Most of the trips I took around Spain and Europe involved at least a few days of planning. Finding flights, finishing school work on time, making an itinerary of things I wanted to do, etc. Usually, that’s the best way to do things. You always want to be prepared and aware when you’re travelling. However, don’t count out how much fun spontaneous trips can be.
My most last-second trip was when I went to Granada for a day. I had an open weekend, and intended to plan a trip, but all the ideas I had didn’t pan out. As the weekend got closer, I became content with staying in Madrid and taking it easy. When Thursday night rolled around, one of my roommates told me that he was planning to go to Granada that night with a friend, but his friend had bailed and he had an extra bus ticket. I decided to join him on a whim, and despite how hectic it was, I definitely didn’t regret the decision.
We took a 1:30 AM bus from Madrid, and reached Granada at 6:30 AM. Our bus back left at 5 that evening. Overall we actually only spent an hour more time in Granada then we did traveling there and back, but it was still totally worth it. When we reached at 6:30, the first thing we did was go to the first open café we saw and warmed up and woke up. Once the sun rose, we set out to explore the city. Granada is easily one the most beautiful cities in Spain, with a sea of white houses laid out across a valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas. The main city has awesome churches and statues, as well as great food.
The best part of Granada is that it’s an awesome city that’s fun to visit on its own, but also contains La Alhambra on top of that. La Alhambra is Spain’s most visited attraction and it’s easy to see why. From the flawless, lush gardens, to the breathtaking views of the city below and the mountains above, to the mind-boggling detail of the Muslim architecture, it’s easy to spend an entire day just there. I had heard a lot about the palace, of course, but nothing could have prepared me for it.
Spontaneous trips seem daunting and are usually very hard to pull off, but they serve as a great reminder to what studying abroad is all about. More than just travelling and seeing new cultures and parts of the world, it’s about pushing your boundaries and stepping outside of your comfort zone. They allow you to let go a little and kind of go with the flow, without stressing over the usual problems that come with traveling.