As the weeks go on here in Sevilla, my bucket list continues to diminish day by day. I thought I would have a lot of cool chances to experience the world, but I didn’t realize that I would have THIS many chances. This past weekend was a weekend of unforgettable chances to experience the world, more specifically Portugal. Yes, that’s right folks. Friday I packed up my backpack and hit the road to Portugal with a bunch of fun people. A good number of the people were from my program, but this excursion was being led by a handful of guys from a program called Outdoor Sevilla [check out their website here–>http://www.outdoorsevilla.com/ and if you are ever in Sevilla, check them out].
So Friday afternoon we boarded our coach bus and headed off to a different country! After about four hours, we got off the bus and hiked an amazing, very off the beaten path, incredible trail with breathtaking views.
This was also my first time experiencing the OCEAN!!! When we got off the bus, I kept asking if we were really looking at the ocean. Check that off the bucket list!!
Sadly, my first experience with the ocean was cut short because we needed to continue our hike, but I got to feel the full effects later on in the trip. Friday night we checked into our hotel where there were 6
people girls assigned to a room. Thankfully the rooms were apartment style, and we wouldn’t be spending much time in them anyways seeing as we had a weekend packed full of activities ahead of us. About an hour after we checked in, some people went out for dinner, and thanks to Blanca, la mejor Señora del mundo, Kayla and I had some sandwiches and fruit that we ate.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early for breakfast and then wandered around the town for a while. When we got back, we “studied” for our exams the following Monday, which turned into going down to the pool for a cookout. Around 3:00 we left the hotel and headed out for our activities.
First on the list, rock climbing. This was no wimpy, easy course with all of the rocks nicely laid out for a leisurely climb; this was straight up hard work because we were literally climbing a wall of rocks. Check number 2 off the bucket list. This was so much harder than any rock wall that I have ever climbed, but it was a great experience!
And as if that wasn’t enough excitement, after rock climbing we went cliff jumping!! My main reason for going on this trip. The views were spectacular and once again, we were hiking off the beaten path. It was here when I got to experience the ocean up close and personal. And oh boy! What an experience it was! There are no words to describe the thrill of that first jump. Once i hit the water, there it was, the salt. By far, my least favorite aspect of the ocean :) After spending the day in the ocean, my mouth felt like I had eaten 13 bags of very salty potato chips. Not fun, but totally worth it. After my first jump, I was so pumped up that I decided I was going to jump again. To do this, I had to climb out on the rocks, which proved to be a harder task for some. The girl in front of me decided to leisurely make her way out of the water, leaving me waiting in the water while a large wave rolled in. This didn’t feel so good on my legs when I hit the rocks. Luckily I only got a couple of scrapes and bruises, and I was able to jump again, this time from a higher point. If I had to guess, I would guess the point that I jumped off the second time was roughly 40 feet tall, but I’m really no good at guessing distances. All I know is that it was AWESOME and I would do it again in a heartbeat!!! The most difficult part was swimming to the beach after jumping. It was a good distance to swim which equaled a lot of salt water in my mouth.
After cliff jumping, we met up with the rest of our group at a beach and spent a couple of hours there, where I was able to take my I-just-experienced-the-ocean-for-the-first-time pictures :) So awesome. And after our day on the beach, we went to the “End of the World” to watch the sunset. That was just so beautiful, and I have never seen so many people gather in one place to see a sunset before. I still get goosebumps when I just think about the sights that I got to experience.
So that was a lot that happened Saturday, and Sunday we had one final activity planned.
We checked out of the hotel Sunday morning and headed off to Praia de Amado to catch some waves. Check that off my bucket list! Okay, so surfing was never really on my bucket list because I never actually expected I would get the chance to do it, but I added it to my bucket list now, so check that one off! Surfing was beyond my wildest dreams! After arrive to the beach, we donned our oh so flattering wet suits, grabbed a surf board, and headed out to the ocean. Our surf instructor, Tito, was your typical long-haired beach blonde man with sunscreen not rubbed in on his face. He was a riot, and he made surfing sound so easy. Okay, actually it was a little confusing to understand him because our lessons were in Spanish!! That took a little while to get used to. Luckily for us, he demonstrated each step in the water after explaining it. We finally got into the water and did all of the steps he told us to, and to my surprise, I STOOD UP! I WAS SURFING!! I kind of expected to not be able to because a lot of people were telling me how hard it was and I was a little sore from the previous day, but I did it. I felt so accomplished and happy. So if you ever need surfing lessons in Spanish, I’m your girl :)
For me, the most amazing part of this trip was not the new friendships that were created (although those people were really fun and awesome), it wasn’t the activities that we did (although they were thrilling and I would love to experience them all again), it wasn’t the food (although I did get to try some crazy things), but it was experiencing God’s creation. As I posted on my Facebook wall when we got home that night…”After being on the beach today, my mind is blown trying to grasp the concept that God knows how many grains of sand there are on that beach (and now in my backpack) and seeing all the cliffs and the waves and the sunset…what a wonderful Creator we serve!! God is so good!” THAT right there was the highlight of my trip.
When you end a night with this…
or experience this…
and when you are right next to this…
I don’t know how one could not feel God’s presence and admire all of His work. It is purely amazing, and that is just the beginning of trying to explain the views that I got to experience. These pictures do not even do justice. Thank you God for all that you have created!