Ciara Cooney is a UVA student currently studying in UVA in Valencia. Below is her reflection on some of her travels in the month of November around Europe.
November has always resonated as a month to be thankful with me. In the past few years this was reinforced as it became a time to come home to my family, a celebration of all that we are lucky enough to receive and at school a month to appreciate where we are and who we are with. Now that I am away, I look at November as a month bursting with opportunities and new experiences. However, this does not detract from a month that epitomizes thankfulness, but rather enhances it. This November I am thankful for all the wonderful places I have seen in Valencia and the insatiable wanderlust that pushed me to explore Amsterdam, Xativa, Morella,Barcelona and Port Saplaya. Amsterdam showcased the beautiful intersecting canals and bridges, and gorgeous mosaic street art. In Xativa I saw a Spanish family exiting a beautiful old church after hearing mass, a wreath highlighting a crumbling wall, the sprawling castle that required quite a hike to experience, and of course la bandera waving proudly in the wind. In Morella we wandered through the ruins of the walled city and into the ancient castle for not only spectacular views of the surrounding area but also an insight to lives long passed in the courtyard and castle. Barcelona held not only fabulous street art sprawled on every service, but phenomenal food. I have dreams about my french toast and acai bowl at Brunch and Cake.After seeing the wonders of Gaudi memorialized in La Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell, Inoticed his commitment to architectural art lives on in the city where doors are transformed into masterpieces. Back in Valencia, I ventured out to the nearest port town Port Saplaya that boasts a gorgeous rock pier and beautiful colorful houses that endow the nickname La Pequena Venezia. I continued to be awestruck daily in Valencia, this time by the Oceonografica center in La Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias and la Plaza de Ayuntamiento. Although my remaining time isshort, who knows what I’ll stumble upon tomorrow.