February 28, 2010


We all made it safely back to Spain after our weekend in Tangier, Morocco. More details about this epic adventure coming soon :)

February 25, 2010


I've been complimenting the Spanish left and right. Between the whole living on the beach/ daily nap time/ food, I think they've got the right idea. And their fashion is no exception. Their hair is always perfectly coifed, their boots are always perfectly matched, and their coats are perfect. While I'm getting soaked on the way to school, it seems like the rain doesn't even touch the Spanish. I know I can't pull off this look, but they do it with such confidence and grace. The girls look fierce and put-together. The guys look suave and sleek.

It's a beautiful thing.

But today I saw something that I did not like. It made me uncomfortable just looking at it.

I saw dreadlocked mullet.




Are you trying to picture that one in your head? It's like business in the front, jamming to Bob Marley in the back. It's like a Mississippi Mudflap on pot. It's like the two worst haircuts in the world are hanging out on one person's head.

I wish I had my camera with me to capture this heinous thing. I was appalled. And Emma said she's seen it before. So there's more than one person walking around Spain with this look.

I might start bringing scissors with me in case I ever run into this person again. Adios, dreads.

Domo Arigato

Things in Spain are starting to fall into a comfortable routine. My day usually consists of waking up at 6:45 (and hitting snooze a few times...), classing, lunching, and classing again. The afternoons I usually fill with homework, planning excursions, and surfing the interwebs. Sometimes I even throw a run in to make up for all of the delicious fried food I've been eating :)

We have also become regulars at our 1 euro cerveceria on Wednesdays. They definitely give the group something to look forward on Hump Day and help us make it through until viernes. I crave my weekly tinto de verano in a huge jarra. Yum! But this week we had to settle for Cerveza Mahou in a glass - kind of a bummer but not so bad!

In other news, I finally touched the Mediterranean the other day! I went for a run around sunset - the best time for people watching! On my run I saw a couple of foreigners walking in the other direction with a 2-liter bottle of tinto de verano in their hands. In Spain, this is called botellon, which means drinking alcohol in the streets. It's illegal in most places except for certain festivals, like Carnavale in Cadiz. (Oh, Cadiz...) At my usual turnaround point, I was feeling pretty good so I continued to run and explore a little. I came across a beachside restaurant-shack thing and decided to stretch, touch the water and enjoy the moment. Surprisingly, Mediterranean water is the same as Gulf of Mexico water just a little colder :)

I'm also leaving for Morocco tomorrow morning! It's pretty cool to think that this time next week I'll be able to say "Yeah, I've been to Africa. No biggie." And then we have excursions lined up every weekend after this until Semana Santa at the end of March!

And while all of this is exciting, I still get pangs of homesickness once in awhile. I know I will miss Malaga and Spain terribly but I can't wait to see all of you in 48 short days :)

February 22, 2010

Vamos a viajar a Granada manana!

This weekend we went on our first overnight excursion since Madrid! We woke up bright and early on Saturday to catch the bus to Granada, the last stronghold of the Muslim empire on the Iberian Peninsula before the Catholic Inquisition by Ferdinand and Isabella. Granada is known for it's beautiful architecture, a mix of Muslim and Christian influences, it's bustling student population, and it's free tapas!

We started our day by taking a tour of the Catedral de Granada and the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) where the Reyes Catolicos were laid to rest. It was a sunny day outside but it was freezing within the marble walls of the Cathedral. I don't know how people survived the hours of mass in the winter! But the Cathedral was worth every numb finger and toe I had after.

This organ puts Holy Innocents' organ to shame.

There were tons of chapel lining the outer naves of the chapel where important people were enshrined. There were super extravagant!

After, we saw the Capilla Real. During the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, faith and religion took a more personal and introverted form rather than grand displays of wealth. Their tombs were made out of fancy granite but the engravings were relatively simple compared to the tombs of their daughter, Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad), and her husband, Philip el Hermoso (Phillip the Handsome). We were able to see the crypt where there coffins are kept but that was about as exciting as it sounds.

We had about 6 hours of free time after that to do whatever we wanted until our planned surprise that night. Emma, Alissa, and I opted to avoid the cold by hanging out in our hotel room and talking about food. It's what we do. But we did finally make it out to do some shopping and eating. We found a delicious ice cream shop with extravagant displays of helado. I chose the Avellana (Hazelnut) flavored one. Yum! We went through the tiny alleys and streets that were filled with Moroccan shops. The stores were filled with knick knacks, anything from jewelry, incense, shoes, and hacky sacks.

Afterwards, we tried to find a place with free tapas to no avail so we went for some chocolate con churros instead! Spanish churros are way different from the Mexican churros we get in the States. Spanish churros come fresh from the frying vat without seasonings while Mexican churros are covered in a healthy layer of cinnamon-sugar. Spanish churros also have a crunchier exterior than their Mexican counterparts. But churros here are served with a cup of warm, thick chocolate. It's so rich and decadent, I had to take tiny bites with a spoon instead of sipping it.

The verdict: I love them both!

It was finally time for our surprise - but first we had to walk for a good 30 minutes through the steep, winding cobble-stoned streets of Granada. Like Toledo, the streets also serve as sidewalks so we had a few close encounters with some speedy cars and scooters. But oh, what a view!

Our final destination was a real-life flamenco show! They filed us into a narrow room with a stage at one end. The show had two acts with two separate group of dancers. Each group was comprised of two female dancers, one male dancer, a guitarist, and a singer. I had no idea what to expect!

The dancing and rhythm put everyone into a sort of trance. The passion and intensity in their movements and on their faces were contagious. It was truly an organic work of art.

We then had free time until the next morning so we decided to check out the Granada nightlife. A group of 8 girls went out on the town and found a fun discoteca in the heart of Granada. We picked up some Spanish friends along the way. It was such a fun night! I love these girls :)

We may or may not have taught a group of Spanish guys the Jersey Shore fist pump. I'm not proud.

The next morning we were prepped and ready for a 3-hour tour of La Alhambra, the palace and fortress of the sultan of the Muslim empire in Andalusia before the Reyes Catolicos came in. After a wonderful continental breakfast (hello, yummy scrambled eggs with mushrooms!), we were ready to tackle our 3-hour tour of La Alhambra. This was the palace and fortress of the sultan of the Muslim empire before the Reyes Catolicos kicked them out.

But first we stopped to throw some coins into a well. It's supposed to give you luck for finding love. Good thing I already found it :)

The palace was absoutely gorgeous. It was filled with intricate carpentry, awesome fountains, and really cool gardens. My favorite room was probably the room where the sultan received his guest. This room was designed to impress his guests by creating the ambiance of the night sky behind the sultan.

There were so many fountains! But after 3 hours, we were all in need of the bathroom and the fountains were not helping. But it was definitely a unique and beautiful place and I would totally suggest to go see it if you're ever dropping into Spain.

Sorry for the lengthy post but there was so much to see in Granada! I hope you all are doing well and I miss you so much! Comments are always welcomed :)

February 18, 2010

The Beginning of an Era

Woo! I'm officially 20! And it was one of the best birthdays I've ever had!

But yesterday afternoon I started thinking it wasn't going to be so great. I really wanted to go on the tour of Alcazaba, the huge fort wall on top of a cliff. The email said to meet at the meeting spot to head up the hill. I got there about 15 minutes early after my afternoon class. I wandered around the plaza around the cathedral, admired the cool architecture, noticed a dead bird in one of the rafters. I looked up and down the street but I didn't see anyone. Finally I called Alissa around 5:05.

"Hey girl! Where are you guys?"

"Hey! We're at the Alcazaba entrance. Where are you?"

"Oh, crap."

I now know that there are more than one meeting places and I was at the wrong one. After running around downtown Malaga for about 5 minutes looking for the entrance to the Alcazaba, I got myself completely lost and had to call her back and tell them to go on without me. So I missed out on the tour. But the sun was FINALLY out so I decided to do a little adventuring. I walked around the commercial areas of town and then headed back towards the Malagueta. There are steep walkways all the way up the cliffside with some really scenic views but I never knew how to get there. I stumbled upon the sidewalk by accident and just made my way all the way to the top. I'm so glad I did because the views were so gorgeous!

After my own little excursion, I got ready to go our for drinks and dinner with our whole group. I was surprised that almost everyone from our group showed up! No one can turn down 1 euro drinks and sandwiches! I was just wanted to get everyone together in the middle of the week and have a good time so I was so surprised when they walk up with a chocolate ice-cream cake, a bottle of champagne, and a princess tiara! I was also serenaded by the entire restaurant (since we basically took up the entire joint). I had no idea they had planned anything and it was a really special night.

Probably the most ridiculous picture I've ever seen.

Like I said yesterday, I'm feel so lucky to be surrounded by such fun, sweet, funny, nice and amazing people. I think we genuinely enjoy each other's company, which is why we have so much fun together! And the fun will continue this weekend in Granada, where we have our first overnight excursion since our orientation. And we're all intrigued by our directors' "surprise" Saturday night. We're meeting around 8:30 and we won't finish until 11:30ish. We were also told to where our going out clothes if we plan to go out later but also wear comfy shoes? Hmm, I'll let you know once I find out!

We also reserved our spots for a trip to Morocco for next weekend! The trip is planned through a travel agency and includes a boat ride there and back, 2 nights in a hotel, and complimentary breakfast. We'll have to do some research to check out what sort of things we can do while we're there. I'm definitely ready for a completely new experience, like riding on camels through the desert!

Everytime I experience something new, I wish you guys were here to experience it with me. Thank you all for being so supportive and loving for the past 20 years of my life. I would not have the opportunity to do this if it weren't for you all. And a special thank you to Pdubbs, who has been wonderful throughout this whole thing. :)

I love you and I miss you and I will see you soon!

Birthday rainbow :)

February 17, 2010

The End of an Era

So today is my 20th birthday! My wonderful boyfriend was the first one to write on my facebook wall, closely followed by my wonderful roommate, Emma! Patrick also stayed up late to officially welcome me into my twenties (!) when I woke up this morning.

We began the day by, you guessed it, walking in the rain. It's becoming more and more the norm to be wet and cold here. Again, two things that I did not expect when coming to Malaga but it's my birthday so I don't care :)

In our first class of the day, our teacher made us buy a cake for me. Like, she MADE everyone chip in 1 euro and organized the whole thing. She wrote everyone's name on a piece of paper and made me pick someone to go get the cake for tomorrow morning. Sorry, Ron! She also made everyone sing both Happy Birthday and For (S)He's a Jolly Good Fellow en espanol. I find that sort of thing super embarrassing but I guess it only happens once a year so you might as well enjoy it.

It's also nice to know that these kids that I've only known for 3 weeks care so much. They are genuinely excited to celebrate my birthday with me. I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by such great people and I'm really looking forward to living up every moment for the next 2 months with them. It's like a new little family :)

Last week Emma and I decided that Wednesdays should be Treat Day! So we stopped by a local pasteleria and found these unique concoctions of fried dough and cream and sugar. Thank you, Emma, for the birthday treat!

Our cleaning lady said that this pasteleria, Aparicio, is the oldest one in Malaga. It's been around since 1941.

She also said it was the best in Malaga.

I don't think you can go wrong.

Tonight we're all going out for 1 euro bocadillos and tintos de verano! What a great way to celebrate the day :)

I love you all and I can't wait to see you in 56 days!

February 16, 2010

The Rain in Spain

I can tell you that it does NOT stay mainly in the plain. We're going on 5 straight days of rain and the weathermen here say we're going to get another 3 weeks of it!

It seems like the theme for this trip is unpreparedness. I was out of practice with my Spanish, I didn't have the proper cold weather clothing, now I don't have the right clothes for the rain! It poured yesterday afternoon on my walk home from my morning classes and I was drenched. When the time came to walk back to my last class of the day after lunch, the space heater under the table was much more comforting than the thought of going back outside for an hour. And unlike Florida, there is no immediate danger from lightning (unless you get clumsy on the slippery marble sidewalks) so classes are never cancelled.

It was also pouring on our way to class this morning so we had to sit through class in our soggy pants and shoes. But, lo and behold, the sun was shining when we left the windowless basement of our school! It was such a relief after spending the previous 4 hours dreading the walk back in such miserable weather. It was great to feel the warmth of the sun and let it dry our still-soaking clothes.

This weekend we're going on an excursion to Granada, one of the most visited sites in Spain and even all of Europe. It supposed to be a really beautiful city with a bunch of cool historical buildings and places. Fingers crossed it doesn't snow again like it did there last weekend!

Hope everyone is staying safe and dry back home! Love you all :)

February 14, 2010

One Night Stand

Oh, Cadiz. Where should I begin? Just imagine the biggest and craziest Halloween party you've ever been to, add a dash of "The Hangover" plot, and multiply it by about 417,459,213. And you might be close to the insanity that is Carnaval in Cadiz.

Our night began pretty early as a big group of us arrived in Cadiz around 6 PM. We wandered around the city for awhile, staking out the best spot to hang out for the night. Several of us went to buy jackets as we were SEVERELY underdressed for the cold weather and possibility of rain. The crowd slowly began multiplying throughout the next few hours as we settled into our spot beside the fresh potato chip stand (OMG yum) in the corner of the main plaza.

Everyone was dressed up in ridiculous costumes like Halloween. But there were a couple of things that made it different from Halloween back in the states. First of all, people dressed up in group themes. There were groups of pirates, chickens, Michael Jacksons, you name it, it was there.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

A bunch of CD's?

Secondly, the women in Spain don't take this opportunity to dress up like a lady-of-the-night. For the most part, people let their creativity shine to get noticed without resorting to wearing a bikini.

The Berlin Wall, for instance. Too soon?

There was also a bunch of entertainment throughout the night. We missed the big parade because we couldn't see it from our spot and we didn't want to lose people along the way. But there were several small mariachi-esque bands called chirigotas, which are groups of singers that sing about current events in a really funny way. A lot of times they work in a sip or two of their cerveza into the song as they regale the groups of people walking by.

But we were not prepared for all the craziness! Spaniards seriously know how to party and we just could not keep up. Out first mistake was not dressing up as a group. We were picked out as tourists from about a mile away. We had groups of borrachos (drunks) come up to us all night trying to talk to us in their drunken, broken English. The girls were also picked on by the Spanish men, especially the blond ones. There were catcalls of "guapa!" and "tienes un beso?" all night.

This group of charming penguins asked for a kiss from Alissa for having her picture taken with them.

And as the night went on, our group became smaller and smaller as we lost more and more people. People would wonder off to the bathroom, try to meet Spanish friends, meet up with a friend from the States. I was babysitting one very intoxicated girl for a good hour before she tried to go home and disappeared in the crowd. I was worried about her but I couldn't risk my own safety to try to find her by myself. By the time I made it back to the group, she could have been anywhere.

People came and left from our spot throughout the night. We huddled up most of the time to keep warm in the freezing night. By 2 AM, we were kind of overwhelmed by the whole night - the cold, the smell of cigarette/ other smoke, the spilled alcohol from borrachos, the men using the walls of buildings as their own bathroom. We made a chain and made our way back to where the bus was supposed to pick us up at 4:30.

The streets were bone-dry when we arrived. They were soaking wet when we left.

One of our own making a warm bed out of a box of unused cups and napkins he found. We had to leave soon after as borrachos began to use our box town as another public restroom - girls, too!

Thankfully, everyone found their way to back to the group one way or another - even the girl who tried to go home! She said she didn't remember a good 4 hours of her night and continued to tell us a story that sounded a lot like the Spanish version of the Hangover, complete with waking up on the table of a Burger King, making friends with Spanish and New Jersians alike, and trying to pay for a 4-hour taxi ride back to Malaga with her American Express.

But after all of that ridiculousness, I think we were all glad we experienced it. It was definitely a spectacle and made for some great stories. But I would never ever ever in a million years participate in Carnaval in Cadiz ever ever again.

Americans: 0 Cadiz:3,423,012

February 12, 2010

Compare and Contrast

When I came to Spain, I knew it wasn't going to be like the US. The people are different, the infrastucture is different, the language is different. But there are some staples in our culture and our everyday lives that I didn't even consider. Here are a few that have boggled my mind so far.


The bathrooms here are way weird. But it's something you use every day so you get accustomed to it. The faucets are different, the plumbing in showers is slow to warm up, and the toilets have about a cup of water in them. And almost every bathroom I've seen here has a bidet! They're such a rare occurrence back home that we act like kids on Christmas morning.


Ok, I know this is weird but one of the first things I noticed in Spain was the lightswitches. A lightswitch is one of those things that is always around and it always looks the same. It never occurred to me that they could be different. But they are. The electrical outlets are also different. They are bigger and bulkier than outlets in the States. I think they're just plain ugly.


How do I describe El Corte Ingles? It's like a Macy's meets Sears meets Sports Authority meets Barnes & Nobles meets Super Target meets Publix. It has everything! The one here in Malaga is about 8 stories with a supermarket below. It's truly ridiculous. My profesor told us today that many of his university-educated friends work at the Corte Ingles because it is so difficult to find a job here.


Because Europe is so densely populated, most people live in apartments. But apartments here make my dorm room look luxurious. There aren't a lot of clutter or decorations and everything is smaller to make up for the lack of space. And it isn't unusual for a 30-year-old to live with his or her parents. My profesor told us today that he has university-educated 35-year-old friends who still live at home with their parents and work at El Corte Ingles. The unemployment rate is obvi really bad here!

In other news, I bought another pair of boots for Carnaval this weekend in Cadiz. AND a group of us booked our tickets to LONDON today! I'm so excited! One of the guys has a discount at hostels around Europe so we booked ours for $9 a night! That's US Dollars too! And Tottenham is playing at home that weekend so hopefully I'll be able to go to an EPL game!

Hope you all are staying safe, warm, and dry! Love you lots and miss you tons :)

February 11, 2010

Awkward Turtle

Even though this week has been pretty long, it has flown by compared to last week. I think it was a combination of having a set routine during the day and fun stuff to look forward to in the future.

Like last night we had another intercambio at a different teteria. This time we were in bigger groups so conversation was a bit easier. At least for other groups. My group was just kind of socially awkward. Me and Karen, another girl from my program, were sitting next to a couple of robot engineers (yes, robot engineers.). Talking about robots is exactly how I love to spend my evenings! They were older guys, too. Alberto was in his mid-20's and Chris looked like he was in his 40's. They were practicing English so they would have a better chance at participating in worldwide robotics competitions. (Yes, they are real.)

We spent half of the time talking about things like personal space, eating schedules and robots. Alberto was pretty good at speaking English for only studying it in high school several years ago. Like me, he thinks that he speaks perfect English in his head. But when it comes to speaking to people, things go all wrong. And his friend was hardly comprehensible between his broken English, his soft voice, and Enya playing loudly in the background. The rest of our eveing was spent in a kind of awkward silence as we all tried to think of things to talk about and how to say it in another language.

And while Alberto was almost charming in his dorkiness, Chris was full-on nerding out. Our cycles of chatting and silence were punctuated by pictures on the Blackberry of the less-than-loquacious Chris. He showed us pictures of some of his favorite things throughout the night: his boss, his fellow robot engineers, recent breakthroughs in the world of robots, and random scenery from the Basque Country.

While this might not sound like the ideal evening to anyone, it actually wasn't that bad! It was another just to practice Spanish, meet new people, and experience a different environment. I definitely wouldn't have gotten a chance to meet those two guys in any other circumstances and their work was actually pretty interesting. Plus, we all bonded over our shared struggles in learning another language.

Another fun thing I have to look forward to is Cadiz this weekend! I have officially booked my ticket and printed it out and I'm so excited to see what Carnaval is all about. I was told yesterday that we have to dress up like Halloween. I'm thinking of just going to buy a mask at a local Chino shop (Yes, that's what they call them. No, it isn't very PC) and document all of the other crazy costumes people come up with.

And my scholarship money finally came in! That was super stressful for awhile but everything is cleared up now. It's in my account for me to turn around and spend it on traveling!

Love you all and miss you tons!

February 10, 2010

The Big Day

Happy Birthday, Daddy! I love you and miss you! Hope you have a great day :)

February 09, 2010


I was talking to my Mom yesterday via Skype and she mentioned how I never talk about maybe one of the most important aspects of this trip - my classes! They're the whole reason I came to Spain to pursue a Spanish minor!

I have classes 4 hours a day M-F. I start with Spanish Language early in the morning with our profesora, Jema. I know it's the most important and useful class I will take here but it's sooooo difficult to be interested in anything other than my warm bed at 8 AM when I should be learning about verb tenses. But so far, so good. I haven't dozed off yet! We've been doing reviews of different verb tenses, which has definitely helped me a lot in regular conversations since I've gotten here.

Next I have an hour of Spanish Literature with my favorite profesor, Antonio! He makes everything more interesting, even Medieval Spanish literature! So far we've learned about the "Cantar de Mio Cid", a famous epic poem (think Iliad) by an anonymous author. It's about a caballero in King Alfonso VI's army during the Reconquista who is blamed for robbing the king. He is exiled but instead of being a baby about it, he does the honorable thing and travels around Spain, kicking out the Muslims. I think it's really interesting that many great books before the Renaissance were anonymously written - writers were not considered artists and people didn't care who wrote what.

After Literature, I have a 1.5 hour break until Culture and Society with Antonio again. So far we've learned about the different regions of Spain. We've learned about their geography, economies, and things that make them unique. But the past couple days we've been watching a movie about the different areas, which isn't boring in itself, but he turns off the lights and there are no windows in the basement. My body seems to think it's the perfect opportunity for a siesta.

After my morning classes, I go back to the homestay, where I usually write a post and goof around on the internet until lunch is ready. Maria Jose is an amazingggg cook! My favorite thing she's made so far is macarrones. It's, like, way better than any pasta I've ever had before except for Mom's mac n' cheese. Right after lunch, I'm usually on the brink of a food coma. But, I have to rush off to my afternoon class for Art History.

The entire first week, my profesora, Cristina, only talked in Spanish. Which is great except it was supposed to be taught in English. There are now 2 other people in the class with me because the other students switched out of her class. But she came in yesterday and spoke English the entire time! She must have spent a lot of time over the weekend practicing and preparing her notes. We had to speak slowly for her to understand us but it was much better than last week! It's pretty cool to see the progress she's made in the past week because it shows me that I can improve my Spanish too.

So far in that class, we've only discussed El Greco, the first great Spanish painter. Even though he was born in Greece and studied for years in Italy, he considered Spain his home. We got to see a few of his pieces in El Museo del Prado in Madrid a few weeks ago so it's interesting to find out more about his works as well as his life.

After that, I'm done for the day! I usually come back home, do my homework, go online again, then do something at night before dinner. Last night, Emma and I went on a run along the beach at night. It was beautiful! I usually get sick of running after about 10 minutes but I just kept reminding myself that I was looking at the freaking Mediterranean Sea 2000 miles from my home. When will I ever get the chance to do this again after April?! I better make the most of every minute of it.

Plans are starting to come together for some trips to other countries. I don't want to jinx anything yet but I'm really excited about it all!

Hasta luego! Os amo :)

February 08, 2010

Tut Tut

It looks like it's going to be another rainy week in Malaga. For a city that brags about having 360 days of sun, I think they've reached their quota since I've been here.

But this weekend was nice enough to go to a real European futbol game! While everyone at home was preparing for American football, we were at a Primera Liga game. It was kind of a last minute decision but I'm so happy I went. We walked the 40 minutes to the stadium just in time to get our tickets, find our seats, and watch the teams walk onto the field.

Not the prettiest stadium - it looks a lot like the football stadium in San Diego where the Bucs won the SB. Just sayin'.

Some of the group - take 1. Serbian in the way.

Take 2. As good as it's gonna get.

Malaga F.C. was playing R.C. Deportivo from Galicia. Deportivo is ranked 6th in La Liga right now and Malaga is 5th. From the bottom.

It was still an exciting match. There were several cards by the end of the first, including a second yellow against Deportivo, which made them a man down with 10 minutes left in the first half. Malaga definitely dominated in the 2nd half but couldn't capitalize on their goal-scoring opportunities, so the game ended with a 0-0 tie.

But it turned out to be a beatiful evening in Malaga. The stadium has a great view of the surrounding mountains and the warmer Mediterranean water makes for a great sunset.

P. S. These pictures have not been photoshopped at all!

There was a group of crazy loud fans on the other side of the stadium who chanted, sang, and clapped the whole time. And when someone on Deportive got a yellow, they would yell, "Tonto! Tonto!", which means stupid. That's just about the only cheer I could understand the whole game.

But the most entertaining part of the game might have been the halftime entertainment. Who needs fireworks and the Who when you have 3 people in the middle of the field doing Tae Bo?

Not even on beat. Now THAT takes talent. I think they wanted to whole crowd to do it with them but they would rather smoke their cigarettes instead.

But I'm really glad I went. It was a really cool experience and it was fun to go in such a big group! Today I'm planning a trip to London and hopefully I'll be able to see a Premier League game while I'm there. Fingers crossed!


February 07, 2010

Senoritas y Caballeros

On Saturday, we got up bright and early (again) to take an excursion to Ronda. Ronda is about 1.5 hours west of Malaga. It's situated in the mountains and it's been around since the middle ages. The city remained under Muslim control during the Reconquista so there is a lot of Muslim influence in the old architecture.

Obvi I'm just summarizing Wikipedia here, folks. But our walking tour gives you a better idea of what the city is really like.

This is the altar where they took convicted criminals to have their last prayer before hanging.

Streets/ sidewalks again

La Puente Nueva (New Bridge) - the window underneath the bridge is the window from a tiny room that was used as a prison cell. And below is a huge gorge with a running river.

The whole time our tour guide, Pepe, kept saying "Senoritas y Caballeros, Vamanos" which means "Ladies and Gentlemen, let's go!"

We got to see some ancient Arabic baths that were a huge part of the Muslims' religious and social life. There were three rooms - one hot room like a sauna, one mild room for relaxation, and one cold room for a pool.

This view is what inspired some great writers like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, who both lived in Ronda for part of their lives.

So pretty!

We also got a behind-the-scenes tour of the oldest Plaza de los Toros in Spain. This plaza is also the largest, which means it's the most dangerous for toledos (bullfighters).

Afterwards, we ate our bocadillos (sandwiches) that our senoras had packed for us. Almost everyone had a sandwich (or 2 or 3) that consisted of half a loaf of bread and some pepperoni. That's it. Some people actually had cheese or their bread was slathered in butter. It was definitely a different sandwich than we were used to. We also found some yummy chocolateria to buy some helado (ice cream)!

Overall, Ronda was a beautiful city filled with amazing history and architecture. We were really fortunate because the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. Hopefully this beautiful weather stays here for awhile because I'm really sick of bundling up while I'm looking at a beach!

I'm trying to plan a vacation to Barcelona and then London while I'm here. I've heard they are must-sees and I think navigating around London would be much easier than a country like France or Germany, where we don't know the language. There are tons of good deals to be found traveling within Europe so I hope I can make the most of the deals!

Hope everyone is doing well! I miss you all! 66 days to go here in Spain and still so much to do! :)