University of Haifa International School Student Blog
The countdown until I go back home begins. It is a bit bittersweet, because as much as I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed, and eat my mom’s cooking, I do not think I am ready to leave Israel just yet. I have made so many memories in just a few months. In fact, I took a small trip with a couple friends to Spain for Passover, and added onto my long portfolio of experiences.
Due to Israel’s proximity to Europe, Asia, and Africa, flights to other countries are much more economical from Israel than they are from the United States. This is why I was able to travel to Spain for a week and not completely deplete my bank account. In Spain, we hit Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo.
Starting in Barcelona, we hit every tourist (and some non-tourist) spot we could find. From the Sagrada Familia, to La Rambla, to Park Guell. Barcelona is a beautiful city with a unique history and culture separate from the rest of Spain. The only complaint I have is that it was just a tad too touristy for my taste. Although the city is incredible in its own way, I cannot separate the tourism from the rest of the city, and therefore cannot really get an idea how locals view Barcelona.
Madrid was much less touristy, but much larger. Although we did not hit as many tourist spots, I enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of the capital city. We visited a few churches, and did a little shopping, giving me a better idea of daily life in Madrid. After Madrid, we took a day-trip to Toledo.
Toledo is a small town closer to Southern Spain. It has an old city and a new city, very much like a few cities in Israel. The old city made me feel like I was in a whole other era with the stonework, old churches, and narrow streets. Interestingly enough, Toledo was famous for being the city in which Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted peacefully. This definitely brought Haifa to mind. In Toledo, we went through a series of old churches, synagogues, and mosques. The three religions mixed throughout the centuries to the point that there was a cross in the synagogue, and Arabic architecture in some of the churches.
Passover was a great time to blow some steam off before midterms, and finals. Now I have to buckle down and get through my schoolwork so I can get back to touring Israel, and making the most of my study abroad!