Madrid is often called the cultural and historical hub of Spain. With a thriving art scene, world-renowned museums, and dozens of impressive, monumental structures, Madrid lives up the that name. You can stroll through the touristy Plaza Mayor or be impressed by the grandeur of Palacia Real. Get lost among the funky and unique barrios (neighborhoods) or in the mass of red at a heated Real Madrid football match. There is a niche here for all types of travelers, so book your Madrid hotel in a great location and dive in.
As a thriving European metropolis, many people make their way to Barcelona each year to see the famous sights like Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Las Ramblas. Each of these offer something breathtaking and unique to their visitors, but for those who have been to Barcelona before or are spending more than a few days in the city, you may want to explore beyond the key sites. This list is therefore a compilation of the tourist activities in Barcelona that may not be on your radar just yet. So book your Barcelona hotel and add some of these activities to your trip’s itinerary.
Last weekend Reid and I headed to Barcelona for the second time this year. I started writing a post about it, only to discover I had never written about our first trip there back in September! So here, I will regale you with the details and photos of our trip.
When I agreed to climb up Montserrat rather than take the Fernicular (or cable car), I thought I was trading views from a murky window for breathtaking expanses from craggy outcrops. And indeed I was. I was also trading hydration, comfort, regular breathing patterns, and stoicism. By the time I reached the top of that small mountain, I was sweaty and cranky as could be. But what an amazing journey it was! It was absolutely worth it.
Continue reading Climbing Montserrat: An Unintentional Pilgrimage
I thought I’d give you all a little taste of what my digs are like here in Spain and post some much needed photos. At the end I’ve given some pros and cons to the place and a rent/utilities breakdown for anyone who’s interested. It may surprise you to know that our rent is considered ‘expensive’ for a one-bedroom apartment but since we’re in the city center, I can’t complain.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that this blog has changed in appearance in the last few weeks. I have finally buckled down and tried to learn how to build a blog on my own (well, with a lot of really helpful plugins and gadgets). Why, you may ask? What the hell was I thinking? I’ve asked myself that second question a few times. I wanted to invest more time and energy into my blog to give you, my dear readers, good content and an easier blog to navigate. And boy did I invest a lot of time into building this thing! I had no idea I would spend hours and hours just figuring out how to change font colors, ‘continue reading’ buttons, or my favorite, changes that I would later undo. Continue reading A New Chapter, A New Look
In my junior year of college I decided to go to Spain on a whim. A serious whim (as in, no real planning went into this decision). I didn’t know anyone in the study abroad program, I knew nothing about the culture other than what I learned in class, and I was trying to finish up my minor degree in one semester. I was having some other life crises at the time as well, but that’s another story…
So, with the program, I moved to Cádiz in Southern Andalucía for four months (Andaluthia, if we’re being really accurate here). I had an amazing time. I made lifelong friends that I was able to travel with and see Europe for the first time. I tasted delicious food, wine, coffee, and pastries. I saw so many amazing pueblos and Spanish cities that looked untouched by time and modernization. I also had a warm and caring host mom who force-fed me tortilla and gazpacho on a regular basis, and I loved it!
However, I did have a few regrets at the end of the journey. I think I went for the wrong reasons and therefore did not fully appreciate being there. I was afraid to speak Spanish so I relied on English and didn’t immerse myself in the language. It was also my first time in Europe, so rather than using free weekends and trips to see the rest of Spain, I went to see other countries, like Ireland and Morocco. As I said before, I had a wonderful time! But by the end of my four months there, I was homesick and distracted and ready to move on.
Now, nearly 4 years later, I have an intense desire, dare I say need, to go back to that wonderful country and appreciate it in all its glory. I want to keep traveling, to keep teaching English, and most importantly, to use my Spanish! I miss the food, the people, the lifestyle, the small towns, the lisping S’s and rolling R’s. I want to do well by Spain this time, to be a true and caring lover (yeah, I’m using an affair metaphor here, that’s how serious we’re talking!).
So, I have applied to two English teaching programs in Spain that will allow me to legally live there for a year. So far in this blog, I am writing about my efforts to get into the programs and the torturous anticipation of the waiting process. In the meantime, I will regale you with my stories of European travel and weigh you down with my hopes and dreams for my future year abroad. Or, for something a little different, you can always check out the Thailand portion of this blog. Enjoy!