Tag Archives: vacation

Galicia Profunda (Pontevedra, Ourense, and a little bit of Lugo)

El tiempo vuela…

 

Plaza America (Vigo).

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were a wonderful time nonetheless and it was great to spend time with the grandparents and hear their stories of when they lived in New York.  Andrea was positively hyper due to gifts from Papa Noel and the sugar rush from all of the turron.  A day later, it was time to bid farewell to everyone (and avoid an Iberia strike) and head back to the US.  Saying goodbye at the airport was extremely difficult (we were all crying), but I try to remember that it is not a true goodbye and I will see my Spanish family again sooner than I expect.

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…

…and then it was off to Málaga

After a lot of San Juan revelry, my first Spanish exam, and an “eventful” night, I was running awake for 48 hours with 2 hours of sleep.  As I like to say, there’s nothing a little caffeine can’t fix.  At 5:45am, I was off to the airport for the first stop on my Andalucian adventure: Málaga.  An even better treat: my dad made a stop in Spain to hang out with me on Saturday.

 

After catching up over a caña with my dad, we headed over to a tapas bar (El Tapeo de Cervantes) for dinner.  My dad and I caught up on life and strategized my move to Chicago.  (I honestly have no idea how I am going to pull this off.)  It only took two days for me to be known as a “regular” here and to have the bartender sneaking single malts my way.

 

Next stop: Córdoba!

MAD-JFK

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Driving through La Rioja.

I’m back where I started – writing my final post from this Spain journey at the airport.  Madrid Barajas, Terminal 4.

The time went by so quickly!  This was the trip of a lifetime though.  I am so grateful to have experienced and seen so many different sites and places that most people can only dream of.  I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to see the world as I did over the past two weeks.

This trip was just what I needed to clear some of my thoughts.  It allowed me time to assess what I’ve done, where I’m going, and what I need to do.

Of course, I’m sad to leave Spain – but I KNOW I will be back relatively soon.  It’s all a part of pursuing those hopes and dreams.

de Madrid al cielo…

…And we’re here on the final leg of our journey: in Madrid.  Of course, my impulsive side got the best of me and I ended up buying one of these:

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Hala Madrid!

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We got to Madrid around 11am, so we had a bit of time to explore.  My first stop: Parque de Buen Retiro.  The park is not far from the Prado (which I went to last year) and the Puerta de Alcala.  It’s essentially the Central Park of Madrid – tourists and locals alike go to the park to walk around, hang out, or go for a run.  The Paseo de la Argentina contains many statues from the Royal Palace.  There is also a beautiful memorial forest dedicated to the victims of the Madrid Metro terrorist attacks.

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I was wandering around and saw this street performer guy.  How cool is that?

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After a brisk walk, I headed towards the Mercado de San Miguel.  Although not nearly as impressive as the Mercado in Barcelona, there are so many neat places to shop and eat.  I’ll be back tomorrow for some percebes!

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I did drop by a local bar for a Mahou (not my first choice) and a pintxo – and it only set me back 3 euros.  The bartender was super-nice, he let me pick out all of the pintxos that I wanted!  Later on, I met his wife and his super-cute daughter.  Airfare aside, this trip has definitely fit within my budget constraints.

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Then it was off to Plaza Mayor, which is the central plaza in Madrid.  Although the buildings themselves are mostly for residential use, there are some cute shops and areas to people watch in the surrounding area.  I found this really cool Spanish version of an Army-Navy store and picked up some cool medallions and badges – can’t wait to embellish some jackets.

I’ll admit, I did a little bit of shopping.  A fantastic pair of PURPLE gladiator sandals set me back 10 euros and I brought a six pack of Estrella Galicia for the trip home.  Jen was not around to talk me out of any purchases. I also picked up a few gifts along the way, not to worry!

For dinner, we headed to one of my favorite places in the world for traditional Basque cuisine.  Goizeko Kabi is so good, that it’s been written up by the New York Times.  But the truth that the recession has hit Spain: we noticed the “for rent” sign in the window when we arrived.  So sad.  We did head to another tapas joint at the recommendation of a friend, but it just wasn’t the same…

Random Thoughts on Renfe – III

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Alas, this is my last installment of Random Thoughts on Renfe.  I am in transit from Logroño to Madrid – the last leg of my journey through Spain.

I’ll keep this one short because it’s before 8am and my thoughts are not very lucid.  There is no cafe solo (aka espresso) in my system yet!

One thing I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately is following my dreams and goals versus following the “norm,” and what is conventionally expected from me.

If it’s not apparent from my blog, there’s this artistic, creative, more spontaneous side to me that I do feel as though I have to stifle at times.  There are so many ideas of things that I would like to do while I’m still young: become completely fluent in another language, live in another country for a little bit, take up new hobbies… but I feel like when I do bring these things up, that sometimes the response I get is less than enthusiastic (“Are you crazy, Dana?!”).

I was talking to my dad not too long ago, and he said if not for getting married so young and having to deal with children at such a young age (early to mid 20s), that he would have done something similar to my plan.  This was pretty surprising, because if you know anything about my dad, he’s a very conservative, “by the books” kind of guy.  And here he was, telling me that I should pursue my goals, and not worry about the naysayers because I’d end up regretting it later in life.

Of course, my goals are not going to accomplish themselves; it’s going to take a lot of hard work.  I’m ready for it though…

So let’s start, shall we?