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Andalucía Spring 2015

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Hey everyone;

I am planning to study abroad in Córdoba from January - June, and although my university usually plans these trips relatively well, there are still some holes in the planning process. Does anyone know anything about ETEA (Loyola Andalucía) and if there will be a sizable erasmus population there come spring semester? In terms of class difficulty, recognition, etc. My Spanish is at a C1 level.

My other questions are general in nature, mostly about Córdoba. I am looking to stay active while abroad, and was wondering if there were any good half-day hiking trails in the area, reachable cheaply (under 10 euros 1 way with normal hours) accessible via the bus, as I do not know how to drive a stick shift. I've heard of the Vía Verdes, but don't know of much else. Preferably of easy-medium difficulty on terrain. Also, I'm interested in kayaking the Guadalquivir, biking, and perhaps running a 5K or so there, but have no ideas on what else to do or how to do them. I'm planning to buy gear at Decathlon, so not bringing any over from the US.

In Córdoba province, I'm also looking at day trips, and Iznájar, Almodovar del Río, Montilla, Zuheros, Cabra, and Belmez all seemed interesting. I'm into history and experiencing the gastronomic flavors of the region. I love seeing cobblestone streets, old buildings, and being transported back in time. Are there any other day trips in the Province (or surrounding provinces, I wrote El Puerto, Jerez, Cádiz, and Huelva as a few)? I would like to do a wine tasting and sample local cuisine inexpensively. Taking a hike to see a village is not a problem. I will have weekends to explore. Castles and lookouts are also bonuses.

Thirdly, this is a bit off topic, but I recently purchased a backpack (Kelty Flyway 43) for the semester, which will be serving as my main travel pack, as I plan on buying a daypack for hiking. I intend to attach a zippered pouch to the waist belt and swap out the zipper pulls for something lockable (suggestions? I looked at steel wire). However, the waist belt seems to be lacking in padding, and I was wondering if there are any remedies to make it more comfortable, such as adding padding or something, as internet searches have proved futile. The waist belt is removable I believe, if that helps.

Thanks in advance!

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