Bienvenidos a España!

The tiny road wound up the steep mountain our bus was climbing up. From the angle we were at the guard rail was not even visible. Had I been afraid of heights I would have been, along with many other members of the trip, incredibly carsick and fearful of toppling over the edge of the mountain. It was our first morning of a two week trek across Spain. We had left a rainy Oxford the day before (Oxford literally only experiences English weather when we leave, I think it’s the curse of Texas following us around) and arrived in the lovey country of España that evening.
We checked into our hotel, in which our rooms were really more like super nice apartments, before heading out around the city in search of tapas! If you don’t know what those are, I’m sorry, because they’re very good. They’re basically mini-dishes of yummy Spanish dishes like paella, Spanish omelets and the like. You go from bar to bar eating as many as you like starting at about 6, before eating dinner at around 9 (incredibly late for Americans.) We finally found a restaurant that was to our liking, and I got to enjoy a mushroom risotto, and even tried some green olives that I liked!
Bellies happy, we strolled back up the cobble stone path to one of the many gelato places we had passed on our way to the restaurant. The one we chose had about 50 million flavor choices, so I got white chocolate and Nutella, and vowed to come back every night we were in Gerona. It was so fun to wander around the lovely streets of Spain. Everything feels European and old, between the cobble stones, beautiful buildings and the like. Picture Spain in your mind and you’re getting there. I absorbed as much as I could with my eyes until it was time for bed, and gratefully I fell asleep.
At 9 AM the next morning, we walked back down the huge hill we had lugged our suitcases up the day before, to arrive back at our bus to head up to Monserrat! Fast forward past the dizzying bus ride with which this post began, and we got to the top of the mountain to enjoy a STUNNING view of the surrounding mountains and forests. We got a tour about the history of the Monastery then, after a quick lunch, we got in line to see the The Virgin of Montserrat, a small statue of the Virgin Mary. The line took about an hour, but it was through the whole Basilica, which is very pretty, and good company always makes for a quick passing of time.
Right before we left, we saw a monument with 9 large stones, stacking up into the clouds, very close to the side of the mountain. What did we college students do when we saw it? We climbed it. All the way to the second to last step. It was fairly terrifying, but the view was absolutely beautiful and made the climb worth it. The day ended with a yummy dinner, more gelato, and a group party watching Return of the King.
Moral of the story: Spain is beautiful, friends are wonderful, Monserrat has STUNNING views, and gelato is delicious. More to come:)

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