Terriers Travel Spain

#TerriersTravelSpain brings us together as a community to reflect upon past students’ adventures around Spain!! Would you like to be featured? Email us (vabreu@bu.edu)

BU Madrid Summer 2022 students visting the Catedral de Burgos (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Gabrielle Tuvim, MSES Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Study Abroad Ambassador Gabrielle Tuvim reflects on her time in Madrid.

“The Madrid Spanish & European Studies program was truly a life-changing experience.  My time spent in Madrid was amazing. Moving to such a huge city felt extremely intimidating, but my classmates, new friends, and host family made Madrid feel like home.  Though I’ve completed my semester abroad, I can definitely see myself returning to Spain, as I have made the best memories and met some of the best people during my time here!”


Gabrielle Tuvim, MSES Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Study Abroad Ambassador Gabrielle Tuvim and friends travelled to Morocco!

“After completing my semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, I traveled south to Morocco before heading back home to the US.  We started in Fes, home to one of the oldest Medinas, which are the “old cities” with small streets and lots of cultural history.  The Old Medina in Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and contains over 9,000 streets dating back to the 9th century.  We tried many traditional meals, like tangine, and couscous, which is only eaten on Fridays. We went to the souqs, which are markets and street vendors within the walls of the Medina.  We explored the tanneries of Fes, and then traveled north to Chefchaouen, The Blue City.  Chefchaouen was absolutely beautiful!  All of the buildings within the Medina are painted shades of blue, and the view of the city from the neighboring mountain was amazing.  After a few days in Chefchaouen, we traveled further north to Tangier, which is on the northern coast of Morocco, closest to Spain.  In Tangier, we explored different museums and historical sites.  Fes, Chefchaouen, and Tangier were some of the most beautiful places I have ever been!  Morocco was an absolutely amazing country with the nicest people!  It was a convenient trip from Madrid, Spain, and I highly recommend exploring Northern Africa if you are in Europe!”


Gabrielle Tuvim, MSES Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Study Abroad Ambassador Gabrielle Tuvim and friends travelled to Malaga and Nerja, which are two beautiful cities on Spain’s southeast coast.

“For our last weekend studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, my friend and I decided to explore one more city.  We traveled to Malaga, Spain, which was a 2.5 hour train from Madrid.  In Malaga, we went to a cathedral, explored the SOHO neighborhood, and went to the (free!) Contemporary Art Center.  Then, we took a bus up the coast to Nerja, a small beach town where we rented an AirBnb.  Nerja was beautiful!  The beaches were incredible, and we went for a swim even though it was only 60 degrees.  We had a relaxing weekend spent studying for finals at the beach.  It was super easy to travel from Madrid to Nerja, and I hope one day to return!”


Maddie Keefer, Madrid Internship Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Madrid student and Study Abroad Ambassador Maddie Keefer travels with Erasmus Student Network (ESN) to Sevilla.  ESN is an association that organizes lots of activities, social events and trips for study abroad students in Madrid.

“The weekend of Friday, November 11th to Sunday, November 13th, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) hosted a trip to Sevilla, Spain. I went on this trip with my friend Anya Melnyk, also a BU student studying abroad, and we had a great time! For only 145 euros, ESN took us on guided tours around Mérida and Sevilla, paid for our hostel stay with breakfast, and even paid for our entrance into the discotecas for some night time fun! Although the price is what drew me to the trip, the experience was another enjoyable aspect that I would pay for again regardless of price. It was priceless to meet kids my age from all around the world and learn about their lives and experiences that brought them to Madrid in the same moment as me. The same can be said about the nighttime experiences, as it was fun for Anya and I to let loose and dance (as dancers at BU, we definitely took advantage of this!) without any hesitation. ESN was a great experience that I definitely recommend to other BU students during our remaining time in Madrid, especially because there is only one trip left. For the final trip of the semester, ESN will be going to Portugal the weekend before BU finals – so if you have not yet traveled with the group I would recommend getting the tickets to go and having a time to remember.”


Abby Duerksen, Madrid Internship Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Madrid student and Study Abroad Ambassador Abby Duerksen travels with friends to beautiful Ibiza!

“Everyone knows that studying abroad in Europe is all about taking advantage of the close-by travel destinations and the cheap flights/bus tickets etc. In this article I’m going to describe my experience planning and carrying out a weekend trip to Ibiza just off the coast of mainland Spain on the Balearic Islands. We had the best time taking advantage of the beautiful weather on the sunny beaches, the great food, and so many other things the island had to offer. After planning the trip, I hope this article might inspire you to do some travel of your own while studying abroad and maybe even, if the weather’s right, take my suggestions for Ibiza! Because I’d 100% recommend it. 

Planning travel: If you’ve been to Europe, you’ve probably heard of the cheap airline option named Ryanair that offers flights all around for reduced prices. We bought our tickets a few weeks in advance and only paid around 60-70 euros for round-trip tickets. Make sure you have your passport, a backpack that can fit under your seat, and you’re good to go. Upon arrival, we quickly discovered that Ibiza is one of the few cities that doesn’t offer Uber so we took a taxi to our AirBnb (which was also booked a few weeks in advance with a great price). I’ve heard that if you’re staying close to the main city, public transportation can be used, but we were staying a bit outside and opted to take taxis when going to a place that was too far a walk. 

Tip: Taxi-click is an app created for smaller cities where rideshare services are minimal and allows you to plan your route and get an idea of how much the cost will be before riding, as well as allowing you to schedule a taxi a bit in advance if you know you’ll have to be somewhere at a certain time. 

How to enjoy the island: Depending on the time of year you decide to visit, Ibiza is a big tourist destination and can often be quite busy. We visited in October and were lucky enough not to experience much of these crowds, but I still played it safe and opted to make reservations for the things I knew had a chance of filling up. Following this idea, my first recommendation has to be the Tropicana Beach Club on the southern side of the island. These beach clubs offer lounge chairs and umbrellas right on the beach along with service for some beautiful cocktails or even food if you’re feeling hungry. We opted to mainly stick with drinks so as not to spend too much since the chairs themselves usually carry a small charge around 10–15 euros. In my opinion, it was totally worth it being right on the water; we definitely took advantage of taking a swim whenever the sun got too warm. Reservations are usually easy to make for these on the websites of the beach clubs but if you run into any confusion, you can also send them a quick email with your reservation plans and they should be able to confirm them within the next 24 hours. 

After a few hours on the beach, we headed back to our AirBnb to prepare for a night out. I’m sure you’ve heard Ibiza is known for its amazing night clubs and parties. The season for this usually begins some time in May and goes throughout early to mid October. We were there later than most travelers but lucky enough to catch a closing party at one of Ibiza’s best known night clubs and resorts called Pacha. Now, tickets for the clubs are what can tend to get quite expensive on the island, so many sites about planning travel that I read highly recommend planning ahead of time, deciding where you want to go, and getting tickets online, as the price usually gets higher the longer you wait. But again, we found the experience worth the extra cost as we realized upon arriving how beautiful the venue was, dancing to music played by famous DJs, and watching the sun set over the water as the party continued. 

Relaxing with free time: After a night of dancing, we decided it was now time to scope out the smaller town areas around where we were staying in Santa Eularia to find some better deals on food and drinks, and even some supermarkets to be able to plan a dinner back at our place. Now, staying close to the central area of Ibiza town can be quite expensive, which is why we opted to stay in a different part. What I would recommend, however, is to try and make sure and stay somewhat close to the coast of the island. Ibiza has beaches practically around every corner so chances are if you’re staying close to the edge of the island, there’s a beautiful beach within walking distance. In our case, we mapped out a 20-30 minute walk via a beautiful dirt road surrounded by green hills and through some local areas and before we knew it, we ended up at a small town and with it, found Cala Llonga Beach. We were again lucky to find only a small amount of people here, so we laid out our towels and swam in the crystal clear waters for a good part of the day, before grabbing some things from the local supermarket and making the walk back. 

Although we held ourselves accountable to saving money wherever and as much as possible, we agreed that it was worth it to get to at least one nice restaurant for a luxurious ocean-view meal to commemorate our last night on the island. This was another reservation I made a few days in advance because Amante Ibiza was one that I had heard could fill up quite quickly, especially on a weekend night. I planned ahead and made sure it was close to our Airbnb so we didn’t have to spend extra on a taxi getting there. This has to be one of my most adamant recommendations from our whole trip as the four of us were so struck by its beauty and solitude that it made the last day of our trip truly one to remember. 

In Summary: More than anything, I really recommend taking advantage of how easy it is to travel when living in Europe. There are countless beautiful destinations within a few hours of Madrid and while it may seem like a lot to plan, you’ll find it’s usually not much more than a mutual agreement with a group of friends to find the time to sit down together and do just a little research, resulting in a lot of amazing experiences.”


Gabrielle Tuvim, MSES Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Study Abroad Ambassador Gabrielle Tuvim travelled to Valencia for the day. Check out her Reel on our Instagram @bu_madrid!

 


Willa Nesoff, Madrid Internship Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Study Abroad Ambassadors Willa Nesoff and Brielle Tuvim travel to Toledo, located about 40 minutes from Madrid by high-speed train (AVE). Read Willa’s blog below!

A day trip to Toledo is a must for anyone studying abroad in Madrid. From Madrid, the Renfe Ave takes just 40 minutes to arrive, which I took with my friend Brielle. We began our day in Toledo at 11:00 am. 

We entered the city at el Puente de Alcántara, which was one of the best photo opportunities of the day. This roman bridge offers a spectacular view while entering the city. We then walked to la Catedral Primada. You must buy a ticket to enter, which is around 8 euros, and worth every penny. This is an incredible cathedral. It was mind blowing to spend time in this space; it is so large and beautiful. The artwork inside was absolutely breathtaking, from paintings to sculptures, including works by El Greco. I would consider this cathedral to be one of the best historical sites I have visited in Spain thus far. 

After la Catedral, we ate lunch at Bar Skala, a tapas restaurant serving traditional spanish food. We opted to eat family style, ordering bravas skala, carcamusa, setas and manchego. I would consider myself a manchego connoisseur, so if you like your manchego strong and delicious, this is the place for you. The cheese, the carcamusa (comparable to a hearty stew, absolutely phenomenal) and the setas (mushrooms, cooked simply, with garlic) were all 11/10. I highly recommend eating here if you visit Toledo! 

After lunch we made our way to the other side of the city. We entered la Iglesia de Santo Tomé to see El Greco’s El entierro del conde de Orgaz. The painting itself was stunning. The church that hosts the painting was a bit underwhelming after la Catedral. After, we walked through the Jewish quarter and made our way to El Puente de San Martín. The views from this bridge were also incredible. 

By this time, we needed a sweet treat. Earlier, we decided we did not need a lunch-dessert, because the Bar Skala food was just that good. Toledo is known for its marzipan, so we walked to El Convento de San Clemente, where nuns of the convent make and sell marzipan. Marzipan, a sweet made usually from almond meal, honey and sugar, was the perfect sweet bite we needed to push on through the rest of our day. 

We ended at la Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz and la Puerta de Sol, before walking back across el Puente de Alcántara to our train, which left Toledo at 6:25.

7 hours in Toledo was perfect for sightseeing and a leisurely lunch, as well as a ton of walking. Wear your comfy shoes! We did not enter all the historical sites the city has to offer, like the Alcázar de Toledo or el Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes, due to time constraints. The photos added provide a small taste of Toledo but for the most part I was too busy feasting my eyes to snap awesome pictures, so you’ll just have to visit to see for yourself. I highly recommend el Puente de Alcántara, la Catedral Primada and Bar Skala, if you venture to Toledo for the day.”


Maddie Keefer, Madrid Internship Program (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, BU Madrid student and Study Abroad Ambassador Maddie Keefer travels to Rascafría, located about 2 hours from Madrid (free with your metro card!).

“If anyone is looking for a nature-based long weekend just outside of Madrid, I highly suggest looking into Rascafría! This past weekend I visited this charming little town with my two friends, and we had a blast hiking, hanging out outside, and touring the area’s social and gastronomic sites. After my weekend in Rascafría, here are my suggestions on how to get there, what to do, and my overall experience. 

How to get to Rascafría from Madrid: Despite the two-ish hour bus ride from Madrid to Rascafría, it is free with your metrocard as long as you use public transportation. Thus, the two hours is absolutely worth it in my opinion considering it saves you some unnecessary expenses. All you have to do is take the necessary metro from your homestay to the bus station at Plaza de Castilla. You do not need a ticket/ reservation to get on the bus, but be careful as those who do have a ticket will have priority in the case that the bus is over capacity. However, we did not have that problem traveling to or from the two stations. Just make sure you look up the bus schedule for that day so that you are on time for the bus, and then sit and enjoy the ride for two hours before getting to the final destination!

What to do once in Rascafría: Once we got to Rascafría itself, the first thing we did was check into our hostel. We stayed in the cutest hostel, Hotel Rural el Valle, that was about an eight minute walk from the bus drop off. Beyond the accessibility of the hostel, it was a great economically efficient option for traveling college students, so the posh-woodsey aesthetic will not break the bank. Overall, the staff was extremely kind, let us check in early, and the room was both clean and whimsically woodland themed. However, do not worry that this is the only hostel in the area, as the town hosts a variety of quaint inns. No matter your preferences, you will absolutely be able to find an economically reasonable and accommodating place to stay. After checking into the hotel, we went straight to the hiking/ nature area. We had already researched the hiking trails, but in the case that you had not, the front desk had numerous sources and QR codes to help people find the perfect outdoor activity for them. 

We first walked towards the Monasterio de Santa María de El Paular, a gorgeous monastery situated right next to the hiking trails. We walked around the outside, however we could not enter beyond the main entrance because we had not reserved tickets and they were already sold out. Thus, it is a must that you at least buy your monastery tour tickets in advance, otherwise you will not be able to see the entire building! 

Once we started the hike, we hiked towards La Cascada del Purgatorio, a beautiful waterfall that takes about one and a half hours to hike to (3 hour hike total). The trail itself has a mix of difficulty levels, with some areas being steeper than others. But if you are there to hike and enjoy the activity, I recommend this trail as it is a great way to be slightly challenged but still have the ability to chatter with friends and enjoy the amazing final view. The second day of the trip we hiked to the Bosque Finladés, an easier but equally beautiful trail in Rascafría. Here, visitors sit around a beautiful lake surrounded by trees that are just in the process of changing their colors. The entire atmosphere gives serious New England vibes for anyone who is missing Boston fall! These two destinations are not the only hiking routes, so if you want to see more or less you can follow the posted signs throughout the hiking area to get to wherever you want. 

Besides hiking, we spent a lot of time walking around the town and eating at the restaurants and cafes. We loved every place we ate and there were so many more options to choose from. Just like the housing, the food was not overly priced and we were given large and delicious portions for what we had paid. I will link the places we ate below, in the case that another student wants to eat there too!

Trigo y Café: We ate breakfast here on our final day, and it was absolutely delicious! They had a variety of toast and pastry options, and coffee that was so good we each ordered two cups. 

Le Petite Brasserie: A French-Alpine inspired restaurant right in the town center. It was a very busy restaurant, but for good reason as the food was cozy and warming during the chilly fall day. We all ordered hot teas and then we shared the House Special: A pan of sliced potatoes mixed with ham and a sauce of cheese and white wine. It was comfort food, but made fancy. 

El Pilón: We ate at this restaurant, El Pilón, our first evening in Rascafría. We all ordered hamburger/sandwich meals, and we were met with extremely large platters for good prices. At the end of our meal, we ordered coffee and sipped as we took in the surroundings. The restaurant itself executed cabin-like feelings and was warmed by the laughter and socializing of the locals who also came to enjoy the evening. 

My Overall Thoughts: I absolutely loved visiting Rascafría, as it was a great way to feel connected to the fall weather that we are missing out on in Madrid. The leaves were changing, the air was a little brisk, but the people were still out and exploring. It was a great experience to pull away from the bustle of the school and city in order to hang out with friends and relax. Plus, it was economically priced for people not looking to spend too much money on even more travel. While everyone is rushing to book tickets for cities across Europe, I’d suggest looking closer to Madrid and weighing your options, because you might just find enchanting little towns that are only a bus ride away.”


BU Madrid Staff, Day trip to Valle de los Caídos & El Escorial (Fall 2022)

For this #TerriersTravelSpain, we are travelling to Valle de los Caídos & El Escorial, located about an hour from Madrid. Our day trips are a great way to bond as a group and learn about Spanish history in an interactive way!

El Valle de los Caídos is a fascist monument located high up in the mountains and it’s where Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco used to be buried. It’s a very controversial monument that always leads to interesting discussion about the Spanish Dictatorship with our students. El Monasterio del Escorial is known as the largest Renaissance building in the world and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage. Located at the foot of Mount Abantos in the Sierra de Guadarrama, this royal site served as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school, and hospital. Our students had the opportunity to visit the Basilica, Hall of Battles, Royal burial vaults, Library and Art gallery.

10.7.20- BU Madrid Staff, on their trip to Sevilla

“For this #TerriersTravelSpain, we are travelling South to Sevilla in Andalucía. We visited this charming city with our students in Summer, 2018!”
The Gualdalquivir river runs through the city, making Sevilla an inland port. It is the capital city of Andalucía and the fourth largest in Spain. Sevilla was important in history as a cultural center, a capital of Muslim Spain, and as a center for Spanish exploration of the New World. Our students visited the Archivo General de las Indias, el Alcázar Real, la Catedral de Sevilla, and walked around the Barrio de Santa Cruz. Most students also had some gazpacho or salmorejo, a nice, refreshing, cold primer plato on a scorchingly hot day!

9.30.20- BU Madrid Staff, on their trip to Málaga

“For this #TerriersTravelSpain (which today is happening on a Thursday), we are travelling South to Málaga, Andalucía located on the Costa del Sol. We visited this charming city with our Spring 2019 students in February, but with the mild temperatures, this city can feel like Spring year-round!
Malaga’s history spans about 2800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe! Málaga is well known for its arquitecture, it’s Port, and now- a-days, its tourism, however you May have Heard of it because it the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, whose house still remains there today! We visited the Alcazaba, toured the city center, visited the Museo de Málaga, saw a flamenco show, and toured the Catedral de Málaga (where this Picture was taken!) Some students were even able to squeeze in time to eat lunch at the Beach!”

9.23.20- Fall 2017 Student reflecting on their time abroad in San Sebastían 

“For this #TerriersTravelSpain, we are travelling North to San Sebastian, and featuring one of our Fall 2017 students’ reflections on their time Abroad during what we call Paella Night, a celebration of the semester where as a group, all students, staff, and faculty reflect upon their time together and things that they will miss/ customs that they will bring back home with them! We then, of course, eat delicious paella together!”
¨While my friends were focused on the mesmerizing sunset, I turned the camera on them and captured something I find even more beautiful. The expressions on their faces capture the awe I feel at the beauty of this country and the opportunity I have been given to live here. These are just two of the incredible people I have become close to through our time abroad, and it sort of amazes me that I had to come all the way to Spain to discover the amazing people that live on my campus and even in my building back at BU. While my semester abroad is a relatively short experience, the love I feel towards the people I have met will stay with me for a very, very long time. Love is all I can feel when I look at this picture, and Spain has filled me with so many different types of love: love for the country, love for beauty, love for exploring, love for new experiences, and, most importantly, love for people.¨

9.16.20- BU Madrid Staff, on their trips to Burgos

“For this #TerriersTravelSpain, we are travelling 2.5 hours North of Madrid to Burgos, another group trip that we usually take with our Spring, and sometimes Summer students!Traveling to the North and the South offers students the opportunity to see the huge contrasts between both regions, and provides insight to the varied landscapes, customs, and even languages that exist within Spain.
Burgos is rich in history, as it was founded in 884 as a strategic fortress. It was surrounded by several burgos (villages), which eventually melded together to form the basis of a new city. Centuries later, Burgos thrived as a staging post for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and as a trading centre between the interior and the northern ports. During the Spanish Civil War, General Franco used Burgos as the base for his government-in-waiting. Burgos’ Cathedral, historic city center, and the Ataperca caves are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites! During our trip we visit historic landmarks, try the local cuisine, and pay a visit to the Human Evolution Museum!”

9.9.20- BU Madrid Staff, on their trips to Córdoba, Andalucia.

“For this #TerriersTravelSpain, we are featuring our most recent trips to Córdoba with our Fall semester students. We usually take this group trip beginning to mid-September, and it just feels right to reminisce on one of our favorite cities!

Córdoba, located in Andalucía, is said to be one of the best-preserved cities in all of Spain. Córdoba’s history dates back to 206 A.C. when the Roman Empire first settled there, and in 711, was converted into one of the largest cities in the world. Córdoba’s history is evident all around, as the city center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. During this trip we not only learn all about the city’s history and visit many of its highlighted sites (La Mezquita, la Sinagoga, el centro historico, la Casa Andalusí, el Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos) but we also learn so much about each other as a group- It is a wonderful bonding experience and a great way to really get to know all of the students and staff!”


9.2.20-Spring 2020 alumna Natalie Ackerman, on her trip to Ronda, Andalucía.    

“For years, I’ve collected photos from the internet of fascinating places around the globe, places I could only dream of visiting. I would repeatedly see photos of Ronda, a town in the south of Spain, famous for its Puente Nuevo (literally, “new bridge,” which is initially laughable, considering its 18th-century construction date, but I also saw Puente Viejo and trust me, it’s not as welcoming as the newer model). In February of this year, another photo of Ronda popped up on my Instagram feed and, like always, I sighed and wished I could see it in person… and then I realized I was in Spain and could… actually go. So one impulsive round-trip Renfe ticket later and I went on a solo weekend trip to what was truly the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been.
Recently I’ve been reflecting on how much I grew during my time abroad. Last year, I was too nervous to run errands by myself because I didn’t want to interact with people, but this year, I repeatedly traveled in a country that didn’t speak my first language, all in the name of fulfilling some ~casual~ dreams, and although I won’t be traveling anytime soon (stay home, social distance, wash your hands, and wear your masks, y’all!!) I’m excited to see how I continue to grow as a person. but that’s just me :’)”