Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finally, a weekend in Murcia

First, let me apologize for being so tardy...I have had a lot of reading to do/I finally had an actual assignment (I think I may be a student....) and our internet stopped working.  I'm guessing it's because my roommate accidentally unplugged the cable box and the internet is from the same company.  The ethernet chord still works, but there is only one of them so we have to take turns.  
Now that that's over with, I can tell you about my life.  So after traveling all over the place I finally spent a whole weekend in Murcia.  A shocker, I know.  The weekend actually began Wednesday night because, in true Spanish fashion, they put they welcome back party, essentially homecoming but without the football game (although I think there was a futbol game), in the middle of the day (probably so that we would have another day off of school).  Therefore, we had no school on Thursday.  The part was called the Fica Picnic.  Basically it was a fenced off parking lot with music, a giant blow-up slide and climbing wall, and a lot of drunk people.
Following that, I went out with some friends, some of which were actually Spanish.  It wasn't that exciting though since everyone had gone out and partied during the day.  On Friday I went to the mall with two girlfriends, we had just gotten our stipends (finally!) and wanted to celebrate.  Naturally I bought some stuff : ) Friday night I did homework and then Saturday I partied full Spanish style.  
First we went to the Espinardo campus (my first time, and probably only until I have to close my bank account in July) and looked and the stars, or what we could see of them anyway, and then we went to two bars.  The first we went to because a friend of my friend is the DJ and the second we just went to.  I went with my roommate, Cristina and a bunch of other friends.  Cristina and I got home at 5:30 am.  Good Times : )

¡Hasta la semana que viene!  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ciao Bella!

So as may of you know, this weekend I was in...MILAN! First of all I would like to ask, who am I? Going to Milan for the weekend?  Now that I have gotten that out of the way I will tell you what I actually did there.  
Friday: I went to Milan with four girlfriends.  Our flight got in at around 2:20.  From there we loaded onto a bus to drive from the airport to city centre.  As we flew on Ryanair the airport was no where near the city centre, so the bus trip took about an hour. (Note in the photograph below how our bus driver is talking on his cell phone and not holding the steering wheel with his other hand.)
Following the adventure on the bus we had an adventure trying to find the hostel.  We decided to walk, how big could Milan possibly be, right?, and somehow I was the one with the map in my hand.  Now anyone who has ever travelled with me anywhere (I mean anywhere, like to the post office) knows that I am really bad with directions.  So of course a walk that should have taken us a half hour took us about three times that.  In Milan all the streets angle towards the Duomo therefore they are not straight city blocks.  Not only did I have us walking on the wrong streets, but many times in the wrong direction completely!  Eventually, however, we did make it to the hostel, and we saw a lot of the city on the way.  Once at the hostel we unpacked and then met a guy traveling around Europe on his own for 6 months, named Lasse (born in Germany but his family moved to Brazil).  He had gone to a really good restaurant the night before and so he took us there for dinner.  I had gnocchi with a basil and gorgonzola sauce and the most amazing tiramisu for dessert!
Saturday: Was our touristing day.  We started off at a cute little cafe (with an even cuter barista) near the hostel.  Then we went to the Duomo.  It is the 2nd largest cathedral in Italy after St. Peter's in Rome, and it has been under construction for about 400 years (they just finished the doors in 1965).  Three of us then climbed up to the top, because I knew that my parents would kill me if I didn't.  Unfortunately it was really foggy, since it would rain buckets later in the day, so there weren't that spectacular of views.  After that we tried to go see Da Vinci's "Last Supper" but you have to reserve it like 2 weeks in advance.  Later that day we met up with some friends of ours who live in Milan, Valentina and Giorgio (Valentina is the girlfriend of one the Erin's (the girl on the left in the picture) roommates.  They took us to Luini's for panzerotti which are basically mini-calzones of heaven.  Above right is the line to buy one.  I had a lunch one with tomatoe and mozarella and a dessert one with nutella and strawberries (nutella was pretty much on everything).  Perhaps the best thing I ate in Milan.  We then went to do a very touristy thing...spin on the bull's balls in the main shopping district.  Now I know you probably all re-read that sentence like five times to make sure I actually said what you think I said, but I assure you it's true.  The mosaic is missing the bit where the balls are supposed to be, so if you dig your heel in and spin around twice it's good luck.  Then...we went shopping!  I bought tan boots, a sweater, a Marc Jacob's bag (on super-sale), and marzapane. 
Sunday: We once again started off at our favorite little cafe, unfortunately different barista this time although I would bet that this barista was the other one's brother.  Then we just kind of wandered in an out of shops.  We made our way towards the Castle Sforza, but as it was Sunday none of the museums were open so it was really just a garden with old walls around it.  We then started walking toward the bus station to go back to the airport.  We stopped for lunch at this restaurant called Arte Nuevo, porbably thus named because of the artwork for sale on the walls.  I picked out a really good bottle of chardonnay (parents, you taught me well).  Then we headed back to the 
airport and got on a plane back to Spain.
It was all-in-all a great weekend!  And it was so nice to see the colors changing on the trees and have to wear a sweater...It actually felt like fall!  I missed that.  Well, now it's back to real life, although I am still living in Europe so how "real" can it get?
¡Hasta la semana que viene!

Random photos from Milan:
 Upper Row (l-r): Me, Giorgio, Valentina, Lauren...Lower Row (l-r): Brianna, Erin, HilaryErin, Brianna, Me, Hilary, Lauren having lunch on Sunday
You can see the Duomo in the background.  This is one of the major pedestrian walkways (i.e.. there is a lot of shopping here)
The Duomo
I just thought that this looked cool...

Monday, October 11, 2010


So as I said last week, this week began my travels outside of Murcia.  Of course I'd been to the beach and Cartagena, but that is still in the region of Murcia, so I'm not sure how much it counts.  This past weekend, myself and 97 of my closest friends (it was a trip for the international students) went to Granada.  For those of you who don't know Spanish geography, Granada is in the region of Andalucia which is the south of Spain.  It is what you think of when you imagine  Spanish culture...the guitars, the food, the Arab influences.  
Day 1, Friday: We arrived in Granada, after a 3 and a 1/2 hour bus ride, around 11:30 in the morning.  We then had free time to wander around.  A couple of friends and myself went to the Cathedral.
It was a really grand cathedral, as they tend to be.  Pretty much everything was covered with gold leaf.  There were paintings everywhere and the stained glass windows were gorgeous.  We also went to the Arab market and wandered around and bought waaaay too much stuff.
That's my friend Erin in the picture.
I bought holiday presents, the nature of which I will not divulge because that's no fun, tea, shoes (in true Sarah Surrey style), a charm for my charm bracelet, 2 paintings for my room, and a very ornate hookah (for decoration of course...).  We then finished off the night by going all together, the whole group of international students, to a bar near the city centre.
Day 2, Saturday: The day began with breakfast in the hotel and then my friend Erin (different Erin than in the previous picture) and I were planning on going to the Arab baths, but as it turns out you have to reserve it in advance so instead we wandered around some more.  Went up to the Mirador San Nicolas to see the view of the Alhambra/the city. Then we went to the Sacromonte where all the houses and stores are built right into the mountain.
After that we met up we ate amazing Kebabs (which are not actually kebabs but rather schwarma in a pita) and then went on the tour of the Alhambra.  It started raining right about the time we got to the top of the hill (the Alhambra is situated on top of a hill because that way the king could see the people who were trying to attack his kingdom) and poured the entire time we were there.  But it was fun!
 The famous fountain in the garden...I know it's a well-known picture, but it just looks so cool!
Me in the rain at Carlos V palace...he had it built for his honey moon and then forgot about it, I mean I forget about my palaces all the time, so its completely understandable

I feel that this one is rather self-explanatory. I just thought it was a cool picture,

This is the front the 3rd, and most recent, palace.  There are 3 palaces.
Following our soaking adventure in the Alhambra we went back to the hostel to warm up.  The activity for the evening was to go to a club in Sacromonte that had a view of the Alhambra all lit up, but seeing as I'm getting over a cold and I was already freezing from sojourn I decided not to go.  A group of friends and myself went out to a nice tapas restaurant and ate a lot of really delicious food.
Day 3, Sunday:  We had to be out of the hostel by 10 (10:30 Spanish time) so after leaving all of our stuff on the bus a group of us went back up to the Mirador and then shopping.
On the way back down from the Mirador, since it was so cold (literally 30 seconds after this picture was taken the wind picked up and it was freezing) we stopped into an Arab tea room.  I had tea Al-Andalus which is green tea with vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamon; it was amazing!  After shopping we had lunch at an Italian restaurant (partly because the food looked good and partly because they had space for 8 people inside).  Then we wandered a little more and met up with the group at 5:30.  After taking a huge group picture we got on the bus and arrived in Murcia around 10:15.  Just in time for dinner!

Other than that, school/life is going well.  I didn't have class today because there is a holiday (National Day of Spain, or something like that) tomorrow.  And yes, I did say that right.  In true Spanish style, no one wanted to work for one day in between the weekend and the holiday so they made it a 5 day weekend.  Pretty awesome! I also got a new roommate in addition to Cristina.  His name is Caleb and he's from New York.  He is here teaching English for the EU.  Also very nice.  

That's about it for this week.
Ciao bellas (I'm preparing myself for Milan this coming weekend).


Monday, October 4, 2010

La empieza de mis lecturas

I didn't do a whole lot of interest this week.  So I guess you all get to hear about my classes some more...yay!  I'm enjoying all of them a lot.  I still haven't matriculated, but I do have readings to do, I asked classmates.  I am currently reading La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas, La Malquerida by Jacinto Benavente, and Historia de una escalera by Antonio Buero Vallejo.  All three are plays (thus the "theatre" part of my blog name ☺)  La Celestina is actually called La tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, basically it's a 21 act play which details courtly love gone awry.  The end result is much like Hamlet, everyone is dead.  La Malquerida is the story of a girl who causes misfortune to every man who tries to love her.  The reason is (SPOILER ALERT!) that she loves her step-father and he kills them.  Finally, Historia de una escalera, is a play in 3 acts in which the first two acts are 10 years apart and the last two are 20 years apart.  It tells the story of people living in an apartment and all the action takes place on the stairs of the building.  It takes place before and after the Spanish Civil War (1919, 1929, and 1949).  Soooo basically I am not reading anything with a happy ending.  However, they are all amazingly well written and they definitely have their funny moments (particularly La Celestina, partly because it is a "tragic-comedy" and partly because in 21 acts something funny has to go down).  

This week I also went salsa dancing.  It was really fun, but a whole different animal from what I'm used to at home.  The style of salsa was a little bit different (it was a lot more cucaracha steps (side-to-side) than the basic front/back).  The DJ also mixed in some Merengue and Bachata.  The other major difference is that we didn't get there until 2 in the morning.  And regardless of the immense amount of soreness and hearing loss (2 days later) wearing my latin heels again was definitely worth it!

Finally, I obtained a roommate this week!! Her name is Cristina.  She is from an island called Madera off the coast of Portugal and is studying farmacia (to be a pharmacist).  She is really nice, as is her cousin who is staying with us until tomorrow.  He cooked a typical meal from Madera last night; meat, rice, a sauce, and salad.  Therefore, I will be grilling some chicken with a honey-mustard marinade and making mac & cheese.  I figure that's a pretty American meal.  

The biggest news of this week?  I had my first churros con chocolate.  It was heaven.  
Well that's about it for this week, but next I'm beginning my travels so it should be exciting!
¡Hasta la semana proxima!