The sun got to Cadiz the same time we did. The MV Explorer pulled into the first port on its full itinerary at approximately 0800 hrs. Saturday morning, which turned out to be perfect timing; students that were milling about every deck of the ship in anticipation of our arrival watched the sun rise over a mountain range rolling along the Spanish coast. It was a bit chilly, not only because of the hour, but also because we were still on the water, so everyone was bundled in pajama pants, sweats, jackets and the occasional skullcap. Once the captain manuvered the ship to the port that will be its home until Tuesday, most of the students ran inside to escape the chill, and fill their bellies with breakfast (courtesy of the wonderful MV Explorer crew).
A couple of the overnight trips had early starts, and students picked up their passports and shuffled onto buses as shortly after the ship cleared customs. Others were eager to see the city although they had no official excursions planned for the morning, and they left around the same time. The rest snuggled into their beds for a few extra hours of sleep befor they ventured out or found a quiet place to congregate and discuss last minute plans.
The students have many options for port exploration. They can take advantage of the official excursions, which are plentiful, varied and carefully planned and chaperoned. The students that are feeling a bit more adventurous, or want to do something not included in the field program are free to travel within the country. To keep everyone safe and accounted for, students are briefed during cultural and logistical pre-port meetings about all aspects of life in Cadiz from politics to food, along with phone numbers for on-call staff members (who will be available 24/7 while the ship is in port) and Medex representatives. Safety concerns and procedures are covered in detail and students are given a page containing all of the most important items to take with them while off the ship. Also, there are independent travel information sheets that students can use to let the ship know where and when they will be traveling, as well as how to contact them. The students seem to be very comfortable with the ways they are choosing to see Spain, and it will only get easier for them as the semester progresses and they gain more experience.
The next couple of blogs will cover some of the interesting excursions the students have gone on, including a tour of Cadiz, flamenco dancing and a tour of a wind and solar power farm. ¡Que interesante!
Japan! Kyoto: Getting Lost and Ginkgo Trees - The next morning Meena and I headed to Kyoto. We spent the entire day wandering the city. We wandered into temples, removed our shoes, and meditate...