Student answers the call of international excursion in Spain

After hearing all my friends’ Spring Break stories, I feel it is time that I make some public blanket statements about my trip to Moorish Spain.   I’ve been appropriately humble when breaking down my itinerary to my friends, but now is my chance to drown everyone in rave reviews of southern Iberia.  I want to emphasize that I’m not trying to make people jealous, but just reinforce that my trip was the best and I’m the luckiest (coolest) person they know.

While many were sleeping off what can only be described as a “finals hangover,” I got on a plane to Europe. For those familiar with international travel, you know that on planes you should try to sleep your brains out.  My experience with planes has led me in an opposite direction, watching as many movies as possible in eight hours and binging on bulk Haribo. During “Full Metal Jacket,” my eyes glazed over and I lost track of day and night. I briefly wished I was at home relaxing the break away.  Why didn’t I get to veg and purify my mind of all of last term’s academia like a normal person?  Then I ate some more candy and remembered: I was going to SPAIN.

To get to Málaga, my family and I drove down a boulevard that separated the harbor from the cathedrals and alcazars.  Since my brothers must be half-horse and slept fine in the seated position, they wanted to rent bicycles upon arrival.  We biked—there’s a new definition of bike that includes a motor triggered by slight pedaling, which is somehow not cheating—up a hill and looked out over the city.  We saw the bullfighting ring, which was preparing for the summer season.  “Too bad we won’t engage in the age-old pastime of Spaniards murdering helpless innocents for public enjoyment,” I said, which my brothers did not notice was actually the opposite of my sentiments.  After we “biked” back down the hill and broke the sound barrier, we continued our way through Málaga, avoiding the famous Spanish actors and their screaming teenage hoards.  I briefly wished I was not dealing with the huge crowds of the most highly recognized Spanish film festival.  Then I ate some more olives and remembered: I was in SPAIN.

The next stop was Granada. Having studied abroad in Nantes, France, I never considered that I was supposed to be jealous of the Lawrence students that study in this town.  It is the perfect blend of nightlife and history.  The Alhambra is an architectural masterpiece, highlighting Islamic designs within more Western structure in the huge palace complex.  In Córdoba, there were other large buildings and alcázars that had been repurposed to serve the Catholic population over time.  This combination architecture was best emphasized by Europe’s third largest cathedral, which we saw when we were in Seville. This unification represented the utopia present in southern Spain under the Moors, where all three major religions lived peacefully without murdering each other and wrote major philosophy.  As an Art History major, I briefly wondered why the seemingly only interesting portion of the medieval period had been completely omitted from my education.  Then I sipped some sangria and realized I was experiencing it instead, in SPAIN!

Spring Break is an amazing opportunity to unwind and explore the world, and I certainly did that.  I am very fortunate to be able to tag along with my family and reinforce my liberal arts education with real-life sites.  In reality though, the stories I heard from others’ breaks weren’t so bad, because I returned to Lawrence already with dirty laundry and a lust for siestas!