Andrew Rader is a student at the University of Oklahoma and is a current ISA Featured Photo Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.
When studying abroad, there should be no question whether you’ll explore other places in the region that contribute to its cultural makeup. I have been living in Sevilla, Spain for a month and a half now and have had the privilege of exploring many places in the Andalusia region of this incredible country. Here are some must-see locations in southern Spain that you may not have heard of but that I absolutely recommend!
1) The Rock of Gibraltar – Gibraltar, Gibraltar
This quaint British territory of only a mere 30,000 residents might be a tad out of the way on your road trip around the Spanish countryside, but don’t let its location be the reason for leaving it out of the picture. From the local monkeys that will actually steal your belongings (I witnessed one eating potato chips right out of the bag like a human), to the breathtaking views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, this Fish ‘n’ Chips destination is a must!
Gibraltar is the perfect destination for a day trip as there are so many things to see and do in the total area of 2.6 square miles. The Gibraltarians I did get to meet, like our tour guide Charlie, were extremely respectful and welcoming and wanted to share their way of life. It was also interesting and refreshing to hear more English than Spanish again for a change!
2) Parque de María Luisa – Sevilla, Spain
I walk by this not-so-hidden gem by the Guadalquivir River everyday after class. Akin to Central Park in New York City, this fantastic park near the city is a simple, conserved microcosm of the natural beauty of Spain. After a walk through the tight streets and crowded cafés of Sevilla, this wide open walk through the trees and calming fountains can be a refreshing change of pace every now and then.
A brief history lesson of Sevilla will undoubtedly include the explanation of the city motto; “No me ha dejado”which translates to “She has not abandoned me”. The residents here take this motto to heart. It is a remembrance of a royal betrayal that dates all the way back to the 12th century. The knot placed in between ‘NO’ and ‘DO’ is translated in Spanish as ‘medeja’. When said altogether, it eloquently states the sense of trust that the people still have in Spanish leadership.
3) The Alhambra – Granada, Spain
Originally constructed during the 14th century by the Sultan of Granada at the time, The Alhambra has since been labeled a symbol of power and strength by the local granadí. The thick walls, lined with ancient cannons, overlook the city in its entirety. After visiting the many Roman Catholic-inspired cathedrals throughout Spain, it’s great to get a chance to see the well-preserved Moorish architecture. It opens your mind to the many different cultures and people groups that have inhabited this incredible country throughout history.
These are just a few examples of places to go in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. I challenge you to get out and explore!
The world awaits…discover it.