Explore: Spain

A travel diary of Andalucía, Spain and surrounding areas. 

I like conversation and meeting new people, and I ask a lot of questions in hopes of getting a glimpse into their lives. I’m genuinely interested in the way other people spend their time living. With travel comes interaction, and with interaction comes conversation. That’s one of the things I love so much about exploring our planet. It’s a beautiful open door that leads to knowledge, connection and discovery.

I just got back from a 10-day trip to Spain. I was in the company of fluent Spanish speakers… Me? Not so much. I missed the boat in 10th grade when I dropped my Spanish class to make art instead. I’m great at asking for more red wine and saying thank you, but other than that my Spanish is terrible. It’s easier for me to understand, I can pick out a few words here and there but trying to construct a full sentence in the native tongue is really difficult for me. 95% of the time I spent trying to communicate with the locals, I’d sprinkle in English with Spanish which I think just confused everyone, and the other 5% was left for body language — a lot of hand gestures and pointing, it was like a bad game of charades. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. My boyfriend and his mom are both really good at speaking Spanish, so they helped translate, but the beauty of knowing another language is being able to speak it with the locals. Sometimes a conversation started and ended so fast that I didn’t even bother to ask what was being talked about.

This was the first time that I experienced a true language barrier. There were moments where I felt really alone, even when five other people surrounded me. It’s my nature to want to be a part of conversations, to joke around and be sarcastic even more so. Running into a wall that stopped me from doing that was difficult to adjust to. There were times where I wished so badly I could chime in and communicate, but just couldn’t. All I could do was shrug my shoulders, listen and smile. Slightly frustrated, it made me appreciate how important even the tiniest of grins can be.

The barrier is strong, but a smile has the ability to break it, even if it’s just for a second. No matter where in the world you find yourself, anyone can understand a smile. 

A smile is beauty, beauty is Spain, and Spain is this:

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Agost. We bought really good cheap wine by the gallon here

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Valencia

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Views of the Alhambra in Granada

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Alhambra

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Old City, Granada

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Views of Granada

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Rainy shopping in Granada

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Granada

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Exploring Andalusia, a region where one of our upcoming escapes will be held!

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Cave homes in Granada. (Hike towards the church on the hill and you’ll find the homes, and the best view of the Alhambra:))

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Cave home, Granada

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Hiking the Cabezon de Oro, 40 minutes from Alicante.

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Exploring Sierra De Segura in Jaén with our guide from Las Cobachas

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Don Domingo, Jaén

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Jaén

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Alicante

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Santa Bárbara Castle, Alicante

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Santa Bárbara Castle, Alicante

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Alhambra, Granada

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Las Fallas de Valencia

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Driving through Andalusia

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Don Domingo, Jaen

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Classic Paella

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Santa Bárbara Castle, Alicante

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Alicante

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Cabezon de Oro

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Advice to future travelers: Enjoy the wine, eat as many tapas as you can, and don’t come home until you’ve explored at least one castle.

+ If you have any questions about where I stayed, where I ate, or where I explored, ask away in the comments below!

And to sign up for our Andalusia escape, click here!

Photos by me, photos of me by Pipus.

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Comments

  1. Love these images, the editing is superb! I like the way you encompassed all of the elements of traveling. I have a dog that looks just like the one in your image, his name is Pal. But he isn’t in Spain so that’s not him. Thanks.

    Kindest Regards,
    Miri

  2. Hi!
    I was wondering where you got the white blouse from! I love it so much and I am traveling to London this summer and would love to get it for my trip!

    Thanks

  3. Hi Jana,

    I will be visiting Granada and Barcelona in the beginning of June and would love to hear about some of your favorite places to explore, eat, dance?! The cave homes and views from Granada look incredible. Thank you for this post! *>;<*

  4. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! Lovely photos! I’m planning a trip to Spain soon! What was the best way to travel from Granada to Valencia?

  5. @jedalyn We were fortunate to have a car available to us, which made traveling around very easy. I would recommend taking a train if you don’t have access to a car! It’s a fun experience and you can take in the beautiful landscapes of Spain :)

  6. I just got back from studying abroad in Granada! Your pictures completely capture the beauty of the amazing city. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. I’m from Alicante and I didn’t expect to see it in your travel log! And Granada is def one of the best places in Spain <3 Hope you had a great time! The pics are stunning :)

  8. hey Jana! I absolutely love your photography and am thinking about traveling to Spain soon. I was wondering if there is a specific edit you used on your photos to make them look the way they do? Im study abroad in Granada next semester but now I’m convinced that I have to check out Andalusia as well. :)

    Thanks so much!
    -Laura

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