Hola Amigos! Sorry for taking so long to blog about Sevilla, but we’ve just been having too much fun!
The bus finally arrived in Sevilla around 8pm, ending our ridiculously long day and 7-hour bus journey. After unpacking our bags and sorting out who’s stuff was who’s for what felt like forever, we all begin searching for our new residencia padres! All of the house moms and families were waiting at the bus stop to greet us, and it was really entertaining watching people walk around awkwardly asking strangers their names. I loved seeing people find the right person, and watching both parties get extremely excited and the best part was we American boys trying to do the traditional kiss-kiss that the country is famous for. After a while of aimlessly wandering, and meeting the girls living in our residencia we finally found our host mom Rosa Saenz!
Mis Padres! Norberto y Rosa
Rosa is the sweetest lady ever, and we all got so lucky to have her as our house mom and be living in her residencia. We somehow managed to stuff 12 peoples bags into a mini-van, and then began walking over towards our residencia. As we were crossing the sweet river we live by, the first thing Rosa says to us is “Sevilla es Loco, much fiestas!!” Which translates to Sevilla is crazy, lots of parties. With that one sentence, we all knew it was going to be a good semester haha. After about a 10 minute walk, we arrived at our residencia which is located in the the Los Remedios neighborhood, on calle virgen de la Victoria. We really lucked out as our residencia is extremely centrally located, with tons of eateries, shops, and bars all over the place and is very close to the river and the center of the city. There are 12 total students living in our residencia, 6 boys and 6 girls and we all get along great.
On the walk over Rosa eased many of our initial concerns, by informing us that she did have wi-fi internet and hot water. The residencia is 2 floors, that are basically divided into two different apartments. Me, Nick, Mike, Robby, and our host mom Rosa and her 15 year old son Roberto live are on the first floor (second floor in US). Everyone else is upstairs, and it is pretty cool as we basically have an own apartment to ourselves upstairs including a kitchen, which is sweet. As a result, we start most of our evening festivities upstairs before heading on out to the town. The first night, after getting settled into our respective rooms we were greeted with a delicious spaghetti dinner Rosa had made for us. She is so considerate, and thought that an American meal the first night would help us feel at home.
Once we completed dinner and unpacked our bags, we decided we should go out to check out the city. Our buddies Lucas and Scott from U of Michigan lived upstairs, so we grabbed them and headed on out to explore the city. On a side note, when I went to see Lucas and Scott’s place I realized they lived with Anna Duque, who was my friends Chris and Jeremy’s house mom when they studied abroad with API last year. Chris and Jeremy are great guys who played a major role in my decision to study abroad in Sevilla with API, and as a result I was pretty excited to meet their house mom, and even saw their picture from last year on the wall!
Me with Anna Duque
That night, we headed to a bar Jeremy and Chris had recommended to us called Alambique, which has quickly turned into our favorite local bar in our short time so far. The first thing we noticed was incredibly cheap everything was, with drinks being only 1 euro, which has resulted in my friends ali and Marlena to drunkenly repeat dollar euro drinks to everyone they can see haha. We weren’t planning on staying too late that evening, but the girls from the residencia on our street showed up, and after a few tequila shots it just turned into a full fledged party.
Everyone out the first night at Alambique!
The next morning, we had to wake up really early for a 9:30am bike tour of the city. This was notably more difficult than anticipated, thanks to the prior evenings rather rowdy festivities. The entire group met up and we all grabbed our respective bikes and we were off to embark on our 2 and a half hour tour of the city. I was amazed how many girls kept reiterating their fears about not remembering how to ride a bike, but ollie like usual calmed them down with his wise words of wisdom saying something profound like “well, riding a bike is like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it” haha. The city is incredibly biker friendly, and even has a bike sharing system for 20 euros or so, which we’re all going to get. There are bike lanes literally throughout the entire city, and the tour was incredible. It felt great to ride a bike after so long, and taking in the sights and sounds of Seville was amazing. There is also this majestic palace looking place called alcazar which we all stopped at as well.
At one point, we stopped in this really nice park with tons of pretty white pidgeons everywhere. Our program director, Marta, asked if anyone wanted to go feed the birds. Naturally, Nick and I were the first two to move skeptically forward and decided to try and feed the birds. I bought a bag of bird seed for 1.50 Euro, and the madness had begun. The second I opened the bag, about 100 pidgeons flew up, at, and all over us eating the bird seed out of our hands and resting on our head, shoulders, knees, and toes. We were having a blast, and seeing our enthusiasm others in the program quickly joined. It was an incredibly memorable and fun experience, and was really glad we had an opportunity to play with the tight birds.
Nick and I going to check it out
Everyone with the birds
There are beautiful Orange trees all over the place, and magnificent architecture around every corner. Sevilla is honestly one of the coolest and prettiest cities I have ever been to. I am amazed every second I walk outside that I am living here. I love it.
Triana, the neighborhood right next to ours.
The weather has been pretty good so far, ranging from about 65 during the days to around 45 at nighttime. It is supposed to get much warmer in the coming weeks and months, so can’t wait for that. After the bike tour, we got back to our house and had another hearty meal, and then thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon siestas. Siestas (Naps) are such a great concept, and somewhat necessary as you need the rest to recover from coming back home at 5am every night. The entire city literally shuts down everyday from 2:30 – 4:30pm, which was somewhat frustrating when we were trying to get our phones. Speaking of which, Me nick and Ollie have been bumming hardcore and still need to pick up phones. This is the longest I can remember being without a phone, as it’s been about a month including my time in India. It was somewhat liberating at first, but has just become annoying at this point as everyone keeps asking for numbers and I have nothing to give them.
Anyhow, we all lazed around and rested up for the madness that awaited. After a little pregaming upstairs, we went to Alambique again and then headed to a discoteque called Rio Latina. Rio Latina was wild, and put the thirsty turtle to shame. We all had an insane dance party, then walked the girls back to their residencia. We went upstairs to check their spot out, and for some reason all 7 or 8 of the girls that were with us couldn’t manage to get in with their keys, as there was something wrong with the lock. I went downstairs to let Nick into the building while we were trying to figure a way in, and when we came back up, to my surprise everyone was already inside. Turns out that Hirsh decided it would be a good idea to scale the building and just climb up to their balcony on the 3rd floor and that’s how we got in. Absolutely ridiculous haha. We all hung out for a while, watched Sam do a hilarious rap and fall over, and then finally got back home and passed out around 7am.
We spent pretty much all of Saturday afternoon lazing around, napping, and recovering from the night before. We all wanted to grab some groceries of our own to snack on, so we headed to the local Aldi’s as it’s reputed as one of the worlds cheapest grocers. This Aldi did not dissapoint. Beer was something like 1.45 euro’s for a six pack, and handles and bottles of wine ranged from ridiculously low prices of 3-6 euros. Since we get 3 meals a day, all we will basically be spending money on is alcohol and trips all over Europe, so finding out just how cheap booze was here was definitely a pleasant surprise.
After a nice dinner with a couple glasses of wine, and a quick shower we started getting ready to go out once more. We’ve been drinking nice wines with dinner, and although I’m not the biggest red wine fan I’m hoping I will have acquired a taste for it by the end of the trip. That night, we were going to a party that Discover sevilla was throwing for all the new international students studying in Sevilla. Discover Sevilla is an organization, which organizes affordable and fun trips and excursions all over Europe for students studying in Sevilla. They have a sweet trip to Lagos, Portugal that we’ve heard is incredible so will likely be going on that one. I heard last year that the entire program went and it was one of the wildest weekends people had ever had. There’s also a cool trip to go across the Sahara desert, and to go to Carnival for the night, so will look into those as well. Anyhow, after a few drinks at our place the gang all headed off in search of the party. We walked the wrong way a couple times, as we’re still feeling our way around the city but eventually found the party.
It was one of the craziest parties I have ever been to. It was located in this strange outdoor area, right by what seemed to be a gym of some sort which you had to enter if you wanted to use the restroom. It was a wild, loud atmosphere, and there were tons of API kids everywhere. As we got there everyone seemed to be pretty drunk and excited to see us, and it felt like it was going to be an awesome night. Discover Sevilla was providing everyone with free “Sangria” that night. It was more like a Spanish version of Jungle Juice, as they were just pouring handles of cheap vodka in the giant bucket all night, but it tasted delicious so no one knew, and those who did weren’t complaining.
They had set up drinking games such as beer pong, civil war, and flip cup for us all to play. We played flip cup with Sangria, in what turned out to be the wildest, most fun drinking game I think I’ve ever experienced. We were playing on giant ping pong tables, so there were about 15 people on each side squished together and had some epic games. A girl in our residencia said “I don’t play drinking games, but that was insane. I felt like I was watching the World Cup or something crazy like that!” in referral to the explosion of noise that occurred after a team won. After our team won one game, I started a Maryland “Hey, You Suck” chant which was a lot of fun.
Awesome winning team
By the time we were all ready to leave, the Sangria had hit us all hard. It must have been incredibly amusing watching this huge group of 75 of us, stumbling down the street living up to every American stereotype of being loud, rowdy, obnoxious drunks haha. The night was a blur from that point forward, but after the party we all headed off to a bunch of different bars all over the place. Our friend Chelsea Gentzler is studying abroad with us in Sevilla, but with another program so we hadn’t seen her in the city yet. Nick and I ran into her at one of the bars we were at, and had one of the most epic hugs and safe to say it was a terrific reunion. We spent the rest of the night hanging with Chelsea and the gang, and then made our way back to the residencia at some point.
I was really tired when we had gotten back the night before, and just passed out on top of the bed. I woke up at 8am to Rosa putting the covers on top of me, as I had fallen asleep without them on. She is the cutest, sweetest lady ever!
We were all extremely tired from the wild evening we had the night before so spent most of the day just relaxing and hanging out. I decided to go on a run with Sean and Ollie in the afternoon and it turned out to be a great decision. I hadn’t gone running in months, and was pretty skeptical about going on one but figured it could be fun. I was wearing my toe shoes (Vibram Five Fingers), and don’ t think I’ve ever had more fun running around a city. I was jumping all around, jamming to some great tunes and taking in the incredible views the city has to offer. Felt as though I was a little kid running around barefoot, and Seville was my gorgeous, giant playground. We ran through this park called la parque de Maria Luisa, and it was straight up enchanting. There were amazing orange trees all over, and just incredible sights in every direction. I felt as if I was in Alice in Wonderland, but it was even better because it was Sahil in Sevilla.
The program and city has exceeded all of my expectations thus far, and it has just started. I’m still having difficulty coming to grips with the fact that we haven’t even begun classes yet, and will be here for another 4 months. If you are considering studying abroad, DO IT!