Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's long overdue that I post my final blog on my Spain trip. I basically spent the last three days of my stay in Spain on a beautiful beach in Cadiz. I really enjoyed relaxing before my trip back. I then headed back to Seville for one (supposedly) last nite.

The night before my EXPECTED departure, I went out to dinner with two girls I had met a while back, Ana and Maria. After dinner, I stopped at Eucharistic Adoration for a bit, and then headed back to my hostal, arriving at about 2am. I set my alarm for 4am. However, when I woke, it was 7am and my flight was to leave at 7:30! I jumped up, rushed around and then gave into the fact that I would be unable to make it. I spent two hours trying to figure out a plan and my Dad finally said just to go to the airport and see what I could do. So off I went in a taxi with all my luggage and luckily they had a flight the next day about the same time. I took a bus back, which seemed to take an eternity, and lugged my luggage all the way back to the hostal.

That night I could hardly sleep for fear of sleeping in again. I had the hostal do a wake up knock on the door and I was at the airport at around 4:30am. It was the craziest site I've seen in a longtime...I get to the airport expecting it to be dead. However, there was a Seville soccer game in Glascow and it seemed like the whole city of Seville was in that airport dressed in red clothing, kilts, and blonde wigs. A very funny site to say the least, although a bit too early in the morning for my taste.

I made it on my flight with no problems although the flight did leave an hour late because of some difficulties they were having! I sat next to a older couple from Seville. They were very kind and complimented me on my Spanish! I guess they were going to Istambul for a five day tour!

At the Madrid airport, I made friends with a girl going to Pennsylvania. We kept each other company until our respective flights.

The flight from Madrid to Chicago seemed eternal! I sat next to a man from Cairo which was really interesting. He was on his first trip to the states. He even let me try one of their foods, which was similar to a fig newton!

I passed through customs without problems and was excited to see my Dad and Anna waiting for me right outside. I was exhausted from lack of sleep and the long trip and my Dad took charge of the luggage.
It was really great to see everyone and once back, I realized how quickly everything really went.
It all almost seems a blur!
I'm back to school, work and such and it's amazing how one just slips right back into the swing of things.

I feel so grateful to have been able to go and I know what I have learned and experienced across the waters will be with me in much of what I do later in life. I'm already making my next travel plans :) But for now, I'm more than content to spend time with my family and friends as they are just as much fun as enjoyable as traveling (and cost much less!)

Monday, May 7, 2007


Paris was somewhat of a last minute trip that a friend and I took this last weekend. We decided we shouldn´t leave Spain, being so close to France, without going. We squeezed in so much in so little time.

Friday May 4th
We met at 4:30am and went to take a bus to the airport. Luckily we had left early because they changed the bus pickup and we had to walk a couple blocks to the new site. Then we took the 7:45am plane out of Seville.

We found our hostal, where there was confusion in the bookings as always and then left our luggage and headed for the Eiffel Tower. We ate lunch and were bothered by some of the gypseys that ask for money. One asked if we spoke English and then once we said we didn´t have anything to give her, insulted us. The next one that asked if we spoke English we shook our heads no. Then we went up the Eiffel Tower, taking the STAIRS, and then from the second floor we took the elevator, as they didn´t have stairs from that part on.

The view from the top was amazing, although it was a little foggy that day. You could see almost every main monument from the top.

Then we went to the Catacombs. That was one of the most eerie places I´ve ever been. Six million people´s bones are compiled under ground. You walk through these damp and narrow passageways on top of gravel stone and the path just seems to go forever!

We then stopped by the Pantheon, which had lots of beautiful paintings and frescos and also had a pendulum that shows the Earth´s rotation.

It began to rain a bit that night so we ran into a cafe, MM cafe, hoping that they´d have good food. The prices were a little high, as with everything in Paris, but the food was good.

Then we stopped at a nearby crepe place and split a Nutella, Banana, and Almond Crepe. It was neat because you could take them to go also if you wanted! The crepe was excellent!

We then took the metro back to our hostal, beat tired!

Saturday May 5th
We woke up early and ate breakfast at our hostal. On our way to the Sacre Coure we passed a coffee shop and I dragged Nicole in for a quick cup of coffee and milk. (The coffee at our hostal was so watery and not up to par with the Spanish coffee we´re used to).

Then we went to Sacre Coure, a beautiful white church on a hill.

After that we headed to Notre Dame, which had some of the most beautiful stained glass I had ever seen!

We did a little window shopping on Champs-Élysées, a big street with all these brand name stores and then headed back to the same crepe shop we went to the day before. I didn´t realize how much I missed my Dad´s danish pancakes!

Then we went to Versailles, a huge palace about thirty minutes away. It was beautiful and the gardens were unbelieveable!

We then went back to our Hostal to change and then went to dinner. We stubbled upon this great place with decent prices. We each had a three course meal for only 11 euro each! The food was so tasty and we were really interested in the table next to us who had a huge wedge of cheese under a heater for some sort of dish. There were other tables that had a stone with a fire under it where they would cook the raw meat themselves!

We then checked out Moulan Rouge and then went to the Eiffel Tower again to watch it sparkle at night.

Sunday May 6th
We got up at 6am and went to Mass at the Sacred Heart (Sacre Coure). French is supposed to be somewhat close to Spanish being a romatic language but I had a hard time picking out anything!

We then spent 4 1/2 hours at the Louvre, an expansive collection of art of anything you can think of. We even saw the Mona Lisa, which I didn´t find that impressive, but it seemed everyone else did as there was a huge crowd, pushing and picture sneaking.

We had crepes by the river and mine consisted of cheese, ham, egg, and tomatoes (a crepe a day keeps the doctor away!)

Our flight left at 7pm and as always, it was a nice place to visit, but it´s nice coming back to Seville.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pictures from Seville, Cordoba, Lisbon, Fatima, and Barcelona with Dad

Hope you all enjoy...I do admit my problem of taking lots of pictures!

Monday, April 30, 2007

The European Amazing Race: Father and Daughter Team

April 29th Friday
Picked up Dad at the airport and headed to his hostal in Seville, Lis II.
There was a bit of confusion and the employee thought we would have to move to their other hostal, but thankfully he mistook me for someone else!
We took an extensive tour of the city and I was surprised Dad was up for all of it, but with expresso, anything is possible.
For lunch, Dad had Paella for the first time, a rice dish with sea food, meat, and vegetables. It was definitely enough for both of us!
We went to the Alcazar, Plaza de España, the River, the Feria grounds as they were setting up, Barrio Santa Cruz (the Jewish Quarter), and my Casa.

By the end of the day, Dad had drank three espressos and the Sevillian beer, CruzCampo which he enjoyed very much!

At night we walked by the well-lit Cathedral, called Mom, and stopped in at a baroque chapel for Perpetual Adoration.

April 21st Saturday
Breakfast was chocolate y churros and a tea for Dad at a bar across from his hostal.
We toured some more of the city seeing the neighborhood, la Macarena where we stopped at the Basilica de la Macarena and also the Parliament building.

Then we headed in the opposite direction to go through the Cathedral and up 34 ramps to the top of La Giralda.

For lunch Dad tried a Bocadillo (sandwich) of the Jamón Serrano (Cured Ham), while I enjoyed the Tortilla Española.
We went for ice cream at a well known ice cream shop, Rayas and then for coffee at the Lourve Café.

It was raining a bit as we headed towards Hospital de los Venerables, a place that was used for retired priests.

That night, Dad met some of my friends, Amanda and Liz and we ate Italian in Spain!

April 22nd Sunday
I went to get Dad in the morning to head off to Mass at the Cathedral, only to find that he was still sleeping!
He got ready very quickly and we were on our way.
We ate breakfast at La Campana, a well known pastry shop, and enjoyed some fresh orange juice.

Then we headed to Museo de Bellas Artes. Outside, like every Sunday, were artists selling their paintings.

Then we headed to Casa de Pilatos, where we found out some interesting information on a tour.

The building happened to be the first of the fourteen stations and we decided to make the trek to the end where we came to a stone cross, which, years back was located in a field...thus called Cruz del Campo. (Also the name of the beer of Seville).

After that, we went on a wild goose chase to find the Opus Dei center here in Seville in order to find a Latin Mass. A friend of mine had pointed it out to me in passing once, but I couldn´t find it again!

We ate dinner at Dos de Mayo, a new bar near my place and stood outside eating some great tapas consisting of bacalao, shrimp, and a few other items. Of course, there was bread as always!

April 23rd Monday
Dad really had a desire to see the Mesquita in Cordoba and I was happy to revisit the city, so we took an EARLY 7:30 bus to Cordoba.

We visited the Mesquita and walked around the beautiful winding streets of the city.
We bought food to make sandwiches and ate in the gardens in front of Cordoba´s Alcazar.

We caught the bus back to Seville and ate at a tapas bar near my school, La Gitana.
Afterwards we walked to the Feria to see the turning on of the lights at midnight. We tried the rebujitos, a drink of a mixture of Manzanilla and Sprite.

April 24th Tuesday
We had a few errands to run before heading off to Lisbon at three.
Dad met Susan, who took care of me while I was sick.
Dad also met Paqui, which was a fun experience as I was able to act as the translator.

We then bought food for sandwiches and headed off on a six hour bus ride to Lisbon.
The scenery was very pretty and we got into Lisbon late.
After taking a wrong turn, we found our hotel and dropped off our things.
We walked around a bit and Dad found a great restaurant that gave you a large plate of food for a great price. The waitress luckily spoke a little English as we didn´t speak any Portuguese and she taught us how to say thank you.

April 25th Wednesday
Woke up early and took Lisbon´s confusing metro to the bus station and from there we headed off to Fatima, about an hour and a half away.
We went to Confessions, which they were doing in many languages and we attend a large Mass outside.
It was very beautiful and interesting to see so many different types of Catholics from all over the world.

We went to Lisbon´s Cathedral, which had some really neat excavations, and St. George´s Castle, which gave us a great view of the whole city. We ran into some people from Minnesota there also!

That night, Dad brought me to a very nice restaurant where the food was excellent! It was a pretty fancy place and the waiters were all very friendly.

April 26th Thursday
We got up early in the morning and ate a great breakfast that Dom Sancho provided and then took a taxi to the airport to catch our flight to Barcelona.
Once there, we found our hotel, Ronda Lesseps.
That day we visited la Sagrada Familia, an amazing church being built according to the style of Gaudi. We went inside and even went up an elevator to get an even closer look at the unique design.
Dad called Mom from nearby and then we bought lunch to eat in a park behind the church by a pond and some older Spanish men playing bocce ball.
While walking around we passed their bullring and entered into the Gothic Quarter and found a beautiful park with a waterfall and a mammoth, on which I climbed up upon for a picture!

We came across Barcelona´s Arc de Triumph a bit later and walked around the city some more.

Then at night we checked out Park Güell and realized it was quite a hike up. Luckily we found the side that had about five outdoor escalators! We only went up and back down as it was late and the park was closed, but it was pretty high up and we got a great view of part of the city!

April 27th Friday

We took a day to sleep in a bit and enjoyed a good breakfast at a café nearby called IncaBurger, where we enjoyed cafe con leche quite a few times before.

We headed back to Park Güell and walked around. The park was beautiful with sculptures that blended in and made the park look very artsy. We went into the Gaudi Musuem which displayed items from his house and other items of interest. He was far ahead of his time in his style!
The park also had some neat craft markets going on and also people selling their paintings.

We then checked out of the hotel and went to another one closer to the center of the city. We took the metro quite often as the city is huge!

We went down Las Ramblas, a lengthy street filled with tents selling animals, paintings, jewlery, and anything else imaginable.

We went to the Christopher Colombus Monument, which we were able to go up to the top of. There was another great view of the city, 360 degrees.

Nearby, we walked by the Marina, where Dad touched the Mediterranean and we sat on some lawn chairs on the beach. Then we realized that they charged five euros for them and promptly got off!

Dad found a great place for lunch where it seemed the locals liked to go and we got to sit in a backroom and watch about five older Spanish men play dominos in the room next door while sending our way plenty of smoke!

Then we went to the Cathedral where nearby was an Archives museum. I realized how skillfull people´s penmanship was in the past.

We took a little rest at the hostal and then got our dinner and brought it to watch the Magic Fountain. It was a fun water show and we sat on the steps of the Art Museum of Barcelona watching the colorful display of colors, music, and water.

Afterwards we decided to climb up all the stairs and we realized how high up we really were! I had heard about something called Poble Español and thought it was a Spanish town. We found it but it was different than what I had thought. It was actually built for a World Exposition and was a life size imitation of a Spanish town with all different elements from different cities in Spain. We got there around 10 pm and went in as it didn´t close until 3am. During the day there are craft shops. It was nice to walk around it at night when everything was closed and there weren´t too many people.

Then we hiked back down and took the metro to la Sagrada Familia to see it lit up at night. You could see even more of the details on the outside of the building.

April 28th Saturday

We ate breakfast at the café, IncaBurger and then headed to Park Güell again to find a sculpture of a lizard I thought was supposed to be there.
Once we found it, I took a picture of course and then we took the Metro to the sea to walk around some more.
We went down La Rambla again and encountered more tents and more street performers: a magician, statues, and some guys that looked like they were going to do something acrobatic but they took too long to warm up so lots of people left. Also by the sea we listened to a band that had a really unique sound. We ended up seeing them later on the plane back to Seville too!

We walked back to the hostal to get our bags and then headed to the airport. We accidentally took the metro the wrong way. Luckily we weren´t in a rush!

Then we waited in a plaza for the bus to the airport and enjoyed some good old ice cream from McDonalds.

Once we got back to Seville, we stopped for a dinner to go at a place called 100 Montaditos, a shopped that sells a hundred different types of small sandwiches.

April 29th Sunday
We went to Mass at the Cathedral in the morning and had breakfast at Monaditos.
I packed up one of my suitcases for Dad to bring back and then we went down by the river where Dad took a nap and I did my homework for the next day.

Then we went to the Feria grounds and walked around some until it was time to head over to the bullfight.
I bought a hat before hand as we were sitting in the sunny section. The bullfight was VERY exciting. A torero was gored, there was a defect bull, and even a bull that received more applause than the torero because he was so strong.

For dinner we went to Montaditos and then we took a walk around the Cathedral.
Dad picked up some donuts for us a a shop nearby and then we stopped in at the Eucharistic Adoration which goes on at all hours.

Dad walked me home and we said our goodbyes. I had such a great time with him! Everything went by at light speed and I´m so glad he helped me with compiling these memories!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Semana Santa

More Semana Santa Photos:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


I´ve taken a few short videos while here in Spain with my camera. To view them go to:
Hope you enjoy them!

Semana Santa


Semana Santa has begun full swing here in Seville and I must say, I’m enjoying it immensely. It began on Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos. On Sunday, I went to 12pm Mass with my Senora at la iglesia de San Lorenzo. We sat towards the back as there were hardly any seats. The church was packed and it was hard to concentrate as people kept coming into the church to look at the floats, in Spanish, pasos, and then they left. It was frustrating because while such an important event as the Mass was happening, it became secondary to the floats with statues. It was so crowded in the church that I wasn’t even able to get to Communion in time.
My Senora gave me the traditional blessed olive branch, as she said palms would be too expensive to give to everyone. On the main alter however, there were some beautiful palms that were made into detailed designs. The two floats in the church were exquisite with statues that are quite realistic and life size. The bases are covered in flowers, gold, candles, and miniature statues.
Afterwards, my senora and her sister invited me to take a walk with them. We stopped into a café, Dos D Mayo, and had a small bite and drinks. They ordered a plate of croquetas, which are small fried balls filled with a thick, creamy blend of meat and cheese. I had peach juice, which is something I found that’s very good here in Seville after they offered it to me in the hospital.
After strolling around a bit, Paqui showed me where her seats are for Semana Santa and then we headed back to the casa. We stopped at the panaderia, bread shop, and she bought her bread for the day and I bought this pastry that was delicious. It was a long powdered donut filled with a thick custard. Reminded me a lot of long johns from home.
I went out to try and watch some of the pasos, but as I didn’t yet buy a booklet, I had no clue which ones were where and what time. The streets were packed and it’s quite a puzzle to figure out the best way to get to your destination. I would go down one street, just to turn back around because it was packed or there were police that restricted access.
I got a hold of my friend Maria, who lives in Seville and loves Semana Santa. When I met up with her, she and her friends were all dressed up. They were in dresses and dangerously high heels. Semana Santa is the time when everyone brings out their spring clothes and dress up to watch the floats.
We walked around for a bit, catching a couple floats passing by and then we headed to the shoe store of Maria’s friend. Her friend’s family owns this shoe store with balconies that face the Cathedral. An amazing and perfect location.
I had such a good time meeting Maria’s friends and watching the floats enter the Cathedral. It was interesting being around a group of people close to my age, and only hearing spanish. I'm quite a talker as most of you know, but I felt so silent around everyone. I could understand most of what was being said, but formulating anything to add to the conversations was difficult because it takes me a bit to figure out in my head what I want to say. I think the problem is I'm thinking of too complicated of things to say, that I would readily say in English. But trying to translate them into spanish is another thing. Her friend, Pilar, was extremely nice and served us tons of good food.
Maria pointed out that a lot of people like to touch the floats, which she doesn’t like, because it ruins them, taking off the gold coating. Also, I could see children taking balls and holding them under the candles of the Nazarenos, the people who wear the outfits we recognize as being similar to the KKK, although they are definitely NOT! Maria said that the children collect wax over the years to remember Semana Santa. Also, some of the Nazerenos hand out candy to children. It depends on how strict the Hermandad is and what they allow. A Hermandad is a brotherhood, group of people that belong to a certain church and each Hermandad has approximately two floats, one of the Virgen Mary and one of Jesus Christ. For example la Hermandad de los Estudiantes belongs to el Rectorado de la Universidad. They have two pasos, El Cristo de la Buena Muerte (Christ of the Good Death) and la Virgen de la Angustia (Virgen of Anguish). They also have about 1,500 Nazarenos.
Alter watching the pasos for a time at Maria’s friend’s, we left to save a good spot to watch La Virgen de la Amargura which was to pass at one o’clock. Maria really wanted to see this one because they bring the Virgen past a convent, where it stops. The doors of the convent open, and the nuns sing to the Virgin. It was a really beautiful sight and gave me goosebumps. Maria even cried and said she always gets emotional for this one.
Watching statues of Blessed Virgin and Jesus pass to the sounds of the bands give you a feeling of devotion that’s contagious. All the floats are carried by men called costaleros. There are about fifty under the float and carry them for approximately eight hours. Also, at certain points, everyone becomes silent and you can hear what they call a Saeta. It is a flamenco style of singing and is very expressive, unlike any style of music I heard before.
I arrived home at around three in the morning. I must say, Semana Santa in Seville is a wonder. The amount of people, the traditions, and the spirit will remain forever as cherished memories.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Una experencia!

I feel like I've been somewhat out of touch with my hospital experience. I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words and prayers. I'm sure I'm out much quicker because of them.
To give a brief account, on Friday, I had started feeling sick and by Saturday, it had gotten much worse. Saturday nite the doctor made a house call and gave some instructions and we hoped for the best. By Sunday, I felt horrible with dizziness and the pains in my stomach were almost unbearable. They took me to the hospital that day and Susan, who works with student affairs at the school, took wonderful care of me. She kept me company and was the go between for many things. My Mom made me feel so much better also, as she communicated with the doctor, who spoke english thankfully. I don't know if I've ever had so much contact with my Mom and Dad since I've been here, and speaking with them helped make my hospital experience pass by much more quickly.
They started me on IVs, which are a bit different looking than those in the states. Also another thing I noticed was that the thermometer was always put under the armpit instead of in the mouth. It was somewhat humerous how long they'd leave the thermometer in. I suppose it wasn't like I was going anywhere! After the antibiotics started kicking in and a few days of not eating, I felt much better. They did some xrays and another test to find out that I had lesions on my intestine and thus the pain. They first thought it to be from Morroco, but by the end, they weren't completely sure what it was from.
Now that I'm out, I have a strict diet to follow for a bit and some medicines. I shall stay in Seville and miss my trip to Ireland, which is somewhat of a disappointment, but as my mom said, maybe I can get some credits for my hospital stay!
I'll be able to see the whole of Semana Santa which should be lovely and impresionante as everyone here says.
They're really getting ready for it here, with new paint going up everywhere and chairs and benches being set up.
I wish everyone a beautiful Easter. I'll have a good preparation here I believe and I will make the best of it know that my sufferings and mishaps can never compare to the majority of misfortunes that happen everyday to others.
God bless you all!

Monday, March 19, 2007


My Photos

Morocco is by far the farthest I have been away from the comfort of familiarity and the ability to relate to fellow human beings. For one, the language is completely different, and the majority know French as a second language as opposed to Spanish or English. Secondly, I stick out like a sore thumb amoung the darker skin, and being a non islamic woman, not wearing the traditional garb. Riding in the bus to and through cities and small towns of Morocco, I almost felt like a slide under the microscope. Pairs of Moroccan eyes, mostly male, followed us as we went along our way, in the same way, I supposed we looked at them. The reason I said mostly male eyes is that it is really hard to find woman on the streets and the "machoism" here is even stronger than in Spain. I´ve run out of time for now already, but I´ll finish in a short time.

I spent about a half hour writing an explanation of my trip. And for some reason it erased it.

Ok, I´ll try this again! Rough outline:
-left Seville at 5.30 in the morning by bus to Tarifa, the windy city of Spain, country side was beautiful as well as all the windmills
-Took a ferry for 35 minutes from Tarifa to Tanger, Morocco
-Continued by bus with Moroccan tour guide to Chefchaouen, a small town almost completely painted blue, said to keep away the mosquitos
-Had a local tour take us around Chefchaouen and we were also able to hear the loud prayer call while in the town
-Continued by bus to Fes, say many donkeys and roadside markets, policemen, sheep
-Arrived in Fes where we ate a delicious dinner at the hotel
-Slept very well!
-We left early to visit the medina, the old market filled part of the city
-tried our hands at bargaining
-visited a tannery (beautiful to see but the smell was almost unbearable), supposedly people from Amazing Race had a challenge in this tannery
-ate in a restaurant within a palace that served very flavorful dishes, with plenty of cous cous
-visited a wood shop, metal shop, fabric shop, and a "pharmacy" with all kinds herbs to cure
-went to a moroccan music show
-went to the city of Asilah, a very quiet town with a restaurant that served excellent cous cous and vegetables
-succeeded in bargaining!
-Continued back to Tanger by bus (where we took a hop up on a camel) and from there to Tarifa by Ferry

All in all, a scenic, flavorful, distinct, revealing, and impressive trip.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

London, England: Fish n Chips and Minding the Gap

My long England started on Thursday nite where we took a plane at 10 pm from Seville to Stanford, England. From there we took a bus to London, about a two hour ride. We slept at my roommate´s friend´s apartment and then in the morning went to check in at our hostal. Thankfully, our hostal offered free breakfast, which saved us some money in a country where our money is not worth all that much. The exchange rate right now is about 2 U.S. dollars for one pound.

That Friday, we checked out the Science Museum, which was a good reminder of what I´ll be going back to in the Fall! Afterwards, we got some fish and chips for lunch, which were very tasty and wrapped in a newspaper like wrapping. Then we met up with my roommate´s friend to travel to Windsor Castle, which is about a half hour away from central London. We bought our tube passes and headed to the castle where the Queen was actually present, although we didn´t catch sight of her. The castle had the official guards and we toured the various rooms that are used by the royalty and special guests. The furniture was extravagant and the details of each room were different and very intricate. There were royal portraits, weapons, busts, and lots of history contained in those rooms.

That nite we ate quickly at a restaurant and then headed off for the nitetime Jack the Ripper tour. The guide was very knowledgable about the facts and myths surrounding this horrible case that has left it´s infamous mark on London´s dark streets.

Our hostel was a fairly good deal with a free breakfast consisting of cereal, toast, and coffee and a towal to use for showers. The springs on the bed were quite noticable when layed upon, but what can you expect.

On Saturday, we started our day out the Portabella market, which seems to stretch for infinity along both sides of the road. They sold all sorts of things such as clothes, stamps, touristy tshirts, necklaces, cricket balls, antiques, and you name it you could probably find it.

We walked around for a bit, crossing the Millenium Bridge and checking out the Shakespeare Globe Theater. We didn´t see a play there but Clara, my roommate, got the idea to see this one show in the Picadilly are called "The 39 Steps." She had heard that it was a great play and we only had a half hour to get there so we booked it and ran to the tube station and when we got there, we had missed the first ten minutes which was good because we were able to buy discounted tickets which were less than half the original price. Plus the usher filled us in on what we had missed and was a very good story teller.
Here´s a brief synopsis found online:
"Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of "Mr Memory"'s show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith who is running away from secret agents. He accepts to hide her in his flat, but in the night she is murdered. Fearing he could be accused on the girl's murder, Hannay goes on the run to break the spy ring."

This play is based on an Alfred Hitchcock original. It only consisted of four actors who played the roles of many characters, and sometimes the one actor on the stage would change characters right there. It was to say the least, humerous and well staged. I really enjoyed seeing it and I was glad I was able to get to a play as my other friends were going to see Caberet that same nite and I had decided not to go.

We also checked out Chinatown in London which was pretty authentic.
While the girls were at Caberet, I walked around the bustling streets of London and checked out the many, many shops that lined the streets (I could only afford to window shop however).

That next morning I went to the Brompton Oratory where they held a Tridentene Mass at nine in the morning. The church was spectacular in it´s size and beauty. The Mass was very reverent and as usual, reminded me of home :) Afterwards, I went to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace where they put on a very good show. There was a band, people on horses, and of course, the fuzzy hatted guards who aren´t supposed to smile. However, if you look at my pictures, you´ll see I caught one smiling! He must be a newbie of the pack. There were so many people there lining the streets and taking pictures. It was quite a production.

After that, I went to check out St. Thomas´ hospital and the Florence Nightingale Musuem. Learning about Florence, I found in her almost a kindred spirit. She helped many people in her development of nursing and wrote books on a variety of subjects.

Then I went by the riverside to take pictures, and I went a little snap happy there as you will see. The view was just perfect and the buildings all compliment eachother so well.
I also checked out the Natural History Musuem. The architecture was breath taking but the parts that I had time to see left a bit to be desired. A bit too much depth into the fact that I may be related to a monkey or chimp or whatnot. But I did read a very interesting display for about half an hour about the power of plants. I know, it doesn´t sound all that interesting but I enjoyed it!

Our last day there, Monday, some of us went to the National Gallery, which contained some of the greatest paintings in the world. I saw Picasso, Goya, Velasquez, Murillo, Monet, Davinci, Michalangelo, and so many beautiful paintings that would inspire anyone to pick up a brush right then and there.

Monday, March 5, 2007

La playa y sherry!


This weekend was probably one of the least expensive and one of the most fun weekends I´ve had here in Spain. We spent Friday in Seville and went by the river to do some paddleboating. Didn´t get to far in the boats but it was a beautiful day out and it was fun being passed up by all the people in kayacs and tourist ships. Then we went to a italian pizza place for dinner which was quite good and being there it almost felt as if we weren´t even in Spain. Then on Saturday we headed out on the train for the city of Cadiz, which is located on the Atlantic ocean. The ride took about two hours, which is not that bad at all.
Once there, Liz and Clara found our hostal. It´s always so nice to travel with those two as they always have a wonderful sense of direction and are quite good navigators. Casa Caracol was our hostal and it was unlike anything I´ve ever stayed in. The staff was very friendly and there was a community kitchen, which was exciting because we would be able to actually cook our own dinner! It also had internet access. The atmosphere was that of a family as people just came in and out of the lounge, dining room area and just made conversation. They even had a dog there.

After checking in, we gathered our stuff and headed to the beach. It turned out to be a perfect day. Warm with no clouds and great waves. Nicole, Clara, Amanda and I had lots of fun "fighting" the waves and trying to body surf on them while Liz took pics on the beach. The water was so salty though that by the time I was got out, I felt like I had eaten a whole big bag of potato chips. We had bought food to bring to the beach and ate our lunch there.

We left the beach at around 8 pm after watching the sunset and at the hostal we cooked a splendid dinner. All of us contributed to our dinner. We took frozen vegetables added some olive oil (a must here in spain) and then we added some eggs. Liz heated up some sweet potatoes, which were really tasty.

That night we went up to the roof of the hostal to watch the lunar eclipse. It was a slow process and fun to watch with all the other people staying in the hostal at that time. There was a girl with bright orange hair who played the accordian and sang what sounded like scottish or irish music. There was a man working at the hostal from Canada. Another was a student from Germany who was just traveling through and we also met a boy from London.

The next day we headed off to Jerez, minus one person. Amanda had hurt her foot on the rock by the ocean and had decided to take the train back to Seville.
Our destination was a Winery of Tio Pepe. We started on a train tour with took us past the holding places for the barrels of sherry and brandy. The smell was very strong in some places and varied depending on what type of wine was stored there. The guide was very informative. The range of sherries that they make are many ranging from dry to very sweet. While tasting wine, we met a couple from London who gave us advice about our upcoming trip.

We had to wait two hours for a train back to Sevilla and by that time we were quite exhausted. Walking back to the casa, I made a stop just on time for the eight thirty Mass nearby. Then I headed to the casa and had a portugues style meal that consisted of thinly sliced potatoes, bacala, and egg. Then we had some white cheese and as always after lunch and dinner, we had fruit which this time were strawberries.
Paqui never disappoints us!

Hasta luego for now!

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Photos from Gibraltar

Yesterday, because it was a holiday for Andulucia, there wasn´t any school and so a group of us went to Gibraltar. We went through a student travel group named Solchasers and headed out of Seville at about 10 am. It takes about 2.5 hours to get there, but the ride was very scenic. To enter into the city we had to walk across an airport strip. We got to walk around the small town for a little bit and walked to a cemetary of soldiers. Then we took a tour of the rock of Gibraltar. We could see the tip of Africa from where I was standing. We also checked out the caves of Saint Michael and a natural reserve where we took lots of pictures with the monkeys, which were everywhere! The scenery was beautiful and it was interesting going to a British coloney right in Spain.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Roman ruins


This past week has been nice and steady here in Sevilla. The weather has been on and off nice with occasional clouds and rain. On Ash Wednesday I went to la Iglesia de San Lorenzo and was able to see the church decorated in beautiful splendor. The Virgin was on the alter and surrounded by many beautifully lit candles. There was some sort of special occasion going on for the members of the church or some sort of brotherhood they call a hermandad. On Friday they had initiations into this organization and for a few days had a guest priest whose sermons were excellent. I was happy I could actually understand most of what he was saying! Sometimes it depends on the manner in which people talk whether I can understand their spanish or not as some slur their words more than others.

On Saturday, we visited the Roman ruins of Itálica which is located about 25 minutes away from the center of Seville by bus. They were really interesting with the stone structures and foundations of houses and columns. With a good enough imagination, you could almost see the Roman people bustling about their daily lives. We saw the Ampitheater there which was huge. However you could see the wearing away of the bleachers where people would sit. But for being dated around 206 B.C. I´d say the city was pretty intact. Before being preserved, many of the artifacts were stolen in earlier years and then resold in markets.
A woman in Seville actually turned her house into a museum to preserve some of these Roman artifacts. It´s called la Palacia de Lebrija.

On Sunday we had a picnic by the river with some Spanish girls that we had met a few nights before and talked with them quite a bit, going to a Cafeteria to get coffee after it started getting chillier outside. We talked about the differences and similarities between here and the U.S. Some of them had actually visited the U.S. in an exchange program and hope to go back. Hopefully we´ll all meet up again!

This weekend my roommate and I are looking into Valencia, which is known for Paella, a sea food, meat dish with rice. Or we may look into Jerez de la Frontera which has Wine tastings and is close to some nice beaches.

Next month we have plans for Morrocco and England.

The beginning of Holy Week we are going to Ireland and then I hope to return to Sevilla for the end of Holy week as it is known to be spectacular.

Then my Dad comes! We´ll stay in Sevilla for a few days and I´ll get to show him the town. Then we´ll go to Fatima and possibly Barcelona.

Times going by quite fast here, which is ironic because the Spanish lifestyle can be quite slowpaced.
Fact del día : People in Spain wear their wedding rings on their right hand!
Best wishes, besos, & abrazos...

Monday, February 19, 2007

More little things about Spain.

There are no Walmarts here. Only Corte Ingles, which is much more expensive.

People are out and about here in Seville at all hours of the day and nite and the streets are really well lit.

Some homeless men stand around on the streets waiting for cars to parallel park and then charge the drivers if they help them get into a spot.

There seems to be homeless people in every entrance of every church.

The weather is very tempermental and changes on a dime.

Scarves are in style. People wear them all the time and with every outfit.

Service at restaurantes can be quite horrible, probably from the fact that people don´t really tip. It can take forever to get the bill.

My señora said that everyone in Spain has back problems. I must say that I believe it to be the shoes here. No one wears tennis shoes and there are so many cheap shoe shops with good looking shoes.

All the churches are gorgeous and each has their own elaborate alter and statues that are gold adorned. I´m enjoying them very much.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sevilla, Spain, and Sopa

First off, I´d like to say that I got my haircut. Although I must say it was mostly a haircut style because I still have about the same length of hair. It´s actually quite intimidating getting your hair cut in a foreign country. I didn´t know how to explain myself very well with hair salon lingo. All I knew is that I wanted layers and so I found that word in spanish, acapas. So I basically left myself up to the stylist´s hands and said a few Hail Mary´s. One of my fears was that they´d give me a mullet, as that is the modern look for a lot of people in Spain, girls and guys. The way the stylist cut my hair, I had NEVER seen anyone do before. He just grabbed huge chunks of my hair and chopped away. He must have made three or four chunked cuts and then he was done. During the process I averted my eyes quite a bit just in case it was going to turn out badly and my roommate who came with me for moral support kept glancing over. It turned out well and all in all I´m quite happy with the results.
Enough about hair though, I thought I´d post a blog about random things I´ve noticed or seen in Spain.

Olive oil is so abundant here. My señora uses it to cook almost everything. It adds such a wonderful flavor, especially with garlic, which is also as abundant.

As I said above mullets are everywhere and it reminds me of the eightys.

White bread is served with every single meal, and it´s hard to refuse as it is perfect to scoop up the soups that our señora prepares for us. But I think I may have to take up running some more.

All over Sevilla there are people playing their instruments and it reminds me a lot of Chicago. There are also those people that dress up in all metalic and face paint and only move if you give them money.

Smart cars, the little itty bitty ones are everywhere.

The oranges are delicious and in abundance and we get them twice a day from our señora.

I´ll write more when I think of them. Adios for now!

Monday, February 12, 2007


This past weekend, a group of us traveled to the quaint city of Córdoba. The city itself was very beautiful and the weather couldn´t have been better. I didn´t think streets could get any narrower until we got to this city. We traveled there by a scenic bus ride and once we arrived we headed toward our hostal. We stopped off at a very pretty park where we ate our lunched and goofed around on the fun gym equiptment. I shall always remember this city for it´s crazy birds. One of the girls I was with, Amanda, took out her sandwich and all of a sudden a rush of white feathers swarmed around her. About three or four birds flew on to her arm and started pecking at her bread. It was utterly hilarious. At our hostal, which was supposedly an old mental institution, we found painted walls and doors which were creaky beyond all believe. I guess a kind of built in alarm system. We ate some tapas that were very tasty and then three of us girls decided to go to some Arab baths. I must say it was worth every euro. It consisted of an hour and a half of three different baths. First you went into a moderately warm bath, about the size of a pool. You could stay in there as long as you wanted and then you move to the very hot water in pools that were about the size of jacuzzis. Those you could only stay in for a short amount of time because it was sooo hot. Then you would take a milisecond dip in the freezing ice cold tub and head back to the moderately warm bath. We would just rotate until the time was up. The smell was very relaxing and there was little talk as the people that were doing massages, which you could buy for seven euro more, kept shouting: Silencio por favor! After the baths, we went out for paella. The next day we headed to La Mesquita, the Cathedral of Cordoba. Here´s what part of the pamphlet says:

Beneath every cathedral is alway a bed of hidden cathedrals. In the case of Córdoba, tradition traces back to its Visigoth origins. This fact is confirmed by archeological excavations whose remains can be found at the Museum of San Vicente and in the pits where the remains of mosaics from the ancient Christian temple can be observed on site.

It is a historical fact that the basilica of San Vicente was expropriated and destroyed in order to build what would later be the Mosque, a reality that questions the theme of tolerance that was supposedly cultivated in the Córdoba of the moment. This was the main church of the city, a martyry basilica from the 6th century, that would be remembered and venerated by Christians, centuries after its destruction.

A Reflection
It is the Church, through its Cathedral Chapter, that has made it possible to keep the former mosque of the Western Caliphate, the oldest cathedral in Spain, and a World Heritage Site, from becoming a heap of ruins. In fact this has always been one of the missions of the Church; to safeguard and inspire culture and art.

The visit to the Cathedral of Córdoba may awaken the demand for a greater Beauty that will not wither with time. Because beauty, as truth and righteousness, are an antidote for pessimism, and an invitation to take pleasure in life, an impact that stirs the nostalgia of God.

That was kind of a long description, but these pamphelts describe these monumnets so much better than I ever could.

Well...thats all for now as I have run out of my time limit.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Plain!

It´s raining cats and dogs today in Sevilla. I can´t wait for better weather to go about the city. This weekend a group of us are planning on visiting the city of Córdoba, where there is a large Muslim mosque. We met Paqui´s other grandchildren last night and it was so much fun playing with them. One of the girls, Inmaculada, or Inma, for short, played some drawing games with me. It´s hard to understand her Spanish at first but once she slowed down it was much easier. She´s only five years old. She know some words in English, but she says her boy cousin, who´s seven, knows a lot more. I´ll write more on Monday.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Granada era nada como Sevilla, pero me gusta

Here´s the link for the pictures of Granada

This past weekend we went to Granada which is right by the Sierra Mountains. The view was fantastic and the background looked like a backdrop from a hollywood movie. It was refreshing to have a hotel room where the hot water was unlimited and I took advantage of this and took two showers in one day. I had good reason though because I went for a run there. The streets were like indoor floors and they were somewhat difficult to run on because it was sprinkling which made them slippery, but all the more fun to keep me on my toes! The day we arrived we went to the Alhambra, one of the seven wonders of the world. It was very large but we toured the main buildings. We saw the room in which Colombus met Queen Isabella. There were actually many cats roaming around the building for mice control. Another great thing about Granada was that for every drink you bought, you would get a free tapa, or small portion of food. This is great for college kids! I saw the Cathedral and actually went to Mass there on Sunday. It was nice to see such a bright church compared to the gothics styles that are so popular. On the busride home we were stuck in traffic for an unknown reason, but we all got home safe and sound.

In March, three other girls and myself will be traveling to London, which should be a good time.

Overall, Granada was a nice place to visit, but it was so nice to get back to Sevilla. On our way walking home we passed a string quartet and Clara said I was three feet away from Prince William?

Paqui gave us a large dinner as usual and I got a good nite´s sleep.

I´ll post pictures tomorrow!

Hasta Luego!

Monday, January 29, 2007


This past weekend, four girls and myself went to Málaga, which is located on the southern coast of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. We took a bus there, lasting about 2.5 hrs, on Friday around 3pm. On the bus, we met two other students that were studying abroad in Salamenca and also heading to Málaga. The weather was cooler and we all layered quite a bit. The mountainous scenery was such a beautiful sight and it made the bus ride go by fast. Once in Málaga, we found the Youth Hostel which was about a 15 minute walk from the station. It was very good for being only about 16 euros and we got a free breakfast the next morning also. After checking into our rooms we all headed out to get something to eat and check out the town. For dinner, three of us went to this wonderful tapas cafe that only served seafood tapas. Fried seafood galore! It was fantastic. We didn´t know what to order so we just asked for a mix and they gave us about 9 different types of tapas, a little bit of each. Then afterwards, we all went to a cafe that only served chocolate y churros. They gave us two large plates of churros between 7 of us and cups of chocolate that were borderline solid. Comida rica! Then we walked around the town and toward the sea and sat on the beach a little while. The view was great because you could see the grande and looming castle in the moonlight in the background. We went to a quaint bar that nite and got to talk to the husband and wife bartenders who were extremely nice and patient with us.

The next day we went to the Alcazaba, the Castle, and the Cathedral of Málaga. The Castle was about a twenty minute hike up a hill and then we did some more walking around it. We did so much walking that by the end of the day, I was about ready to take a 10 hr. nap. That nite we got home around 9pm.

All in all, it was a very fast and fun excursion.
You can see the pictures at

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bonita, Bonita, Ciudad Bonita!

So, I originally thought I´d only post once in a while, but it´s easier to post shorter blogs more often because there is a thirty minute time limit to use the computers. They´ve been keeping us busy with so many trips that I´ve hardly had time to be homesick. I suppose that´s their plan! We visited the Real Alcazar which is the royal palace here in Sevilla. It´s very grand and beautiful with intricate carvings and designs. There is an interesting mixture of Christianity, Islam, and Judism. We also visited the Catedral. It´s gothic style is overwhelming and the inside is amazing. I´m going to have to go back to explore more. Connected to the Catedral is La Giralda, a large tower that gives a great view of the whole city. I´ve been walking more and farther than I think I ever have in my whole life! I tried wearing high heels one day, but I don´t think that´ll ever happen again since the cobblestones are a treacherous path and it´s better to be as close to the ground as possible. However, spanish women do it everyday, of all ages. I really don´t know how they do it. With all the walking, you get quite an appetite. Our landlady, Paqui, feeds us so well. Usually lunch is a big meal at 2pm and dinner a bit smaller at 930. However it seems as if both meals for us are huge and we never leave hungary. Hope everyone is well! Oh and here is a link to an album of some pictures I´ve taken so far


Thursday, January 18, 2007


This is my second day in Sevilla and all is well. Except for a small sore throat and a little jet lag, I´m feeling pretty good. My landlady, Paqui, is very nice. She´s about late 50s or early 60s and explains everything (always in Spanish of course. She feeds us such good food like soups,bread, chicken, egg tortillas, and sweets. The apartment is small and cozy and there´s a beautiful courtyard outside. The streets are amazing here. They´re very narrow and the cobblestone is very picturesque. Everyone is very stylish and always moving around. There is a lot of walking and many small cars lining the streets. The cab drivers are quite loco. My first cab ride was from the airport to the apartment and they just zoom through these tiny streets like nobody´s business. My roommate is a biology major from Madison and very down to earth and has a good sense of direction, which is great for me! However we just spent about an hour and a half trying to find our school when it´s probably only 15 minutes away when you know where you´re going. But it´s fun walking around and looking at the various shops and every street corner you turn there´s a different smell. The buildings are absolutely beautiful. The colors are bright and they take much pride in keeping their streets clean. I was surprised at the amount of graffiti on the older buildings. It seems like such a contrast. Old tradition and tasteful art with rebellion and new age "art". The weather here is kind of tempermental. It´s quite cool in the morning, gets fairly warm by mid day and nites are chilly. The floor feel like ice and so slippers come in handy. Well, I´ll keep everyone updated and hope all is well with everyone. Adios!

*I miss you too Anna! Hasta luego!*

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Time Difference

Time in Seville, Spain

Hometown Time

*Thanks to Michelle for such a beautiful picture!*

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

¡Gracias & Adios!

As there is less than a week left before I leave the country, I thought I'd set up this simple and non intrusive blog to keep everyone updated while I'm off gallivanting in Spain. I hope to leave updates maybe twice a month. I'm almost ready to begin packing and I must say that it really hasn't sunk in yet that I'll soon be hearing the Spanish language on a regular basis. There are so many little things I take for granted in the States that I know I'll miss abroad for example my personal advisers and financial contributers that I have 24/7 (Mom and Dad), my stress relievers, fan club, and extended wardrobe (my sisters and cousin :) ), my blood related best friends and coffee mates (Trese and Adriana), my relatives who are always so accessible, supportive and fun (Aunts, Uncles, cousins, Nana, Nanu, Grandma, etc.), my friends who put up with my oddities, my rants, and my imperfections, and my friends that make me a better person and challenge me in my views.

I'll miss my bunk bed, peanut butter, being able to walk around my house in complete darkness without falling over, Common Grounds, Miraz, Lake Michigan, my comfort zone, my Dad's carbonara and lasagna, my Mom's meatloaf and bread pudding, my Dad doing my laundry, my dog, driving the wagon, having my sister around at school, easy Spanish classes, splitting subs with the sis, recognizing people on the streets, and working all the time.

I know I'll be homesick, but I know I'll be back and that's comforting. I'm so anxious to become fluent and I'm going to try my hardest in my classes and in the culture to acquire this skill. I'm excited to travel and go outside of the "American bubble" that we live in. I know I'll have to make some hard decisions and I hope I follow my conscience and intuition, which I'm sure will sound much like my Mom's voice. I hope to grow stronger in my faith, visit lots of gorgeous churches, and take the initiative to make myself a better Catholic. I ask for many prayers and I'll being keeping everyone in mine as well.

This is my first step towards my future goal of being a bilingual physical therapist and eventually doing missionary work in a Spanish speaking country. Although idealistic, finally being so close to my dream of studying abroad makes me realize that it may be feasible to accomplish my future dreams. I'll make the most of these four months and when I return, I hope to be the same, yet enriched.