Caitlin attends St. Louis University
I have been lost more times than I can count since landing in Madrid two weeks ago (don’t worry Mom, it’s always been a very safe sort of lost, surrounded by good friends in good places), but nonetheless, I am always lost. Whenever I find myself hopelessly wandering the streets of Spain, with a destination in mind but no real direction of how to get there, I always stumble across some sort of beauty. These beauties include street musicians performing next to a rainbow of flowers, a quiet church filled with the peace of praying locals, and the rolling countryside where my friends acted as my rock climbing models. And all of this was just found in Toledo, Spain during the course of one day.
On Sunday, despite achy feet and exhaustion from walking 24,000 steps in Toledo the day before, we explored the small streets of Segovia, Spain. This day we got slightly less lost because we were led by a tour guide, though still managed at times to loss the group around corners and down streets as we stopped to take pictures and marvel in all the unique wonders of Segovia. The water nerd in me geeked out slightly staring at the immensity of the ancient aqueducts, wondering how it was possible for people to have access to clean water hundreds of years ago yet so many suffer without clean water today. It was a lovely day exploring this small, unique city (where I learned later my señora was born). We walked up towers in castles to enjoy the sprawling views of the city, enjoyed cultural food unique to Segovia, and marveled at the unique architecture.
Our final adventure this weekend was a short trip to La Granja, Spain where I allowed myself to believe I was Mia Thermopolis living in the palace below. On the trend of getting lost, my friend and I decided to stray from the group by going off the beaten path (literally) and wandering through gorgeous gardens and taking in the views of the looming mountains. Only a few times did we think the bus might have left us but it was totally worth it to truly absorb the magnificence of all that surrounded us.
Since landing in Madrid two weeks ago today, my Spanish skills have already improved (slightly, very very slightly), trips to Germany, Barcelona, Paris, and Morocco have been booked (apologies to my bank account), and I have had countless wonderful cultural experiences. While in Toledo, I had a “holy crap I’m living in Europe for the next four months” moment where I think the reality of everything finally hit me. I often have small moments where I realize how very blessed I am to have this opportunity to travel and experience so much of the world and I am hoping to have more moments where I fully absorb the moment I am in instead of rushing to the next trip and experience. You might say this is my own reminder to “Be where my feet are.”