Out of the entire six weeks I have been in Spain so far, I have to say that today was probably the highlight of the trip. As two month students here with my program we basically get July as a “free” month. There are no scheduled trips like there was in our first month here so we get to choose what we want to do from week to week. We can go off on our own and see more of Spain or the rest of Europe, or we can choose to do cultural activities with the university. That’s what me and seven other girls in my program decided to do for this weekend, go to the town of Ronda as part of a cultural experience with some of the professors with the school. At first, we were all a little apprehensive about this trip because in the description it detailed that there would be a lot of hiking and outdoor activities…and if you know anything about southern Spain you know that being outdoors in the summer basically feels like you’re on fire. However, when we got there the temperature was only in the upper 70’s with a nice breeze blowing through. For the first hour we walked together as a group through the town and learned about the history and major events that had occurred there, we even toured the inside of the old bull fighting arena. It was interesting to learn about how much history that small of a town had, but the best part of the trip didn’t come until after the initial tour.
Two hours after arriving in Ronda, we got to have free time to go around and explore the town on our own. Which meant we got a free pass to go climb down the El Tajo gorge that splits Ronda in two. It was such an incredible thing to see and experience. The gorge itself is almost 1,000 feet at its deepest and the main bridge that goes over it was built in 1793 yet is still entirely intact and functioning. The coolest part about it though was the feelings it gave you to look over it. You could see down the gorge and the waterfalls that came out under the bridge, down into the valley at the base of the town, and part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the distance. Standing on top of that bridge was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had. With the wind blowing, the water rushing over the rocks and the incredible view of everything around me I felt like I was the only person in the world and that anything else was insignificant or irrelevant to my life at the moment. It made me realize just how small the daily problems that I think are overwhelming really are. On top of that bridge, nothing had any real importance. Whether I still had homework to do or bills to pay or even this blog to write, none of it had any hold on me up there. It was like the world was frozen and I could just stand there and stare at the beauty of what was below me forever.
The real thing that this trip taught me was to slow down and take the worry off myself. There will always be time to get things done and there will definitely always be more and more things to do, but they will still get done, and I will survive even if I feel like I’m being weighed down by it all. The world is too magnificent of a place to be stressed out by all the little things life likes to throw at you…so take the time to go look over a gorge once in a while. :)