I'm in Spain Without the 'S' — Navigating an Injury While Abroad

Katie Moore
November 12, 2021

I honestly don’t know why I expected this time to be different. My track record for things like this is embarrassingly bad, so I must’ve been blinded by optimism. But last weekend I was brutally reminded that I have a catchphrase for a reason: 

    “It’s not really a hike unless Katie falls.” 

    Our most recent IES Abroad excursion was to the beautiful mountain region in the south of Spain called La Alpujarra — a collection of small, white-buildinged towns nestled between the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. On the itinerary it was clearly advertised that the main attraction of our trip was going to be a hike, and that there would be two routes offered; one easy, one hard. In a brazen moment of ‘I don’t want to regret missing out on any experience,’ I decided that I would do the harder hike. My mindset was 1) when am I ever going to get to do this again, and 2) nothing could be as insane as the 18 km hike we did in Cabo de Gata back during orientation. 

    Our hiking route was as follows: we would start at the highest town, Capileira, and then work our way down the mountain to cross a river; then climb up the other side to a lookout point to stop for lunch, then head back down and back across the river; then all the way up to the middle town, Bubion, and finally from there we mosey to the lowest town, Pampaneira. 

    Honestly I blame the lunch break. I had been perfectly fine up until then. We had just about made it to our second river crossing when we approached a section that consisted exclusively of rocks. Alright, nothing I can’t handle. But then add the secret ingredients: low hanging branches and my 5 year old Adidas whose soles had long since worn out. 

    Next thing I know, I’m taking a step forward, my front foot is slipping out from under me, and I’m doing a death drop on top of a nice pile of sharp rocks. For those of you who don’t know what a death drop is, it’s a dance move popularized by drag queens and vogue dancers that is very fun to do, except when your knee is slamming into something stabby. I managed to recover rather well, but my leggings were toast and my knee was bleeding in three places. Awesome. 

    I roughed it for the next part of the hike, probably running on adrenaline. But then we started uphill to Bubion, and my leg kinda gave out on me. So, I had to swallow my pride and ask for some first aid, which by the way, huge shoutout to Blanca for having some bandaids. By the time the hike was over, I was hobbling my way to the bus very much ready to go home. 

    It’s been a week now since the hike and my knee is still giving me trouble. I’ve got some sexy scabs that are healing just fine, but every so often my knee will just hurt out of nowhere, and that’s probably due to my lack of caring for it. Silly injuries like this happen all the time, but while we’re abroad we forget that we need to take care of ourselves physically just as much as we do mentally. The smart thing to do would’ve been to ice my knee and maybe not run around my city a bunch — so that’s what I hope people who’ve read this post will do should something similar happen to them. We kind of put our bodies through the wringer when we go abroad: eating new foods, changing our daily exercise habits, staying out all night then going on crazy hikes the next morning. My advice would be to cut yourself a little slack and take time to take care of yourself. And make sure to pack extra Peppa Pig bandaids!

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Katie Moore

<p>Hey Y'all! My name is Katie and I am so excited to be studying in Granada, Spain this fall! I go to Occidental College in Los Angeles and am a psychology major with a double minor in linguistics and journalism. I am very active in my school's dance community and have choreographed twice for our all-school showcase called Dance Production. As a dancer, I can't wait to learn more about Flamenco and explore new music from the area. I love going on long walks, trying out new foods, and I'm very much a movie nerd. I'm looking forward to sharing my adventures with you, and hope you enjoy reading along with me!</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
Occidental College
Arlington, VA
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