Exceeding Expectations in Spain | My Family Travels
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"It will be about $3,000, but we'll do some fundraising please do not be discouraged by the price." announced my spanish teacher Profe Fonken. Instantly my ears perked at the sound of the words "Spain" and "travel".  Being a soccer fanatic all I thought was about that some of the worlds best  soccer teams were in Spain, my favorite players lived there!  I just had to go. Of course after hearing about the money required I blew it off thinking that I could never ask my parents for such a big ordeal.  However, throughout the year when the trip would be mentioned I just could not shake the idea of asking my parents.

â–º  Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

Eventually I did, and to my surprise they agreed to it and were supportive in the thought that it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  When the plans were in motion in preparation I could not believe I was actually going to Spain.  This was one of the countries I had always dreamed to visit, and it was actually happening.  To be honest soccer was pretty much the only thing I knew of Spain, and not much else except the fact that they had conquered many latin american countries before.  I did not know what to expect.  Reality set in weeks prior when I thought to myself, " I am going on my own, no mom or dad, half across the world; I am terrified!  Why did I sign up for this? I feel sad that only I will get this great experience I wish someone could be there by my side."

I arrived in Madrid with no luggage due to some airport mistakes, however I did not let that rain on my parade although it was actually raining.  We stayed in the Hotel Moderno located literally five steps away from the heart of Madrid in the famous "Puerta Del Sol" said to symbolize the actual center of Spain itself.  This plaza was the first taste of Spain with the metro, people, beautiful buildings, landmarks. "I am in Madrid!  Home to my favorite soccer team ever Real Madrid C.F!" this kept going through my mind as I took in the beautiful sights. With all the excitement of visiting plazas, riding the metro, eating bocadillos,  listening to the spanish accent, and flamenco music, seeing Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" and Diego De Velazquez's "Las Meninas" I can honestly say that the trip taught me a lot more than I had ever imagined.

We left Madrid and visited other amazing spanish cities each with their own ambience that made them unique. Barcelona gave me the mediterranean sea and Gaudi's nature-inspired architecture, while Granada's Alhambra palace let me indulge in Spain's rich history, Cordoba allowed me to get lost in its Jewish quarter. I'll never forget the view from up on Sevilla's towering Giralda cathedral tower or the amazing "Plaza de España" in Sevilla, or the breathtaking landscapes when I visited a bull farm.  Toledo left me absolutely stunned with the amount of detail found inside of its gothic cathedral, and how I walked over the Tagus River on top of the San Martin Bridge.  Most importantly this journey through Spain allowed to grow as a person.  I left insecure about being on my own, and returned ready to take on many more adventures that life will throw my way.  Part of growing up is learning to make your own decisions, and on going on this trip I was forced to take initiative of myself all the while having one of the best experiences of my life.

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