iHola Amigos (Hello Friends)!,
I have been in Alicante, Spain for about 10 days, soaking up every opportunity I can experience. Today I discovered what locals call the “Heart of Alicante” or El Barrio de Santa Cruz (The Santa Cruz Neighborhood). I was able to walk a trail in the Parque de la Ereta (Ereta Park) and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city. As I was exploring the neighborhood, I felt such gratitude to have the opportunity to study abroad with the help of the Fund for Education Abroad.
I learned that Muslims founded the Santa Cruz neighborhood in the 8th century. The neighborhood was formed by a labyrinth of narrow and steep streets. The streets consisted of low houses with whitewashed facades and windows and doors and balconies decorated with colorful flowers. The neighborhood has a Moorish layout and a Christian name, which contrasts the usual layouts of the Iberian Peninsula.
For me to access Ereta Park, I had to climb multiple flights of stairs. However, it was worth it as I got to pass the beautiful homes and see the city of Alicante as a whole from the top of the park. As I climbed each flight of stairs, I became more and more fascinated by the city’s beauty. The Santa Cruz neighborhood is unlike anything I have ever seen in the United States. It is amazing that this neighborhood has survived to the 21st century without losing its cultural history.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone today as I explored the Santa Cruz neighborhood by myself. However, being alone allowed me to deeply appreciate the culture and not be distracted by others. While I have only been in Alicante for a little over a week, I have experienced places and views that I never dreamed possible. I am beyond excited to continue to immerse myself in the Spanish culture over the remaining course of my study abroad trip.