Welcome to my first foray into the world of blogging. I want to keep family and friends updated on my travels in Spain this next year, but also share my travel experiences with whoever is interested in travel, history, and archaeology! I plan on visiting many historic places (I may have my own list of visited UNESCO sites started) and will be talking about those a lot, but I hope this blog will be more than that. Coming from an anthropology background, I’m fascinated by culture in general, and living in a completely different country for a year will certainly give me much to ponder and ramble about here.
To start, I thought I’d write a post on my first time in Spain last year for an archaeological dig on the island of Menorca in the Balearic Islands. The program offered by Ecomuseum Cavalleria combined my need to get experience excavating skeletons with my eagerness to go to Spain. Plus it was one of the cheapest options out there – score! Here are my most memorable moments from that trip.
Excavating a Roman necropolis
Those who know me know that I have a slightly morbid side and am utterly fascinated with death and burials. I lived and breathed medieval burials last year while I wrote my undergraduate thesis in archaeology, but I’m still not satisfied, and plan to pursue my PhD in bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology in the near future. (With applications going out from Arizona to London, who knows where I’ll end up next year! Stay tuned.) Needless to say, I was ecstatic to be unearthing thousands of year old skeletons on my summer break.
Jumping off a cliff into the Mediterranean
It’s my sincere belief that the best things you do are the ones that you’re almost most terrified to do. Take jumping off this cliff.. I was terrified! But eventually I did it and while the water was freezing even in May, the feeling was so exhilarating I (almost) did it again.
I’m taking this philosophy with me in my move to Madrid. The closer my flight is, the more nervous I am. But I’m sure it’ll be just as thrilling as this cliff jump.
Living in a medieval citadel – Ciutadella, Menorca
The “commute” I had to “work” every day while living in Ciutadella was probably the most unreal commute I will ever have (I missed it every day this summer while commuting 2-3 hours daily on overcrowded, overpriced mass transit). Obsessed with all things medieval, living in the old quarter of a medieval town was – not to sound cliche but – a dream come true.
Enjoying Patatas Bravas and Tinto de Verano
Okay, so the rest of this list is all inspirational and about doing what you love and exploring beautiful places, but when I think back to my time in Spain and what I miss, patatas bravas and tintos de verano (red wine with carbonated lemonade) are high up on that list! Travelling is as much about food as it is about the places and people, and having tapas and copas was a huge part of my time in Spain. After each day of digging, everyone would head to a bar, grab some seats outside, and relax. While roadtripping from Barcelona to Águeda, Portugal, each night we would stop at our latest destination for some much needed refreshments. I got a taste of the laid back style of eating in Spain, where I liked that the waiters just let diners do their thing and hang out for hours without feeling pressured to leave! I’m looking forward to discovering more Spanish foods and drinks, as well as meeting new people while doing so!
This is just a short list of all the memorable experiences I had in Spain last summer – I didn’t write about visiting La Alhambra, the aqueduct and city of Segovia, the walled city of Ávila, Barcelona, or Salamanca, all of which are amazing places and I was disappointed I didn’t get to spend more time exploring each one. But that’s what this year is for – explorations!
Have you been to Spain? What is your favorite place there? What do I absolutely need to experience?