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1 week, 3 countries, 5 cities

In Spain we are given a whole week off for Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is basically the equivalent to Spring break back home.

Two of my friends and I had planned this week a couple of weeks prior. We were very ambitious in what we wanted to do. It all began one afternoon when we were sitting in a cafe, randomly throwing out names of cities we wanted to go visit. Somehow, we ended up with the following itinerary: fly out of Malaga into Ibiza, from Ibiza the next day fly into Manchester, in one way or another get to London, and from there fly into Pisa. From Pisa they would both be headed back to Granada, I would on the other hand stay another day and a half to go to Florence where I would meet up with a friend from high school.

Just by knowing what we were planning on doing in such short time, you might be thinking “WOAH.” Well, that’s what I would think if I was to hear someone else tell me that. Semana Santa came and we were all ready to head out on our week long adventure. With our backpacks on our backs and bus tickets in our hands with our destination the Malaga airport, we boarded the bus in Granada early in the morning on Friday. It all began that second we stepped foot on the bus and sat in our seats. We anxiously waited getting to the airport so that we could begin our journey to our first stop, Ibiza, Spain.

We arrived in Ibiza in the afternoon and the only thing I wanted to do was get to a beach and lie out in the sun and perhaps test the water. We spent that whole afternoon at the beach until the sun was starting to set. That night we wondered throughout the city and came across the Ibiza Castle, we decided to walk around it as much as we could so we could get views of the city at night. The views were absolutely incredible!



The next day we left around mid morning, our next stop was Manchester, England. I had been so used to seeing dry grass and land that was not green that when we were about to land in Manchester I felt as if I was back home in the northwest. There was green everywhere and for a long time I hadn’t been so happy to see green grass. We got in and left right away to the hotel where we checked in and quickly headed out for the city center. We wondered around for a few hours looking to see what we could do, one of my friends decided that he would go check out the Manchester stadium so he headed off to do that while my other friend, Alyssa and I continued to discover the city. We somehow ended up at the Opera House and bought tickets to see a musical. We were really excited because she’s a music major and I hadn’t gone to a musical in a long time, we ended up going to see the Monkey Business. While we waited for the show to start we went to see the Cathedral and also saw some other structures around the area. From the day we planned the trip, we thought that Manchester would be the city we least liked and it ended up surprising us big time because we loved our time there!



The following morning (Sunday) we boarded a bus to head to London. It was about a 5 hour bus ride which gave us plenty of time to sleep. We spent the following two days in London seeing all of the main attractions. You can only imagine what those were, it was an insane experience. I got to see places that I never thought I would get the chance to see in my life. Just to name a few: London Eye, Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower Bridge. London has been one of my favorite cities that I have visited so far.



On Tuesday morning we flew out from London into Pisa. Pisa is small enough that if you have just a few hours you can see the main thing there, the Leaning Tower. We had however, the whole day which gave us plenty of time to enjoy some good Italian cuisine. We also did the tourist thing to do, take the picture with us trying to hold up the tower, in my case I got a picture of me blowing it down. That night I was left alone in Italy to explore by myself for a little bit.



The next morning, I woke up early to get ready to go meet up with my friend in Florence. For those of you that don’t know, Florence has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and that is something that I absolutely agree with. I met up with my friend and he took me to some of the best gelato places that the city has to offer. Many say that Florence is the best place to have it, while there; I planned on eating as much as possible. Of course I saw the main attractions like the Duomo. In the afternoon my friend suggested I go up to a little town nearby called Fiesole. I decided to do as he said and went up to watch the sunset. I took a twenty minute bus to the town that’s located on one of the hills surrounding Florence. When I got to the top I found the viewpoint that he had told me about, I sat down, peeled my orange that I had brought as a snack, and sat there eating it while I watched the sun set. It was the perfect way to end my crazy week trip with the views of typical Tuscany. I even had some time to reflect on all of my experiences while in Europe and how much studying abroad has allowed for me to see all of these places. All I can say now is, what an amazing experience!


More about Fatima More about Fatima

Fatima Ruiz Villatoro

Name: Fatima Ruiz Villatoro

Class: Sophomore

Major: Engineering Management and Spanish


Hometown: Seattle, WA

Activities: OLE, Coffee and Catholicism, Entrepreneurship Club, College Republicans


Favorite Professor: Dr. Male

Favorite Class: EGR 110

Favorite Commons Meal:  Salmon with mashed potatoes and vegetables


Why I Chose UP: The campus was amazing and the community at this school was exactly what I wanted. I liked that my classes would be very small and I would be getting the right academic attention. I believe strongly in the mission of the school and I felt at home when I made my decision.

Favorite Thing About UP:  Close enough to home that I can go for a weekend, come back and not be totally exhausted. There are so many things to do in Portland and I like that we have a lot of studies abroad opportunities.


Advice for Prospective Students: Visit the school; you don't know what you're getting yourself into until you truly experience it.

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