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Istanbul was Constantinople

Okay, so I’m sad to say I did not reach my 6th continent with this trip. 😦 I saw Asia, but I did not actually get to step foot there. So I’m still only at 5. It’s all good though, gives me more reason to travel even more.

Istanbul is a gorgeous city. The mosques are amazing. The Agia Sofia (Mosque of St. Sofia, I don’t know how to spell it) was breath-taking. Although, given better weather, the trip would have been a little better. It was freezing and cloudy all but a few sunny hours, leading to really dull pictures. It also snowed, which I did not appreciate in the least. Even with the gross weather, I enjoyed myself.

We visited the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, which was fun. They were both huge with lots and lots of vendors. I refrained from buying too many things, surprisingly. The food was awesome. Ate a lot of Durham Kebabs, which were yummy. Ate a meal that was cooked in a testi (the ceramic pot), which is always a fun story to tell people. We drank apple tea, which is superb. I must find it in the states, so good. I also kind of got addicted to Nutella which I’d never had in the states before.

The traveling was extremely tiring. I slept a lot in the following days, but I also value sleep more than many my age. Overall, it was a good trip and I can officially say I’ve been to Turkey 🙂

This Friday, the Miami group leaves for our cultural trip through Spain, hitting multiple different cities as we bus through central and southern Spain. I’m super excited, but I know I’m gonna be worn out to the max by the end (and there’s an exam at the end, no fun). Get ready for at least a few posts next week!

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Trip to Morocco-$450, Riding camels on the coast of Africa-Priceless

So, I made it to my 5th continent, only 2 more to go (only 1 if I decide Antarctica isn’t worth it). That’s pretty cool, having touched ground in 5/7 continents in 19 years of life, not too shabby.

To start, the travel there was sooooooo tiring. We basically had a full 24 hours of buses, planes, and layovers before we got there. Once we finally got there Friday night, we just ate dinner and went to bed, totally worn out from the traveling. Saturday, we had to get up way too early to get breakfast at 7 and leave by 8. Then we got on a bus to head to Chefchaouen (if only there was an “i” in there). About an hour into the trip, we make a stop for none other than to ride camels. It was a ton of fun, a little disappointing since we only got like a 30 second ride, but still. How many people get to say they rode a camel on the coast of Africa? From there we went to the Caves of Hercules, which were really pretty, there was a hole that looked out over the ocean, got some good pictures. After about 15 minutes there, we got back on the bus for the rest of the journey. Chefchaouen was gorgeous, everything was blue. Seriously, look at my pictures on Facebook or look it up on Google images, so much blue. We ate lunch there, starting with a salad that had a ton of onions, peppers, and tomatoes…but I loved the chicken that came next. Our tour was nice, it consisted of a lot of advertising but, still nice. We were gonna shop there, but our tour guides (4 really cute boys of course :P) found out there was a planned peaceful protest so they decided it’d be best to leave early just in case. So we headed back to the hotel, one of the guides did a magic show (card tricks, he was amazing), and we went to sleep.

Sunday we didn’t have to get breakfast till 8, so of course I woke up at 7:55. We left at 9 for Tetuan for another city tour and some shopping. Tetuan was closer so that was nice, and it as well was a gorgeous city. That tour also consisted of a lot of advertising, but it was fun and we learned about Moroccan culture. Lunch was amazing, I officially love couscous. The shops didn’t have quite as much as those in Chefchaouen (disappointing) but I still found things to buy of course. After shopping we headed to the bus to go to the ferry. From the ferry, we had a bus ride to Sevilla, then stayed in a hostel and went to the airport Monday morning. Missed my morning classes, but got home finally safe and sound.

It was a sad goodbye that came too soon, I wish I had more time to explore Morocco, but it was well worth the money. I had so much fun, made some new friends, and had took some great pictures. I will have to return some day.

Btw, Mom, you’d be proud, I’m not too picky an eater. I try everything that’s put in front of me and a lot of the time I even eat it all. 🙂 And no worries, my host mom is making sure I get my veggies (lots of broccoli because she knows I like it). Oh and I learned I like lentils.

Love you all, miss you all! Two months in, three more to go!!!

It was

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Cheetah Girls, Gelato, the Mediterranean Sea and Souvenirs

Previously on My Spanish Adventures: You learned about the train ride to Barcelona and how the first day went

Saturday: Saturday started at 9:00am with an awesome buffet for breakfast. Loved the pastries. After breakfast, we headed out. We got to see a big festival celebrating Barcelona’s saint, which was fun. There were performers and huge costumes dancing around. From there we went to the city building, which I didn’t think was gonna be all that exciting, but each room was covered in different art, so it ended up being really fun. Like a free art museum, which is always good. I got to walk down the “Escala D’Honor” or the stairs of honor. I felt very important and honorable.

We were heading to this hug park when, some of us got distracted by the Chocolate Museum. So, of course, I was one of the few who went in. I mean, the ticket itself was chocolate, how could I have said no. It was a ton of fun, all kinds of sculptures made out of chocolate, including but not limited to the Sagrada Familia, Don Quixote, and a Beatles drum set.  It was definitely worth the 3.65 to get in.

Once we were done admiring all the chocolate, we headed to the Ciutadella Park to meet up with all the others. This park was GORGEOUS. And huge. There was this incredible fountain and a Wholly Mammoth statue (which of course I got my picture with). Nearby was Barcelona’s version of the Arc de Triumf, which was cool, random, but cool.

After we ate some lunch (at 4ish) we headed to Montjuic to see the castle and the Olmpic Stadium. There was an awesome view of the entire city from the castle. Veronica and I went to find a bathroom, got lost, and got to participate in a little art class (basically we drew what nature was to us then we got a free book at the end). People waiting outside were a little cold, so some went home, some moved on, and some waited. By the time we made it to the stadium, it was dark and hard to see, but it was still really cool. And, I can say I’ve been there.

For dinner, a group of us went to this place on the beach front and got fresh seafood. It tasted delicious, it was kind of pricey, but it was yummy and had a nice view. On the way back, guys were giving us cat-calls so we had Penny yell Chinese at them, which was hilarious.

Sunday: Again, started with a delicious breakfast at 9. Then, we headed out, our main goal of the day was to just see the city and souvenir shop. We got to take some Cheetah Girl strutting pictures (since they were in Barcelona in the second movie, duh). Then, we got gelato again…twice (we did a lot of walking, we deserved it). We were gonna go to the Picasso museum, but the line was too long, so we just headed back after we were done buying souvenirs. We headed to the beach to chill until we had to go to the train station. It was gorgeous. We all took a ton of pictures, then some of us climbed out on the rocks trying to get as far out as possible. Love adventure time.

The train ride home was fun, we explored the train some, talked, sang, listened to Raeanne’s original rap about Barcelona (amazing), and just chilled. I got little bits of sleep throughout the night. Not much though.

Monday: We got in to Oviedo at 8ish and we all headed home. We were all trying to decide whether we were going to go to classes or not. I decided against it and slept through a lot of the day instead. Then, our Cine class was canceled, so it was like a 4-day weekend. Overall, I had good times. And eventually through the week, I caught up on missed sleep.

Coming Soon: Morocco next weekend followed by Istanbul!

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Gaudí, Gaudí, Gaudí…

I went to Barcelona this weekend! Loved it! It is such a beautiful city, humongoid too. Just so this post doesn’t end up being a mile and a half long, I’m going to split it into days and give you the gist of each. Ready, set, here we go…

Thursday: We met at the train station at 9:00 to get ready to get on our 9:30 train to Barcelona. The train was fun, we were all with each other, talking and such. I had some good bonding time with those in my group, told my life story. Fun fact: I was born at home (inside joke, sorry). The train was not quite as fun when we were trying to sleep. I woke up every half hour when either the train would stop, start, or shake, or when people came in talking. So, the sleep=no so great, but we made it to Barcelona Friday morning at 7:30ish.

Friday: We went straight from the train station to the hotel to chill until noon. Firgured out I could climb out my window and be on the roof, that was fun. Was noon rolled around, we got on a tour bus that took us to some key landmarks. We started at La Sagrada Familia, the amazing cathedral designed by Gaudí. It was gorgeous. I will have to return to Barcelona in 20-30 years once it is finished. It was started in the 1800s and is still being built today. The detail put into every little crevice is amazing. If you get a chance, go see it.

After that, we went to the Park Güell, which was also designed by Gaudí. (He basically designed the whole city) The park was beautiful, as well. The designs and detail that covered everything, includuing the ceiling, was awesome (check out my pictures on Facebook). There were a ton of street vendors out selling jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, watches, etc. I bought to necklaces aftert the vendor bartered the price down on her own (I was just looking at them, trying to decide which ones to get and she kept lowering the price, worked for me).

We were released into the city after the park, thank goodness we had Laurie around, who had been there already so she kind of knew her way around. We ate lunch, then headed for the cathedral (de Santa María I think..). It was pretty, but there was all kinds of construction going on so I couldn’t get really good pictures. We got some amazing gelato from this place, Giovanni’s, which was just heavenly. Then, we headed down La Rambla, which is this huge street in Barcelona with a ton of little shops and restaurants and such. Off of La Rambla was La Boqueria (this huge market), which had everything from live crawfish to gummy candies (including rabbits still with fur and chickens still with heads). After leaving the market, we walked for a while and found the statue of Columbus pointing to the Americas (actually pointing to the Med. Sea). We walked across this funky bridge and went to a little shopping mall. By this time, it was getting quite chilly, so I got a coffee to keep me warm.

We headed back to the hotel, getting to ride on the metro, which I love. People were planning on doing dinner at 9:30, but a few of us were hungry and wanted to go earlier. So, we head over to this centro comercial (mall) and ate at this awesome Italian restaurant. I got a pizza and ate it all. So good. We explored a little inside, got some dessert, but headed back soon after due to our lack of sleep.The second my light was out and my head was on my pillow, I was asleep, not even exagerrating, I was worn out.

Next time on My Spanish Adventures: Learn what happens on Saturday and Sunday, and how the train ride changed Monday classes.

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Peanut Butter Reunites with Jelly

Kelly came to visit this weekend!! I had so much fun, it was so good to see her. I miss her altogether too much. She and Brian had study tour in Spain this past week for their art class, so they decided to swing by Oviedo to visit us. 🙂

Thursday was crazy, we thought they were going to get in a 4, but they didn’t. So, we went back at like 7:15 hoping they were coming in at 7:30. Well, there was no sign of them. We start panicking because we don’t know where they are or when they’d get here. And we had no way of contacting them, so we were completely in the dark. Thankfully, Brian’s dad emailed Amanda letting us know when they’d be coming in finally. So, all was good. Once they were here, we took them out for Cidra and tapas, classic Spain/Asturias/Oviedo night.

Friday, Kelly and I went to explore the town and shop. Of course, being the brilliant people we are, we both forgot our cameras. So, after a few hours of shopping, we walked all the way back to my house and got our cameras and went back out and took some pictures. We also shopped some more and spent more money than we needed to. For dinner, we went to the Chinese restaurant (love it, I’ve been there 3 times now). Then, we just came back and had a chill movie night at home.

Saturday, a group of us were going to Gijon to celebrate a birthday. We had a ton of fun. We saw the beach for a little bit before going and getting Indian food (we are very cultured people haha). It tasted great, wasn’t they same as Indian food at home, mine was a ton sweeter, not spicy at all, but I loved it. After eating, we decided to go back to the beach, but actually go on the sand instead of just look. Well, the tide was coming in, so needless to say some of us were walking around with soaked feet and legs. We all took some awesome pictures. Then, we shopped for a little bit and ate some churros, then headed back home to Oviedo.

Kelly and Brian’s bus to Madrid was a 7:30 this morning, so we had to wake up at 6:30 so we could leave the house by 6:45. That was no fun and I really did not want to say goodbye to Kelly. The weekend was too short, it ended way too soon. But I will find a time to visit her in Luxembourg, and we will be reunited again.

Now, I want everyone else to come visit! Love you all!

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Getting better and finding Jesus

Okay, so I know I haven’t posted anything recently, and that is primarily because I hadn’t really done anything too exciting. Unless you all want to hear about what I learn in my classes day-by-day.

Some news, I am finally getting over being sick, I think. I’ve had a bad cold on-and-off for the last 2 and a half weeks, and it’s actually clearing up. I still have a cough, but that’s fading. So, hopefully I’ll be all good within the next day or two.

More excitingly, I found Jesus. Okay, so maybe I already knew and loved Jesus before this, but I think it sounds better that way. Two friends and I wanted to go to El Naranco, which is a big statue of Jesus on top of a mountain near Oviedo. So, being the intelligent, young college students we are, we decided to just try to find our way rather than ask someone or bring someone who knew. Needless to say, we were lost countless times. On the way there, we hiked through thorns and mud and jumped a fence (because we took the wrong path). My legs were screaming at me because of all the uphill climbing. Surprisingly, we made it there in the average time it takes (about 2 hours). We must have found a shortcut or something, but we got there! The view was amazing, you could see the entire city and the snow-capped mountains in the background. It was hazy though, so pictures aren’t that great which is disappointing. (btw, pictures will always be posted to Facebook, I hate trying to put them in my posts, so it will happen very rarely)

We ate a little bit while up there, then started our trek back. We thought going back would be simple and easy, just a downhill walk, no big. Oh, were we wrong. We (again) took the wrong path and somehow ended up on the other side other the mountain. So, we started taking random paths (that seemed to lead the way we needed) in hopes of finding a road or something. There was a lot of uphill walking again, which my legs were not happy with and some more mud and thorns. I was also not wearing the correct footwear for a real hike (since I thought it was a legit paved-path (which it is, we just messed up)) so I have a nasty skinned toe from it blistering and then rubbing. Simply being able to sit down and take off my shoes felt like heaven. Let’s just say wearing shoes in the near future is not going to be any fun.

Even with my painful feet and will-be soar legs, I greatly enjoyed our adventure. We had a ton of fun, and we bonded a lot. We had singing sessions together, one of which was “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift, in which we all sang the chorus while running down a hill (best part, I was the only girl, so these two guys are just belting T-Swift).

All-in-all, good day. I had a ton of fun and am loving being here. The homesickness I’ve been getting is a ton better now and I owe it all to my awesome friends and family (here and back home).

Love you all!

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Who’s an idiot? Me!

So, this weekend has been somewhat of a bust considering how I have ruined any plans I had set basically. I was supposed to go to Gijon on Saturday, then Covadonga today, right. Well I made it to Gijon, but only for dinner (which is really late) and without a camera. I can easily go back to Gijon though, so I’m not too worried.

Covadonga upsets me though. The bus was scheduled to leave at 9:30, so being me instead of setting the alarm for 8:30 like I meant to, I set it to 9:30. So, I thought I’d missed the bus, which sucks. Then, at 9:50, my friend texted me saying they were leaving. So, I could’ve made it there if I’d gone fast, but because I thought they were leaving, I didn’t get up so I really did miss it. That’s the worst part, I could’ve made it, but I didn’t. So, they’re aren’t gonna be any pictures from Covadonga which is sad because I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Life goes on though, and I will see other things.

On, a happier note, dinner was really good and Gijon is really pretty. Once I actually go during the day and take my camera, I’ll have pictures up. The most interesting thing about dinner was the crepes, which had eels, shrimp, crab, and other sea creatures. I didn’t necessarily like it, but I tried it and it wasn’t that bad.

Life lesson of the day: Set more than one alarm and always try to make it even if it doesn’t seem possible.

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