Friday, March 5, 2010


London, England Feb. 25-28th

Rubbish, Rubbish, Rubbish… London was bloody Rubbish….. haha Just Kidding… London was pretty sweet! The group consisted of me, Ben, Maggie, Steph and Caitlin. The trip started with me and Ben leaving Wednesday night (24th) at 7 pm on a 5 hour bus ride to Madrid. We slept on the ‘ol Airport floor again haha nothin’ like it… We then caught a 6:30 am flight to London Stansted. There was about a two hour delay on our flight because the French thought it would be a good idea to go on strike, therefore, not allowing us to fly over France. SO conveniently we got to sit on the plane for two hours before we moved anywhere haha exciting stuff let me tell you! Eventually the plane left, and we made it to London around noon where we took an hour bus ride from Stansted Airport to the Center of London. Victoria bus station was only like a five minute walk from Vandon House (the place we stayed at in London). Vandon house is actually where all the Central people who study abroad stay at in London. It was pretty cool getting to see all of the different Central College people again! Joey and Joel were at class so Ben and I just stayed in there room for about an hour until Joey came to take us and show us around. We were starving, and there were SO many American restaurants that we hadn’t seen for a month. We decided on the Pizza Hut buffet haha It was good stuff! It rains constantly in London, so after we ate we went and grabbed some umbrellas and took a quick tour of the city with Joey “the tour guide” Toale. We went and saw Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye..(The biggest Ferris Wheel in the World) After the tour, Ben and I were beat, so we decided to take a solid nap! Later we got ready, and we went out to eat with Joel and Joey at another pizza place haha After dinner we played different games (with pop of course) with some people who are studying in London and waited for Maggie Caitlin and Steph to come because they took a later flight than Ben and I. That night we all went out to a bar called Tiger Tiger which was a lot of fun! We got back around 3 am and were ready for our next day in London.

The next day we woke up around ten and Kiley gave us another tour of the different near-by monuments such as Big-Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace (which we waited to see the changing of the guards for over an hour only to figure out that it was the next day J haha) Winchester Abbey or something like that haha andd some other stuff that I don’t remember the names of!... We did the touristy thing and climbed onto the big black lions to get our picture taken… getting 5 people on the lion was quite the struggle haha. During that day we had gone to some theatre in London and the Broadway show “Wicked” was in soo naturally the girls wanted to see it really bad… I was a little skeptical about the situation butttt I got a ticket anyways haha it was only like 25 lbs or something like that. Well that night we made dinner (spaghetti of course cuz its cheap) and got all dressed up to go to this show at 7:30. It ended up being a really good show and afterwards we planned on going out but ended up hanging out in Vandon House because we were all so tired!

The next day we woke up around 9, ate, and then wanted to see the changing of the guards. We went to see Notting Hill first.. (where the movie was filmed) I have never seen the movie or heard of it until we went to London haha but yeah we went there… THEN we went to the changing of the guards! We were a little late but I am pretty sure we didn’t miss too much because I thought it was kind of overrated but it was cool to see it at least! The queen wasn’t at the palace either because there are certain flags that hang when she is in… and they were not hanging the weekend we were there. After the changing of the guards our marathon to see all of London started… we walked EVERYWHERE in London… first we went to the tower bridge and the tower building (I forgot the name) but they were both really cool, We walked by the London eye a bunch. We saw “London Bridge” which wasn’t as cool as the tower bridge haha but we saw it anyways! Caitlin (who is in love with Harry Potter) had to see some Harry Potter bridge haha and thenn of course 9 ¾ platform. We saw St. James (or Peters) I don’t remember cathedral where Princess Diana was married… and then we went to a British art Museum.. at this point I was dead tired soo when Ben was checkin out all that he wanted to see I decided to lay on a bench and accidentally fell asleep in the middle of the museum.. Next thing I know Ben is waking me up telling me he’s ready to leave haha After the museum it was time to find Abbey Road where the Beetles took the picture on there album cover and where they recorded that album. It took us so long to find because we were in the south east corner and had to get to the northwest corner of London. It was dark by the time we found it and it was pouring rain BUT we found it! … and of course took a picture similar to the beetles album cover picture! After all of that we were pretty exhausted haha Maggie kept falling asleep on the Metro. That night we were all going to go out knowing that we had to be up at 430 am to catch our flight. WELL Ben and I weren’t really feelin’ the whole 2 hours of sleep soo we went to bed at like 1030 and the girls went out until 230 am haha Ben and I felt great in the morning… Caitlin said she got 20 minutes of sleep.. not too bad! That morning we took an hour bus back to the airport.. Got on our 730 plane and returned straight to Granada on a 2 hour plane ride! We got back around 1 pm and slept the rest of the day.

The trip was a lot of fun! I forgot to mention we did eat the local fish and chips (fries) which was really good!... London was a cool city and it felt good to be in a place that spoke all English instead of Spanish French Arabic or German. I think a person needs more than 3 days to fully take in London because it is SUCH a big city! It is ridiculous… and expensive.. but a lot of fun! I go to Madrid two weekends after this trip, Paris again a week after the Madrid trip, and the Gran Canarias a week after the Paris trip for spring break! It should be another fun month!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Paris Feb 19-21st

Paris was amazing.. haha I left Granada at 7 pm on Thursday night (the 18th) on a bus heading towards Madrid. I ‘slept’ in the good ‘ol Airport Hostal (on the floor) again haha and had an 8 am flight the next morning.. I was traveling by myself so it wasn’t quite as easy as with a group of people but it worked out just fine! It seemed like forever for that 8 am flight, but when it finally came, I met 6 other people who were going to Paris and also studying in Granada. It was good to be able to talk to them on the plane and everything! We got to airport Paris- Beauvois, and I had strict instructions from Taylor that the metro was only a nine minute walk away… haha SO I started walking and noticed nobody else was walking and the further I got away from the airport… the more countryside I saw… haha after like 5 minutes I turned around because I figured something wasn’t right… as it turns out the airport I landed in was over an our away from Paris and I had to catch a bus to get to Paris.. (didn’t even see that one comin’!). The bus came right away though, so it was no big deal at all! I knew I had arrived in Paris when I looked out the window and saw the big Eiffel Tower!

After arriving at the metro in Paris, I didn’t really have a problem finding the hotel. I got to the “hotel” and it was more like a hostel haha but I didn’t really care because it was pretty close to the Eiffel Tower. Taylor came and found me, and I gave her a biggggg hug haha (from everyone of course). Right away we walked around the city!... it was really difficult to get used to the metro because there were soo many trains in it, but it was fun! We first saw the arch haha I don’t remember the name and from there she showed me where her dorms were and everything… We walked sooo much, and there was so much to see! It was about 5 now, so we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out for supper and everything.

We got all dressed up that night for Taylor’s birthday and went to the top of the Eiffel tower around 7 pm… It was sooo cool! The Eiffel tower was absolutely ridiculous lit up! It was so big and I think everybody needs to see it once in there life! The town lit up looking out was so cool too… Paris is ridiculously big! We were up there for almost 2 hours I think… It was so much fun! After checkin’ out the view from the top we headed to the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. It was so nice! We got a glass of champagne along with a bottle of wine. Also, we got an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. We ordered something different from each other for each so we could try all different stuff! Haha (American tourists) For appetizers I got duck and Taylor ordered salmon (which was raw) haha but it was all good. For our main dishes I got “home-grown chicken breast” (whatever that means haha) and Taylor ordered scallops.. both were really good but they came with soap bubbles on top of them… which we though was kind of weird haha but whatever. And then for dessert Taylor ordered a chocolate nut dessert of some sort and I ordered a some sort of rum based dessert and they were both really good also!... The restaurant was soo nice soo all the food was really good. We had seats right next to the windows looking over the city, and it was awesome looking over the city while we ate! Our meal took us over 2 hours haha and it was so much fun!

The next day went by soo fast. We went to Notre Dame (that was pretty sweet), Luxemburg Garden, and Pompiduo. All three very cool places, and after those three, we were beat! (Notre Dame is the Cathedral, Luxemburg is France’s govt. and Pompiduo is a modern art museum). Also, this is the day that I had my first Crepe! Haha It was pretty goood! That night I met Taylor’s friends from France, and they had planned to go to dinner and then out to the bars. It was really funny because Taylor’s favorite food is “soup” (yeah she’s weird I know haha just kidding), and her friends found a place that only makes soup so we went there to eat! After dinner we bought some drinks and brought it back to the “dorms” to drink in the lobby. We started playin’ a little “wine pong” with bottle caps instead of ping pong balls. This wasn’t working out for the best, so we switched to flippy cup. The French guys were watchin us and eventually joined. It was like 10 on 10 and eventually turned into Americans versus French haha It was all fun and games until we got a little too rowdy and the security guard started yelling at everyone in French. I would say luckily we had France natives with us BUT instead of defending everyone they blamed the Americans for the noise and all of the alcohol (haha “I don’t know Harry the French are assholes” ) . We got over it real quickly and headed out to a bar. The bar was pretty sweet and we called it a night after that.

The next day I had a 8 o clock flight that was over an hour away from Paris. Needless to say I was up really early haha I left Paris for the airport around 5 am for a longg trip home!. Paris was definitely a site to see, and it was awesome to see Taylor for her birthday! It was a great weekend!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Switzlerand February 2-6th

Where do I begin with Switzerland? I am going to say aside from arriving in Spain, the Switzerland trip has definitely been the highlight of my trip so far. The group consisted of me, Ben, Robert, Brett, Maggie, Caitlin Tori and Paige. The trip started 4 hours after we returned from Morocco haha we didn’t leave much time between the trips so we’re glad nothing was delayed on the good ‘ol Moroccan trip! We returned from Morocco around 6 I think and then left around 10 for the bus station where we would take a 5 hour bus ride (1:30 am- 6:30 am) to Madrid. Since we were all super tired the plan was to just “sleep on the bus”. Little did we know is that we were about to get on the bus companies oldest bus (or so it seemed) because it had NO leg-room! I am pretty sure I slept a total of 20 minutes on the 5 hour bus ride haha it kinda sucked. We made it to the bus station in Madrid around 6:30 or 7 and had to take the metro to the airport which took another 20 minutes about. Needless to say when we got to the airport we really had no idea where we were going… not to mention none of us had really slept soo we were all pretty confused and tired haha BUT we found where we needed to be!... I think our plane left around 10 or 11, so we had some time to waste. At first we were all sitting talking and that turned into camping out on the floor of the airport and sleeping haha It was kinda weird at first but when we woke up we weren’t the only ones on the floor… so we pretty much started a good trend haha.. Finally, we boarded our plane for Milan, Italy.

When we got to Italy we didn’t realize the train station was in a town about 45 minutes away, so we had to get a bus to the train station. When we got to the train station, we didn’t realize the train would be more expensive than the plane either haha we were all kind of freakin’ out about the price of the train, but we had to do it!... We had to wait around a while for the train in the train station and it was already dark the next day… we had been traveling for about 15 hours at this point and were allll ready to get to Switzerland already. The train took us to Spiez, Switzerland. This turned out to be the joke of the trip haha Maggie asked for a trip to “Spitz” Switzerland and we definitely didn’t let her forget that the rest of the trip! If something went wrong the rest of the trip or we just felt the need we would all say “AH SPITZ” hence the name of my photo album for this trip! Haha After a two and a half hour train ride to Spiez (sp?), we had to get on another half hour train ride to Interlaken! We all desperately wanted to be there already considering we had been now traveling for about 22 hours nonstop. When we arrived it was obviously dark because it was like 11 at night, so it took us a while to find our Hostel. The town was only a town of 6,000 people, so it was a nice change of pace considering we’re used to being in cities about the size of Des Moines.

We got to the hostel and it seemed like a good hostel.. not that I would have really known at the time haha but it ended up being perfect for us! They had a welcome shot ready for us haha (sorry mom and dad). After getting unpacked and everything we were all dead tired but hungry, so we walked around the town looking for a place to eat at 11 at night. Low and behold the only place open was a McDonalds which we hadn’t eaten since we left America. Lets just say.. aside from our meals being about 20 bucks each at a fricken McDonalds…. It was glorious! That night we just pretty much went to sleep.. for some reason after 22 hours of straight traveling we were all tired… haha

The next day we were just planning on hanging out around town and checking it out and everything, but when we woke up (around 10) the day was so nice. There was no way I was about to pass up a day of skiing when the weather was as perfect as it was. Around 11 the guys decided to go skiing that day, and the girls wanted to just shop around the town and everyone was happy haha. The guys took a train to Grindelwald, Switz. Where the skiing was. We had to walk through town to get to the train in Interlaken… we walked along a river and the water was the craziest turquoise color! It was soo clear. Interlaken means between lakes.. there are two lakes surrounding the town… the town itself was so perfect. Everything in the town was so clean, the people were really nice, the weather was perfect, the town was surrounded by mountains on all sides, and the lakes on each side had the bluest water I have ever seen! ( I want to live there haha) After the half hour train ride we got to the rental shop and got all suited up! The lift was a short bus ride away and we were skiing. All I have to say about the skiing is.. Amazing. The best skiing I have ever had probably…. It took Ben and I around 45 minutes to get down the first mountain, which was pretty sweet. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I hope that the pictures speak for themselves because the skiing was awesome. The slopes closed at 430, and we headed back to Interlaken.

We arrived back at Interlaken, and the girls made us spaghetti! It was so awesome! We all ate and drank some wine and whatnot in the kitchen. After dinner we all decided to walk around the town and see what we could find. We ended up at some bar that happened to have live music, so it was pretty fun. Robert made some friends, and after the bar we went to McDonalds again haha and that is where Robert was kidnapped. As he was leaving he told us, “Don’t worry guys… I’m becoming a man” haha We ended up looking and finding him later.. He was drinking with the Swiss army naturally haha This is also where Caitlin insisted on thanking them over and over for there services they do for “our” country. (Im not sure if she realizes she is from the United States and not Switzerland) haha It was pretty funny actually. We ended up callin’ it a night after that, but we left Robert with the Swiss army haha.

The next morning we woke up at like 630 am to head out and go skiing with everyone this time! We skied on a different mountain to switch things up! It was a lot of fun skiing with all of us… It snowed almost the entire time we skied which was pretty cool, and the weather really wasn’t that cold either! On our last run skiing (which took us about an hour and a half to get down because we messed around the entire way) there was a little uphill slope, and since Caitlin was on a snowboard she couldn’t get up.. sooo she grabbed my ski pole as I went by so that she could gain some momentum. It was all working pretty well except I wasn’t really looking and to my left was a River ravine. I managed to find that river ravine pretty quickly and I fell off the path into it hahaha… I just laid in it for a while laughing because there was really deep snow over the river so it wasn’t too big of a deal but it was funny! Finally, we made it back to Grindelwald where we returned all of our stuff and headed back to Interlaken.

We had round two for spaghetti that night and then made our way to another hostel where there was a bar and dance floor and everything. Reid actually came to the same town as us with some other Central people, so it was really fun hanging out with all of them! The next day it was time for us to leave, but the time spent in Switzerland was so much fun! I would recommend to anyone going there for a vacation or anything at all because it was great! Our travels back were very similar to our travels there (sleeping in the airport and all the same trains back). It was really good to get back into Granada where we felt like we were home. We took a weekend off from traveling and now next weekend (Feb 19) I’m heading to Paris to see my girlfriend Taylor for her birthday! I’m soo excited to see her!.. It has been over a month:s Next week I will have another blog up about Paris!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Morocco, Africa

Feburary 3, 2010


Welll I was going to wait until I got home from Switzerland to write a blog BUT there is so much to say about Morocco. We left Granada, Spain on January 29th on a bus for a 3 hour ride for Algeciras (the port city). Here we stayed in our first hostel ever haha it wasn’t too bad I suppose. It was a regular room and bathroom and everything with a tv. We met our three group leaders for the Morocco trip (Alan, Sarah and Anna) and went to sleep for the night. The next morning we woke up at 8 to get on a huge ferry to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. It was about an hour and a half ride. It was pretty cool that we were heading to Africa. I never thought I would have the chance and it was fun sharing that with the people I was with! We got to Morocco, and the people were nice to start off the bat. A girl in our group dropped her passport in the parking lot and immediately the Moroccan’s were telling us to wait and handed it back to her. It was VERY overwhelming when we got there. Everyone there spoke either Arabic or French, so we had no idea what was going on… pretty much ever. The town that we started in was Tangier, which is the port city in Morocco. When we got there we exchanged money and everything and then drove straight to the good ‘ol meat market. I didn’t like it at all…. I did take some pictures and put one on face book. People were carrying around half of cows and the smell was terrible.. I thought I was going to be for a very long trip when I saw all of this. We talked to two Morrocan women after the meet market and had tea and whatnot with them. They explained to us a lot about the Muslim religion. I learned so much about it , but it’s tough to explain through typing. I did learn though that the woman can choose to cover there faces with the scarves and everything… Nobody makes them do that and also Muslims really aren’t that different from Christians. After the talk we went to a women’s center where woman who didn’t have a lot of money could go and make different types of clothing to sell. A couple of us bought some of it so that was goood. We then went and had lunch… which was soo much different than America. Morrocans eat with there hands and only grab food with there right hand. It was like any other meal pretty much except we were able to use silverware. There is a picture of the food on facebook. It was basicly chicken with vegetables around in a broth. (haha NOT chicken noodle soup though) After Tangier we drove along the Alantic ocean shore to a town called Rabat, but not before stopping halfway on a beach. On that beach there were two camels waiting for us! Haha it was pretty sweet riding a camel, and it was even cooler that we were on some random beach. Before getting to Africa, I was expecting to be walking in the desert everywhere haha but as it turns out some of it is just like any town in Spain. (At least in the bigger towns it was like this)

Once we arrived in Rabat, we met our host families. Brett Mckenzie and I roomed together and the house we all met at ended up being the house that Brett and I were put into. I am pretty sure this house was one of the nicer houses among all of the others. The house actually had a tv and internet and a normal toilet. The shower was pretty disgusting though so we both chose not to shower haha. The first night with our host family we had bread with some sort of meatball. (Bread is huge in Europe, I think I have had more bread here then ever in my life). The meal was pretty good.. it was definitely weird only eating with our right hands and no silverware again. One person in each house spoke English and the person that spoke it for us was actually our host brother who is 24. After dinner him and one of his friends took us to walk around the Medina (old part of the city where the streets are full of people selling things) It was a Saturday night so there were 1000’s of people out and Jesim our host brother knew almost all of them it seemed like. After the tour we called it a day and went to bed. There wasn’t heat or AC in the houses so at night it got pretty cold. Morocco wasn’t as warm during January as people might think.

The next day we woke up early again around 8, and our family made us just some coffee and bread with butter and jelly. (Since I have been in Spain I have aquired the taste for coffee and red wine haha two things I would never drink in the States). That day we went to some Roman ruins and whatnot that were pretty interesting, and then that afternoon we spoke with two Muslim guys. This was SO interesting. We talked a lot about terrorism and the stereotypes of the Muslim religion. I don’t want to write about all that we talked about, but there were two keys points that I remember really well. 1) We were talking about the terrorist attacks on America, and how the “Muslims” did this. They were very upset that the media puts a bad image in the Muslim community because of these terrorist attacks. One of the guys said, “The acts of terrorism on the United States were not Muslim men, they were crazy men using the Muslim religion as a coverup because a real Muslim man would never perform such acts on other people.” 2) We were talking about the differences and similarities among religions in general and one of the guys said, “Each religion is just a different finger but on the same hand” Implying we all believe in the same thing, but we just go about our beliefs in different ways. After saying the talk we actually met up with people from Casablanca and they took us through the market to help us shop. It was pretty awesome getting DVD’s for less than a dollar haha and I bought some snowpants for pretty cheap for also. The guys were really helpful!

That night after walking around and dinner with the family, we had a Hamam planned… (public shower). My host brother took about eight of us guys and the girls went to their own. The hamam could have been the funniest part of the trip! Haha basically its three rooms that are all steamed up and everyone brings two buckets in to fill up with scolding hot water for a shower. SOO we get to the hamam and there is an option to have a guy scrub you haha two guys decided they wanted to do that.. as the saying goes… “when in Morocco… do as the Moroccan’s do”… We walk into the hamam (everyone has to have boxers on) but people were laying all over the floors and there were guys being scrubbed down left and right… lets just say the people who were being scrubbed were being absolutely dominated by the scrubbers… sooo naturally all 8 of us Americans were laughing hysterically right off the bat. The guys who paid for the scrub were pretty scared at this point because they were about to be man handled by a naked man. Haha Also, there were guys laying all over the floors everywhere… im guessing there were around 50-60 people in this public shower… absolutely disgusting might I add. How it works is there is 3 rooms a hot, medium, and warm room. Each person sits in the hot sauna-like room first to get a sweat going… and by sit in the sauna I mean lay on dirty cement floor where numerous DIRTY Moroccans had sat before.. after enjoying the filthiness of the floor we filled our buckets and used soap made from straight up animal fat and “showered” I guess. The guys who chose the ‘ol man scrub were not so lucky… at one point right before they big wash we all looked over and saw one guy using his beard to scrub another guys back hahaha SO funny! It was now Andrew’s and Robert’s turn to get scrubbed up… they started by laying on the floor and the Moroccan immediately stood on Andrew and scrubbed away… at this point we were all on the floor laughing because it could’ve been the funniest site I have ever seen… about 5 minutes later he was done but not before the Moroccan stretched him out…. He was standing on him and straight up just crankin’ on his legs and arms it was so funny!.. Both Andrew and Robert were screaming at the guy to stop cuz it hurt so bad hahaha partially naked guys stretchin’ each other…. It was NOT right! haha But definitely the highlight of that day!

The next day we traveled to the part of Morocco that I expected all of Morocco to be like… Shanty houses and in the country with no cars or roads. We ate with a family and had a translator to speak to them since they only spoke Arabic. Talking to them was pretty interesting, but I found that a lot of the conversations were the same as the other two, but it was good to hear other’s inputs. After the visit we continued on to the town of Chefchauon. The town was in the middle of the mountains, so it was pretty cool. We stayed in a hostel in the middle of town and got to shop and stuff and go out to eat. Every ten feet some random guy would come up to us and try to sell us hash…. It was really annoying, but we laughed every time. Right when we got into the town some kid who only spoke Arabic looked at us and said, “Hey you,,,, F*** you” hahaha I looked at him and just bursted out laughing because he was about 10 yrs old… Let me tell ya it made us feel welcome haha. We spent one night in the town and then got up in the morning at 6 to go to a mosque in the mountains. It was pretty cool looking over the entire town and everything.. Later that day we made our way back to a different port town where we were shipped back to Spain!. Overall it was a great trip and everything was already paid for so it was really nice! Once we got back to spain we only had 4 hours until our bus left for Madrid and that is where our Switzerland trip began!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week 2 of Spain

January 24,

This weekend has been a fun weekend. Friday night there wasn’t too much going on we all went out for tapas and found a pretty cool bar with really good tapas. We didn’t do too much because Saturday some people had to get up early to go to Alhambra! Alhambra was absolutely amazing… It was SO big!.... I hate history but I want to take a history class just so I can learn about this place. What I understood is that this Kingdom is 800 years old.. It was the last Muslim kingdom to stand in Spain. The Christians decided to take it over in a 6 month siege in 1492 (the same year that the Christian kings sent Christopher Colombus to America haha they must have had a good year that year!) The Muslims were forced to convert or flee the country. It was said to hold 6,000 people… The placed was a town in itself.. it was just ridiculous! (haha big history lesson for ya) The pictures that I took of this place do not do it justice.. every thing was obviously hand carved… and there was some sort of hand-carved decoration on every single wall and the ceilings.. It was crazy!

We planned a trip to Switzerland today… It took us like 5 hours to figure everything out (as in just the flights) haha We are kind of winging the whole train situation… We’re flying into Milan, Italy (north Italy) from Madrid. From there we are hoping we can just buy train tickets because when we ordered them online It was going to cost like $30 to ship them and we need them by this week soo were just hopin for the best. The train ride to Interlaken, Switzerland is about 2 ½ hours. There is a twist however…. Were going to morocco from Thursday until Tuesday the 2nd at night. We are supposed to get back at 8:30 pm to Granada, and we are hoping there is no delay because at midnight that night we have to catch a bus to Madrid for a 5 ½ hour bus ride. If we miss this bus ride we will miss our 1 o clock flight. Haha we are all kind of crossing our fingers that our morocco trip doesn’t get delayed at all because we definitely packed a tight schedule of events! The plan is to stay in Interlaken for 3 nights and go skiing, sledding etc. on one of the biggest mountains in the Alps I believe. I am pretty excited to ski in the Alps! We are staying at a hostel called “The Lazy Falken”.. It is going to be a good time! On the way back we will take a train back to Milan, Italy and fly to Madrid on the 6th. We will then have a night to spend in Madrid, so we will be able to check it out for a day, and I’m looking forward to that! We are planning to get back on the 7th and then classes start on the 9th. I heard Switzerland is pretty expensive so I plan on this being my most expensive trip haha but we will see about that I guess. Flights are ridiculously cheap… We are flying to Italy for like 40 Euro and from Italy to Madrid for about 20 Euro… Which is very cheap for flying I would say. We are flyin through RyanAir… Kind of sketchy but its cheap haha

Tonight we are all going to an Irish pub to watch the Vikings play. The game starts at midnight here… could be a late night but we have to watch the game of course!

January 27th

It has been kind of cold and rainy the last couple of days, but I can’t really complain because Iowa is much worse.. (haha suckers) Yesterday I went out for some drinks with my housemates from Minnesota, and they have kind of become friends with a waiter in one of the restaurant who skis. The guy asked if I skied and I told him yes. haha he gave me his number and his email and I guess is he going to take me skiing the week after we get back from skiing in the Alps which will be pretty cool! I’m already pretty pumped for that even though it’s a ways away!

I ended up signing up for a social service project today, so I went to the hospital with about four other people and we are going to volunteer there for a semester! I am pretty sure it will be similar to the volunteer work I did in Des Moines with kids, but I really didn’t understand everything that the lady said to me. I am just hoping I didn’t accidentally say that I want to wipe butts or give showers or something like that because she asked me a lot of questions and I said yes to them whether I knew what she was saying or not haha could be trouble for me in the end! I have to wait till the ninth when classes start before they can definitely tell me what I will be doing and the times and everything. I’m ready for classes to start because orientation is 4-7 pm every night and there’s no time for a ciesta!! Morocco and Switzerland this weekend, and Milan, Italy ( the fashion capital of the world… umm yay? Haha) I will write again after that trip!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week 1 of Spain

Wednesday January 20, 2010 12:30 pm

I have been in Spain for four days now, and I am excited because I feel like my Senora’s Spanish is slowing down! This is great because I can actually understand what she is saying haha (most of it at least) but the Minnesota guys are great and explain it to me slower than she does if I don’t get it the first time. And if all else fails we wait until after dinner, and they tell me in English haha Yesterday I had a pretty busy day. Brett and I went to a couple places to find a phone, and we also were laughed at a few times but it happens! We finally found one for pretty cheap. The numbers here are kind of weird. Instead of having four digits at the end there are only three here. We started classes yesterday, I tested into the Lengua y cultura, and I am happy about that because I won’t have classes on Friday. I will be able to travel on the weekends now so that will be good! I think we are going to plan a trip to Switzerland and some other country (haven’t decided which one) because I don’t think that we have classes or anything from Feb 2 until Feb 9.

Last night we went out around 11. I was walking out the door and my senora yelled “espera espera” (wait wait) and I said what?? She got mad at me because it was about 50 degrees and all I had on was a T-shirt haha so she made me put on a coat AND change into better shoes! Apparently she is much more fashionable than me! (not surprising) The bars were a lot of fun. We went to a bar at about 11 pm called chupitas (shots). The price was really cheap. It was 1 euro for a shot, and they had a list of 115 shots on there walls. It was pretty cool. Then of course we thought it would be a good idea to go to a karaoke bar. It was pretty funny, but some lady had to show us up haha she had an amazing voice soooo we left. We ended up heading to a discoteca pretty late. It was hilarious when we got there because the music was so loud and everything but then we opened the door and we were the ONLY ones there in a huge building. Apparently its weird to go out on a Tuesday night in the middle of the week haha who knew? Oh yes and classes so far are easy because we are still in orientation. We start classes on the ninth of February.

Friday Jan 21.

A few nights ago I was using the internet at a café and kind of got kicked out. The owner or manager got mad at me for being in there for 2 hours using the internet that isn’t even theirs! Haha So it is more difficult for me to get online now because I haven’t found another good place to go to, but I will find one eventually. We started planning our trip to Switzerland yesterday. It is actually pretty difficult to find flights that go out when we need them to and everything but it is pretty cheap. For instance a flight from Madrid to Switzerland one-way is about 40 euros… 60 bucks. Not too bad at all if ya ask me. I believe the hostels are only like 20 euro to stay in also soo it is pretty inexpensive to travel. My host mother’s food is still really good but she is starting to stray away from American food haha.. Yesterday our meal was mushrooms and rice with fish soup. Im not a huge fan of the ol mushrooms but it wasn’t that bad I guess! Today we had picantes … green peppers and then also potato soup which was all right also… it will just take me a while to get used to the whole vegetable and fish scene haha. The other day we had tortillas de camarones.. Shrimp tortillas and one of the guys from Minnesota (Pat) had an allergic reaction to it, and his hands swelled up really bad and are still red from it. Looks like we wont be having shrimp for a while, and I am okay with that!

Yesterday we went to the Albaicin. All I can say is WOW…. The albaicin is like the old neighborhood of Granada before the rest of Granada was conquered. Look at the pictures I put up because I think that some of them don’t even look real… but they all are. The albaicin is on one mountain and the Alhambra is in the other with the Sierra Nevadas in the background…. Both of the two main mountain (albaicin and the mountain with Alhambra) look over the city of Granada as you will see. There is a huge river that flows between the two mountains that used to have gold in it from the Sierra Nevadas hence its name Rio de Darro… River of gold. There was a drinking fountain up in the albaicin that comes straight from the Sierra Nevadas and that was pretty cool! That’s basically all I have for now. Tonight we’re going out again.. Oh yes I forgot to mention one night I got back at 3 am and my senora got mad at me. BUT not for coming home too late but for coming home too EARLY haha she told me that if I expect to be immersed in the culture I need to start staying at the discoteca until at least 6 am. She is crazy! Haha she told me that she used to stay out until 9 am and then slept all day and did it again… I have decided all she wants me to do is eat a ton, sleep, and to have a good time. She is really cool! Welp that’s all I’ve got for now. I will have pictures up of the albaicin today probably and we go to the Alhambra tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

First Blog about Spain!

Monday January18, 2010 12:07 a.m.

Well, I made it to Spain! The flights here were soo long, but I had a lot of fun with Ben and Paige. The first airport I was at all of my bags were searched because I left my computer in one bag and some mouthwash in the other. Some lady told me to “get with the program” when she saw my stuff being searched in Omaha. Haha… We had a seven hour layover in New Jersey which actually went by pretty quickly. When we looked out our terminal we saw the empire state building which was pretty sweet. Then we headed to good ‘ol Spain on a huge plane for a good 6 hours. I was planning on sleeping, but never really did. I managed to dominate Paige in checkers a few thousand times on her ipod though! After the flight we were beginning to get very tired because we had been up since 4 am the day before and it was now about 2 am American time when we arrived in Barcelona and 7 am in Barcelona. Our flight in Barcelona was delayed for a couple hours because they had to fix it… KINDA sketchy but it was cool.. Finally we arrived in Granada after not sleeping for a good twenty-four hours, we were tired but had so much adrenaline that we didn’t sleep. The mountains here were amazing surrounding the town and the view from the plane looking down on the city nestled in the mountains was beautiful. We took a bus from the airport to the hotel (even though we had no idea what we were doing or where to go!) We ended up finding it just fine and actually walked around the city for a while. When we got back we kind of laid around but never slept. At this point I was dead tired but of course we had to go to the bars and get tapas (free food with a bought drink). So naturally at around 8 we went to the first bar. It was a nice bar, but I think that it was for older people because we were definitely the youngest by a good 10 or 20 years. We made our way to other bars also and even got to watch the Cardinals play the Saints at an “Irish Pub”. Well we went to about 4 bars and were ready to go back to the hotel because we hadn’t slept in two days. On the way back to the hotel, the girls decided they wanted to go into a discoteca. We got there at 1 and we were early! There was basically nobody there. (Most people in Spain go to the bars from 9-2 and then to the discotecas from 2-6 am) The next hour it filled up sooo quickly. It was probably the coolest place I have been to for a night!. It was so much fun! Well 3 or 4 o clock rolled around, and we were all pretty tired! We started walking back to the hotel but not before we got something to eat! Haha After that we headed back and went straight to bed. I was so tired. Eleven o clock rolled around way too quickly the next day, and it was hard to get up. We showered and all and went to go meet Veronica our program director. We found out where we lived and who we live with. I didn’t actually get paired with anyone, and I didn’t think it was a big deal though. An hour later our families picked us up. I was put into a home with a lady named Ana who lives alone, but hosts kids all the time from many different places. The meeting was kind of awkward because in Spain they kiss each other on each cheek haha kind of random! We got to our apartment where I found I was the only person living with her, so I was pretty nervous considering she doesn’t know any English at all. I tried speaking as much as I could and probably failed miserably, but it all worked out. I did run out of verbs to use though haha. I got a meal right away when I got to the apartment. She is a great cook! I think I had some sort of fish soup with pan and hamburgesas y ensalada. She cooked soo much food for me. After that I finally got more sleep! A good 4 hour nap haha. After I woke up today from the nap she brought me to show me where my classes would be tomorrow at noon. (I’m not really sure if I will find it or not tomorrow but oh well!) When we got back I went and found an internet bar and kind of did my own thing. I was feeling overwhelmed with being by myself and everything. I skyped the family and things like that. When I returned, my Senora introduced me to two guys that are also staying with her. (I had no idea they were going to be staying there also). We were speaking Spanish back and forth at first because I didn’t know they spoke English. Finally I asked where they were from, and they said Minnesota. Of course immediately I began speaking English with them and we were shushed by our Senora haha. It was great to find two guys (who are both pretty fluent at Spanish) living in the same apartment. We had dinner and it was much easier than lunch because I had so many questions for them. (In Spanish of course) We went to another internet café and then came back and now here I am ready to call it a night! The guys told me that our senora shuts the heat off at night and it gets super cold haha welp that’s all I have. Hasta luego!

P.S. the sunsets here are gorgeous over las montanas que se llaman las Sierra Nevadas!