Thursday, May 5, 2011

Paris with Katie, Tamara, and Alyssa
Friday 4/29
It was pouring rain in Granada as we packed our bags and headed out to catch the bus to the airport. For the first time we were flying out of the Granada airport so we only had to take the bus for 45 minutes from the city center to the Granada airport. However, on our way to the bus station we got COMPLETELY soaked. It was not a good way to start out our trip. We made the bus just in time and arrived to the airport with plenty of time before our flight. The Granada airport is tinyyy but we settled in on the floor and played cards. We are expert travelers now. Our flight ended up being delayed for about an hour due to the rain so we continued playing cards until we took off. We arrived in Paris at around 7pm at the ORLY airport. We took the bus to the metro and then took the metro for 15 stops to our hotel in Monmarte (spelling? I’m a Spanish major okay?!) The hotel had given us the wrong directions so we were wandering for awhile and our street wasn’t on our map but we finally found it. It was quaint and our room didn’t have much more than a bed but we were only paying 25E a night so we couldn’t complain. We put down our stuff and went out to find dinner. It was about 10pm at this point. We found this chic place with red velvet sofas and we settled in. Our waiter spoke a little English so that was good. We all ordered French onion soup and savored it while we warmed up and began to relax. Katie and I also ordered tortellini to split and it wasn’t until Alyssa and Tamara were done with their entrees that he informed us that they were out of tortellini and did we want salmon instead? It was kind of strange but Katie and I split another appetizer instead. I ordered tortellini with mushrooms…no I do not want salmon. Duh. We went back to our hotel and fell asleep.

Saturday 4/30
We woke up early and hopped on the metro to the Lourve. Now in the past 2 weeks we have been to the Uffizi, Accademia, Vatican museum, Prado, and now the Lourve. We were a bit “arted out” as we like to say. We learned later on our boat tour that the Lourve is the 3rd largest art museum in the world. However, we simply looked at the most famous works (Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo) and some of the Egyptian work and left. There is such a thing as too much art. From there we wandered through the Touilleres (again spelling…sorry) and ate our apples and peanut butter by the fountain as we watched the ducks. Then we went to Plaza de la Concorde and ate crepes while we watched the crazy tourist groups and enjoyed our first view of the Eiffel Tower. Then we decided to brave another art museum and went to the Monet Water Lillies Museum (the name in French escapes me) I had gone here with Alex and have never forgotten how it made me feel. It just feels so peaceful and simply beautiful. I saw in the big oval rooms for awhile just absorbing the water lilies. I love this museum!! After that we went over to Notre Dame. There were a lot of people but not unbearable. We went inside and took pictures of the Rose windows. Being in the Notre Dame reminds me a bit of Kari because when I was there last time with Alex, Kari was sick and we lit a candle for her strength. This time, I lit a candle in her memory. It was emotional. It is such an incredible place. After the Notre Dame we went over to Saint Chappelle and Le Concierege. Saint Chappelle is famous for its incredible stained glass windows and we spent time just looking at the beautiful artwork and colors. Le Concierege is where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before she was beheaded. We saw her cell and everything! It was a bit freaky but cool to see. Then we took the metro over to Tocodero (spell?) to look at the best view of the Eiffel Tower. It was so beautiful! We were pretty exhausted by this point so we took the metro back and grabbed paninis and sat in the park behind the Notre Dame just enjoying the sunset and the Paris atmosphere. At about 9pm we went over to the Seine and got on a night time boat tour of the city. It was so beautiful to see everything lit up! Alex had taken me on this tour and I had remembered how much I loved it so I thought the girls would like it too! We had, had quite the day and were poooopped. So we took the metro back to our hotel and passed out.

Sunday 5/1
We woke up early and took the metro over to the Eiffel Tower. Alyssa, Tamara, and Katie went up but I sat in the grass with my book enjoying the weather and the view. It was such a beautiful day. After they came down we went and got sandwiches and sat in the park behind the tower just enjoying the sun. That was when we looked over and saw this girl Julia who is in my sorority back at Bucknell and lived on Katie’s freshman hall! It was crazy to run into someone from Bucknell in Paris! After that we walked over to the Arco de Trioumphe and then walked down the Champs Ellyess (ahh spelling!). It was really crowded but we stopped at my favorite paris coffee shop chain PAUL and grabbed macarons and watched street performers. We went home to rest up and then went out to find a place to eat. All the restaurants around us were really tiny and expensive. It was kind of discouraging and we couldn’t find a place. Finally we stumbled upon this American restaurant and we all looked at each other and knew exactly what we were all thinking. BURGER! It was really funny but we were so happy to just sit down and have a big burger and fries. We were exhausted so headed home after dinner. We were to have an intense day ahead of us…

Monday 5/2
We woke up around 10 and packed up our bags. Katie and I have itouch ipods that can access wifi so we went down to the lobby to check our e-mail before we headed out. That was when we got an e-mail from the US embassy in Madrid advising us not to travel and to stay close to our residences in Granada. We were so confused so I decided to check CNN. That was when we saw the news. Osama bin Laden was dead. I was speechless. Katie and I just sat there in the lobby in shock. We had no idea what was going on in our country and could only barely access the internet. We had just received an email not to travel and to stay at home but we were in Paris…and were unsure of what to do. We gathered our things and took a walk to the Sacre Cour where we lit a candle for the victims of 9/11 and all of those that have been victimized by the terror of Osama and Al Queda. It was a very emotional day and we ended up spending most of it talking about 9/11 and our lives since then. We hadn’t heard anything from Delgado or any new news so we began our journey to the airport. We were suddenly very aware of how little Americans there were in Paris and how obviously we stood out. We spoke very little and tried to keep a low profile although it still seemed as if everyone was staring at us. As soon as we got off the bus at the airport we saw lots of army men with HUGE guns. They immediately approached us and offered to help us find our terminal. They escorted us to our terminal where another officer guided us through security. Obviously it was solely for the purpose to make us feel safe but I could not help but feel more vulnerable. Security was insane and very strict. Usually the airport security throughout Europe has been very lenient and nonchalant. However, today it was the opposite. We settled in at our gate and tried to avoid the glares and whispers from the French around us. There was the news on that kept flashing (what turned out to be false) photos of a dead Osama Bin Laden. I finally got in touch with my family before we boarded our plane from Paris to Granada. Obviously, we arrived safely in Granada and took the bus back home. Lolita was ecstatic. She was like HAVE YOU HEARD HAVE YOU HEARD HES DEAD HES DEAD. Katie and I were kind of numb and still pretty freaked out and tried to brush her off. Then she turned on the news. IT was Obama’s speech translated to Spanish with a slide show of the most graphic photos from 9/11 that I have ever seen. The news here is much more graphic than in the United States. I just started crying. Lolita didn’t understand why I was upset. “El era un hombre malo y ahora esta muerto…por que estas llorando…por que estas llorando…no entiendo” HE was a bad man and now he is dead…why are you crying…why are you crying…I don’t understand. I just could not explain to her the emotions that the 9/11 photos brought up. I wanted nothing more than to be back home in the US. It was a weird way to end our trip to Paris…


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring Break in Italy (Venice, Florence, and Rome with Tamara and Katie)

Wednesday 4/13
We left for the airport at 9pm. We had to take a bus to Malaga to get to the airport. On the bus Katie was sitting next to this really nice woman who offered to drive us from the bus station to the airport. It was really nice of her and we love making friends! We got to the airport around 11:30 and our flight wasn’t until 6am roughhh. There were no buses in between 9pm and 7am so we had to spend the night in the airport. Luckily for us we found a lounge with couches so it wasn’t TOOO bad kind of loud and bright but not that uncomfortable.

Thursday 4/14
Our flight left bright and early Thursday morning and we landed in Venice around 9am. By the time we got to our hotel it was around 11. We got very lost on our way to our hotel and were using our Italian dictionary to try and get directions. Finally we found it! We booked all of our hotels for the week through They were about 25E a night each. For this price for spring break in Italy we were expecting to be staying in some pretty sketchy places. Our hotel in Venice, however, was a REAL hotel. It was really nice! The three of us had our own room and own bathroom. We quickly changed out of our airport clothes and went to explore the city. We knew that if we stayed too long in our hotel that we would fall asleep. Our hotel was a little bit outside of the city center so we took a bus to the city. From there we took a boat (I think its called the VAP) to Piazza de S. Marco. The boat ride was so nice and it was a great first impression of the city. I loved Piazza de S. Marco. Being a Spain girl Plazas are my favorite thing. We went inside the cathedral/basilica and listened to the street musicians soaking in the Italian air! Our map was basically useless since none of the streets are marked so we followed the arrows from Piazza S. Marco to Rialto. We wandered the streets and found lots and lots of glass shops! We went into so many of them because we were just blown away by how beautiful they were. In a lot of the stores the owner was sitting at a desk painting and making glass. It was so cool! In Rialto we saw the famous bridge (the name is escaping me right now) and had gelato. I had cantaloupe! So yummy. After wandering and wandering for hours we were starving and happened upon this pizzeria that wasn’t quite open yet. We were peering in the windows and probably looked pathetic. We were hungry and this place looked good and was in our price range. The owner came out and opened up for us. He didn’t speak any English so he sent Alberto to wait on us. There are few words to describe Alberto (view pictures). He claimed to speak English and Spanish but he didn’t really speak either. He LOVED us and kept coming over multiple times to chat. He loved music and told us that rock, metal, country, and jazz were his favorite genres and didn’t understand why we thought that was funny. He gave us free wine, free gelato, and a free shot! It was a hilarious evening. We went back to our hotel around 9pm and passed out. We were so tired from travelling and exploring!

Friday 4/15
We had heard about the surrounding islands and that they were worth the trip. We bought a day pass and took a boat from the city to Murano which is famous for glass. We saw a glass blowing demonstration and went in lots of galleries. It was so beautiful. From there we took a boat to Burano which is known for its lace and colorful houses. Then we went to Torcello which is full of lots of green! The air smelled so sweet and we enjoyed strolling along. I had ravioli in a creamy mushroom sauce and we went to bed early.

Saturday 4/16
We got up early and got on the train to Florence. We got off the train station and followed our directions from the train station to the hotel. It wasn’t until we were lost that we realized that we had arrived to a different train station than in our directions so we had to go back to the train station and get on another train to the OTHEr train station and THEn walk all the way to our hotel. At this point I was veryyy grumpy. We arrived at our hotel and the lady was a puta and had over booked their hostel and MOVED us. I was so annoyed. Then she gave us the WRONG directions. So we got even MORE lost. When we finally found it we were running late for our tickets to the Accadmia to see the David. Our new hotel turned out to actually be someone’s home. There was this little old lady and her daughter that lived there and it smelled like cheese heaven all the time. We quickly got out of there so we wouldn’t drool on our clean sheets. We found the Accadmia and were happy that we got to completely skip the line with our online tickets. The Accademia itself was mehhh veryyy religious. But the david. OH MY GOODNESS. It was so beautiful and much bigger than I had ever imagined. I could have stared at it for hours. There was this really tiny security guard who was running around and making sure that no one was taking pictures of it and we watched her for a good 10 minutes because she was so funny and could say “no cameras, no photos” in about 100 different languages. After that we walked to the Duomo and there was some strange parade going on with lots of people dressed up. We watched that for awhile and then went into the Duomo. The outside is definitely more impressive than the inside but I lit a candle and we left to wander the leather markets.
The leather markets in Florence were incredible!! We wandered up and down for hours it was really cool. Finally we decided to go home for a bit to shower rand get ready for dinner. There were some other Bucknell kids in Florence so we met up with them at this pizza restaurant near the duomo. I basically had macaroni and cheese but it had all these crazy different types of cheese on it and it was SO good. I’m drooling just remembering it ☺ After dinner we went to this famous gelato restaurant and I got peanut butter flavor. OH MY GOONDESS. They don’t have peanut butter really in Europe so I was already feeling deprived but PEANUT BUTTER GELATO. Its just too good to be true!! We were exhausted from our first day in Florence so we went home to sleep.

Sunday 4/17
We had early Uffizi tickets so we woke up and found our way over there. It was SO crowded and once again we were glad that we thought ahead and booked tickets online. We wandered around the museum for a couple of hours but quickly got hungry. We met up with Sam and Taylor who were also in Florence and went back to the leather markets because we had gotten this recommendation about this restaurant named Zsa Zsas near there. I had ravioli with a creamy truffle sauce and it was the most amazing meal of my life. I literally licked my plate. I could not even believe how good it tasted. Thikning about it now….i miss it. I want it again! After lunch we went back to the leather markets because Sam and taylor wanted to buy jackets. I had lost my 2 favorite silver bracelets in Morocco and had been on the look out for new ones. Lucky for me I found some and haggled my way down and got them for a really good deal! I rock. Sam and Taylor were taking a long time so Tamara, Katie, and I went to the Piazza Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio. It was so beautiful over there and the weather was so nice. We found a park and lay in the sun for a bit just relaxing and chatting about our trip. Then the pigeons started attacking us because we had snacks so we had to leave. We went home to shower and change and met up with Sam and Taylor again. They both were wearing very spiffy new leather jackets and looked fab. Sam’s brother had been to Florence and told her about this restaurant with a well priced tasting menu. We went there and got to try 5 different types of pastas. One was risotto with gorgonzola, penn ala vodka, spinach penne, ziti in red sauce, and bow ties in a vegetable red sauce. It was incredible. I have never tasted red sauce like this in my entire life. yUM YUM YUM. After dinner we went back to the peanut butter gelato place and got more! We sat in the back for almost 2 hours just chatting and enjoying our ice cream. It was so nice. Then we had to head home because we had an early train to Rome the next day!

Monday 4/18
The train to Rome was a lot faster than the train to Florence but it was much nicer. We got to Rome at about 10am and checked into our hostel. We had been really lucky so far with our hotels but this one was a little sketchy. We had our own room and our own bathroom (which was very nice) but it smelled weird and there were lots of bugs and strange wires hanging down from the ceiling. We unpacked and grabbed a map and headed out to the coliseum. IT WAS HUGE AND REALLY FREAKING OLD. I don’t know what I was expecting but I didn’t think we would be able to go in….for some reason I thought it was only the outside left and there was nothing on the inside…I don’t know but regardless I was blown away. I took lots of pictures! We splurged on an audio guide and took turns listening to it. I learned a lot! From there we walked across the street to the Forum which is the other part of ancient Rome. At this point we had spent almost 2 hours walking around the coliseum and we were hot, dirty, and tired. We definitely liked the Forum but we were pushing it energy wise…and it was a lot of really old stuff. So we decided to leave and went to the Trevvi Fountain. I loved it! It was a lot bigger than I had imagined and was so beautiful. It was really crowded but we got our pictures in and made a wish! We sat admiring it for awhile until we got too hungry and found a restaurant. I had heard that the food in Rome wasn’t as good as Florence but this restaurant was very disappointing and made us a little grumpy. We sat next to this man who was drinking so much alcohol and making all these weird noises as he ate. We left there and wandered home. We had early morning Vatican tickets and did not want to be tired for ANOTHEr big day.

Tuesday 4/19
The Vatican was an interesting experience. Again, we were glad to have bought our tickets online because the line was SO long and completely in the sun. Inside the Vatican it was also really really crowded. We went first through the museum and although it was interesting and pretty we were also a bit “arted out”. The frescos on the ceilings were beautiful but I really just wanted to see the Sistine Chapel. Everyone was pushing and grumpy and it was very hot. When we finally got to the Sistine Chapel it was SO crowded that we could barely move, we weren’t allowed to take pictures (although I snuck 1 or 2), and the guards kept yelling at us to be quiet. It was a bit of an anxiety attack but I’m glad I saw it. After that we grabbed Panini sandwiches and sat in the shade while we recovered from the crowd. Afterwards we went to St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. I was blown away. It was so incredible on the inside. The marble and the grandeur of it all was just breathtaking. It truly was incredible. Katie had read online about how on Wednesday the Pope holds the Papal Audience and that tickets are free if you ask the Swiss Guards. She found the very silly dressed swiss guards and got us tickets to see the Pope the next day. She was VERY excited. Nicole Jensen (Lindsey’s older sister) had studied in Rome and saw on my facebook that that is where I was. She sent me a message with some restaurants and ice cream recommendations. After showering and cleaning off the Rome dirt from our shoes we walked all the way to the “cool” part of Rome for dinner. There I had the best pizza of my life. It was simple, cheese, mushrooms, and sausage but it was just so good. I can’t even explain it. We were happy to have had good food and wine. We talked about how wonderful our trip was and how grateful we were for our good fortune.

Wednesday 4/20
At around 7am we woke up, packed our bags, stored them in the hotel, and made the trek back to the Vatican. We got seats way up close and fell asleep on each other until he came on around 10am. He is so small and very old! He rode around the crowd in his little pope mobile which is actually a very customized hummer. He and the Cardinals spoke for almost 2 hours in 7 different languages. The crowd was INSANE. We were so lucky to be up front and away from it all. After he was done we trekked back to our hotel, picked up our bags, and found the airport bus. It was time to leave Italy ☹ We were flying from Italy to Madrid and midway through our flight the pilot came on and announced that the Madrid airport was closed due to bad weather and that we would have to go to Valencia instead. Katie and I were freaking out! Valencia?! That is so far from Granada and Madrid! We were not happy. Then about 10 minutes later the pilot came back on and said that we were going to land in Madrid after all. IT was the roughest landing of my life. It was pouring and the plane was swaying and we could see the thunder and lightning in the distance. It was a little bit scary. The Madrid airport is huge and due to all the delays in the air we were cutting it close. The metro closed in 30 minutes and we were very far from our hotel! So we were running through the airport and caught the metro JUST in time but our metro stop was closed. It was POURING rain and we didn’t have a map. We navigated our way (somehow) to our hotel and were soaked, hungry, and cold. We hauled our stuff to the third floor where our hostel was and the man told us that he was moving us to the fourth floor (which was a hotel) because they were over booked. We were not excited because the last time we were moved it was kind of awkward. They move us upstairs and we’re in this BEAUTIFUL suite with our own bathroom and big comfortable beds. After being soaked and lost for 2 hours we each took long steamy showers and watched tennis on our BIG TV until we fell asleep. It was heavenly.

Thursday 4/21
We woke up and headed to the Prado. We had gone with our group in February but we weren’t there that long and it was so chaotic with our whole group that we really wanted to go back. I’m currently taking a Spanish art history class so I’ve been studying these paintings lots and it was incredible to see them all in person. We spent a long time just looking at everything. We went from there to Plaza Mayor and ate churros and watched the street performers. Our next plan was to watch the semana santa parades through Madrid but they were canceled due to rain ☹ We wandered back to our hotel and played cards until our bus at 1am to conclude our Italian/Spanish adventure!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Italy pictures

Still working on my blog entry but in the meantime here are my pictures!




Monday, April 11, 2011


First of all I want to say thank you for the overflow of emails that I’ve received since the accident. It has been quite the process, dealing with the police, lawyer, and Professor Delgado. My Spanish is definitely improving. I am starting to be able to sleep better and my nightmares aren’t as bad anymore. No one should have to see death like that and hopefully I will never see anything as violent in my whole life.


So this weekend my Bucknell group went to Sevilla! It was SO FREAKING HOT. It was about 101 degrees! We took the bus from Granada to Itálica which is this old roman village outside of Sevilla that is mostly ruins. It was really boring. It was just all these ruins and there were no signs or anything so we dind’t know what they were and I was hot and getting sunburnt. So I was a bit grumpy during this part. It was cool looking and I would have enjoyed it if it wasn’t so damn hot. From there we drove into the actual city of Sevilla which is so beautiful. We walked to our hotel which was so fancy! I loved it! I was in room 1. Literally, room 001. I thought that was cool. After resting and eating lunch we walked through the park to Plaza de Esapña. Definitely my favorite plaza so far in Spain. There is a kind of moat that runs through it and every city in Spain has its own little ceramic decoration. We took lots of pictures in front of the Granada one and wandered around. It was too hot to stay there for long because it was right in the sun so we went to this park that was really shady and cool. There were lots of birds and we really enjoyed all the green. I didn’t realize how “green” deprived I feel. Living in a city is great but I miss green grass, trees, flowers, etc. Sevilla has a lot of that so it was really really nice.
We went to this archeological museum that was really boring. So we mocked all of the statues. The guard actually hated us. It was HILARIOUS. Professor Delgado was mad at the beginning and then he joined in. it was really fun. We have such a good group, I’m lucky.
After the museum we wandered back through the center of the city where we found this nice Chinese restuarante. There aren’t any good Chinese restaurants in Granada so we all jumped on the chance for good Chinese food. It was delicious!
Most of the group went out at night but I was still feeling really tired and lethargic from a week of no sleep due to the accident. Dad and I video chatted because the internet in the hotel was really good. It was so nice to see his big happy round face ☺ definitely made me smile.
The next day we went to the castle which actually reminded me a lot of the Alhambra. There are a lot of ducks and they were vicious. We had a lot of fun with that. After the castle we went to the cathedral which is actually the largest cathedral in spain (Granada is the third largest). It was really pretty. My favorite part though was the fact that in this cathedral is the tomb of Christopher Columbus! NO WAY! YES WAY! I was blown away. For some reason I had never read/heard of this before so I was really surprised to see it.
Sevilla is absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite cities in Spain. It is the only other city I’ve been to in Spain that I could see myself living in (besides Granada of course)

I leave for Italy on Wednesday!! I’m going to Venice, Florence, and Rome! I am so excited! I am working on my itinerary which I will post here ☺

Miss you all! Can’t believe I’m coming down the homestretch of my abroad experience! Only about 6 more weeks!

Pictures of Sevilla:

Monday, April 4, 2011

so just after i posted that I was looking out the window of the cafe and this audi runs a red light and runs into a motorcycle. The guy on the motorocyle's face hits the side of the car and then he goes flying and his helmet flew off and he landed on the concrete and cracked his head open. The man in the car stopped immediately and ran out. The owner of the cafe and I ran outside to see if the guy was okay. He wasn't moving and blood and some other chunky stuff that i don't even want to think about waht it was was coming out of his head. The cafe owner called the police and i threw up on the side of the road. He told me to go inside and I watched as the police came and interviewed the driver and the ambulence came and took away the hurt man. They cleaned up the blood and chunks and the glass. The cafe waitress brought me bread adn water and tried to calm me down. The police came in and was interviewing the cafe owner when he told them that he didn't see waht happened because he was working but i did. The police interviewed me in spanish and then a police officer came who spoke english and he interviewed me again in english. Still shaking and my friend is going to come and walk me home.

so totally freaked
So its Monday evening and I’m sitting at the café looking at my pictures over and over again and disappointed that they could not better capture what I just experienced. Traveling to Morocco was eye opening and incredible. I learned a lot and really felt like I experienced the culture. Africa is definitely a different world…

Friday 4/4
We left at about 1:30 from Granada. Through my school we had seen a poster for this program to go to Morocco. We booked online but did not put any money down. The director knows that many students (and their parents) are wary about travelling to northern Africa right now. So we met the program director (Abdel) in Granada and got on the bus with about 30 or so other students from the CLM (our school in Granada). I was travelling with Erin Brown, Erin Rajtik, Allison Pollack, and Sam Schindelheim. Not my normal crew but really really great girls. I had a great time with them and we travelled together well. So we drove from Granada to Malaga where we picked up some other students and from there we drove to Algerias which is where the most southern port in Spain is. We took a ferry from Algerias to Ceuta which is a Spanish territory at the very tip of Africa. So when we got off the boat (it was about an hour) we were still technically in Spain. Our bus driver met us (the entire time we had a really nice air conditioned coach bus) and we drove from Ceuta to the border of Spain and Africa. I have never driven across a border before and it was an eye opening experience. There were police everywhere and there was this HUGE fence. Behind the fence were these big boulders and on the boulders were lots of Moroccon men who were smuggling things in from Spain. There was a man on one side of the fence and another man on the other. The man on the Moroccan side was using a fishing pole type thing to bring the bag of goods from Spain into Morocco. It was very interesting. They checked our passports and our luggage and then we finally were in Morocco. By the time we arrived it was dark but we could still see the difference between 1 mile back in Spain and where we were. Everything was in Arabic and every one was dressed in traditional Arabic robes. After the border we met our guide for Tetuan, Abdul, also known as Michael Douglas. He claims that his family believes that he looks like Michael Douglas and insisted on being called this. We of course obliged but it was rather strange as he did not appear similar to Michael Douglas AT ALL. So anyway, we were in Tetuan and the city appeared rather run down but not full of poverty. We drove along the coast until we arrived at our hotel. In my room was Allison and Sam and we each had our own bed which was nice. We went downstairs for dinner which was fish and potatoes. It was a pretty standard meal and we were exhausted. From there we went straight to bed because we had an early morning!

Saturday 4/2
Crack of dawn we woke up and had a nice buffet breakfast. The food was kind of weird but the tea was delicious! We boarded the bus and drove into the center of Tetuan which is the city where we were staying. It is a small city on the outskirts of farm country and in the main square there is a synagogue, a church, and a mosque. In Morocco the three religions live together in harmony (Christianity, Muslim, and Jewish). From there we changed our money from euros to dirham (11 dirham=1 euro) and we wandered our way into the medina. A Medina is the center of the city and is the oldest part. They are basically markets now but some people live there as well…it is basically its own little city within the city. Right away when you enter is the fish market….there are fish guts everywhere and fish heads…needless to say it didn’t smell so hot. I was not a fan of this part of the tour but it ended quickly as we approached the meat market. There were whole dead cows hanging up and lots and lots of chickens. The Moroccan people were fascinated by the horror on our faces as this is an every day occurrence for them. We also saw the spice market, cheese, olives, and so much more. The people in this part were mostly farmers and were so interesting to look at. After the market we went to this rug maker and got to see all the magnificent rugs that they hand make in Morocco. It was a little awkward though because he obviously wanted us to buy some and we weren’t exactly in the position to spend $6,000 on a rug and carry it home to the US but it was still a cool experience. After the rug co-op we went to a Moroccan restaurant for lunch and had beef shish kebabs and chicken and vegetable couscous. It was delicious! After lunch we boarded the bus and headed to Tanger. When we boarded the bus there was a group of about 6 or 7 Moroccan men who were standing by the bus. We then realized that we had, had an entourage of security guards the whole time that had been following us and watching out for us without us even knowing! Definitely made everything feel safer.
On our way to Tanger we stopped to ride camels…now camels are not a typical northern Morocco thing so the camel riding stop was only a tourism thing that took place in a parking lot. The camel owners weren’t so nice to the camels so I decided (since I had ridden a camel in the Canary Islands) that I would sit this one out and take pictures of everyone instead. Camels smell terrible and are not very nice.
After the camel stop we stopped at an overlook where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. It was so beautiful! There was a little market there to buy things but we mostly looked at the water and enjoyed the view.
Tanger was much more industrial and more urban. There were less women that were completely covered and more people dressed in every day clothes. We went into the same type of Medina but it was less agricultural goods and more souvineers and clothing. This was my least favorite part of the trip. For some reason the people in Tanger thought I was fascinating looking and everyyyonnneee wanted to touch me and follow me around. The women were pointing and laughing at me and the men were asking to touch my hair and shouting broken English at me. My favorite was “hey fire head, you are a lot of womens”. That was when Michael Douglas assigned me my own guard. The rest of the time I was fine and we did a lot of shopping and A LOT of bargaining. It got dark quickly so after that we boarded up the bus and headed back to Tetuan for dinner. Dinner was chicken shish kebabs and it was very yummy. We took long showers (we smelled) and went to bed really early because we were exhausted.

Sunday 4/3
Again with the crack of dawn (not a fan) and we packed up our things and headed to Chef-Chaoen. This was definitely my favorite city of the three. The cities colors and blue and white and EVERYTHING is blue and white. Almost every door is bright blue. Michael Douglas did not follow us to Chef-Choen and I can not for the life of my pronounce our guide’s name but he was very nice. Everyone in Chef-Coen was sooo nice. They kept saying “Welcome to Morocco” “We are happy to see you” “Thank you for coming to my country”. They weren’t as pushy and touchy. And the city did NOT smell nearly as bad. It was nestled in the mountains and was so beautiful with streams everywhere. Lots of fairy places ☺ This is where we had our free time and where I did most of my shopping. We went to a rug/tapestry/blanket maker and watched him for awhile. His work was so beautiful that I had to buy one for POW! Its turquoise and white and is soft and wonderful. I can’t wait to bring it to the beach! Afterwards I bought a leather purse (10 euros) and lots of other beautiful things! I was sad that this was our last stop before heading back to Spain but it really was an incredible experience!

For pictures:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The long awaited blog entry on my family’s visit. I haven’t wanted to write it down yet because I have just been reflecting on it. I could not have asked for a better time. I feel truly blessed. I am so lucky that my family was able to come and visit me. I really feel that they were able to see Granada and appreciate it the way I do. So here we go…

Saturday 3/12
Unfortunately the day of Alex and Mom’s arrival was the same day as my Bucknell trip to Córdoba. Professor Delgado was nice enough to let me leave Córdoba early so I could greet my family. Córdoba is a great city but the whole time I was there I was FIDGETING with excitement because I could just not wait to see my mom and Alex. FINALLY it was 2pm and I practically ran to the bus station to take the 3 hour bus ride back to Granada. Needless to say it was the longest three hours of my life. I arrived at their hotel and could not have been happier to get into bed with my mom and just soak her in. I took them from there to my favorite place in all of Granada, El Mirador de San Nicolás. From here you can see all of Granada, La Alhambra, and La Sierra Nevada. I thought it was going to rain but we were lucky enough that it held off so we could see the beautiful view. From there we wandered down through the Albayzin, the famous Arab neighborhood, and looked in all the shops. We went to a tea shop and had chai tea and ate the most amazing crepes in my whole life. They had chocolate, nata, coconut, and banana. OH MY GOODNESS. It was AMAZING. Yum yum yum. I want them now. Okay…moving on. We had a nice dinner on Calle Navas (where they were staying) and we went to bed because we had a big day coming up! La Alhambra!

Sunday 3/13
Now, I had not been to La Alhambra yet (if you don’t know what LA Alhambra is…google it and then look at my pictures below) because Professor Delgado wanted us to wait until the weather was nice enough. We took the bus up which was a little bit of a scary experience but definitely better than walking. We first went into the summer palace which was beautiful and the gardens were nice…then we went into the real palace and the views just took your breath away. The Palace of Carlos V was stunning but what was really amazing was Los Palacios Nazaries. AY DIOS MIO. I was weeping. I have been studying La Alhambra my entire Spanish career but to see it in real life…oh my I was shaking. There are literally no words and there is nothing like it in the whole world. There were all these kitties running around although it was a little chilly it was truly a blessing.

Okay…the next part of the day. The evening with Lolita. To give you some perspective…we had been walking around La Alhambra for five hours, we had skipped lunch, and were freezing. We arrived at Lolitas for tea and she was very dressed up. Now, I understand how crazy she is but seeing it for the first time through someone else’s eyes was an out of body experience. I lost it. When Lolita was preparing the tea I was laughing so hard that I was crying. She has all these trinkets and I mean you’re going to have to ask my mom or Alex to describe it because I simply cannot. There are no words. Imagine Dolores Umbridge (from Harry Potter) combined with…I don’t even know. Okay anyway, so we all sit down at the table and Lolita brings out COFFEE. We hadn’t eaten anything and it was 7pm and she brings us coffee but serves herself tea. Then she brings out these cookies, flan, and HIGHLIGHTER pink ice cream. It was revolting. Then she turned on the flat screen. My mom just about lost it. We were sitting there force to drink caffeine, eat this awful fake dessert, while watching Shakira on the television. It was hilarious.

After 2 whole hours with Lolita we ran across the street and picked up a bottle of tequila. We found a restaurant and settled in…spending the next 2 hours laughing about Lolita and the catastrophe that had just occurred.

Monday 3/14
On Monday we went to Córdoba. There are no words to describe La Mezquita in Córdoba. It was definitely a spiritual experience. It is so beautiful, huge, so old, and with so much history. Okay…I know my mom is going to kill me for this but this is for YOU Sarah Taylor! So we were in the museum part of La Mezquita and we were looking at the old Bibles and things in the glass cases. My mom was mesmerized by something in the corner of the museum in a glass case…except she did not know that it was in a glass case…she stepped a little too close and walked straight into the glass and it did not break but it made a really loud noise. At that moment this little tiny Asian woman, who did not speak English or Spanish, pointed at my Mom and burst out laughing. I. Was. Crying. I had to leave the room. I was laughing so hard. It was the funniest moment of my entire life. She was so embarrassed (sorry Mom I know you’re going to kill me for posting this on the internet but you’ll get over it).

We went from La Mezquita to a beautiful lunch at this restaurant that I had seen when I was in Córdoba with my class. While at lunch Alex pulled out her Córdoba info and she had written down that very restaurant that we were eating at. Proof that angles follow us around ☺ After lunch it was POURING so we drank wine and played cards until our bus came.

We had a lovely dinner that night. I had the BEST pizza of my life. I’m not used to eating out because I always eat with Lolita but Granada has some great restaurants!

Tuesday 3/15
I had class on Tuesday morning and then Alex and Mom picked me up from school. We went and had schwarma for lunch. Oh how to describe schwarma. It is kind of like a gyro? With shredded meat and lots of vegetables and this yummy white sauce. I think its Arab but I’m not entirely sure. We were SO full that we went home and laid down until I had class at 5. From there we met up with Katie and went for tapas near Plaza del Toros. Granada is famous for its Tapas. It is the only city in Spain where the tapas are included with drinks. We went to this restaurant where we heard the tapas were the biggest and most authentic. It was crowded with worker men tired and sun burnt from the day and we stuck out like 4 blonde American women in a Spanish bar (oh wait…) and ordered tinto de verano which came with a huge bowl of olives and 4 tapas. We got a bocadilla de jamón y queso, tortilla Española, avocado with tuna, and patatas bravas. YUMM Then we got ice cream! YUMM So lucky!

Wednesday 3/16
I know im missing details but its been a few days…on Wednesday I had lots of class but Mom and Alex walked around the caves in Sacromonte. We had a relaxing afternoon grabbed a nice lunch and went to the park. In the park we happened upon 2 of my friends Taylor and Sam. We had some Cava in the park and enjoyed the sunny day.
For dinner we went to a Flamenco show!! This was my first ever Flamenco show! It was a little touristy but it was an incredible experience. Authentic Flamenco is nothing like I’ve ever seen before.

Thursday 3/17
Unfortunately I had to say good bye to Alex. She had a short visit but I feel incredibly lucky that she made it possible to come. I feel so blessed to have her in my life. I just want to breathe her air and soak up her Alex-ness. She is my biggest role model and I just cannot even explain how much she has influenced my life. I know I’ve told her this a million times but I wanted to put it on the internet ☺
So my Mom picked me up from school and we waited for Dad and Pete to arrive! I was so happy to see them! We had an authentic Spanish lunch of bocadillas and salad. I could not believe my eyes that my two favorite guys were in MY city! The four of us in SPAIN?! It was almost too much to bear. I went off to class and my mom took them to San Mirador de Nicolás. For dinner Professor Delgado was hosting the group at his home so I brought Peter and we had tapas with the rest of my class while my parents had a nice dinner. It was St. Patty’s Day so from there I took little Petey to his first bar. I bought him a TEENY TINY beer but he felt SO cool. Thennn, Bucknell had made it to the NCAA March Madness so the Bucknell group got together at the office at midnight to watch the game! It was so fun (even though we lost) booo. But we were able to get to bed early enough so we could wake up and go to La Alhambra!

Friday 3/18
La Alhambra. This time I had been there before so I knew what to expect. It was so nice to be able to take my dad and brother there. Dad loves history so he especially appreciated La Alhambra…especially when he found out that he was standing in the very room where Christopher Columbus had asked Queen Isabelle for the funding to find the Americas. We had a lovely day at La Alhambra and a relaxing evening. (again sorry about the lack of details but my memory is failing me)

Saturday 3/19
We went to Nerja which is a little touristy beach town on La Costa del Sol. It was so beautiful and relaxing. From the Mirador we could see Africa! The ocean was turquoise and the sand felt good on our feet. We spent the day playing around on the beach and then headed back to Granada. I was happy to take everyone on a bus trip because the country side outside of Granada is so beautiful with all the olive farms.

Sunday 3/20
Sunday was the day of FUTBOL!!! We were fortunate enough to get tickets to a Granada soccer game. A friend of mine from the Bucknell program who is from Macedonia joined us and he is a huge soccer fan and he and pete clicked. It was a BEAUTIFUL day 75 degrees easily! And we had GREAT seats! It was SO fun! The fans were so enthusiastic and it was a great experience. Granada tied 1-1 but it was still so fun! Stephan joined us for lunch and he has had an incredibly interesting life so it was awesome to hear his story.

Monday 3/21
Pete came to class with me! His Spanish is so impressive so I thought, why not? He came to my speaking class and it was so fun! I’m so glad he came. We got schwarma for lunch (YUM) and then napped! We were so full from lunch that we skipped out on dinner and went shopping until it was time for Flamenco! Bucknell had an organized excursion to see a Flamenco show. It was stunning. Lasjflasjflajkf I’m sorry I am so lack of details. The trip was too special to write down.

Tuesday 3/22
I had a midterm in the morning and class in the afternoon so I was occupied with things (I do go to school here you know…) the family went to the cathedral and enjoyed the city. For dinner we went out for tapas and enjoyed wine and each other’s company.

I would not be where I am without the support and love of my family. My mom…I know I don’t tell her enough…but she is an inspiration. I love her with my whole heart. She keeps me going and helps me grow. My dad makes me smile. He does so much for me and loves me so much. He makes me feel so special. And then there is Peter James…he is the comic relief. He makes everyone laugh and is SO smart. I am so excited to see where he goes in his life.

That’s all for now…here are the links for photos

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lucy's guide to Granada

Just sent this to Mom, Alex, and Dad so they know what to expect when they come and visit. I think it gives a pretty good summary of my day to day life and is a bit comical. sorry its so long!

Lucy’s Guide to Granada

Welcome to the beautiful historical city of Granada, Spain! This is the guide to Granada according to me. There are some things in this guide that may be universal to Europe so if you already know some of these things do not take it as an insult to your intelligence. These are things that I wish I had known or took me a while to learn.

My cell phone number is 622 368 504. If meeting times aren’t going to work out call me from your hotel or a pay phone

Brief History (I don’t know years)
Spain was a Catholic country but then the Arabs from northern Africa began conquering parts of Spain. Because Granada is the biggest city the fartherst south it still has the most evidence of the Arab influence. The Arabs were conquering Spain from the south and traveling North. Under the regime of Los Reyes Catolicos (Ferdinand y Isabel) the south of Spain was reconquered. This period of time is known as the Reconquista. When the Reyes Catolicos traveled to Granada they loved the arab influence and mezquitas (mosques). They kept a lot of the architecture but changed the mezquitas to catholic churches. It was then that they built the Cathedral of Granada which is the third largest Cathedral in Spain. They decided to spend the resources and build a cathedral this grand and impressive in Granada in order to portray their accomplishment in conquering Granada. La Alhambra was the Arab palace…although I do not know that much about it yet because I haven’t been yet (eeek)

You will be arriving into the airport in Granada. I have not traveled through this airport but I am assuming that you can take the local bus from the airport considering the fact that I have seen buses with airport on the logo. There is a bus that coordintes its departure with the arrival of flights. The journey from the airport to the city is about 45 minutes. The website says the bus is 3 euros and that a taxi is 17 euros.
Bus: The bus goes to a street called Gran Via which is close to your hotel. To get from Gran Via to your hotel you walk towards the big fountain and turn right. This is Reyes Catolicos. You will talk downhill for like 3 minutes and then on your left will be plaza del Carmen (this is where city hall is with the shield of Granada in the square and a horse on top of city hall). You will walk to the back of the plaza and the street in the middle is called Calle navas. This is the street where your hotel is….if you walk down for like a minute its on your left!

Taxi: Ask the taxi driver to take you to plaza del Carmen en Reyes Catolicos. (for description of plaza read above) walk to the back of the plaza to calle navas!!

One of the best things about Granada is that you can walk EVERYWHERE. The only time I take public transportation is when I’m going to the bus station to leave Granada. Also, I’m a genius, and your hotel is in a great location so you will RARELY take cabs (probably only to and from the airport).

Alex and Mom: We are taking the 10:30 am bus to Cordoba. I will meet you at the bus station with your ticketes at like 10am. You will take the bus 3 to the estación de autobus from Gran Via (double check me on this though because the bus map is confusing) It is the last stop, when I take the bus from my house its 1.20euro yours might be a little more but probably no less than 2. I am taking the bus from the bus station to your hotel on Saturday so I will let you know around how long it takes and how much it costs.

-There are no traffic laws and no pedestrian laws.
-If you are walking on a sidewalk that looks like a sidewalk, is only wide enough to be a sidewalk, and can touch the buildings on either side by simply stretching out your arms, then you are probably on a road and will probably need to jump into a doorway when a bus comes barreling around the corner.
-They do not have laws about dogs on leashes. There are dogs running around but that does not mean they are strays. Entonces, there is a lot of dog poop. WATCH WHERE YOU STEP
-In the 1800s when the city became more urban they put these inconveniently placed metal pole things that just so happen to be knee high. Whoever designed this part of the city knew that I would be spending my semester here and wanted to have some entertainment. I happen to walk into these knee high metal posts on a daily basis and have permanently bruised knees. WATCH YOUR KNEES. No one is safe.

-Spanish people do not understand the concept of time. I do not understand when they work or when they sleep.
-Lunch is from 2-3
-Dinner is from 9-10
-You may think that 3 in the afternoon is a good time to do errands and go shopping but you would be wrong. The ENTIRE city shuts down from 2-5. Every shop is closed. It is very very strange. The shops reopen from 5-9 which is when most of the people do their shopping.

-There are lots of American students in Granada and there are quite a few people who speak English but they obviously appreciate the effort when you try and speak Spanish
-The accent in Granada is a bit difficult to understand.
For example: Gracias is pronounced grathias
Soy un estudiante en España=oy un etudiante en Epaña
-Helpful words and phrases
-Tirar=pull Empujar=push (this way they won’t know your American before you enter the store)
-Me pone, para mi,=ways to order something
Me pone una tortilla Espanola
Para mi una cerveza
-Aseos, servicios=ways to say bathroom they don’t say baño here
-Perdón=excuse me
-Tal luego=see ya later…they don’t say hasta luego o adios
-Vino tino=red wine
-My favorite things I’ve eaten here are tortilla Espanola, jamón cerrano, schwarma, churros,
-Do not eat migas (aka sawdust with squid) or ensalada rusa (mayonnaise and peas)
-Spain is famous for paella so you should obviously try it but I am personally not a fan.
-Tapas (small appetizers) are free in Granada. Tapas are a big part of Spanish culture but Granada is the only city where they are free when you order a drink.
-The bread is incredible and cheap…you must eat it every day
-Another thing you MUST eat are oranges from Valencia…while on this topic do NOT eat the oranges on the trees in Granada…TRUST me
-I am obsessed with the pastries here. My favorite is a palmera con chocolate. Supposedly we have them in the United States but I’d never seen them before. Also, the chocolate crossaints are TO DIE FOR and are called napoletanas. They are very inexpensive and are best when consumed daily.
-Kinder is a Spanish (or European…not sure) choclate bar that is choclate with hazlenut cream inside (another must). My favorite spansih chocolate bar is Bounty which is just like an almound joy but without the almonds (so chocolate and coconut)
-There are lots of candy stores here that sell gummys and stuff. They also sell mixed nuts and various trail mixes! I will stock up on trail mix for you guys or bring you to my favorite shop so we can pick it up for our journey to cordoba (the lady isn’t friendly but its called tutti frutti so I go there frequently)

-It should be high 50s/60s when you are here. I usually get hot when I walk around though so layer up! That way you can shed layers as we go. The sun is really strong here so bring sunscreen just in case! It is also 40s at night so bring a jacket. Right now I wear a long sleeve shirt or cardigan with jeans and boots (or flats or sneakers) every day. I wear a scarf in the morning with my jacket but always take my scarf off after about 10am. At night, same thing, jacket with scarf.

IF ITS NOT COMFORTABLE DON’T BRING IT (obviously…you’re smart packers)

Spanish people are really wear about shoes and feet. We have this joke that you can tell if someone is America based on the shoes that they’re wearing.

Dad/Pete: obviously bring comfy walking shoes (sneakers) but nice shoes are a MUST for restaurants etc.

-The water in Granada is totally fine and tastes great! One of my money saving techniques is that I bring my bucknell water bottle everywhere so I never have to pay for water.
-When you order water at a restaurant they will automatically give you a bottle. To save money you need to order un vaso de agua or agua del grifo

Oh, where to begin. I should probably start of by saying that we love her. She is hilarious and a good Señora. However, she is the most conservative person I have ever met and is incredibly racist. When invited over for dinner I would avoid any political conversations of any kind. We will probably watch TV during our meal (just a heads up)

I have class:

Monday: 8:30-10 1-2:30
Tuesday: 11-1:30 5-6:30
Wednesday: 8:30-10 11-12:30 1-2:30
Thursday: 11-1:30 5-6:30

Tentative alex/mom/lucy schedule
Saturday night: be ready at 5:15ish to see my FAVORITE place in Granada ☺
Sunday: I have Alhambra tickets at 2pm so we can maybe do mass on Sunday morning!
Monday: Cordoba tickets for 10:30am
Tuesday: Cathedral, shopping? Eating? Laughing (definitely!)
Wednesday: Maybe you guys can do Arab baths while I’m in class? Then we can wander around the Albaycin and Sacromonte (the caves where the gypsies live!)

Sorry this is so long (obviously I am not excited for you to come at all) I will probably need to add more. Whenever I’m walking to class I think of things!
Sunday March 6, 2011

Before I get into my Carnivale experience I would like to share a little anecdote about getting blood taken in Spain.
Before coming to Spain (actually 5 days before) I got diagnosed with a thyroid problem (thanks mom). They put me on synthroid and said that within 6 weeks I would need to have my blood taken and medication adjusted. After telling the doctor that I was about to embark on a 5.5 month stint in Spain she said that I could get it readjusted when I came home. So after going on the medication I felt great and all my symptoms went away! Then about a month or so ago my symptoms started to come back. I finally emailed my doctor and she said that it all sounded thyroid related and that it was probably time to readjust my medication but in order to do this I would need a blood test. I emailed Professor Delgado asking him about how to go about getting a blood test in Spain and whether or not he could come with me (I wanted someone who spoke both Spanish and English fluently to come with me). Well as it turns out he was in Texas and couldn’t come with me for about a week or so. So then I emailed Ana (the coordinator who only speaks Spanish). She called me and explained how since Delgado wasn’t around she could only come with me on Monday and that she was sorry but she explained where the clinic was. She told me to wait until Monday because it would be really beneficial for me to have a fluent Spanish speaker with me. Well, I didn’t like this answer. I wanted to get my blood tested asap so I could begin to adjust my medication so I could start feeling better. I grabbed my book, my passport, my credit card, looked up blood test, thyroid, and vein in my dictionary and headed out to the clinic.
So they woudln’t test my blood without a doctor’s appointment so I explained how it was for my doctor in the United States and that I didn’t actually need to be examined by a doctor so she put me on the list for the quick visit doctor’s appointments. I then found the doctor’s office from reception and camped out. After 15 minutes or so the doctor called my name and opened my file up on the computer…under personal information it said Es de los EEUU pero habla español muy bien (she’s from the US but she speaks Spanish very well). I explained my situation and my symptoms to the endocronologist and he wrote me a prescription up for a blood test. I then found my way from the doctors office to the blood lab and waited in line. When it was my turn I began explaining to the nurse that I had VERY tiny veins and that I wasn’t planning on getting blood taken today so I hadn’t had much water. She brought me water and began testing my veins. I tired to explain that she should be SURE before she stuck me because I usually have to get stuck 3 or 4 times before they are successful (like all the nurses in the US, she was confident in her abilities and just went for it) after 3 or 4 failed attempts I explained to her that I have a really good vein in my hand. She found this amusing and explained how they don’t do that in Spain (whatever lady). She finally got some blood out of me and I was relieved.

Oh, did I mention that NO ONE spoke English and I did ALL of this COMPLETELY in Spanish? I rock.

When I got home I emailed ana and said thanks but no thanks because I decided to take myself. She responded immediately saying that she was very proud of me and that I would not have been able to do it at the beginning of the semester!

Okay…on to Carnivale. I purchased a red wig and on Saturday at 2pm we boarded the bus in Granada to take the 5 hour journey to Cadiz (a beach town on the West coast of Spain FAMOUS for its carnivale). 19 of the Bucknell students were there and we claimed the back of the bus for ourselves. Everyone was dressed in funny costumes and bright colors. What is unique to the carnivale in Cadiz is that a lot of the costumes are politically related and have to do with current events. After our 5 hour bus ride we arrived in Cadiz. I wish there was an adjective to describe what I saw…it was Halloween+ Madri Gras+ Botellón (a Granada tradition of drinking outside in parks and picnicking) ON CRACK. There were THOUSANDS of people there dressed up in CRAZY costumes. It was SO overwhelming. I honestly cannot even explain it. There were parades and songs and food and drinks and performances and everyone was just crazy. It felt really safe and for the most part the bucknell group stuck together. I was definitely glad that I went but I would not do it again. We boarded the bus at 5am and headed back to Granada. I wish I could say more but I’m just so speechless.
Soon I will post Katie’s pictures of Carnivale (and the Canary Islands) so you can have somewhat of an idea. Doing a google image search of Carnivale in Cadiz gives you a pretty good picture of what it was like (if you’re curious).

SIX days until mom and alex (and my camera charger) ELEVEN days until dad and peter! Can you feel me wiggling with excitement all the way back in the United States?!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011
Well I have officially returned from the 80 degree weather of the canary islands. I could not have asked for a better weekend. The weather was perfect and the island was beautiful. Here we go:
Friday morning at 1:30 am Katie and I took the bus from Granada to Madrid. We have managed to find some very cheap flights but the disadvantage to flying inexpensively is that they are at really inconvenient times. Luckily I was able to completely pass out and when I awoke we were pulling into the Madrid bus station. Katie and I are Spanish metro professionals after Barcelona and were easily able to get ourselves via metro from the bus station to the airport where we met up with Jaclyn, Corinne, and Tamara. We boarded our 9am flight from Madrid to Lanzarote. When we landed I instantly fell in love. The island is so beautiful. It is made up of 136 volcanoes so all the beaches have mostly black sand. We took the bus from the airport to Puerto del Carmen which is the part of the island where we were staying. Every single home is white and there are flowers and cactuses everywhere. We walked from the bus stop to our apartment. There were 7 of us on the trip (Me, Katie, Tamara, Allison, Alyssa, Jaclyn, and Corrine). 5 of us were in one apartment (because we booked the trip first) and then Corrine and Jaclyn were in the apartment next door. Our apartment had 4 beds, a futon, a full bathroom, and a full kitchen and our apartment complex had a pool! Right down the street was this great little market so we bought some groceries and headed to the beach. We were tired from the flight so we just walked straight from our house to the ocean without looking at a map. We found this adorable little cove that had a few families enjoying the waves. Every beach in the canary islands is a topless beach and that came as quite a shock but we soon got used to it. We spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean. There is volcanic rock everywhere and we later learned (from our excursion to the volcanic national park) that in 1732 there was a volcanic eruption that lasted 6 years, covered 20 towns with lava, and killed many. So all of the volcanic rock is from that eruption. After a few hours on the beach we wandered home to shower and ran into Allison and Alyssa who had come in on a later flight. WE showered and went out for a delicious Chinese dinner. After dinner we wandered around the town and scoped out the situation for the next day.

Saturday morning we woke up early in hopes of going to the caves that were formed from the volcanic eruption. Unfortunately public transportation doesn’t really exist on the island and the only way for us to get there was through a group excursion which were all full for that weekend. So we started off our day a little disappointed but we managed to get ourselves on an excursion for early Monday morning to the national volcanic park. We went home and put on our suits and headed to playa grande which is the main beach in Puerto del Carmen. We brought our own lunches and spent the day on the beach. It was so beautiful and the water was refreshing. After all the traveling and school it was so nice to have time to just lay…being in spain isn’t nearly as stressful as being at bucknell but it is much more exhausting. I did not realize how tired I was. After the beach we went home and showered and changed for dinner. Lanzarote is known as being the cleanest and safest of the Canary Islands…it is also known as the old people island…we were probably the only college aged people there. It was fine because we were exhausted every day and weren’t looking for big night life but it did come as a bit of a shock. We got a lot of attention from the locals. On Saturday night we were wandering looking for a cheap place to eat when we happened upon this restaurant that overlooked the ocean. We ended up talking to the owner who gave us a free bottle of wine, free bread (bread is not free in spain), and a round of free chupitos. All we paid for was our food! We each got a pizza and the bill (the WHOLE bill for SEVEN people) came to be 41 euros. It was actually incredible. They were just so ecxited to see young people that they showered us with attention (no complaints on my part). After dinner we went right to sleep because we were sooo tired.

Sunday: We had done a little bit of research before we came where we learned that the best place to snorkel on the island was on this tiny little beach called playa chica. So we got out our map and walked the hour walk to playa chica. We rented snorkel equipment and spent the morning snorkeling through the reefs and rocks. It was so cool! I saw nemo ☺ Then we walked home to take a break from the sun and had cocktails and lunch on our porch! From there we went back to our little cove and enjoyed the late afternoon reading and napping on the beach (tough life huh?). We were all so tired that for dinner we ate the rest of our sandwich makings and were asleep by 11.

Monday: We woke up early to pack and clean up our apartment. We then hauled our suitcases down the island to the excursion center where we caught the bus to the volcanic national park. Before we entered the park we stopped at the first part of our tour. WE GOT TO RIDE CAMELS! I rode a camel through valleys between volcanoes. It was AWESOME and a little bit scary and very smelly. Katie and I were on the same camel (I named him Omar) It was definitely something I will never ever ever forget. It was so beautiful and weird looking at the same time. I had never been that close to so many volcanoes before. After departing from Omar we got back on the bus and drove up to the tallest volcanic peak where we stopped and learned about the history and enjoyed the view (it was very very windy though) We could only stand in certain spots though or else our shoes would melt! There is a restaurant at the top of the peak that uses the heat from the volcano as its stove! They were grilling chicken, sausage, and fish using only the natural heat from the volcano! Then we got back on the bus and drove through the valleys of the volcanos. This part is only for people on excursions and you are not allowed to get out of the bus because of the heat and they do not want tourists and people to destroy the natural beauty of the remnants of the volcanic eruption. Our tour guide said that this park is the closest thing on earth to Mars and that parts of the park had been used to film Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes. After the tour through the volcanic park we stopped at the vineyard and got a free wine tasting! Although right now there were no grapes we got to see the miles and miles of vines. It was so cool! From there the tour guide was nice enough to drop us off at the airport where we boarded the plane back to Madrid!

Do not worry, I wore SPF 45 the entire time and reapplied at least twice a day. I was the only person to not get badly burnt! I did however get burnt a little on my lips and my feet (this was my first foot sunburn experience and I can say that I will never forget to put sunscreen on my feet from now on)

Have this week in Granada preparing for Mom, Alex, Dad, and Pete’s visit! Heading to Carnival in Cadiz on Saturday (google image this to see what I will be participating in!). Katie and I are going to the costume shop this week to buy masks and wigs!!

Send me email updates! I miss everyone and get home sick!

I will put Katie’s pictures up soon (its rough not having a camera but pretty soon mom will bring my charger!!)

Besos y abrazos!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Classes are going really well!
Society and Politics of Spain: This one is my hardest class. It is Monday and Wednesday from 8:30am-10am and the Professor is from Granada so his accent is really thick. I have a really hard time understanding him but it is getting easier and easier every day. We learned all about the regime of Franco….i did not realize that, that was not that long ago! And are learning about the beginning of democracy in Spain. We watch the news every day during lunch/dinner so its really cool to be able to apply what i‘m learning in class to what I see on TV.

POE:I forget what it stands for but it is a class solely dedicated to oral practice. We spend the entire hour and a half having normal conversations conducted by an awesomeee professor. She corrects us when necessary but we’re getting to know each other really well and the class always flies by.

Art History (Baroqe-present): this class is a tad boring. We started learning about architecture and now we’re talking about sculptures. The professor talks. Really. Slowly. And it gets boring. He’s a really nice guy and I’m definitely learning a lot that I can apply to the things I’ve seen so far in Spain (and will see in the future) but sometimes it drags a little bit.

Modern Lit: Right now we are studying poesía modernismo. We’ve read some poems that I’ve really liked and others not so much. The professor is very conceited. He is fluent in English and Spanish and chooses to speak half in English and half in Spanish. It gets really frustrating because we’re here to learn Spanish!! He has good intentions but he only uses English when he thinks we don’t understand or to swear so it kind of feels like he is talking down on us when he speaks in English. We are in the highest level at the CLM and understand his Spanish! No need for English!! Grrr

I also have a class once a week with Professor Delgado and the rest of the Bucknell students. This class is Spanish history and culture. We learn about what we’ve seen on our trips, what we’re going to see, and more about the history of spain. Its interesting yet boring at the same time haha if that makes any sense. I love professor Delgado but he LOOOVEs to talk and sometimes we spend so much time talking about the most useless things.

This coming Monday is the annual holiday of Andalucia! Entonces, no hay clases! ENTONCESSS, I’m going to the Canary Islands with 6 other girls ☺ Hasta luego!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Things are good! It was really rainy the last few days but it was absolutely beautiful today. 65 and sunny! I didn't even need a coat! Classes are going well nothing to complain about. I had a really fun weekend! Katie's friends from home were here and we celebrated one of their 21st birthdays. We got free champagne!! Right now there is a French girl staying with us just for the week. She is here with her school to do an intensive Spanish class. She is 14 and doesn't speak spanish or english. Needless to say, its pretty awkward. She seems like a sweet girl but i don't know how she handles it. If i was 14 I would not be able to do that. Going to the canary islands this weekend! So excited! Really starting to count down the days until mom, alex, dad, and pete visit! Planning the itinerary and such.

Funny señora story of the week:
She is very old fashioned and OBSESSED with the weather. Whenever she sees snow on the TV she FREAKS out. If only she could see what the yellow house looked like this winter. Also, I've been sick a lot and Spanish people freak out when you get a cold (hence why she sent me to the hospital) Anyways, I was getting ready to go out at night and it had been a warm day so i was wearing jeans, a top, a jacket, and flats. She looks at me when i come out of my room and says (this is all in spanish of course) "you can't go out like that". now im thinking that my shirt is too low cut or something and am trying to figure out what is wrong with what i'm wearing. Then she points to my feet where I'm wearing my silver sequin flats that Kari gave me. She points to my feet and says "you need socks". She made me wear socks underneath my flats and then watched as i got on the elevator. I had to take off my socks and keep them in my purse all night. It was unfortunate to have stinky socks in my purse every time i went to reach for my phone/money.



Sunday, February 13, 2011


Okay, I know its been awhile. Everything ahs been so hectic! I started classes this week and I love my professors. Most of the kids in my classes are from the US which is kind of a bummer but only one of my professors speaks English. So awesome!

Okay…Barcelona. Where to begin! It was absolutely incredible. One of those experiences that almost feels like a dream. I remember when I went to Paris with Alex as soon as we landed in New York and met up with my mom we declared it was the PERFECT trip (we couldn’t declare it before because we didn’t want to jinx it). That is exactly how Barcelona felt. The weather was absolutely incredible and Tamara had a friend from high school who was studying in Barcelona who is a history major who showed us around and taught us all about the architecture and the history of everything. We saved so much money on tours and transportation because we had him! Here we go…

Thursday morning we caught the bus from our house to the Granada bus station where we caught the bus from Granada to Malaga. It is so strange to be driving along the beach…in the mountains. Palm trees and mountains…it still seems a little off to me but it sure is beautiful. The bus ride was like an hour and a half and we arrived at the Malaga airport with plenty of time. We checked in and wandered around eating our lunches that our senora packed for us. We got on the plane and our flight was a little less than 2 hours. Because we are such good travelers we did all the research on transportation before arriving. Our hostal mapped out the cheapest way to get from the airport to the hostal on the website. So we hopped on the train at the airport and then transferred a few times and ended up in our neighborhood in Barcelona called Poble Sec. It was really nice and safe! Our hostal was awesome! We totally lucked out! We were sleeping in a room with 5 other girls who were all really nice. 2 from Minnesota, one from Brazil, one from Australia, and one from France. Between all of our Spanish and English we could communicate but it was funny. The hostal was kind of hippie like and very relaxed. Every one was sooooo nice! The hostal had free dinner on Thursday night so we took advantage of that! After dinner we met up with Tamara’s friend in the subway. He took us to this bar called the oveja negra (black sheep) which is an old converted warehouse into a bar. It had this hugeee long tables and was really inexpensive. It was the place to be for college aged Spanish students. There weren’t very many Americans there and we made lots of Spanish friends! From there we went to this club on the beach that was beautiful! I ran into a girl from high school there. It was very funny! We stayed there until 5am and then took the metro home.

Friday we slept until 11 and then rallied and headed to parc guell. I don’t know why I hadn’t really heard of Gaudi and his influence on Barcelona but I was amazed. I felt like I was in Disney world/in a dr. seuss book. It was all of these mosaics and weird shapes and animals. I don’t even know how to explain it! (Link below for pictures) Tamara’s friend explained to us that Gaudi was inspired by nature and since there were no straight lines in nature he did not believe that there should be straight lines in architecture which was obvious! We wandered around the park and listened to the performers. It was a beautiful day. From there we had lunch (bocadillas as always) and got on the subway to the Sagrada familia. Now, I’m not quite sure why in my 7 years of Spanish studies I have never come across Guadi and the Sagrada Familia. There is nothing like it in the entire world. Its this cathedral built by Gaudi that kind of looks like a drip castle. It was really funny because we got off the subway and I went to take out the map to figure out how to get there from the subway stop and I turned around and it felt like the wind got knocked out of me. The cathedral was RIGHT THERE. And it is HUGE and strange looking. It was absolutely incredible. The three of us were absolutely silent for at least 5 minutes because we were just taking it in. We then met Tamara’s friend in the park and he told us about the history and how they have been building it for 100 years and it is still under construction. They are estimating that it will be finished in 2028 but no one is quite sure whether or not that is possible. It was 12 euros to go inside so we didn’t make the investment but I plan to come back in 2028 or whenever it is finished so I can see the inside. I wish I could come up with more to say about Sagrada Familia because it was the most incredible thing I have ever seen. I can’t even explain it. Maybe my pictures can do it more justice. Zach then took us walking around the city to see the Gaudi buildings which are other apartment buildings that Guadi constructed. What an incredible artist! We were pretty tired after this so we went back to the hostal and napped. For dinner we met up with Zach and his friends for tapas at this really cool place and had lots of Sangria! Yummm! We then went to this really cool bar that was made to feel like you were in a forest. It even smelled like a forest. It was so cool! We were pretty tired at this point so we wandered home before 2 so we could catch the metro before it closed.

On Saturday we woke up on the earlier side so we could check out on time. We then went to the gardens (I can’t remember their names!) which were beautiful. From there we went to the Miro museum. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love art. I love museums but I was notttt a fan of this one. I just did not understand it. I felt like I was looking at my kindergarten art projects. The view from the top of the museum of all of Barcelona was pretty awesome though. That definitely made it worth it. From the museum Zach took us to the 1992 olympic stadium. It was AWESOME! It was sooo huge! We read about the history and there were lots of cats sleeping in the sun in the stadium. From there we went to the castle. The castle had a beautiful view of the city and we sat there for awhile soaking it in. We then went for bocadillas before heading to the beach. The beach was so beautiful and the pier was crowded with people fishing and enjoying the day. There were so many beautiful boats and palm trees! I stuck my toes (brrrrrrr) in the Mediterranean! From there we wandered up and down Las Ramblas which is the major touristy area. I bought Peter a Barcelona jersey! I was so proud of myself I bargained in Spanish! I got it from 42 euro to 24! He said because I was so pretty and my Spanish was so good that he would make me a deal. He said that he doesn’t usually make deals for Americans because he doesn’t like them but my Spanish was good. It was so nice. Then we were heading towards the cathedral (not Sagrada Familia…the really old Barcelona catedral) when we happened on this festival. Now I haven’t really had problems with anxiety in Spain until this festival. There were these GIANT puppets that were probably about 10 or 15 feet tall that had people inside of them and were dancing around the square. They were terrifying. There was music playing and these giant puppets everywhere. I could not get out of that plaza fast enough. We went from there to the cathedral which is normally closed because it is under construction (like all of spain) but because of this festival it was open. It had this giant courtyard in the middle that was outside and full of these beautiful white geese. There were red candles everywhere and I lit candles like I do in every cathedral. From there we watched street performers in this plaza and wandered around a market. Then Zach took us to the concert hall which is a building constructed by one of Gaudi’s students. It was incredible and I actually liked it even more than I liked Gaudi’s buildings. For dinner we went to this little restaurant and watched the Barcelona soccer game. Everyone was so into it! It was so exciting! Afterwards we had wine in our hostal and met lots of the backpackers, people from alllll over the world! Then we went out for mohitos before we caught the night bus to the airport for our 6am flight!

We had quite an adventure and saw everything that I could have ever wanted to see. The weather was beautiful and I really really loved it. I have 12 days in Granada until we travel to the Canary Islands at the end of February. Who is luckier than me? I feel truly blessed ☺

Here is the link to my pictures! You can view them even if you don’t have a facebook!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY! i have internet :) i am posting this cozy from my bed and not from a loud cafe or in the computer lab at school. it was quite the adventure but its all worth it now :)

i started classes on monday. I'm taking society and politics of spain, spanish art history baroque-present, modern spanish literature, and the required spanish language class. work wise the classes are going to be really easy. however, it is very difficult to have all of my classes in spanish. no zoning out here!

heading off to Barcelona tomorrow with Katie and Tamara. Just so happens that the boys on our trip booked the same flight to Barcelona so we'll have travel buddies. I'm doing research now on cool places to go and things to see in Barcelona. I am very excited.

Feeling a little better. Still kind of weak and sniffly. Hopefully I have a good long night sleep tonight because I have a long day of travel ahead of me tomorrow!

Monday, February 7, 2011

go to this link (even if you don't have a facebook) to view all 194 of my photos from this past week!
Here we go! My tour de España!
We left Granada at around 8am and began the 7 hour bus ride to Segovia. I slept most of the way which was nice but it was loonngg. It was so beautiful and as we got farther and farther north there was more and more snow. Our senora backed us tortilla Espanola bocadillas which are like omelette sandwiches. I didn’t think I would like it but it was soooo good! When we finally got to Segovia it was freeeezing! None of us were prepared for that. We dropped our stuff off in the hotel and went to the Castle of Reyes Catolicos aka Ferdinand e Isabel. This castle was where Walt Disney got his inspiration for the castle in Disney World! We climbed all the way to the top tower (152 steps) and from there we could see all of Segovia! Afterwards we took a tour of the castle which had museums of the armor and weapons that were used during this time. It was so beautiful. We then walked to the part of Segovia that is most famous, the aqueducts. They were so big and overwhelming I could hardly believe it! It is hard to imagine how something that big and complex could have been constructed so long ago with no heavy machinery and technology! Then we went back to the hotel for dinner where we had a beautiful meal. Because there are so many of us we often don’t get to choose the menu which is fine but our starting course was this seafood soup. I swear the squid was still alive. I just sipped the broth and let my friend eat the swimming creatures. For the main course we had this kind of beef stew that was soooo yummy and dessert we had tiramisu. We tried to find a bar or something to go to after dinner but Segovia is a very quiet town so I ended up just going back to the hotel and video chatting with mom. All the hotels we stayed at had internet so I was veryyy happy!

Early morning wake up and breakfast. The breakfast in Spain is very strange. You eat pastries and meat and cheese. I like it but it is weird. After breakfast we packed up on the bus and drove to Avila. Like most of the small older in Spain, Avila is surrounded by a muralla (city wall). It was huge! Then we went into the cathedral which is the oldest one in spain. It was beautiful but sooo cold! We didn’t stay long because we could see our breath inside the church. We then boarded the bus and headed to Salamanca! Salamanca is my second favorite city in Spain (Toledo is my favorite..more details later).It had the city feel but it was still a small town and wasn’t overwhelming and scary. We dropped our things off in the hotel and had lunch in the hotel. We had ratatouille as our first course, chicken and French fries (French fries are VERY popular in Spain) as our entrée, and ice cream for dessert! After lunch we toured Salamanca. We went first to the cathedral. The cathedral in Salamanca is the largest in Spain. It was first built in the 1100s and then was later added onto in the 1300s. The old and new cathedrals are both attached. We first went into the new cathedral. I don’t know what it was about it but I was at a loss for words. I ended up wandering around alone because I just wanted to absorb it. I lit a candle for Kari and had a moment of silence while I took it all in. Afterwards we went into the old cathedral and climbed up the tower so we could view all of Salamanca. It was incredible. Then we climbed even further and went back into the new cathedral and walked around on the balcony so we could see the cathedral fully and from a great perspective. I was basically in tears at this point because I was so overwhelmed. It was just so grand and simple and beautiful.
After the cathedral we went to the University of Salamanca which is the oldest University in Spain. I wasn’t a huge fan of this part of the tour but regardless it was cool. We walked around the old classrooms that are now “retired” because the teaches were so extraordinary (like its ports when a famous athlete stops playing and the team retires their number). The desks and seats were so old and the wood was beautiful. Outside the university there is this wall of stone carvings with a hidden frog. If you can find the frog its good luck! Luckily, we all found the frog! We then went to the Plaza Mayor which was incredibly beautiful and there were so many street performers and people just enjoying the day, it was so nice. For dinner we went to this Italian restrauant/sports bar. It was the first time we could order our own food and it was nice haha. I had ravioli and we drank beer as we watched Madrid beat Seville in fútbol! IT was so exciting! Afterwards we went to this karaoke bar where we met up with the rest of the group. It was so much fun! The next day we boarded up the bus and headed off to Madrid!

We arrived in Madrid and dropped off our stuff at the hotel. We then went to el museo del jamón for lunch. There were pigs hanging from the ceiling. It was a little much to see before lunch. I had jamón iberica y melon and tortilla Espanola for lunch while everything else had paella. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the paella. There was lots and lots of food! It was soo yummy! Afterwards we had a little bit of free time so we wandered around Madrid. We stumbled upon the Post Office….when I say post office I don’t mean like your average post office. This looked like a castle! It was incredible. We just stood on the side of the street while we stared at it and marveled at its beauty. For some reason I hadn’t heard great things about Madrid and wasn’t expecting it to blow me away like it did. I loved the city. It kind of reminded me of NYC except it has beautiful plazas, palaces, cathedrals, and its in Europe (duh). We then met up with the rest of the group and went to see the palace. After having been to Versailles I had some pretty big expectations. It certainly was no Versailles but it gave it a run for its money. We toured the inside and looked at the view of Madrid. We then went to Plaza Mayor (different than in Salamanca obviously) which was beautiful (sorry I need to find a thesaurus). We were all still full from our lunch of the museum of ham so we went out for tapas and wine for dinner. We then met up with the rest of our group at a night club and danced the night away!

Day 2 in Madrid. We had an early breakfast and then went to the Prado! We did not have enough time in the museum but it was beautiful. I have been studying Spanish for nine years and I can easily say that every year we have spent a little time studying Spanish art so this was the first tiem I had been to an art museum where I knew a lot about the artists and their works of art. We saw the painting Las Meninas by Velazquez which is easily my favorite Spanish painting. It was huge and I never imagined it to be that big. We saw lots of other paintings that I had remembered from my text books and it was wonderful to have that experience. After the prado we went to lunch and then to the Reina Sofia which is another art museum. This museum housed Picasso and Salvador Dalí. It was absolutely incredible! After the museums we rested, showered, and went for dinner. After dinner I met up with Lindsey (neighbor and best friend since I was 4) who is currently living in Madrid. It was so nice to see her! We went to this bar and met up with other people from our high school that were in Spain. It was really nice to see everyone. Lindsey took me to the most famous nightclub in Spain which is 7 stories! We danced the night away!

We packed up our things and headed to Toledo. Not a single picture or word can do justice to the beauty of Toledo. The cathedral was out of this world in its detail and art. There was an art museum within the cathedral entirely devoted to Greco. I could not believe my eyes. We then went to a Synagogue and then went to see the most famous painting by Greco. All of these things were wonderful but what took my breath away was the view from the city. I got goose bumps while looking out at the landscape. I actually cannot even describe it. You could see for miles into the hills of Spain. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
We then packed ourselves up onto the bus and headed back to Granada!

I cannot believe all I have seen this week. My body is completely worn out. On Friday I began to feel a little sick again and then on Saturday I was absolutely sick. I came home and my senora instantly knew I was sick again. She made me tea and put me to bed very early. I slept until 4pm the next day and knew I was in trouble. There was food waiting outside my door so I had a little snack. I knew that I didn’t just have a normal cold so I called Delgado and he told me he could take me to the doctor tomorrow so I went back to sleep until 7pm. I awoke to my senora on the phone outside my door. She came in and took my temperature and freaked out and ran to the phone. I didn’t really know what was going on. She brought the phone to me and it was Ana (our program director who does not speak English). I talked to Ana on the phone and tried to explain to her that I wasn’t that sick. Next thing I knew Lolita had me all bundled up on the way to the hospital. I called Katie who was at the café online and she met me there. Lolita did not come with me and I was really mad at her. Yes, I had a fever and was obviously sick but I did not need to go to the hospital. Sometimes the language barrier is too much to handle. Ana took care of the difficult part and then I waited in the waiting room with Katie and Ana of the Spanish ER. The doctor was very nice but didn’t speak English (obviously) so it was very nice of Ana to come with me. He gave me a prescription and I went to the 24 hour pharmacy. I picked up my medicine and went home. It was a huge ordeal and if anyone ever comes with me I would recommend not going to the Spanish emergency room because all the magazines are in Spanish. I started the antibiotics and am already feeling a little better. I start classes tomorrow and I told Lolita that I was going no matter what (she was not pleased with this and is trying to convince me not to go to class). She force fed me yogurt.
I have a full week of classes ahead of me and then I’m off to Barcelona with Katie and Tamara on Thursday night for the weekend. Hopefully the antibiotics make me better fast!

I will post the link for the pictures as soon as I can. I actually didn’t have a working camera on the trip (I don’t have a camera charger) so they are all taken by Katie and her camera.

Hope you all aren’t completely snowed in!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday 1/24/11
I had such a nice weekend but I sure am exhausted. I’m having a hard time keeping up with the Spanish life style and its taking a toll on my health a little bit. I’m sick again but it could still be the same cold from before. Tomorrow I have class with Professor Delgado so I’m going to ask him to recommend some medicine that I could go buy because I finished the last medicine my senora gave me and it was really gross so I don’t want to take it again.
I had a lovely day today. Class this morning from 9-1 and then I went to get schwarma with 3 other girls from my class. Schwarma is this type of gyro thing that is INCREDIBLE. For some reason they have it all over Europe but I’ve never seen it in the united states. I really can’t even explain it. It has lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, olives and then you pick your meat (lamb, beef or chicken) and then it has this yogurt/sour cream sauce on it. Our favorite place to go is called Kebab King and the guy there thinks we’re hilarious because we come a lot and we get so excited. After lunch Katie and I went back to school because we have a presentation tomorrow. Every body in the class has to present a Spanish current event and conduct a debate. Katie and I are discussing the new laws in Spain regarding smoking in bars and restaurants. Before January 1st it was legal to smoke everywhere except in office building and in schools. However now, it is illegal to smoke in any restaurant, bar, club etc. It has been a very controversial piece of legislation due to the fact that over 30% of the population smokes. Obviously I am in favor of it. I can’t imagine coming here before the law and always being around smokers. Its nice that the bars and restaurants are smoke free! I definitely appreciate it.
After school Katie and I wandered around a bit. The day was nice out and we didn’t have much to do at home. I checked out some hotels for mom and alex and katies family too, and had a really difficult time explaining what a twin bed was. Cama gemelo is the exact translation but does NOT mean twin bed. Lesson learned. My apologies. Also, after going to SEVERAL hotels I also learned that it is not common to have a fridge. But it was a really good time to practice my Spanish. Afterwards Katie and I had to buy textbooks for our Bucknell class but EVERYTHING is closed in Spain from 2-5. EVERYTHING. So when we finally found the book store it was closed. We had completely forgotten this custom. So Katie and I wandered over to a nice little café and had sangria and bocadillas while people watching in the street. It was really nice. Kind of chilly but nice wht the sun on our faces. There was this one woman sitting behind us who was smoking, reading a book, drinking a beer, and listening to music…talk about multi tasking! Its kind of annoying that Katie and I stick out wherever we go with our blonde hair and pale faces but our Spanish is getting pretty good so its funny to see the surprise on people’s faces when we can understand their Spanish.
Finally, at around 5 we headed back to the book store. There are tonsss of book stores around the city but this one was awesome! We found our text books and then wandered around and looked at all the familiar books but in Spanish versions. I also picked up a pocket dictionary so next time I don’t look like I have 7 heads when I try and describe a twin sized bed (the proper word is cama noventa by the way…bed 90 who knew?!) I realized later how crazy I must have sounded….
Me: do you have beds for twins?
Concierge: yes…twins can sleep in our beds.
Me: no no, beds that are twin sized
Concierge: yes…twins can fit in our beds. Are you a twin?
Me: no no small beds
Concierge: For a baby? Si.
Me: no no for an adult. But only one adult.
Concierge: ohhhhh! Camas noventas. Si claro.
Me: yes!! Do you have rooms with 2?
Concierge: no.
Me: do your rooms have fridges?
Concierge: no.
Me: Can I see a room?
Concierge: no.
Me: K BYE.
It was very entertaining.
Quiet evening tonight because I’m still not feeling so good. Tomorrow we have class in the morning and Professor Delgado’s class in the evening. I hope you aren’t all drowning in snow!!

Friday 1/28/11
I wish I was doing a better job at keeping up at this. Its really hard to do without internet. Our senora told us that she ordered a router 3 weeks ago and it still hasn’t arrived. Katie and I are suspicious and are about to take matters into our own hands.
My intensive Spanish class is wrapping up and we have our final on Monday. 1 hour of writing 1 hour of reading 1 hour of listening and 1 hour of speaking. YIKES. Then on Tuesday we’re off to Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca, and Segovia. I’m so excited. I love Granada but I’m looking forward to a change. Also, my neighbor and good friend since age 4, Lindsey is living in Madrid right now and I’m very excited to see her. I’ve been really home sick lately and it will be nice to see a face from home. Its been raining the last couple of days and for some reason I kind of like the city in the rain. Its obviously not as beautiful but it feels peaceful kind of.
Today was our last day of class so Katie, Tamara, Elise and I went out for lunch afterwards to celebrate. We were going to go to this one restaurant but when we got there we realized it was really expensive so we wandered around the city in the rain until we found this little hole in the wall gem of a place. It was Argentinian and the food was amazing. There were only like 5 tables in the whole place, 1 waitor, and 1 chef. They treated us like royalty. We ordered wine (claro que si) and toasted to the completion of our Spanish intensive class. The gave us tapas with our wine which were delicious. I don’t even know how to describe them, they were like little empanadas with cheese and corn. YUM. Then we ordered grilled provolone which was ammaaaazing. OH and to top it off we ate bread that they had made in their own restaurant. It actually melted in my mouth. For my meal I had a salad with nuts, cheese, and apples. Then, because they liked us so much they brought us this chocolate liquor served in chocolate cups. The woman then revealed that she was actually from the England and spoke English and she said that she was very impressed with our Spanish and that we weren’t like most American students! We were flattered. She then gave us the business card for her hair salon where they speak English! She said that when she first came to Granada the hardest thing was going to get her hair cut because her Spanish wasn’t very good and it was hard to communicate what she wanted done. Katie and Tamara were very excited about that.
Tomorrow we’re going to the Sierra Nevada with a lot of the people from our group. Some people are going skiing but I’m just going to walk around. Its supposed to be beautiful, I’m really excited.

Sunday 1/30/11
Yesterday (Saturday) we went to the Sierra Nevada. We took a 10 minute bus ride from our house to the Granada bus station and took a bus from there to the mountains. It took about 1 and a half hours and it was an incredibly beautiful ride, very windy though. When we got to the top it was covered in snow and very cold but it was awesome. Katie, Tamara, and I didn’t ski but the other kids we came with did (there were 5 others). We were expecting to camp out in a lodge but for some reason there wasn’t one so we went from café to restaurant to café enjoying the view, the snow, and each other’s company. We brought packed lunches so we had to eat very discreetly so we wouldn’t get in trouble at the restaurant. On the way home we wanted to sleep so tamra, Katie, and I sat in different rows on the bus so we could put our heads up against the window and nap. At the very last second this group of 3 guys came on the bus and each sat down next to one of us. Tamara sat with Jesus from Madrid who is 30 and sells aluminum, Katie sat next to Travis who is from San Francisco and is teaching English in Madrid, and I sent down next to Javier who is from Granada and owns a restaurant. Javier and I spoke in Spanish the whole way and he gave me lots of tips and it was so cool! After we got home Lolita invited Tamara over for tea it was so cute.
At night we went to this club called Camborio (I had never been there before but some of the others had). It is all the way north of Granada and is VERRYY uphill. Then all of a sudden you turn a corner and there is the Alhambra all lit up and beautiful. The club is in a cave and has two levels. The dance floor is in a green house where you are literally surrounded by mountains and the Alhambra. It was truly incredible.

Today Katie and I slept until 2 and then 2 of Lolita’s grandchildren came over. Racquel is 3 and Julio Cesar is 2. They are ADORABLE. Katie and I colored with them and then they taught us how to dance. It was hilarious. I have my 4 hour final tomorrow morning at 9 and then we have the rest of the week off. The group is traveling to Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Madrid, and Toledo. Here is my itinerary so you can follow my travels!
• 8am: Leave Granada
• 3pm: Arrive in Segovia
• 4pm: tour of the cathedral
• 8:30 dinner in hotel
• 8am: breakfast in hotel
• 9am: leave hotel
• 10:20: stop in Avila
• 11:30: leave for Salamanca
• 1:30: arrive in Salamanca
• 2pm: Lunch in hotel
• 4: special tour of the city
• 8am breakfast in hotel
• 9am leave hotel
• 12:30 arrive in Madrid
• 1:30 eat in Museo del jamón
• 4:30 Palacio Real
• 9am: breakfast in hotel
• 12:45 museo del prado
• 2:30 lunch at the famous restaurant La Cocina de Neptuno
• 5:30: Museo de arte Reina Sofia
• 9am: leave for Toledo
• 10-4: tour of the Sinagoga del Tránsito, Santo Tomé (Greco museum), Catedral, y Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz
• 4pm: Plaza de Zocodover and leave for Granada
• 8:30 pm: arrive home in Granada

BUSY BUSY WEEK! I should have internet at the hotel so I will try and keep in touch!