Thursday, February 26, 2009

I did it. I survived midterms. Let me tell you, it was a battle.
- I wrote a ten page paper on the entire history of all of latin america
- I wrote a three page in-class essay on the influences on the generation of 1898 in Spanish literature and how this translated into the works of Miguel de Unamuno and reates to the wors of Proust.
- I took a hellish grammar exam, and have a 10 page packet to finish for Monday
- I wrote an essay and 15 short answers in classrelating the philosophies of Plato to that of Plontino and how that translitioned into the Catholic theologies of Saint Augustine and eventually Santa Teresa de Jesus and San Juan de la Cruz.
- I wrote a 5 page in class essay about the reforms of the second republic in Spain and the varies forms of global aid each side received during the Spanish Civil War, and why.

I am amazed at all that I have learned in just 5 weeks, and the fact that I remembered it all.

However, now my brain is fried. I still have to finish that grammar packet. Then I have to finish a book and write a 5 page analysis of that baby for Monday.

Oh, and I will be leaving for Madrid with a final destination of Santiago de Compostala at 5AM!!! Yay I love cities and public transportation.

It is going to be a great way to wrap up a crazy week.

Also, my little sister's new favorite song is "Say My name" or whatever it's called. It's hilarious. And, my new favorite shoe is "Hombres de Paco."

Yeah, that's what I did all week. Studied, studied, studied, wrote a paper, and studied some more.

Un beso,

Monday, February 23, 2009


I first heard about Carnaval when I got to Spain. I had no idea what it was. HOW WAS THAT POSSIBLE???

From my point of view, Carnaval is a good mix of Mardi Gras, the Fourth of July, and Halloween. ONLY BETTER!

Carnaval travels around Spain, but for the most part it is two weekends and the week in between celebrating life and all that is immoral, right up until, and a little bit into, Lent. In Toledo, Carnaval was this weekend. What an adventure.

Carnaval involves crazy costumes, mass amounts of liqiour, parades, dancing, and staying out until all night. I managed to find a costume, some liquor, a parade, lots of dancing, and staying out until I think I did okay for a first try.

Now, carnaval started some time Thursday night. I tracked down a parade of pirates and a band in gold suits. THe party began Friday night in Poligono. I did not attend. I chose to "study" for my midterms instead. I was not at all productive. I should have just went out.

Saturday we got the day started with the best parade of my life. There were no giant balloons, but there were some amazing floats and really elaborate costumes. The parade lasted, oh, 3 hours. It was so cool. Everyone comes in costume too. Well, mostly kids under 15, but still.

After the parade the entire city of Toledo and all the barrios, head into the Casco to Zocodover for drinking, dancing, and concerts. This is where we headed. Well, first I had to use my mad toga-making skills to dress two friends as Greek goddesses. I opted to be a cat. Creative, right?

So then we made our way out, found a concert, went to another, found all the Fund kids. Most everyone got really drunk. I saw a man, dressed as a woman, jump onto a dumpster, strip, then push the dumpster into the street, so that was fun.

What else, I don't even know. You just have to see it. It was great. But, by 3 I was exhausted so I went home, which took an hour to get to due to traffic and people in the street.

Then I slept, untill noon Sunday. Life is good.

Sunday there was apparently a procession of a giant sardine through TOledo. The used to burn it and dump it in the river as a sign of the end of Carnaval, but now they don't dump it anymore, due to envirnmental protesting. There were also fireworks. But I was talking to the parental units, so I missed it. But, I have heard that they are better than any fourth of july fireworks ever created.

What a weekend. Believe me, it was a lot more exciting than this post, but my English vocabulary is lacking and can not describe.

THat's all. Now, to begin a week of midterms. Yay! And, I need to have a meeting with Juan. That is all I have going for this week. But, Friday at 6:30 am I leave for Galicia, Spain. Look it up. Be jealous. Come visit. Or, send me stuff.

I now have only 2 months left, which is awesome, and sucks a whole lot. This city, and country is weaving its way into my heart. You can't even understand how amazing it is to be living here, among history and tradition that is hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of years old. I have the best life ever!

That's all for now.

Un beso!!!<

Friday, February 20, 2009

When Studying Abroad, Study Should be Optional

I love school, when it doesnt include homework or exams. For the most part, the last 5 weeks of my life have been free of both. Well, it's all caught up to me. Now, the weekend of carnaval I will be spending my Friday night studying, writing papers, and reading. What fun!

Whose idea was it really to include the need to study in studying abroad. I have so many other things to spend my time on, like watching Dawson Crece and reading Corpusculo and helping Elena with her English homework. Oh, and of course planning my upcoming visits.

Not kidding. I go to my classes and love every minute, but my work ethic here SUCKS! I am reading Twilight in Spanish instead of some Ortega y Gasset novel. I watch Dawson's Creek in the morning instead of some movie about Mexico in 1949. Both are in Spanish, so I am still learning, just not what's going to be on the test.

As for travel, one more weekend in Toledo and then it will be a whirlwind of weekends outside of the Casco. I now have tickets to Galicia, then Granada, then Pais Vasco (home of the ETA), then Barcelona, then Segovia, then a week in Italy, then finals week, then home.

It's nuts, crazy, loco, insane, increible. I can't even explain how surreal it is. I have about two months left in Spain, 6 weeks of class, 2 weeks of exams, 7 weekends of travel, and its all over. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that. Yeah, it'll be amazing to go home, but I feel like I just got here, even though it's a third over. I still can't speak Spanish, but I now know that the USA supported Franco in the Spanish Civil War and that you can legally drop out of high school at age 16. So that's cool.

Crap, Midterms. 10 page paper on Latin America, 4 essay tests, a paper on a book I have to read, and two crazy nights of Carnaval. Well, only one for me....I'm lame.

Also, random, but my birthday is on Easter, my 21st birthday is on Easter SUNDAY. This is both cool and sucks. And, half of my friends will be in France while I am in Toledo for the holiday. Plans stand that kings cup will be played in my honor the following THursday, so I am looking forward to that too. Ooo, and that's our last day of class! Life just keeps getting better.

I feel like I may have procrastinated enough. Thanks for reading. Look forward to Carnaval adventures. (I plan to become slightly intoxicated in honor of the event and stay out to the wee hours of the morning) (please don't think any less of me family, it is the Spanish way)

Un Beso.

Oh, the beso reminds me, my "date" with Juan was canceled this week. He had to work. Did I mention this alreadY? Maybe, but it made me sad. Now I must only hope to run into him this weekend. Wish me luck with that ;-) (I kid, I kid)

Otro beso y un abrazo fuerte!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Whirlwind Anniversary Weekend

Life is Spain is good. The past few days have been great. Saturday, February 14 marked not only the feast day of Saint Valentine, but also my one month anniversary in Spain. To commemorate this special occasion, we had a weekend of adventure and fun.

Thursday night I went with my friend Julia to see The Hullahoop at Café Garsilaso. The flier I found stated that this band covered Elvis and 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll classics. So, I was pumped. I found them on MySpace and discovered that, sure enough, this Spanish band, sang American English music. So I was definitely pumped. Thursday night we met and began the search for this café/bar. WE made it, but it is in a semi-sketchy part of the Casco, but we braved it and entered. I am so glad we did! This place is cool, like Picarro, but better. We got there at 10, the show was suppose to start at 10. We sat down and ordered a drink. I ended up being a glorified fruit smoothie, not what we were expecting, but still really good. So 10 came and went. No Elvis. But, some Spanish bikers did come to crowd the bar. I love Harley men. At 10:30 the band finally got on stage. SO worth the wait. An old man and his younger entourage started in on their Presley medley. They were actually really good, and equally horrid. English with a Spanish accent, and Spanish in between songs. SOOO GOOD. So we laughed, danced, and sang along until a little after 11. Sadly we had to leave so we could catch the last bus home at 11:30, but, if you ever get the chance to check out The Hullahoops, DO IT!

Friday I went on an “excursion” organized by the Fund to El Escorial, this little city to the northwest of Madrid is home to the royal families summer home/monastery. Built after some war, or something, I can’t remember (Wikipedia it if you’re interested). It was neat. The best part being that it is set surrounded by mountains and snow. It was refreshing to see nature. I like nature (sorry Popp). The palace was interesting too. Philip II, or Charles III or V ( I can’t remember who built it) was very religious, so half the palace is a monastery, and the half that is royal residence looks more like a monastery that a palace. This was a good day, sunny and educational. My history prof. was actually my guide, so that was fun. I got to chat with him a little and score points 

Friday night we decided to go to a comedy show (Monologos de Humor) in Circulo de Arte. We got there at 10 again, but because we are in Spain, it didn’t start until 10:30. We tried, but it really isn’t that funny when you understand 90% of the joke but then don’t get the punch line. So, around 11:30 we decided to head into Poligono and see a movie. We went to a 12:30 showing of Slumdog Millionaire. SEE THIS MOVIE!!! It is so good. After the movie we hoped on the Buho to get home, only we got on the wrong one, so we made it home late. I got in about 3:30. My mother wasn’t home yet. She had gone out with her girlfriends. I found out Saturday morning that she did not get home until 6AM. Apparently they met some nice men and went dancing. Oh, my mother. I want to be more like her.

Hmm, Saturday was a lazy day. I woke up late, worked on homework, had lunch with Mom and heard all about her night. We talked more about traveling and what not. Then I walked to the Fund to max out my credit card.

Saturday was the perfect day in Toledo, sunny but not too hot. 10,000 tourists from all over the world. And plane tickets to Granada, Santiago, Barcelona, and Bilbao. I also now have a place to sleep when I’m in Rome.

Saturday night, after all the spending, Julia and I went out for a romantic sunset bottle of wine. We stopped at a market and picked up a 2 euro bottle of wine and some cheese and headed west. Problem, finding the west. We made it as the sun was just setting. We ended up perching on a wall outside of La Catedral de San Juan de Los Reyes, which was only slightly awkward. The sad part, we had bought wine but did not have any means of opening it. So we ended up watching the sunset eating cheese and being sad that we had no wine to cap off our romantic valentine’s day date.

After this we met our group of friends for an anniversary picnic. We got bread, chorizo, and fruit and made sandwiches (bocadillas actually) on the steps overlooking Rio Tajo. It was so fun, a great way to celebrate one month together. After dinner Laura, Julia and I went in search of a gosh darn bottle opener. After success we went back to our scenic vista and tried our wine. It was terrible. We ended up dumping the bottle. Sad, but still a blast.

This weekend I came to a realization: I am going to miss this place and these people. I’m not kidding. This was monumental for me. When I started to think about not seeing everyone everyday, I got homesick for Spain. While it’s sad, it also makes me happy because I know I am making a home here and I wasn’t even realizing it. The rest of our time here together will be amazing though, and now I just have an excuse to visit Minnesota and Milwaukee more often.

I love my Spanish family and friends. They make it feel like home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spanish People Are Cool

Ok so I have to leave a quick not about how in love with my intercambio (conversation partner) I am. Very much!

Juan is 24. He is so cool. He's actually an English Studies student, currently working towards his masters degree. He's hoping to move to New Zealand or the US soon to teach Spanish.

Before yesterday I hadn't met this kid, all I knew was his name. We decided, via email, to meet under an archin Zocodover. I was quite nervous about this little adventure. Two hours of forced conversation with a SPANIARD I had never met.

Well, it turned out to be amazing. After our beso and an awkward moment in which we established which language we would speak, we went to this cool cafe/bar called Picarro in el Casco. I forgot how much fun it could be to have a real conversation with someone. I mean, I have conversations everyday with my friends here, but they're about classes, comparing families, our life in the US, where we are going to travel, etc. Juan is an interesting guy. He's traveled all over Europe and, because he has studied quite a bit about the US, has a really interesting point of view. Anyway, we ended up talking for a couple of hours, English and Spanish, about everything from music, movies, bars and nightlife, to healthcare in the US and Spain.

After this conversation with Juan I was reminded why you need to study in a new country. To talk to the people. To compare your point of view to others and to question what you believe. Juan also pretty bluntly told me to suck it up and just speak Spanish. I told him that I was shy, and he was like, no, you're not. Haha. So I think meeting with him might help me out. He makes it a point to correct my errors when I speak, which is equally frustrating and helpful.

SO yeah, that's my intercambio. We're planning on meeting again next weel. Oh, and a disclaimer, Juan has a girlfriend who is equally as cool, but Juan also has lots of friends who do not have girlfriends, so we shall see...

That's about it for life from the last two days. I can't believe it's only Tuesday. The rest of the week will be pretty mellow, once I get through the two papers I have due tomorrow. Thursday night I am going to an Elvis Presley cover band and then to El Escorial on Friday. The weekend will consist of me shopping for a Carnaval costume and maybe going to a bar or too. Fun times.

I have 77 days left in Spain, so I think I better start making them count!

Un Beso!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Who needs the Prado when you´ve got cows?

So all over Madrid there are these painted cows. Like the cows in Madison or lions in Appleton, cows are everywhere. They’re in Plaza Mayor, Calle Prado, some plaza I don’t know it is, Puerta del Sol….everywhere.

But, better than the cows, it The Prado.

Friday I crashed the art history class and invited myself along to explore the Prado. They went for class, but I got to wonder on my own. It was so amazing. Velazques, El Greco, Goya, El Bosco, and more. Paintings that I have seen pictures of in Spanish classes and in art history were literally 10 inches from my face. WOW!!! It’s so unbelievable to be here. They’re real. Sometimes when you learn about something like that, that’s all it, just a picture in a book that you have to memorize for some test. But to see it. To be so close. WOW!!! I think I stood in front of “The Garden of Earthly Delights” for a good 20 minutes just staring at everything. I’ve found that when I look at art, I like to start really close, like three inches and look at the brush stokes and all the things that someone just passing wouldn’t notice. The detail on the fork on the table. The shade of pink in the bubble. Then, I back up and take it all in. This is when I forget to breath for a second. Like, Las Meninas by Velazquez. In pictures, you’d never know it’s got to be more than 10 feet tall. It’s huge. It takes up the whole wall of Room 12. God, what a gift. To be able to see these things.

Oh, Also, I drank coffee at Starbucks. It was weird tasting. And over priced. Same price, but in euros, so like $4 US, and 4 euro, which is more like $5. Jerks. I also went to Corte Ingels and bought a book entitles Suenos Americans (American Dreams). It’s written by a Spanish author who was in to US during Obama’s campaign. I’m excited to read a little about the campaign from an international perspective. From my history class I am getting that there was bad blood with Bush and that Obama is kind of a god, but I look forward to reading this too. The author actually lived in New York for 7 years too, but then decided to come back to the US to cover the election for El Pais. It’s written in a blog style from October 2007 to November 2008. He visited a number of US cities for the story, he says looking to understand the influence of race, gender, religion, and the voting practices of “red necks” (yes, he uses the phrase red neck in the book) on Obama’s election. I’ll report back as I read.

So, that was Friday. Today is Saturday. Today I toured Toledo, and am now going to a movie in Spanish (Revolutionary Road), and then to bed.

Not going to lie, I miss home everyday. But then I think about all the great things I am seeing and learning that I wouldn’t be able to in the US, and remind myself to SUCK IT UP!!! This is a gift that not everyone gets, so I try to not be sad for what I am missing (people and things) and instead be excited for what the next three months will bring me. Hopefully that will include a little more ease in communication and a little less feeling of homesickness and frustration with life in general. I DO LOVE SPAIN! I don’t think I could have hoped for a better place to study. I almost feel like I don’t ever want to visit anywhere else. I mean, I do, but I’m content here.

Well, except for when I go to Italy for spring break. Then I will be content to not be in Spain for a week. I am actually flying into Rome the Friday before Palm Sunday. Going to mass there and then going to Sicily for 4 days. My friend Melissa has family that live there. We are going to tour and go to the beach. Then we will head back to Rome for Holy Thursday mass and then back to Spain for Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. It will be a whirlwind. Expensive too. I do not recommend Rome during Holy Week to budget travelers. But anyway, more on that as it happens.

I hope you all have had a good couple of weeks. Be safe. Stay warm. (Oh, it snowed here yesterday. It NEVER snows in Toledo. Madrid, yes. But here, never. So…it’s freakishly cold everywhere)

Un Beso y abrazos Fuertes!

School, Week Three

I was in school, I wrote two papers, read a lot of stuff in Spanish, didn’t know what I was learning quite frequently, and that’s about it.

School is good, but school is school. I’m learning tons about Spain. It’s history, religious life, literature, relations with Latin America, and how to properly form sentences.

I think the two toughest classes are 20th Century Spanish Literature, just because this involves reading a book every two weeks and writing a paper analyzing it, having never discussed it in class. Fun times. Latin American politics is tough too. I have a good background, but the teacher speaks at lightning speed. So, by the time my brain catches up to what she said, she’s moved on to the next point. This class just might kill me.

I love my theology class. Technically, its Spanish mysticism, but right now we are talking about Plato’s theology and how this transitioned into the ideals of St. Augustine and later Christian theology. The teacher is a good mix of Dracula and Mr. Bean. Thoroughly entertaining. He also speaks slowly, very slowly, and when he uses a word that’s more than two syllables, he will use two or three other words that mean the same, so you have a good chance of knowing at least one of the key words in lecture. For this class we’re also reading Las Moradas by Saint Teresa de Jesus. It’s really interesting. Something I know nothing about.

What else, The history of Spain since 1936. Three weeks and we still haven’t gotten to 1936, so this should be interesting. But it’s been helpful. I now have a better understanding of Constitutional and Parliamentary Monarchies as well as current election procedures in Spain. We have just finished talking about Spanish industrialization and what not, bringing us to the Second Republic in 1930. I like this class because it’s applicable to now. The 2.000 years of history is Spain is important, but in the modernized society I am living in, the last 80 years or so are more applicable to understanding the current economy, government and societal structure.

I’m in a grammar class too, which is boring, but a lot better than a US grammar class. We break down the structure to understand WHY sentences are written the way they are. It’s a good course and I’m learning a lot, about grammar and colloquial Spanish. It’s easier too because there’s not a lot of reading.

You have to understand, these classes are NOT like US Spanish classes. This isn’t “learn the language” this is “you know the language, now go to school.” Imagine your 4 classes right now. The reading, the papers, the homework, the boring lectures, the tests, everything. Now imagine that they are in a completely different language. This is my life. School is boring and hard in English. Now I have to translate my notes before I can study, because I write down what the teacher says, even though I may not know what the words mean, because they’ll be on the test.

I LOVE IT. I’m frustrated every minute of the day. I am afraid I’m going to fail. I still cant communicate my thoughts, but I’m learning. I now so much more now that I did three weeks ago. Words that I learned in class now have meaning. I am relearning them by listening. It’s weird. Babies learn to speak by listening. I get it now. I’ve heard words ten times, not knowing what they were, but by the eleventh time, using context clues, I know. Now they are a part of my vocabulary. It’s really quite cool to think about. Sometimes I don’t even realize it’s happening. All I realize is that I DON’T know something. I forget to think about what I DO know. Which, my friend Melissa keep reminding me, is more than I think. I hope that I can just work up the confidence to start speaking more and let the words in my mind come out. Because until I stop being so mute all the time, I’ll never get comfortable using them. YIKES! I am waiting for it all to click. Hopefully soon. This is getting ridiculous…

Sleepless in Sevilla

I stole this title from one of my friends, but I liked it….thanks Janya….

So, Sevilla. Flamenco. Nope! On the train we got a call from our great American friends Joel and Brandon. Oh, they just happen to be in Sevilla for the night. We made plans to meet for dinner at 10 and then go to the show.

Well, we made it to dinner, just before it started to pour. I had Pollo Empanado. BAD. Glorifies chicken tenders and fried potatoes. Instead, try Pollo Sevillano. REALLY GOOD. The wait staff was shitty, but I’m coming to understand that customer service is nonexistent in this country, which is fine, but something to get used to.

After dinner we tried to find the flamenco bar we had read about in my boyfriend, Rick Steves, book. Yup. Didn’t know the name of the bar. Problem. We knew what it was near, so got directions to that. Except, Spanish streets are not on the grid system like in the US. We got lost. It was raining. We missed the show. Because we never found the bar. We found A bar, which we stopped at. But they were closing. At midnight. I thought this was Spain? Oh well. Next bar. Closing in 20 minutes. I was not about to spend 6 euro on something I had to down in 15 minutes, but some did. Yeah. Americans…So, by then it was pouring. Joel and Brandon were drunk, loud American. Melissa, Jayna and I opted to find our way home while the rest of the crew looked for more booze. Once again, I love Americans.

The journey home….without a map….at night….in the rain….in heels…FUN!!!
It took us about an hour, and an encounter with a very rude Spanish man, who inappropriately grabbed himself when we asked for direction, to get back to our apartmaent. We made it, alive, before 2am. SUCCESS!! Showers. And bed. Two more museums to go the next day before catching the bus back to Madrid.

Except, sleep doesn’t happen when you are sharing your bed with two other people. So we slept in late, only made it to the Museum of Fine Arts…..

It rained the whole day. Soaked to the bone we climbed aboard the bus for SIX hours to get home..

BUT WAIT!!! Traffic Jam in Madrid, MORONIC BUSDRIVER who decided to take a detour to drop his friend off, and then couldn’t find the bus stop. 8 and a half hours later, we got to Madrid, having missed all direct buses to Toledo. This meant taking the indirect route and traveling through the skeevy back neighborhoods of the city. Yeah Creepers!!

We finally got into Toledo at 1am Monday, I walked home and crawled into bed. Ready to get up at 6 to start my homework. Even in another country, I like to procrastinate.

Oh, what a great weekend that was. It took me until Wednesday to recover and catch up on sleep, but I look forward to doing it again soon. The price was right, less than 150 US dollars for everything. The people were cool (except the rude waiter and man who touched himself), and well, like usual Spain was great too.

Cordoba, Finally

Well, a full week after my adventure to Cordoba, Spain, I am finally rested enough to write about it. Cordoba. 45 minutes by train north of Sevilla. Whitewashed wall of the Casco lead to the Mezquita, or the Cathedral, depending on who you are. This Mosque turned cathedral is a true testament to the cultural infusion that exists throughout Spain. I can’t remember the exact dates and details, but basically this amazing mosque was build by the Moors of Cordoba when they were in power. After the reconquista of Cordoba, the king at the time, Charles III maybe, ordered a Cathedral to be built in the center of the mosque, utilizing the space and solidifying the Catholic presence in the town. When it was completed more than 200 years later, the then King claimed that is was a travesty, that they had ruined a priceless work of art. Now masses are held there daily, as well as a number of Moorish, Visigoth, roman, and golden age Spanish relics.

Other than the Mezquita, there’s not much else to see in Cordoba in the winter. There’s a zoo somewhere (I saw a sign), and a botanical garden. There is also, as is necessary in every city in Spain, an Alcazar. The interior of this one was miles from that of the Sevillan Alcazar, but the beautiful gardens and fountains were worth the 2 euro entrance. Yes, it is the dead of winter here, a whole 50ish degrees outside, but even now, everything is spectacular. While in the garden we met some more Scottish folk. They are everywhere…

So, we finished with that, booked it back to the train station and headed back to Sevilla. The plan was to get back around 9:00, freshen up, and go to a flamenco show somewhere in the city….

But plans change….

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm too exhausted from my amazing life

I am so tired. Too tired. Very tired. So much homework to do. Trips to plan. Maybe I can remember Cordoba tomorrow. Until then, know that I had more fun than you all did in Wisconsin or wherever, so you should all come visit!

Un beso!

"Sevilla es la leche"

Where to begin. I just had an amazing vacation in the middle of the semester. So much happened in three days.

Two cities
12 hours on a bus
the Madrid Metro
my first Renfe
a "hostal"
more history than all of the US combined
Scottish folk
two random American guys

So my journey began on Thurday night. 9pm we hoped on a bus to Madrid. It's about an hour from Toledo. Not too exciting. The fun started when we had to try to find our way to the train station. We took the Metro (after I snuck through the gate) to our station. We made it, but only to realize we were suppose to print off our tickets. After a little explanation, we got them. And not to wait to two hours for our 6 hour ride to Sevilla.
This is how we met Joel and Brandon: Two Americans asked if we spoke Spanish. Duh. Well, they didn't and apparently had done the same things we had, so one of the girls got their tickets for them. They were headed to Cadiz so we all waited together. These guys are too funny. They are studying in Madrid, but one only speaks French and the other less Spanish than me. To communicate with their host mom, who speaks both Spanish and French, she tells Brandon in French, which he tells Joel in English, and then he can speak to her in Spanish. It's a lovely little triangle. So we all hung out until midnight when we boarded our bus and settled in for the ride. Laura and Julia gave the guys their numbers so we could meet up if they ever made it to Toledo.

On the bus I sat next to some punk Spaniard who watched a movie the whole time. Fun for me. The bus driver also flirted with Laura and Melissa a little, which was entertaining. Half way through our trip we stopped for about 15 mintues to get something to eat. While waiting for our bus to come back, gues who we found? Joel and Brandon. Small world. So, we all chatted a bit more, got back on our buses and continues south.

We arrived in Sevilla at 6am Friday morning, after about 2 hours of sleep in the bus. Yeah, nothing is open at 6am in Spain, not even the Starbucks. So, we wandered in the dark to somewhere. We found the place again our last night, but we really didn't know where we were. Around 7:30 a cafe finally opened so we stopped in for a cafe con leche y bocadilla. Yum! It was a really classy joint. Yup, then it was time to find our hostel.

Now, we got lucky, we actually didn't stay in a bug-infested hostel, we stayed in an apartment. It was great. We had our own bathroom and a kitchen. So this meant a cheap trip. We went to Dia, the mercado and bought groceries for the weekend. Bocadillas, Pasta, y Cereal con leche. This brings us to about 10am. All this, and only 10am. I was exhausted. We at lunch early (11 is early) and a little siesta before heading out to explore Sevilla by daylight.

First Up, La Catedral

This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I can't even describe it. So amazing. We wondered through, using my handy Rick Steves guide to Spain 2009 for more than 2 hours. There are so many amazing things inside, el Greco works, Columbus's remains, a huge organ, the most ornate alter I've ever seen, and a huge tower. The tower is 36 stories tall. To get to the top, you climb, but not stairs. A series of ramps lead to the top. Before there was a cathedral in place, before Christians regained control of the city and Muslims ruled, the tower was used to remind muslims to pray, rung 5 times a day. A horse would carry the ringer up the ramp. It offered the most spectacular views of Sevilla.

Then, the Real Alcazar of Sevilla

Now this place screams I WAS A MOORISH CITY! But it actually wasnt. This alcazar was built by the Christians in moorish style. It's, once again, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We wondered through and then made our way to a convent bakery.

Oh, except they weren't open. So we wondered. Then we went back aroun 5pm. At this point we had been walking for almost 12 hours. So we went to the bakery, got our cookies, and went home for dinner. We wondered through Barrio Santa Cruz.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part- GYPSIES. So surrounding the Cathedral some lovely ladies wander carrying branches of rosemary trying to catch you in their trap. I got stuck with a woman in front of me. She handed me a branch and commenced chanting something. I made sure my bag was secure and let her go about her business. Then she asked for a Euro. I didn't have one. She wouldn't let me pass. I happened to have a 0,20 in my pocket so I gave her that. Oh, what the expereince. My gypsie friend and my rosemary. A great day.

We hobbled back to our apartment, exhausted and in pain from so little sleep and at this point, close to 14 hours of walking to make dinner. Spagetti, salad, and a 79 euro cent bottle of tinto de verano.

But SURPRISE! We have ants. Our kitchen was crawling with them. We killed them all, called the manager, and after waiting, finally gave in and made dinner. It was great. Really. The cheap alcohol was horrid, but the rest was really fun.
Finally, Day 1 over. We were all tucked in bed by 11:30 Friday, ready for day 2 in Cordoba, starting at 8am!!!

That would be a Sevillana, NOT Flamenco

Let's start this long series of "what's happened in the last 6 days of my life" with the fact that I should probably be a professional dancer when I grow up!


I did attend two nights of flamenco, excuse me, Sevillano lessons last Tuesday and Wednesday. They were so much fun. My host mom is actually originally from just north of Sevilla, which is where the Sevillano originated (makes sense), so she showed me a few steps too.

It's a pretty basic dance, but it's FAST and the hands things is tricky, to make it look just right.

I was really excited to learn in preparation for my trip to Sevilla and Cordoba that weekend. But, I suck. I mean, I can do it, but I will not be making a career of the thing.

Yeah, that's pretty much it. In two hours I tried to perfect a dance that I have never seen or heard of before. I got close, but not yet. I'll keep practicing.