The other day I had a question posed to me by a fellow travel blogger and friend – if only a virtual friend at this point – Trevor Huxham. He asked where I was planning on traveling during the next year when I’ll be living and teaching in Spain?
Up until this point, I have been extensively researching everything there is to know about Almuñécar, the surrounding Costa Tropical, Granada province, and Andalucia as a whole since this is where I would be both living and working. I, like most people reading this, always have a proverbial list of places we want to go or “must-go” floating around in the back of our minds. I am constantly adding locations based on the latest book I read, movie I watched, blog I read, or piece of a conversation I over heard at the local coffee shop. There are obviously places I want to go all over the globe, but there are destination that are realistic based on my location in Southern Spain. Luckily, Malaga has an international airport which is only an hour away from the a smaller Mediterranean town I’ll be in.
While I don’t currently have an set plans as far as travel go, especially since my parents and brother are discussing visiting, I do know that there are a few places I certainly want to travel too. However, I know that depending on friends I meet, my job, or anything else that could come up this list of places could very well change at any second, which is something I am completely content with. So…
Where do I want to travel to next year?
Costa Tropical and Costa del Sol
Almuñécar is right in the heart of the Costa Tropical, which is next to the Costa del Sol. I want to be able to explore all the Mediterranean towns including, but not limited to: Salobreña, Motril, Nerja, and Torre del Mar. These and others will only be a short bus ride or potentially hike or bike ride away, so they’ll be easy and inexpensive to get to and from.
The Andalusia region in general is one I feel is important to discover and understand. Since I’ll be living in Andalusia, I want to be able to learn, understand, and appreciate it for all it is. Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Sevilla are all a part of this list and I want to explore them all, even though I’ve already been to a few. I feel as though it will be different this time around since I’ll actually be living in Spain. I’ve always felt as though if you are living somewhere. it’s important to be able to get to know your community and region opposed to simply using it as a launching pad for where you will jet set off to next.
Ah, my second choice after Andalusia for the auxiliar de conversación regional preferences. To be honest, I would have been just as happy to be placed here as I was to be placed in Andalusia. I’ve been to Bilbao and San Sebastián (Donostia) before and the region is not only beautiful, but also intriguing to me. When I studied in Granada, I was never able to make it further north than Madrid, so I’m hoping to spend at least a weekend in the Basque Country.
Valencía is another place I was not able to visit when I studied abroad, so it’s on my list this time around. I’ve heard very positive things about the city and want to experience it for myself. Plus, it’s a region of Spain that I haven’t visited yet.
Galicia in northwestern Spain is in the same boat as Valencía, in that I’ve never been there, and have only heard good things about it. Well, other than maybe the rain. It will be a hike to get there from southeastern Spain, but I’m going to try and make it work. After all, this is where the aforementioned Trevor Huxham will be living and working.
Now, my first trip to this polarizing city didn’t go so well, which makes me want to give it a second go. There are so many fellow travelers who absolutely love this and have been so helpful in lending me tips and what to do and see here to make my next trip there all the more enjoyable. I am truly hoping that this time around Barcelona will be a city I love.
Now, as far as places outside of Spain, which can be more difficult and more costly to travel to:
Yes, the country of castles, beer, bratwurst, a beautiful language, and, well, more beer. Being over 50% German – as well as a smattering of English, Irish, Swedish, Norwegian, etc. – I want to visit this country where many of my ancestors are from. I’m not particularly set on a city, but any suggestions would be welcome. I will just be missing Oktoberfest, which I’m a little disappointed about since I went to college in the town that holds the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States.
A little lower on my list is France. It’s a place that is so close to Spain, and that many of my friends have been to and enjoyed. I consequently skipped over it last time I was in Europe opting for London and Italy. However, the opportunity presents itself I don’t think I’ll be able to turn it down, especially with one of my friends potentially working in Paris as an au pair next year. Other than Paris, are there any cities you would recommend visiting in France?
The land that influenced and changed me so much the first time around and continues to intrigue me to this day is a place I would love to venture to again. Motril, just a short distance from Almuñécar, has a ferry to Melilla – a Spanish city on the Moroccan mainland – and Al Hoceima, Morocco. This will make it a relatively easier trip to get there. Morocco was as interesting, insightful, and intriguing a place as I’ve ever been. I’m planning on going back and visiting for at least a weekend, if not more.
I fully realize that I may not get to all of these places or that I may get to some and some others that are not listed, and that is perfectly fine with me. I want to discover new parts of Spain and the world. While I want to travel everywhere, I feel as though it’s very important to learn and understand the city and area that I will be both living and working in. Living as an expat in Spain and understanding my community was one of the reasons I chose to teach abroad opposed to going on an around the world backpacking trip. Maybe that will come sometime later in life though. I want to be a part of the community I’m living and working in, instead of just gallivanting off to foreign lands every weekend.
I’d appreciate any recommendations regarding these places as I’m always open to suggestions. Are there other places you think I should consider going that would be relatively easy and cost effective to get to? Let me know, as I wold love to hear! Most importantly though, I want to know…