spain

Uneventful Barcelona…

Perhaps I was overhyped for this leg of the trip. I was looking forward to Barcelona because most of my friends and people I’ve met so far have told me that Barcelona is great and I would really enjoy it. Perhaps is was the poor weather for the first 36 hours of my visit. Or perhaps it was the fact that my airbnb on my first night was shit and both of my hosts had the flu. Perhaps is was the fact that it was considerably more expensive then the rest of spain which I felt was all very reasonably priced.

Whatever the reason, I did not really enjoy my time in Barcelona. I found that while the Gaudi buildings were interesting and nice to look at, they were quite expensive and even the park was more than $10 for entrance… I mean its a park, come on guys…. (more info HERE)

main ceiling in la segrada familia in barcelona. a gaudi building

Some good things:

The metro was super easy to use and I was able to figure out which lines to take and where to enter etc pretty quickly.

My second airbnb was excellent. I was with a very nice couple around 30-35 years old. The girl spoke english while the guy did not. He was a chef and I don’t think she worked much (beyond managing the airbnb room and guests. I was able to have a couple of really nice and interesting conversations with her and learned that they will be flying to Mexico in january to prospect on buying some land there. The plan is to build a green home and bungalows and rent them. She was really sweet and made me feel very much at home even leaving breakfast for me each morning.

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Cadiz, The South of Spain

Another beautiful area here in Spain. You can’t get much more south in spain than Cadiz and it’s beautiful beaches reflect that. I stayed with friends for 3 nights at their place in Chichlana de la frontera about 25 minutes outside of downtown Cadiz. They live in a house in a development community. It is super peaceful and quiet. My friends have a little pig like dog ‘coco’ who is a pug. It was cute and all but the fact that it was basically snot rocketing all over the place for my whole visit so that it could breathe caused the cuteness to ware off pretty quickly (I’m sure you pug owners out there know what I am talking about).

I arrived mid day on thursday and my hosts Juan and Violaine were there to receive me at their house. I had rented a car from seville (after checking out from my airbnb) and the drive took about 1.5 hours. Violaine had to get to class but was nice enough to have a keesh cooking in the oven for me and Juan. It was very good and a nice “welcome to town” meal. The plan was for Juan and me to head out, check out some of the local villages have some drinks and just relax. This was exactly what i needed after leaving seville, a relaxing, no rush, friendly couple of days.

Cadiz is a summer tourism spot and most of the towns we visited were fairly empty but I can still see the appeal and can see how this would be a summer hot spot. There is not too much to report on Cadiz. I had a great and relaxing couple of days. I got some photography done and also got some work done. I think I will come back here during the summer soon and, if everything goes according to plan, my hosts will be getting married in may of 2016 which sounds like as good of a time as any to make another trip.

Food photos at bottom

Vejer de la frontera in Spain: Scenic Vista vejer scenic vista (more…)


Seville, Spain… Getting a little lonely

After 3 days in Seville I am starting to feel a little lonely. I have an airbnb here (when people have extra rooms they put them on airbnb and you can rent them) and my host is nice enough. However, he certainly is not a friend. He is not someone to share my experience with. And from such a great time with my hosts and friends in Madrid, this is a change for sure.

I think I’ve done a good job planning for the month of November though. I have a week with friends in Madrid. Then 4 days alone in Seville. Then 4 days with friends in Cadiz and then 4 days alone in Barcelona and about 2 weeks with friends in Bordeaux, Paris and Singapore.

Being alone isn’t all bad. I have as much time as I want to shoot my pics, visit the places I want, and spend as much time in whatever place I choose.

A girl sitting at a bar in Seville on the river:

girl sitting at a bar on the river in seville

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Last Stop in Madrid Area: Toledo, Spain!

My last stop in the Madrid area was to the south of Aranjuez in Toledo. It is called “the ‘City of the Three Cultures’ having been influenced by a historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews” (according to my amazing research ability, aka wikipedia). The city is super old (no, I don’t know HOW old) and its coblestone streets and beautiful architecture really stand out.

We arrived around 3:00pm which worked out just fine as far as having enough time to see all the sites we needed to see. I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be long enough, but the city is walkable in a couple of hours.

Just a sneak peak of photos from deeper in this post…

The big spectacle (as I like to call it) in the Church. This is a beautiful place with tons of great views.

the San Juan de los Reyes church in Toledo Spain

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The Food in the Madrid Area of Spain

I realize I haven’t posted much about my thoughts on the food here in spain so far. I just get so into actually EATING the food that I forget to take a photo. Well here are some pics to make your mouth water a bit. Also, a short list of some of my favorite Spanish foods so far.

Jamón, fuet, chorizo, tortilla [very similar to a fritatta with eggs and potatoes and jamón (or other ingredients) in a sort-of ‘egg pie’], TAPAS (all different kinds of small plates of food (see pics below), croquettes [filled with mashed potatoes with jamón, chicken or cod].

Some food porn:

Homemade Paella from one of my hosts. This was delicious. It was rice and seafood including prawns, calamari/squid, a bit of chicken, etc. AWESOME.

paella in madrid

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OK, Madrid Nightlife… YOU win…

Well, that was a hell of a night. I haven’t partied that hard or that late since I was in college. Since people don’t eat dinner here in spain until about 11pm, you can understand why the big clubs here stay open until 6am (or later).

One of my hosts is celebrating her birthday this week and she had a big celebration with 20 or so of her friends in the city. I thought it would be useful to grab an airbnb apartment so we didn’t have to worry about getting back to Aranjuez (which is about a 45 minute train ride from the city) after the club. This proved very useful and we were able to find accommodations right by the club. It was a good thing too because we got pretty hammered and I don’t know if the girls would have made it all the way home otherwise.

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Welcome to Spain! Aranjuez and Segovia.

One quick note about the people I’ve met so far in Spain (specifically the younger people 20-30). Most are working on learning english. My friends had a very basic understanding of English two years ago but now we have full conversations without much “como se dice” (“how do you say?”). It’s actually fun chatting with them because they are dying to learn all the normal expressions and sayings and different, more complex, words to replace the the ones they already know. It’s really cool and makes me wish I knew more Spanish (yes mom, you were right…)

I’m learning basic words here (very slowly) but most conversations with them are in English. When they are speaking to each other in Spanish I will pick up words here or there that help me understand the basic conversation they are having.

A lot of the people I met are either going to or have lived abroad to help expand their English. The two girls I am staying with, Angela (who lived in Toronto for a year before my last visit) and Andrea, are looking to move to London in a few weeks (I explained that many of the expressions and sayings I’m teaching them probably won’t apply the same there, but, o well. )

(my beautiful hosts below. Angela on the left and Andrea on the right)
Andrea and Angela in Aranjuez

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