Monday, May 31, 2010

Lo siento

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I've just been having too much fun to want to stop and sit down and write it all here! It is all in my journal, though, and hopefully I'll get it here one of these days.

I'll give you a brief synopsis:
  • After Madrid, we went to Toledo and it was BEAUTIFUL! (pictures are posted on fb of course)
  • We arrived in Valencia on Sunday the 23rd where I met my host mom (she's amazing) and made myself at home in my cute little room.
  • Classes started on Tuesday. I'm taking Advanced Grammar and Advanced Lit and so far they're both pretty good. :)
  • Thursday we all went out for a night of craziness because we don't have class on Friday.
  • Over the weekend, we went to the southern coast of Spain: Cullera, Calpe, & GandĂ­a and enjoyed the crystal clear waters and ivory beaches
  • Did some homework (whhhhaaaattt? who assigns homework in spain? sheesh!) and classes started again today.
  • Lots of shopping and REALLY hot weather this afternoon...
and that's pretty much it. I've got some interesting stories to throw in here and there. Like how a stranger bit my foot... but I'll save that one for later.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 21st- Story time!

Today has been INCREDIBLE! we started off the day with breakfast at the hotel which was AMAZING! It was buffet style with TONS of fresh fruit and bread and really strange local foods. I had coconut yogurt-- I wish they had it in the states because it is my new favorite flavor.
After breakfast we walked to the Prado museum and met our tour guide Grego (muy guapo!). We first saw paintings by Velazquez then then made our way to the Goya paintings. Grego spoke in spanish the entire time but I actually followed everything he said (yay spanish!). After the Prado, we had lunch on a terrace (i had this sandwich with a fritatta-type egg potato patty called "una tortilla espanola." it was SO good!) After lunch we met our tour guide at the Reina Sofia museum and saw paintings by Picasso (GUERNICAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!) and Dali. It's alright, you can be jealous. I can't even tell you how incredible the paintings were in person. I was awestruck!

Okay... story time.
On the way back from the museum we were walking through a big crowd of people by our hotel. I felt a tug on my purse and realized that a lady unzipped it and STOLE MY WALLET. I quickly realized what happened and chased her down and stole it back. :)
Here's a play by play:
There were two women working together to pickpocket me. One unzipped my purse and took my wallet and gave it to another. The one that handed off the wallet pretended to have it and ran off like she was trying to get away. She pretended that she had my wallet so that I would chase her but I saw her hand it to the other lady who acted like she was looking at a map, so i stormed up to her and snatched it from her hands. They hadn't had time to even open my wallet before I had it back in my hands, so nothing was missing. my hotel was right there so i ran inside and told everyone about it. CRAZYYY!! I'm now known as the pick-pocket girl and people tell me I'm their hero. Hahaa.

I figured out a way to clip my wallet in my purse so that there is no way that anyone can take it. And we are all super paranoid now... which i guess is good. They say that madrid is the worst for pickpocketing and valencia is SO MUCH better.

After that fiasco, we (me and 5 other girls: Kaytee, Erin, Laura, Jessie, & Alex) went shopping and walking around the city. We shared a pitcher of sangria at a local restaurant (spain's famous drink--basically wine and brandy with fruit) and headed out to do some more shopping.

Multiple hours of shopping later... Alex and I were exhausted so we headed back to the hotel to relax while the rest of the group went to find dinner. We all met up again at 9:30 to get drinks. We started out at a restaurant about a block away when we saw the boys (Jeff, Eric, Carl) sitting inside and had the BEST SANGRIA ever! There was TONS of fruit: apples, grapefruit, pears, oranges, lemons, etc and tasted like heaven. After two pitchers, we walked into a small cerveceria and I ate a dinner of patatas bravas (the potoates with the red sauce from the previous post) and all of us shared two bottles of wine. We left there and stopped at a small cafteteria to eat icecream and dessert. We sat outside on a beach and were constantly bombarded with people handing out cards for free drinks and free entrances to bars and discotecas. Thankfully the boys arrived shortly after and we all headed to an irish pub. It was PACKED. There were tons of americans mixed in with the various nationalities and tons of american music playing. We ran into ISA kiddos and had "screaming orgasm" shots (baileys, kaluha, and a little vanilla vodka-- SO GOOD!) We stayed for awhile and chatted and just spent time enjoying the wonderfulness that is Spanish night-life before deciding it was probably time to go. On the walk back, there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people en la puerta del sol chanting and yelling and dancing. We figured out later that it was for the fĂștbol game. Those Spaniards sure do love some soccer.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 20th- IN MADRID!!

I can't believe today has only been ONE day. I can't even fathom how I fit everything into 18 hours!

I actually slept pretty well on the plane (thank you sleeping pills!) and before I knew it, we were landing in Madrid! I was greeted by Sara with ISA and led me to the big group of Valencia students. I introduced myself to the first person I saw and it just so happened to be my roommate Kaytee! Crazy! Everyone talked and shared hometowns and schools and at around 12PM we all loaded on the bus and headed to the hotel. We stayed at this amazingly beautiful hotel in the center of Madrid-- right next to all of the museums and nightlife. :) After getting to our room and showering, Kaytee and I met up with two other girls (Kelly and Marni) to walk around and grab lunch. We ended up at a Moroccan/Greek restaurant where I had an incredible falafel wrap and my first legally purchased glass of wine. Oh and that saying that wine is cheaper than water is SO TRUE! After lunch we walked around the city for a bit more and then headed back to the hotel to take a nap. We had a group meeting at 6 and then a guided bus tour of Madrid. After the tour, Alex, Kaytee, Eric, Jessie, Erin, Carl, and I broke off from the group and landed at a small local cerveceria for dinner. All of the girls ordered wine and the boys beer, and they gave us free tapas! They were SO good. Some reminded me of pizza rolls, but so much better. I ordered an egg and vegetable sandwich which was surprisingly incredible. We eventually left there and walked around for a long time. The city at night was so beautiful and lively. We stumbled upon Plaza Mayor and fell in love with it! The boys were insistent of finding another place to have drinks, so we walked around for a bit more and ended up at another cerveceria/bar. Two more glasses of wine and more amazing free tapas later (my favorite were these potatoes with a spicy red sauce- kinda like a tomato curry? I'll find out the name), we realized how tired we were and headed back to the hotel.

May 19th- On the Plane

Okay-- my first entry. Where do I even begin? Let's start around 2 PM when Daniel came over to my house to see me off. He surprised me with my favorite chocolates (Lindt dark chocolate truffles for anyone who is reading) and trail mix for the trip. :) I was frantically trying to get everything together and saying goodbyes all at the same time. After lots of hugs and kisses from the dogs and the boy, it was already 3 and mom and I were off. We left a little early so we'd have time to visit Debbie before my trip. On the way to Debbie's I decided to indulge in one of those delicious chocolates. Oh boy what at mistake! You think I would have realized that Hey! its Georgia in the summer and 90 degrees outside and the chocolate just might be melted. But no, I did not think about this and the second I bit into the delicious truffle, a fountain of warm gooey chocolaty goodness erupted ALL OVER my white t-shirt. GLORIOUS, I know. Mom and I laughed for awhile because it looked like someone pooped on my chest and decided it would be best to go to target instead of Debbie's so that I could buy a new shirt (sorry Debbie!). We eventually made it to the airport and after struggling with crazy traffic and no where to park, mom and I checked my bags, grabbed some Atlanta Bread Co and said our goodbyes. After going through security I met my DAD! He surprised me and changed his flight so that he would be arriving in Atlanta when I got there. He took me to the crown room where I had a glass of wine before heading to the gate. Before I knew it, it was 6:30 and I was boarding the plane! My seat companion was nice and quiet and after eating my delicious vegetarian meal (seriously, it was really good) and watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox, I passed out.