar and Vejer de la Frontera and were organized by Spark.
But of course, Andalucía has even more to offer than the beautiful region around El Puerto and so my first weekend trip took me to Córdoba in the north of Andalucía, the second most important city. With its small alleys and yards, white painted houses and lovely little patios has the old town a lot to offer. The most famous monument is the Mezquita once built as the main mosque of the Islam and today used as a cathedral it´s the most important foundation of Moorish-religious building in Spain.
My second destination was Seville, the capital of Andalucía, where I went with a group of Au-Pair girls also studying at Spark to a night experiencing not only monuments but also real Spanish night life. Seville is only an 1h 20 train ride from El Puerto de Santa Maria away and therefore a relaxed weekend destination when going with a group. We visited the Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, the third biggest church in the world and the Real Alcázar, a king´s palace with beautiful yards, halls and Arabic gardens where (eyes open, all GoT-Fans!) in the moment the new season of Game of Thrones is filmed. On our way to a touristic Flamenco show at night we met a group of Spanish teenagers who were on their way to a Flamenco show themselves. Luckily we chose to accompany them because what we got to see then, in the streets of Seville, was them dancing and singing Flamenco themselves. This continued in one of the local bars and gave us definitely the “real” Flamenco experience.
Together with two friends our next trip was to Granada a week ago. Granada is located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada and famous for the Alhambra, the most visited monument in Spain. It´s definitely recommended to buy tickets for a visit in advance but since our trip was rather spontaneous and we didn`t want to miss out a visit we got into the line at the entrance at 6:30 in the morning and waited for two hours to get in. Our will and patience was honored because the palace of the Nasrid’s was simply breathtaking and the view across the city and the Sierra Nevada in the rising sun matchless. Also the Generalife, the fascinating park of the kings of Granada next to the Alhambra invites to go for a relaxed walk after the visit. The Muslim quarter of the city, Albaicín offers a great view on the Alhambra and has a magic flair itself with small alleys and Arabic stores and restaurants.
Andalucía has a lot more to offer, but this should give you a little view on how great El Puerto is not only to study Spanish but also as a basis for travelling here. So why don´t join Spark and experience it yourself?!