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 www.hiddentrails.com 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!