Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Mugger

The day after we got back from Paris, Stef and Alison came in from London for their Spring Break. We met up with them for tapas and some sangria and on our way back we had to take the metro. So we went to Gran Via metro stop which is usually crazy crowded and full of tourists. There werent that many people around and I was the last to go on the escalator towards the stop we wanted to go to. I had my black bag around my wrist and I felt from behind someone tugging on it and I turned around and saw this short man in his forties trying to steal my bag! Since it was still around my wrist and he was trying to run away he dragged me onto the escalator and we were both trying to fight for it. It happened in like 30 seconds but it felt like forever and I kept pulling and ended up getting a bunch of bruises on my legs but I ended up with all my things in the end. The mugger had a bag of chips in his hand when we was trying to mug me and then dropped all of them on the escalator. Stef Alison and Amanda didnt realaize anything was going on until they saw me on lying on the escalator and they had thought i had fallen. Stef then realized after and we all walked as fast as we could after she helped me up. We told the security guard who had a dog and crossed eyes and he didnt seem to concerned about it but this nice woman came up to us after and asked if we were okay. I was just happy the mugger didnt get to enjoy any of those chips or my bag.

J'aime Paris

It's our spring break here (Semana Santa) so we have no school for 2 weeks! Taryn, Amanda and I went to Paris for 4 nights which was busy busy but amazing! The day before we left we took a trip to grocery store to buy a bunch of snack food and things to put on bocadillos we made for lunch everyday. We took the metro from the airport which took about an hour but it wasnt bad except I hate lugging around my suitcase especially on stairs. We arrived on Saturday night and had a picnic on our beds in the hotel room with peanut butter and jelly. We decided to wake up early to go to the museo. We woke up around 7:30 and went down for breakfast and had croissants and little baguettes with jelly and of course hot chocolate! We found this little convient store down the street so we bought some baguettes for lunch and these mexican chips that we ended up eating everyday. We went to the Musee D'Orsay and had to wait in line for about forty minutes. It kept raining on and off but it was fine becuase I had a hood on. After we looked at all the Impressionist paintings we wanted to see we went to Notre Dame which was pretty crowded. We wanted to go up the tower so we waited in line and watched this man with an old mans mask on scare people on the streets. He was funny but a little creepy. On the way to the line he grabbed onto Amanda's arm and scared all of us from his face. We climbed all the stairs which took awhile and then took some pictures of the view. We could see the whole city and I took pictures of the gargoyles which were my favorite. It was really windy up there and cold so we decided to rest in a coffee shop down the street and ended up splitting a banana and chocolate crepe! It was amazing and perfect after being out in the cold for so long. When we were eating the crepe our friends from Clark who had gotten into paris a few days earlier called us and wanted to meet up so we met them on the Champs-Elysees. We walked down the street and took some pictures of the Arc de Triumphe. Afterwards we wanted to go back to the hotel and rest before dinner. We found this cute restaurant down the street from our hotel that wasnt too expensive so we went there and I had pollo y frites and of course bread! It was so good and I finished all of it. We went back to the hotel because we were tired and wanted to see the Louvre the next day. On Monday we went to the Louvre and ran into some girls from Clark who were on spring break from the London program. It is a small world. After our lunch of bocadillos con atun we walked to the Tuleries and to the Champs-Elysees again to do a little shopping and sightseeing. We could see the Eiffel tower from the street so we decided to go up it but only to the second floor which is still really high. I took a few videos from the top of the tower and a lot a lot of pictures! We got hungry so decided to go to dinner and found a nice restaurant near the Louvre. We saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night and its so much prettier like that. On Tuesday we ended up going to Versaille which was sooooooo crowded. We did a lot of waiting and then had an audio tour which was nice. My favorite room is the hall of mirrors. The whole place is ridiculous. We didnt stay there as long as we thought so we went to the cemetary where Jim Morrison is buried and it was so hard to find. But we saw a bunch of people near his grave and figured it out. People left rolling papers on his grave and Amanda read in her book that they needed to put up fences around the grave because people would come at night and do illegal things there. Before dinner we went to Sacre Cour where we saw a ton of Americans that were really loud. That was annoying but the church is really beautiful. There was a service going on so we just walked around. We had dinner near the Moulin Rouge and got nutella and banana crepes on the street. I would eat one everyday theyre that good. We were so tired we went back and just packed for the rest of the night. The next day I bought some Mexican chips from the convient store for the road and we headed back to Madrid!


This is a really late post about London but I wanted to talk about it anyway. Amanda and i flew to London about 4 weeks ago and stayed in Stef and Alison's flat which was really nice.Theres 3 doubles and a single with a kitchen/common room. We got in around 2 in the morning on Friday and Stef waited up for us. We had take an hour long bus from the Luton airport becuase its kind of far from the city. Stef took off from work the next day and was our tour guide for the day! We woke up kind of early and went to see all the touristy things like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace which wasnt as amazing as I thought it would be.We went up the London Eye which is the big ferris wheel and got to see a view of the whole city. Then we met Alison who was working for a quick lunch and went to art gallery and saw some Van Gogh and Monet paintings. We took the tube for the most part there and I felt like a giant becuase the the trains felt so small. We also took some good pictures in the red phone booths which I loved! After Alison got back from work we went out to dinner to their favorite restaurant down the street from their flat with their roommates Erin and Sarah and I got a tuna melt that was amazing and drank Strongbow which is like cider/cerveza.It's really good and I think they only have it in the UK. I also found out that they call french fries "chips" there. When people said fish and chips I always thought they meant regular chips. My friends Emma and Mike studied in London last semester so I asked them where to go and they said they liked this place called Walkabout. It was this australian bar that played really random music but it was great. They played some quality 80s music like madonna and bon jovi which was exciting since I dont really hear that in Madrid! We went to Camden market the next day and I had never seen anything like it. There were really interesting people there and a lot of places to shop. There were these guys with huge mohawks standing around and I bought a tank top there thats like an old rolling stones shirt. After that we went to the grocery store becuase we wanted fajitas for dinner! We got all our supplies and some Strongbow and went back to the flat to cook dinner and then............ i had a Lauralton flashback and saw one of my classmates Laura for the first time since graduation. She is studying in London too and it was really bizarre. We chatted and then she stayed for the fajitas and guacamole which was amazing! We watched part of the Brit awards and saw Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson perform and now I am obsessed with their song "Valerie." After that we decided to go out again and I went to my first English pub and watched a football game! We went to the Court and had some more Strongbow and stayed for awhile. Our flight was at 6 in the morning so we decided to not sleep and just stay out for the rest of the night until we had to take our bus back. Finding a bus to the the sirport was really difficult but Stef and Alison tried to help us. It was freezing and windy and we ended up taking the bus to the airport and finally got there. i fell asleep right away on the plane with my passport and ticket in my hand and Amanda had to wake me up to tell me to put them away. The flight seemed fast and then we were back in Madrid around 11 in the afternoon so i slept for most of the day to catch up on sleep since Londres was exhausting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Camellos y cous cous

Yesterday we got back from our trip to Morocco and it was very interesting. On Friday night we left Madrid on a bus to Algecirras in the south of Spain. The bus ride was very long (8 hours) and we didnt sleep much mostly because we were too excited to be going to Africa! We finally arrived to Algecirras and then took a 28 euro cab to Tarifa where our ferry was leaving. Our cab driver liked to listen to Nelly and Fat Joe. It was about 7:30am when we arrived in Tarifa and nothing was open at all. Since we had nothing to do until nine we walked around and found our hostel that we didnt even end up going to! We saw a few partyers dressed for carnaval wandering the streets probably just ending their night! The wind was blowing so much and we were freezing since the sun doesnt come up until like 8 here. The ferry building was finally open so we got our ferry tickets and stayed in the warm for a little bit. I got a coca cola light of course and then we headed onto the ferry. The ride was very shaky and windy and we werent allowed to go outside to look becuase the weather was so bad! They checked our passports on the ferry for the second time and I got stamped in Africa! We arrived to Tangier at 10:30am.
After we got off the ferry a man named Jamal was holdign a sign with my name of it so we obviosuly went up to him. Jamal was our tour guide for just the three of us so it was really nice! There is an hour time difference so we gained an extra hour in Morocco. First we went to a beautiful mosque in the center of Tangier. We werent allowed inside but the outside had very different architecture in green which is the color of Islam. People were staring at us taking pictures but we didnt care. Jamal then took us to some nice views of Tangier (California---the wealthiest part of Tangier). He then asked if we wanted to ride camels! For us that wasnt even a question! We arrived a little spot where three men had about 8 camels. We rode around on them for like 2 minutes for 1 euro so it wasnt long. And my camel didnt spit in my face! We took out picture with the man who gave us the camel rides and he was very excited to be in our pictures. A man came up to the three of us and put bracelets on us with the islamic charm that signifies good luck. The symbol is the 5 pillars of islam and it fights against evil. The bracelt was 3 euros so I bought it. And I also bought more of those charms later. Amanda lost her bracelet later in the day :( but bought another one from a different store. Jamal then showed us a cave which was right on the coast of Tangier and it was amazing. It was 2500 years old and had the shape of Africa on the outside of it. I think pictures would explain this better. We then saw where the Mediteranean and the Atlantic ocean meet. Jamal pointed out right where each one ends. I asked him who decided that. Jamal then said he did and laughed for a while about it. After that we walked around the city more and saw the markets medina and kasbah. Then it was time for lunch and we walked up this huge steep hill that seemd like it was going on forever but it was worht it for the meal. Jamal took us to this beautiful restaurant that was like a palace with colorful architecture and a band which we later got to play with. I played the madolin i think and Amanda played the drums! The restaurant was gorgeous and we ate like princesses. We had cous cous with chicken and this other soup. Amanda also peeled an orange for the first time at the restaurant which I thought was crazy. After lunch we walked around more to see other views of the beaches and city. Some of the children were rude to us as we were walking around and couldnt keep their hands to themselves. We learned a little more about the Moroccan rugs and went to this store that was very famous. The rugs were 500-900 euros. The people there didnt understand we didnt have that much money to spend and kept saying use your emergency card. They gave us some sweet tea and showed us their rugs but we left soon after since they kept trying to sell all these expensive things. We asked Jamal if we could go to stores more in our price range so he took us to a jewelry store that was still a little expensive but better. I bought a rug for my parents and some charms there. The people working there spoke English and lit the rug on fire to show it has good quality. They also lit Amanda's bracelet of fire. I think they just like fire. We went up to the top of the store to then see more views which we gorgeous and I took a lot of pictures. He showed us where Matt Damon filmed the Bourne Ultimatum which was cool becuase i remember the scene of the movie in Tangier. It was around 4pm so Jamal took us back to ferry since it was supposed to leave at four. We then found out that the ferry wasnt leaving until 6pm becuase of the weather. Jamal left us and then we waited for a little. We met other Americans and an Italian in the same situation. They looked like they were in their late twenties , early thirties so we stayed with them and got something to eat. After dark and without a guide in Tangier is a little different. A lot different. We all felt self-concsious and that everyone was staring at us so we didnt stay out for that much longer. We ate chicken sandwiches and then went back the ferry. It was still really windy which was worrying us since they dont take out any ferrys in that weather. After we got back we then found out the ferry wasnt leaving until 7:30 now. A half hour later we then found out our ferry wasnt leaving at all. So we tried to figure out what to do becuase we didnt want to be stuck in Africa for a week. We asked the other Americans what they were doing and they called their travel guide who gave them free tickets back with a different company. Since we didnt have our guides number we stood for awhile seeing our options. Since our company had no ferrys leaving that night and the weather was supposed to get worse tomorrow we decided we needed to buy tickets through a different company. The only problem was that it was 38 euros each and to a different city than our hostel. The other Americans gave us money which they didnt need to but was really nice to help us out. So we paid for our tickets and ran on the boat which didnt end up leaving until like 9:30pm. Both Heather and I passed out on the ferry for most of the three hours. We arrived to Algecirras at 12:30pm and it was freezing! We didnt think it was a good idea to go back to Tarifa even though our hostel was there becuase we would be spenidng more money and be there for less than 10 hours. We slept in the bus station. I woke up about every twenty minutes becuase it was so cold and i was shivering. We then found our bus company in the station at 7am and asked if we could take an earlier bus home to Madrid. They said yes which we were so relieved about and we didnt have to pay any more. We then got cafe con leche to warm ourselves up and waited for our bus. It was raining outside so we looked for it inside and it finally came at 8:40am! We got to go home! We all passed out on the bus becuase we were so tired and ended up in Madrid at 5:30pm. I came back and slept for three hours in my warm bed and then ate dinner and went right back to bed. I think that we all need a week to recover. My trip to Tangier was exhausting but amazing and well worth the stress.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

leche de pantera

Hola! Things have been going really well here in Madrid. Last weekend we went to Segovia. it was really beautiful and we went to the cathedral and castle that our there. The castle had amazing views and Liz and Amanda and I felt like princesses. It was great. We also saw the roman aquaduct which was huge and amazing since it has been there for so long. My camera died like the first 20 minutes we got there but everyone else took pictures. I was a little sick last week so I decided I should stay in and not go out last weekend.
This week I started my electives Actualidades and Arte. I liker arte but actualidades is not my favorite so far. We will see. On Wednesday my roommate Maya and I went to this Cave bar near Moncloa. It was really cool and different! The drinks were massive and they are famous for this drink called leche de pantera. I didnt have it the first time I went but I bought it on Saturday. Thursday Amanda and I went to Palacio and we met up with Wendy from my class. We met a boy Manuel from Argentina. We was our friend for the night. On Friday night my whole class went out becuase it was Steffan's last day at Tandem. Of course we ended the night/morning with churros con chocolate! It was rainy and cold which was gross but fun. Last night everyone met up at the Cave Bar where I ordered my first leche de pantera. The milk comes out of ceiling and the leche is green. I dont know why though. This weekend everyone stayed in Madrid except my roommates. I missed them so much! Eating pieces of shit was not the same without them.
Today Amanda and I booked flights to London! We are leaving February 21st and will be back the 24th! We plan on staying with Stef and Alison in their flat which is great since we dont have to worry about a hostel or anything! This will be my first time in London and I'm so excited. Next weekend we will be going to Salamanca with our group on Friday-Sunday. And the following week we are heading to Morocco! I don't think Ive been so excited and nervous about something in awhile. Well maybe not awhile since I was freaking out about coming to Madrid.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


This is my first post for my new blog in Madrid. So far I have loved everything about this city and want to travel everywhere in Europe. Today we sat around at Retiro Park for the afternoon and it was beautiful.