Tag Archives: andalucia

So long sweet summer…

 It’s been a while since I’ve written.  After my trip to the south of Spain at the beginning of the summer, my life in Spain (and in general) became such a busy whirlwind that it was impossible to sit for a little while, collect my thoughts, or edit photos.  But it was all in the best way possible – I was living in the moment, spending time with amazing people that I know will be friends for the rest of my life, and working towards my goals.  Never once did I feel homesick.  (Alright, except when my dear friend Colin told me how great Death Cab’s show was…THEN I felt homesick.)

Is it really over?  I can’t say for certain.  I can hope that I secure the internship of my dreams next summer and then no, it will be a continuation of what I have worked on this summer.  I just fear that if there is no such opportunity, that Plans B and C may not work out, and I’ll have to take any old internship for the sake of taking it.

 

After a full day of unpacking, assembling, hammering, and pretending like I know how to use a level at my new apartment in Chicago, all of this “hit” me.  It’s the end of the summer and I have no clue where it went.

 

But all of the 11am coffee breaks, aimless walks after dinner, Saltamontes, quests for about a sapling’s worth of paper to burn for San Juan, mojito-making, inside jokes about furancho employees, public transportation SNAFUs, an excursion to the Vigo Zoo, culiminating with pijama party on the eve of my departure – I will carry those memories with me always.

Oh, how I love Cádiz.

Ahh, Cádiz.  It may have been upwards of 40 degrees centigrade, but at least that deceptive breeze from the sea kept me temporarily cool (and duped me into thinking I wouldn’t need to reapply sunscreen…oops).

 

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Cádiz is unique in that many of the sights to see are spread out, rather than concentrated in one central location.  The beach is quite a distance from the cathedral, the cathedral quite a haul from some of the museums, etc.  Unfortunately, time was of the essence here; this is what happens when you only have a week off from school and want to see as much as humanely possible.  With only 24 hours at my disposal, I had to be efficient.

 

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Catedral de Cádiz: Definitely a humble cathedral in comparison to many of the others that I have seen in Spain.  That crypt, however…oh boy, how creepy.  The echoes, weird shadows cast along the walls – I didn’t spend too long down there.  If you walk across the plaza, you are able to enter the cathedral’s museum, which has all sorts of artwork and religious articles from the 15th century through the 19th century.

 

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Museo de Cádiz: I was amazed by the sheer number of Phoenician and Roman artifacts in this museum.  I was also impressed by how advanced many of the tools from this period were.  The museum also contains some modern artwork, the juxtaposition of which was very interesting.

 

I also can’t believe how content my stomach was from this particular trip.  Lightly fried seafood and albondigas de merluza (and beer and wine to cool down, naturally)…mmm.  Looks like shopping for all of the clothes I’ll need in Chicago will have to wait if I want to have anything close to an accurate measurement of my actual suit size.

 

Speaking of shopping, my dear dad had given me all sorts of random things this weekend that I’ve been toting around in a very heavy backpack.  I just couldn’t take it anymore and caved – I bought another piece of luggage.  At least I can now justify purchasing those espadrilles…

 

Córdoba…the British are coming?

The title of this entry is half-serious.  My first observation: There were SO many Brits in Córdoba.  My second observation: Good God, everything is at least twice the price of anything in Galicia.  A friend that I made on this leg of the journey, Luis, explained to me that there is a correlation between the two.  Wealthy British folks have made Córdoba their home and as a result, the city is like a modern-day Babel AND a can of Kas is 2 euros.

You call THIS a tortilla?!  Womp womp.

3) I ate the Famous Ray’s Original “The Real Deal” version of tortilla espanola.  And it was not pretty.  I’ll have to Yelp it.

4) There’s apparently a hipster bar in Córdoba, where one can drink cheap beer (if the beer in Spain isn’t cheap enough already!) and listen to indie dance tunes.  Cool!

5) It was 45 degrees centigrade.  In the shade.  I’ll let the Yanks do the temperature conversion on that one.

6) That Andalucian accent “drop the d” thing is catchy.  I wish I could speak like that.

After two action-packed days in Córdoba, it was time to move along to my next destination: Cádiz.  At the risk of sounding like a nerd, I’m on the edge of my seat awaiting the results from my exam!

 

A little bit of Córdoba…

Fountains at the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos

 

…with tales of my travels to follow shortly!

Playa America > Playa Misericordia

Playa Misericordia in Málaga.

 

Even though the water in Galicia is about 10 degrees centigrade, the beaches are much better maintained than they are in Málaga.  Although the beaches are very picturesque in Málaga, a lot of people litter (unfortunately) and the sand is pretty rocky.  With that said, I am now somewhere between amber and crimson in color…

estoy en Sevilla…perdí mis zapatos…

That’s right, I lost my shoes.  I left them in the hotel because it was like a fire drill to get to the Granada Renfe station for 8am.  UGH.  The good news is that:

1) I’m in Spain.

2) I’ve seen a lot of shoes I like.

3) I just so have some room in my suitcase for a couple of purchases.

We left Granada bright and early this morning and took Renfe to Sevilla.  It was nice to gaze out the window and see endless fields of sunflowers (one of my favorite types of flowers).  Sleep was not something that happened, unfortunately (see blog posts below).  We arrived right before siesta, so naturally, the adrenaline overpowered the potential for an afternoon nap.  So exploring Sevilla was in the cards for us.

Sevilla is another charming Andalucian city.  If I thought that the streets were narrow in Granada, Sevilla has given the word “narrow” an entirely new meaning.  Aside from some of the main streets and avenues, most of the streets are a maximum of about four feet wide.  And that street map?  Completely useless!  Everything is just a winding maze of little alley ways and secret passages and little surprises around each corner.

What does one do without a map?  Use lots of roaming data on the smart phone, no doubt!  (This month’s AT&T statement will probably be in the high three figure range…yikes!)

Althought it was kind of fun getting lost.  We found lots of cute shops, little old ladies peddling their handmade jewelry, a bakery with the scent of fresh bread wafting from the entrance, and restaurants and bars worth taking an extra look.

Anyway, our hotel is worth mentioning.  We’re staying at the hotel which was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of Sevilla in 1929.  It’s a great combination of Moroccan and Roccoco stylistic elements.  I feel a bit like Louis XIV in Versailles.

While on our adventure, Jen and I realized how hungry we were since we haven’t had a proper meal all day.  We stopped at a nearby restaurant and cooled off with delicious, refreshing mojitos and savored a great Andalucian dish – albondigas de bacalao (meatballs, except made with salted cod) along with jamon con melon.  The melon was like nectar and it also helped us cool off.

After a quick siesta, we decided to amble around Sevilla.  Our siesta wasn’t as short as we would have liked, as a lot of the exhibitions were closed.  But we did map out our day for tomorrow and it’s going to be a busy one. 

We snapped a few nice photos by the Torre de Oro, a watchtower built by the Berbers in the 1200s.  The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria was also closing up, but we managed a quick walk of the grounds before it was time to leave.  This is where all of the Feria de Abril festivities take place; I can only imagine how crazy it gets.

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Before you know it, it was time for dinner.  Jen and I wanted to scope out a tapas bar that is EXTREMELY popular with locals – it’s a tiny place, standing room only.  People were crowding out onto the streets when we got there around 10:30 so we had to think quickly of a Plan B.  Because we were within walking distance of the Alcazar, everything was a tourist trap.  Our “patas bravas” were French fries.  Mejillones were from a can.  ARE. YOU. SERIOUS.  So we were like “screw this noise” and made our way back to our little local bar.

Guess how much a glass of wine, a Cruzcampo, and a pintxo set us back?  4.80.  I understand Spain is in a deep recession, but New York needs to take a cue from Spain with this whole 1 euro beer concept.  Especially since Nouriel Roubini just announced that the probability of a double-dip recession in the US has just risen to 40%…

Bar economics aside, I loved this place.  The bartender, who you know has been there since the place opened and/or the beginning of time, calculates your tab with chalk (the bar is made of a slate-like material).  When it’s time for the bartender’s break, he goes outside and chats and has a cigarette, with a group of patron-friends.  The irony of this all is that a group of cougars roll up into this bar and EVERYONE turns around…I think a few guys must have gotten whiplash.  Naturally, I have the honor of standing next to them and it’s pretty obvious from their accent that they were either from New Jersey or Staten Island.  It was like the Real Housewives wanted to go incognito and venture to a part of the world where no one would recognize them. 

I’m hoping I run into Snooki and the Situation tomorrow.