Thursday, October 28, 2010

I steal other peoples blog posts

  soo my friend Jen and I had the most wonderful day in Madrid today.... and after reading her blog post there is no way i can describe it better, so I decided I would copy hers and put it on mine:) 


Unexpected Adventures...

So Rachel and I decided to take a little trip into Madrid today - hit up some museums, maybe eat some authentic food...

We had a map, I promise.
The reading of the map proved more difficult than we'd anticipated.
After wandering in a forest (aka, large city park) for what seemed like HOURS, we determined we needed to be on the other side of the six-laned freeway.
That would be when we noticed the massive tower with the sign saying "Museo de America" on it. We're brilliant, and blind, apparently.

After having spent 45 minutes of wandering in circles we arrive at the museum.
We then decide to practice our international espionage skills, because somehow we've managed to arrive at the exact moment as our professor and her parents - talk about weird timing, seriously, of all the museums they could've gone to today, they had to pick this one?
We dodge them for a bit, and finally realize it's hopeless and give in and say hi. Despite Rachel's fabulous Charlie's Angels sneaking skills.

We then head over to the famous National Library, full of old, old books in display cases.
Rachel about dies of excitement when she FINALLY sees the old, old Darwin book on evolution that she was SO hoping to see, and just as she lifts the camera...
The security guard comes over and tells us NO PICTURES.
We try to use the espionage skills to come back and take one anyway, but he's following us around. Laaaaame.

So then we're starving.
And what restaurant do we happen upon, but the Cafe Gijon!!! (Only the most awesome cafe in Madrid, where intellectuals, artists, writers, poets, etc have been eating lunch for the past 100 years.)
We're a bit underdressed, but we go in anyway.
We can't understand the waiter's accent, the food was all seafood stuff, and they didn't have Fanta. But it was SO COOL! We felt intellectual. And famous.

On our way back to the Metro, we see a massive, impressive building. We try to go in, but the police officer outside informs us it's closed. I think if we'd taken another step he was ready to tackle us.

We find a street stand and buy ridiculous numbers of postcards for our scrapbooks, meet a couple from Colorado, walk through a creepy tunnel to get to the Metro, and fall asleep on the train home.

Oh you know, just another day in Spain... :D


Monday, October 25, 2010

Basque Country

So a week ago seven of us went to the AC Milan vs Real Madríd fútbol game!! It was incredible for these reasons!!

1. WE WON!! Madríd won 2-0
2. Both goals, scored right after one another, were scored on the side we were sitting on
3. I went with the best group ever:)
4. We totally participated in some mob action with some Italians before the game (police had to hold us back with shields because we were so hard core).
5. Christian Ronaldo
6. Christian Ronaldo with his shirt off. enough said.

Here are some pictures from the game

After the game on Tuesday night, we left the next morning for Santander, Bilbao, France, and San Sebastian.

Instead of going to every cathedral, museum and convent, we decided to hang out and play on the BEAUTIFUL beaches :)
A little taste of the beautiful countryside

The girls!

church by the beach:)

El Guggenheim in Bilbao

Cute French harbor

On a French beach

French town

San Sebastian

The Basque Country in Spain is seriously one of the most beautiful places on earth. The countryside with its lush, green hilltops and its stone fences along the coastline was so amazingly beautiful. We had the opportunity to go to France since we were so close to the border, which was so much fun! Except for the fact that NONE of us speak any french.... and not very many people knew english or spanish.... so that was an adventure, but very very entertaining nonetheless.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

El Día de Hispanidad

This past Tuesday was one of the biggest holidays in Spain--el Día de Hispanidad. Because Spaniards are awesome, they decided to take off work monday as well as tuesday so everyone could have a five day weekend.... meaning two days of school this week. score.

In Alcalá there was a huge, maravillosa Medivial Fair, which had about a billion tents selling the most amazing goods. Everyone dressed up like they were from the middle ages. I loved all the smells of leather, food, candles and herbs as we walked by all the streets full of little tents. The goods consisted of food (sooo delicious. I had about three crepes. the best was the one stuffed with melted chocolate and bananas.) jewelry, leather goods, artwork and carved stuff, etc. etc.

The band we met. They were legit

The cure for all your problems: menopause, herpes.... anything you need.

every type of sausage/chorizo etc.
This fair has by far been one of my favorite things here in España.  

On Tuesday night the group (everyone minus McKay) went to a Corrida de Toros..... a bull fight. First off, I just want to say that no, I am against bull fights because they kill multiple bulls for sport. And that is wrong on numerous levels. However, there was a morbid fascination with the art of how its all done. But still, NOT okay.

Primero, phase one: The torrero lures the bull with a cape. This shows how smart the bull is, as well as tells the torerro which side the bull favors.

Second, the bad guy with the lance stabs the bull to weaken its neck muscles, making the bull lower its head. The horses have protection because without it, they would get gored to death. They are also blindfolded because if they knew when the bull was going to charge them, they would freak out (for good reason). Some of the old men at the stadium who have gone to bull fights their entire lives were yelling at the horsemen because they stabbed and shoved the lance in the bull way more than they were suppose to. This was the only good part--when the crowd was yelling "Brutos! y Booooo".

Then the torrero has 3 tries to put these poky stick this inside the hole that the lance created. This also helps injure the neck muscles so the poor bull cant lift its head and stab the torrero with his horns.

Third phase is when the torrero tries to stab the bull with his sword, aiming for the aorta and the heart so the bull bleeds to death and dies "quickly".  Only two of the six bulls died this way. The others were stabbed a lot before they actually died :(.

In my opinion, its not ok to murder and torture 6 bulls in less than two hours for sport. Its wrong. However, I am not sorry I went. It was a cultural experience I will never forget.
dragging the dead bull off :(

Our group also went to Avila and Salamanca this weekend but it was pretty much the same thing as all the other trips: beautiful cathedrals, walls surrounding the city, etc. so if you want to see pictures go to facebook.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Valencia y Toledo

On Thrusday we drove to Valencia (after cutting our class a half hour short:)) and arrived at the Lladró factroy! For those of you who have know idea what lladró is, its a type of fancy porcelain... Well this was so exciting because our family owns a couple pieces! Every year for Christmas (for three years), my sisters and I would go pick out a little porcelain girl for my momma--representing each one of us. We always fight about which one we get to have when the lladró are passed on to us... so it was really cool to see how its all done! We were able to go through the whole line up (unfortunately, pictures are prohibited) and everything is done by hand. The employees are also artists who do work on their own, and are very skilled.

pretty little girl
After we went to a super fancy dinner to eat some delicious Paella! Paella came from Valencia, so of course the best paella comes from there.... as you can see

paella for the whole group

SOOO delicious

our dessert:) turrón con caramelo

The next day we went to the Science Center, which has some SWWWEEET buildings and then we went to the Beach!! It was soo nice to swim in the ocean:)

ya we love jumping pictures

On Saturday, we went to Toledo. It was awesome, even though it was pouring rain the entire time. Toledo is the cutest little town, but due to all the "no fotos" rules i couldnt get too many pictures but here are a few.

Little kids sit here and beg, after their parents abandoned them

holy Toledo! haha

Sunday, October 3, 2010


           This weekend we went to Barcelona!! Its a pretty sweet place.
View of Barcelona
On our seven hour drive to reach the splendid city, we stopped in Monserrat, a tiny little town on the top of a mountain. The views from the top were breathtaking.

Isabel, Lindsey and I

In Monserrat, we were able to go inside another church, hang out in the plaza, and smell the thousands of candles. In the catholic church, you can light a candle to save a deceased loved one in purgatory.

When we finally reached Barcelona, we were able to go to la Sagrada Familia: the most amazing church ever. It is still under construction, and has about 40% left to go. It started construction in 1882, which means it will be done in like 2040. Designed by the famous Gaudí, the church is dedicated to Christ. Everything, literally everything, symbolizes his life and teachings.

personal favorite

I love the modern influence

On our way back home, we stopped in the middle of no where to see the Convenio de Piedra. The church was beautiful, as always, but the best part was the park containing about 10 huge waterfalls.

Courtyard del Convenio
Just one of many

I have a ton more pictures so if you want to see more just go to facebook!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Houses and Abstract Angels

I cant believe I've been here for a month already.... time flies by so fast!!!

Here are some of the wonderful things we did this week:

Number One: Go to McDonalds. yes, shocking I know. I don't even like McDonalds--but the smell of American food wafting down the street I go by everyday finally lured me inside. I had the best HAPPY meal of my life, even though according to this picture it gave us Jaundice.

Number Two: On Friday, we went to La Reina Sofia, which is the modern art museum in Madríd, Personally, ABSTRACT art is not my favorite, but here are some of the highlights:

Guernica- Even though its kinda weird I really like this painting because it represents the cruelties of war--especially against innocent civilians. It stands as a symbol of anti-war movement even today.

Guernica: Pablo Picasso 1937
We also saw a lot of art by Salvador Dalí, and I still have no idea how I am suppose to interpret it, so I don't.... But here is one of the paintings anyways!

The Enigma of Hitler: Salvador Dalí 1939
Number Three hasta Seven: On Saturday we took a day trip to Cuenca and Uclés.

In Uclés we explored another Catedral, but this time we really explored it. We got there so early in the morning that no one else was there besides our group. Also, pretty much any door that was open and didn't have a sign saying 'private room' we went into....

Making a wish in the well in the courtyard

sitting on my thrown..... (chiste)
playing a SUPER old piano

exploring the rennovation unit... glad that this ANGEL has top priority
After our stop in Uclés we headed to Cuenca, the city of hanging HOUSES.

pretty houses along the street

First, we went to another cathedral (surprised?) which was awesome, but we weren't allowed to take any pictures. However, that didnt stop me from sneaking a few in.
The stained glass is all yellow: hence the yellow glow. SUPERbonita
Of course we had to brave the huge bridge (it moved back and forth) to get the ultimate view of the casas colgadas...

I love these girls:)
Spitting contest!! Syke. We were spitting off the bridge because it looked really pretty falling in the light.