Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Back Roads of Europe CATALONIA SPAIN

The other night Frankie and I watched an educational video called The Back Roads of Europe CATALONIA  SPAIN.  The movie gave us a much better picture as to what we should expect when we visit Catalonia. It showed that sometimes the best way to enjoy a country is to avoid the main thoroughfares and let your eyes ears and taste buds wander where not everyone has dared to go. The mountainous landscapes were absolutely beautiful!  The video took us on a tour of small villages and colorful towns that are just a ways inland of the crowded coastline. This was really cool too see because it is exactly what we will be doing on our trip. While we will spend one day at the beach near the Bay of Roses, the majority of our journey will be spent riding through small villages each with a character and history of its own.  Seeing examples of this is really starting to get us excited about our adventure! Hidden Trails has a short video that shows small parts of the ride we will be going on, you can watch it at

Monday, September 12, 2011

International Study Meeting

         This afternoon I went to meet with Tiffany Cummings, the Director of International Studies here at Sweet Briar College.  She is helping us make our trip to Spain qualify as an official study abroad experience which will help us by allowing us to have an official experience abroad if we don’t do a full semester or year long program next year. By making this experience an official program abroad for the school it also allows others to do the same or a similar program in the future because now that Tiffany knows about the program and the Hidden Trails website she can suggest it to other people. Tiffany was also very helpful in talking to me about the insurance plan that we have selected. We have bought insurance through the airline to cover our tickets, in case something happens and we are unable to go we will be refunded for the price of the tickets. Even better, and more likely to be useful, is that the insurance on our tickets means that the airline is responsible for getting us to Barcelona by six o’clock on Sunday night and that they will compensate us for any delays that we may experience. This gives us security that we will get there on time so that we may meet our tour group who will pick us up at the airport and drive us to where we start the tour, about an hour and a half up into the Pyrenees mountains. The other insurance that we bought is a plan that covers the trip itself. It has a full refund to cover the money that we have already paid if the trip is canceled for any reason, and it has comprehensive medical coverage. This coverage includes any healthcare that we need while in Spain including medivac, airlifting us to the nearest hospital or someone in to help us if necessary. This was something that Tiffany said was of key importance especially for a trip like this. All in all the meeting made me feel more secure about the insurance that we picked, and that I can be assured that it will cover what we need.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


      Catalonia is a small region of Spain located along the Mediterranean. A region that is filled with fascinating architecture, history, and culture; that, due to it's lack of infastructure, remains very cut off from the rest of the country. It is a beautiful region with large mountains and long beaches running the length of the coast. It is also the region which we have selected to visit. We, two college sophomores who attend Sweet Briar College in Virginia, have won a private scholarship that provides honors students at SBC the chance to do something that they would not otherwise have the chance to do. The scholarship was very open-ended leaving us the chance to propose any kind of project or experience that we wanted, and we took it as an opportunity that otherwise would never have presented itself. We are planning a trip to the beautiful region of Catalonia this November. The trip that we are taking is a progressive ride on horseback that starts high in the Pyrenees mountains, roughly an hour and a half from Barcelona, and then travels down along the river Fluvia, past cathedrals and villages from another age. The trip is run by a local agency that we found on a well-known website that serves to provide riding trips all over the world. We chose to take a riding trip because we are both avid riders and want to expand our experiences of horses and take what we learn through books and classes and apply it to the world around us. With this in mind, we will learn about the culture and history of the region (and share it all with you) before we leave, so that we may apply our learning to what we will see all around us on the ride. We both have an interest in learning about other cultures, through history and culture, and Bri plans to minor in Spanish so the choice of Spain was natural. Taking the trip on horseback will also allow us  the chance to become uniquely connected with the culture, history, and the very land that we will be traveling across. The areas that the trip will take us through are ones that would never be seen by a trip taken by car, we will by pass the roads and literally be off the beaten path. The ride will wind throughout the region and take us all the way down to the Mediterranean and allow us the chance to ride along the beach and the Bay of Rosas. This ride will provide a unique experience for us as students and change our perspective both on what we have learned and researched about the area and what we ourselves know.
   This blog is to document the trip itself but also the things that we learn and the process of planning a trip to another country. We will include all that is pertinent that we research about the history of the region. This will allow you all as readers to understand what we share with you about our trip in the same light that we will see it in when we are there. We also want to share all the experiences we have planning the trip, from talking to the study abroad coordinator at Sweet Briar to picking a flight that will allow us to experience all that we can in the short amount of time allotted to us. We want to share the unique experience that SBC and the Pannell Scholarship have made possible for us. Look for the posts of both our research and our further plans for our trip!