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!