Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Me gusta leer

( I like to read) which is true. I´m also a bit bored today so I´m not really writing about anything in particular. Just randomness. About reading...I have read a total of 8 books and counting while here in Spain, and I love it! I never have this much time to read at home!! Here is a list of the books I have read (and some side comments for fun!)

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern -- An easy read but really cute (and sad). There is a movie based off of the book, but they are infact complete oposites (basically). For example, in the movie, the husband is Irish and they live in New York. In the book, they are both Irish and live in Ireland.

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt -- Also an easy read because it is a young adult book. But really well written! About these 4 kids who are "abandoned" and they have to walk a long ways to find some place to live...hard to describe without giving it away or writing down too much, but its good!
Dicey´s Song by Cynthia Voigt -- The second book in the "Tillerman Series"
A Solitery Blue by Cynthia Voigt -- The third book in the "Tillerman Series" There are quite a few more books in the series that i will have to read once I get home cause I dont have them here. Mom I recommend these books to you because they deal with phonics in them!! One of the kids is a bit slower at reading and they find the best way to teach her is by using phonics haha and it was written in like the 80´s I think, also they might be good ones to reccomend to kids to read since they are about kids...just a suggestion!

The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry -- bought this one here at an English Book Shop, its about a possible link to the lost Library of Alexandria, a fast paced book full of twists and turns, pretty good though there were some themes about the validity of the Bible in the book (saying that the lost library had evidence of it being false or something silly like that) but it ended up not being a big deal.

Leaning Towards Pisa by Sue Howard -- A story about a woman who ends up living and teaching in Italy, not the most exciting book, had a very non-climactic ending, basically just a plain old story.

Come Back: A Mother and Daughters Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine -- "stole" this book from a hostel in London, and I actually really liked it, its a memoir and actually really sad (happy ending of course!) but hard to get through because you feel so bad for this family. Its about a daughter who is sexually abused as a child, then grows up and gets into drugs and such, and finally her mom forces her to go to a school that will make her break her habits and be able to function again in the real world. Its really powerful and impactful, I learned a lot about it and recommend it to everyone!!

Currently I am reading Atonement by Ian Mcewan -- also has a movie made about the book, which I havent seen yet, but want too! Im trying to make this book last since most of the books I have read quickley...but I still have a month overseas and will need to find another book soon. Going to Ireland this weekend maybe the hostel there has some books I can "borrow" haha.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Roommate!

So the empty bed in my room is now filled by a 20 year old girl from Texas! Her name is CC Copeland and she´s really nice! I couldnt have asked for a better person to share my room with for the next few weeks! She´s already feeling overwhelmed by how fast our host mom talks, and I just keep trying to assure her that it is normal and she will get used to it. She came out with us last night and got a feel for the late night-ness of Spain.

Here is a photo of Me, Our Host mom Alicia, and CC!

Monday, May 19, 2008

In the Land of Ladies and Gentes

Oh London, how I love thee. Visited London this weekend and absolutely adore it. I had a blast, even though the weather was not great (until the day we left of course ha). We, Shannon, Lindsay, and I saw a ton of stuff, but of course there was still a ton to see and hopefully I will go back one day and see it all.
We arrived in London the first day and just went straight to our hostel. The next day we got up early and headed to Buckingham Palace to be able to see the Changing of the Guards. Which was packed with people. Also found a place where we could take a photo with a guard up close! Poor guy couldnt move through out probably hundreds of photos daily haha.

Then we headed to Hyde Park, where we ate lunch and I had a goose eat out of my hand! Then we went to Trafalgar Square and on to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I absolutely LOVED westminster abbey, the coolest cathedral I have been to yet! Saw the tomb of Elizabeth I and Mary I, and also Mary, queen of the Scots (as well as many more). Also saw the Coronation chair. Also they have an area called the Poets Corner and there is buried tons of Authors(musicians and other great minds too), including; Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Handel, Thomas Hardy, Isaac Newton, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Darwin, and many more!

Then we went on The London Eye, which is Europe´s largest ferris wheel (443 ft high). It was pretty cool! Didnt go very fast (which was good) gave you a chance to relly take in the view and take some photos too haha. Then we headed home!

Just going over the top of the London Eye.

The next day we headed out to the older side of London and saw St. Paul´s Cathedral, The Tower Bridge (what people think is the london bridge) and The Tower of London: where lots of prisoners were held! Also where the crown jewels are held, beautiful! The weather was really rainy and windy that day, but we still walked everywhere, at the end we went to the the largest deptarment store ever, Harrods, 5 floors, and you could get lost easily. We had a hard enough time just finding bathrooms (had to ask where to go, and even then it was confusing).

The Tower of London!

Overall had a fabulous time! Really want to go back again!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Short Update

Realized I haven´t written in awhile, been quite busy with all the traveling and school work. The weekend after Madrid I went to Granada and Sevilla, which I wrote about some of the crazy adventures in past blogs. Also saw some pretty cool stuff!
Got to Granada at about 430AM on thursday and didnt have a place to stay yet, but wanted to get into the Alhambra which is a palace/museum of sorts, but it sells out its tickets months in advance online, but they reserve a few tickets for walkups. But you have to wait in line for them, and we were told to get there early. So we figured, what better to do than wait until 8AM when it opens, so we started to walk in the direction we thought was the Alhambra, but when it got to about 6AM, we thought it might be too far away to walk there. So we took a taxi, which ended up costing a bit, but got us their much faster than walking. We got there about 615AM and there was already a huge line of people, so we got in line and waited for 2 hours, by the time that we got to the front of the line to buy our tickets (it was about 845) there were hundreds of people behind us. And they only had about 700 tickets, and when we got up there they only had 350 left. So we got our tickets, and headed to where we were staying (with a friend of Shannons, named Brittany) our tickets for Alhambra didnt allow us to visit until the afternoon. Brittany showed us all around Granada in the morning, and then in the afternoon we headed to the Alhambra, spent a lot of time there, and then later headed back to Brittany´s. That night Brittany and some of her friends took us out, and we found out that Granada gives away free "tapas" or personaly appetizers with every drink you buy, even if its just a soda. So we enjoyed that for awhile, then headed home. The next day we just slept in and relaxed, then went to Sevilla.
Sevilla was nice and warm, we found lodging and then the next day we saw the sights! We went to a Palace, and then we went to a huge cathedral. The next day we headed home (a really long bus ride) and that was that.

This last weekend we went on a whole group trip to Segovia, Toledo, and Burgos. Saw some cool things there as well and had a good time all around (minus the rain and cold weather).

This coming weekend I am going to London and I am sooo excited for that!! Cant wait and I will be sure to write about it and take lots of photos!

For photos from Granada/Sevilla and Segovia/Toledo/Burgos go to my facebook account!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Going back in time, two weekends ago, Shannon, Lindsay, and I went to Madrid for the weekend. I was thankful enough to know a friend from high school, Sheila, who had moved to Madrid with her family during high school. So we had contacted her to ask if we could stay with them, which they said they would love to have us (which was such a blessing). We got into the bus station around 1015PM and they picked us up and took us back to their house (they actually live about 30 minutes outside of Madrid, but there is a train we were able to take to get into the city center the next day. Got to their house and they fed us dinner and were so nice to us, it was so nice to feel welcome (and understand the language -english haha).

The next morning we got up bright and early and took the train into downtown Madrid. The first thing we did was hit up Starbucks!! Which was WAY overpriced, but tasted great!

Then we decided to go to the famous Museo del Prado, which was huge, we were in it for quite awhile and I know we still missed some rooms, and they also had a huge temporary Goya exhibit, so we got to see that.

Then we walked around this HUGE park, called Parque Retiro, met some ladies from Lake Tahoe, and just felt very relaxed and it was nice and sunny which was a nice change from windy/rainy Santander.

Then we went to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and had delicious Bacon Cheeseburgers (with real chedder cheese!)

Then we headed to the Royal Palace, got to see the Armory, Pharmacy, and some of the state rooms, it was huge, and beautiful! We just dont have buildings like this in the states!!

The next day we visited the Real Madrid Soccer Stadium, which was huge! Got to see the locker room, press room, sit in VIP seats, trophy room, etc. It was awesome. Then we just relaxed and the next day we slept in then headed home for Santander!

Chapter 2

Our exciting trip continued to be an adventure...where did I leave off...finally got a bed to sleep in. Well when they showed us the room, which had 5 sets of bunk beds, there were a couple beds that had folded sheets on them, the nice lady wasnt sure which one was ours, but just gave us the first on she saw, and said if it was a problem (like if it was someone elses bed) to come get her. We get un-packed, shower, make the bed and go to sleep. I was on the outside and around 530AM i kept seeing this bright flashes of light in the room and this clicking noise, i finally woke up enough to realize that some guy was using his lighter as a flashlight and looking in all the beds. He was leaning over our bed, and in English (i was half asleep) i was like "yeah?" and he responded in english, but with a german accent, "you´re in my bed" So i proceeded to tell him that there was another open one (and pointed to it) and that when they had given us this bed they must have mixed it up. So he was fine with it and just went to crawl into the other bed, but the other bed wasnt made and I felt really bad, and I knew Shannon had a flashlight on her, and so I asked him if he wanted to borrow a flashlight (a bit easier than his lighter) so I woke up Shannon and got it, which surprised him because he didnt realize there was another person in the bed haha. I hear him go outside the room and converse with his friends, and then he comes back in with one of his guy friends and is telling him (in german) the situation, his friend, with our flashlight, leans his head in the bed and is looking at us and laughing...which I understand, if I was going to get into my bed and found two guys in it I would think it was pretty funny. So finally everyone went to bed and that was that.

Got up in the morning and got everything packed up and we moved to the room we had reserved for the next night, which was a queen bed in one room (no strangers for roommates! haha). Spent the day seeing the sights of Sevilla, which I will post photos and details of in the next blog or so.

Then we have to go home on Sunday, we after missing our bus to sevilla from granada, we were sure to get up extra early and get to the bus station we had come into very early! So we are waiting at the bus station, and not seeing our bus, which was supposed to leave at 8...gets to be 750AM and still no bus, so Shannon goes to ask someone if its late or something...only to find out that its at another bus station across town...because Sevilla has two...which we didnt bother to think about...and the bus tickets didnt say the name of the bus station, so we figured it was the "estacion de autobuses" (where we were) that we would leave from...not the "estacion de autobuses plaza del armas" (where we needed to be). So we run (literally) outside to get to the taxi, by this time we have only 5 minutes, which he says we cant make it there that fast, but we try anyway! We get to the bus station, and its we know the bus has already left because they are never late in leaving. We slowly start walking over to the bus station hoping they have another bus heading to Santander that day (but we thought this was the only one going out that day). As we are crossing the crosswalk to go into the bus station we see this bus stopped at a red light, and Shannon is like "Bus 61...thats our bus!!" So we run over to the bus and I get there first so I knock on the door window to see if the driver will let us in, well he angrily waves his finger at us, basically saying NO. Of course i start to tear up because im so frustrated, and we step back and are basically like well I guess we go in and see if there is another bus. When apparently the bus driver had a change of heart because we hear a honk and he turns the corner and lets us on, we try and explain to him why we were late but he just hurrys us on and doesnt even check our tickets. We were so thankful to be on that bus! haha it was crazy. Again I thank the lord that the timing worked out so perfectly that the bus happened to be stopped right when we got there. And Shannon happened to see it. We got home safe and sound, but that bus ride was the longest bus ride ever! about 14 hours, with probably around 7 to 8 different stops of dropping off and receiving passengers. And we were the last stop. And we drove through a crazy lightening storm.

But we made it, and despite all our crazy adventures had a great time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

An exciting adventure

I know I haven´t written about Madrid yet, and I will get to that next week when I am back in Santander and have time to sit and write, right now I am thankfully in a hostel in Seville (sevilla en espaƱol) and I wanted to write and tell you all about how i managed to get here...

Shannon and I decided for our long weekend (we didnt have school thursday) that we would go to Granada and Sevilla in the south of Spain. Wednesday afternoon we got on a bus which took us to Granada, about 12 hours total, we arrived at 430AM. In Granada we stayed with a friend of Shannons who is studying abroad there, then today we were planning on taking a bus to sevilla and staying here til sunday then heading back. We splet in today, which was nice, then headed to our bus station because our bus left at 330PM. We hoped on a city bus (to get to the bus station) at 225

Needless to say, we missed our bus! We walked into the station and Shannon was like "I want to get a post card" and proceeded to look at her watch to see how much time we had to do that, only to find out that it was 330!! our city bus had taken a lot longer than we thought. We rushed to where the busses were parked and ran up and down the parking area trying to see if our bus had left yet. It had. Haha, so we headed back up to the ticket desk and asked when the next bus was, which thankfully was only and hour later. And, thankfully they didnt charge us for the new tickets, they just let us change!! So we just waited around (got a postcard haha) and got on our 3 hour bus to sevilla.

We get to sevilla, and go to the info desk to try and get a map so we can find out hostel because all we have is an address and phone number for it. And the info desk gives us directions to the Office of Tourism in Sevilla (it was close to where we were) we get there and its closed. =( but there was a lady sitting in there, but she was busy I guess. So we went to the store next door to ask for a map, buy it and try and find the street of our hostel, after searching and not finding it, we go back in the store to ask if they know where it is, only to find out that it is not actually a street address, but a town name...this is what it said "apt. 32 Montellano, Sevilla" we just assumed montellano was the name of the street...oh no it is the name of a small town outside of sevilla, but in the sevilla Providence...which is like our they called the number for us to get directions there...and maybe a street name because they had never heard to the town before!! The guy they talked to didnt know. haha. He didnt know how to get to his own hostel from sevilla!! they told us he was a bit crazy sounding, then they proceeded to google map it. Found out Montellano is about an HOUR outside of Sevilla!! And they then called the bus stations and such to find out if there was a bus that went out there...nope. So we thanked them so much for their help (which was so nice of them to help us out!!) And we found an internet cafe and tried to search for a new hostel that was actually in the right city, but its a holiday weekend so everything we found was booked except for ONE hotel room for 300 euros haha. which was not going to work. We called this hostel to cancel, with thoughts of just sitting up all night on a bench in the city center as our backup plan. We cancelled it, after having to talk through why we couldnt (and didnt want) to get out there to Montellano!! So they thankfully didnt charge us for the hostel!

So we decided to start walking around looking for a hostel to ask if they had a bed or two open. The first one we found was booked but he verbally told us directions to another hostel that might have beds open (not likely). We tried to find it, but ended up getting lost and finding a burger king so we decided to grab food since we hadnt eaten since a piece of toast at breakfast. Then, with food in our stomachs, we decided to get back on the road in search of a place to stay. We decided to call our hostel we have booked for tomorrow night(had to book two seperate hostels because none had two beds two nights in a row because of the holiday weekend) because they might have a bed open (even though they were full online). Come to find out they have ONE bed!! So Shannon and I are staying in a twin bed together, but hey its so much better than a bench outside haha!

Was definitely praying hard core through out this whole time, and God faithfully provided a place to stay. He is so great!

I will put up photos and such later next week! I just couldnt resist writing about our exciting experience haha. Oh and our hostel has free internet and three open computers which is really nice! Tomorrow we are heading into the city (like a 5 minute walk) to see the sights of Sevilla, which should be great, the city is very pretty!