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!