A Travellerspoint blog

Mis primeros días en Granada

sunny 13 °C
View España on rae.lloydlever's travel map.

Left Madrid by bus and slept most of the 5 hour bus ride. We were given no information besides the fact that we needed to show up at the address of our home-stay between 12:00-19:30. Lauren and I took a taxi from the bus station in Granada, super cute old man with a thick Andalusian accent, to our home-stay. I had no idea how close Granada was to the mountains! The Sierra Nevadas are just out our front door. I am so thankful that Amara gave Lauren a phone because the taxi driver told us that our address did not exist... So the two of us just decided to get out of the taxi close to where we thought we lived and then called our home-stay mother. We do in fact have a place to live :) The house is super cute and Lauren and I both have our own room; which I wasn't sure if we would or not. My home-stay mom has two daughters that live with her (Sandra and Madi - I hope I'm spelling their names right). They are mid twenties and early thirties I think, but I haven't asked. Lauren and I really lucked out, everyone has been amazingly kind and they are really easy to talk to.
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My room has a bunk bed which is funny but nice to throw my purse on top and sleep on the bottom. They also have blackout curtains in each room, and I am a huge fan of for taking siestas during the day.
We arrived on the holiday: Días de los Tres Reyes (Three King's Day) and we ate a lot of delicious food. My favorite were the dates stuffed with cream cheese and walnuts - reminded me of my lovely momma's cooking. :) The first few days of school were very simple and we didn't really do anything. My first actual day of class was yesterday and I had 6 hours total. 4 hours of intensivo every day, and then twice a week I have 2 hours of my Spanish Cultures class. Tuesday my friend Dany took Lauren and I to see La Alhambra at sun set, it was soooo beautiful.
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I cannot believe that right now this is my life. The area we were in has all white buildings and just adds to the beauty of this city. It is strange having homework again, I have been preparing so much to go abroad I haven't been thinking about the school aspect but it has gone well so far.
Last night when I was trying to fall asleep there was a small terremoto (earthquake)! I was really confused and thought that something had fallen on the top bunk. Apparently the earthquake was 3.8 but I don't know if that is a different scale than in the United States or not. Granada was not super close to the epicenter so no need to worry. :)
I have a 30+ minute walk to school every day which is keeping me in shape. Today I stopped at a store to look at postcards and I am happy to say a lady asked me for directions thinking that I was from Granada. It is nice to know I don't stick out like a sore thumb in this city sometimes at least :) I hope you are all doing well, and I will write more again soon. ¡Ciao!

Posted by rae.lloydlever 06:37 Archived in Spain

Madrid

sunny
View España on rae.lloydlever's travel map.

So glad to have Lauren Vermilion with me during this whole expedition to a foreign country. My feelings of anxiety were quelled slightly by the fact that I could share those feelings with her. We both squished into our separate seats on the airplane F35 for me and J42 for her. The flight went quickly thanks to Melatonin and a movie. Lauren and I were thinking we would have a relaxing hour layover in the London Heathrow airport, however we came to find out that it was a ways to our next gate AND had to go through security again. We were greeted with our own personal airport attendant to help us make it through the airport with ease. Even with his help we were late in boarding and had to run to our gate. Feeling sweaty and gross on the plane I was glad that no one had to sit next to me besides Lauren. We passed the flight to Madrid attempting to regain our knowledge of Spanish and talking about our shared disbelief that we were actually going to Spain.
Upon landing in Madrid we found an information booth and tried to gather as much information about the best way to get to our hostel as well as tips about the city in general. Javier (our information resource) said we both looked corn fed and thought that Idaho was Iowa... but what else is new. Our luggage did not make our flight so we waited around for the next flight from London, we passed the time with Café con leche and a glass of wine. The bus was only 5 euros and a much more favorable option compared to a 25 or 50 euro taxi. Looking around the bus Lauren and I felt very, well, blonde. We were on the bus until the last stop. We lugged our huge suitcases for at least 20 minutes up a major street in Madrid. I thought that the cobblestones were going to destroy the wheels on my suitcase.
Finally finding our hostel we follow the person to our room, the one furthest away and most confusing to get to of course. Went our for tapas and got calamari, wine, and a seafood salad. Definitely delicious. Next stop was a pub crawl with our hostel, it was nice to meet new people and practice spanish. I can already feel my speaking skills improving which is encouraging. Made it back to our hostel successfully, and I am grateful for my navigation skills when using a map :)
Sarah Burton randomly was at our same hostel and we spent a lot of time walking around and made it to the huge park on the eastern side of the city. Soooo beautiful! There was a pond where people spent time in paddle boats.
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Lauren got her palms read (5 euro per hand) by a gypsie and a piece of rosemary, good learning experience that people will leave you alone if you keep telling them no and that you do not have to give them money. Next was the Prado museum - free admission for students. My feet were aching by the end, so we went to the tapas restaurant (El Tigre) that our hostel recommended. Free tapas with an order of a beer or sangria, so much food for 7.50 euro. We even got free hats! I'm thinking that it is Lauren's blonde hair. On our way to the tapas place we ran into a children's choir singing Christmas music, oh yeah it is still Christmas time since the Spaniards celebrate All Saints Day (which happens to be tomorrow). The streets are beautiful and covered with such unique lights.
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We found a gluten free cupcake shop, which Lauren was stoked about. It is a good thing that we walk everywhere, the food has been pretty wonderful so far.
On to Granada tomorrow with a 5 hour bus ride and I finally get to meet my host family. Much more to come :) ¡Hasta luego!

Posted by rae.lloydlever 13:10 Archived in Spain

Jitters

My travels have begun this Christmas break, already going from Boise, ID down the coast of California from Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and finally San Diego.

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Yet somehow the anxiety and nerves haven't reached me until just now, hours before I fly out to Spain. I cannot believe that it is happening. The whole process of study abroad is extensive, applying sophomore year I thought everything was taken care of once I was accepted. But the parade of study abroad meetings, plane tickets, and health forms to fill out has been endless. Finally after repacking my 48.5 lb bag for what seems like the 15th time, I am trying to breathe and relax. I have travelled to Europe before, but this is an entirely new experience altogether. I have no idea what to expect, but I have only heard amazing stories and encouraging words. I am nervous but excited to learn and grow from my travels. I am intrigued to be immersed in a new language and culture. I know it will be different, but the only thing to do is jump in and hope that I have learned enough in my years on earth that I will be able to figure out whatever comes my way.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market


PF Chang's

PF Chang's

Posted by rae.lloydlever 01:43 Archived in USA Tagged wa seattle

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