Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paris :)

Sorry, it has been a while since I updated this! I have been uber busy with the last week of classes and my 4 day trip to Paris!!

Paris is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is peaceful, serene and gorgeous. I loved every second of my adventure there. I went with Kelly, Lauren, Andrew, Tommy, Andrew's roommate who has been in Spain for a while, and their friend Remy who is French!! It worked out so well having Remy since he is fluent in French.

We went to class Thursday morning and had a normal day. Class took hours becuase we were so excited to leave for Paris. We had to be at the train station by 1230 and we hopped on our first of 3 trains that day. The first was a little tiny metro type train that took us to Hendaia, France. It is right on the border of Spain and France. Then we had to take another train from Hendaia to Biarritz which is another town near the border of Spain. Then, we hopped on our long 7 hour train which was big and very nice! We were starving by then so we got some lunch on the train. That was our first encounter with French speaking workers!! It was so funny, the lady laughed at us because Remy was reading everything to us and ordering for us! I got a baguette sandwich and had 2 bottles of wine which made me really sleepy. I passed out for the last 3 hours of the train ride and woke up in Paris! We checked into our hotel and wandered around town.

Our hotel ended up being pretty decent. Kelly, Lauren and I had our own room and Tommy and Andrew shared a room and so did Ed and Remy. The girls room was right in the lobby and the only room on the first floor, it was really weird, but it ended up being alright. Every morning they had a little continental breakfast of coffee, tea and orange juice to drink and a roll and a croissant with nutella. Nutella is amazing! Our hotel was literally a two second walk from the metro station so we bought a pack of 10 tickets so we could ride the metro whenever we needed.

Thursday night, we made our way up to the Sacre Coure, which is a huge chruch on top of a giant hill that overlooks the amazing city. It was crowded with natives so we decided to stick around for a while and just sit and hang out looking at the city at night from the hilltop.

Friday was 0ur first day there, we woke up around 9am and headed out. We went to the Louvre first. This is a hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee art museum that houses DaVinci's Mona Lisa upon many others. It was literally the biggest museum I have ever seen. You could spend days in that museum and still not see everything. We spent about 5 hours at the Louvre and then got some lunch. We stopped at a little cafe on the way to go see the Arc de Triomphe. We walked down the infamous Chance Elysees on our way to the Arc. The streets in Paris are stuffed, all day every day. It obviously is a very touristy town. The people were pretty friendly though.

After a long day of the Louvre and walking all over town, Kelly got a call from her Aunt and Uncle who were also visiting in Paris at the same time. They offered to take us to dinner and show us Notre Dame. Lauren, Kelly and I went to dinner with them. They took us to a great little resturant where we all had a bottle of wine and delicious food. They paid for our whole dinner and dessert as well! It was so nice of them. We got to talk to them about school and they told us about great places to go while we were in Paris. It was nice to be around somewhat of a family. Later that night, we met up with Lauren and Kelly's friend Arnaud, who they met when they were in Barcelona. Arnaud lives in Paris and was our personal tour guide. He took us to the cool bars and awesome places to take great pictures. We had mojiots and great drinks (which were so expensive!) and just hung out. It was a great night.

Saturday, we woke up early again and it was raining all day! It was yuckie. Kelly, Lauren, Andrew and I decided to go walk around town and do some souvenier shopping. I bought myself a "J'adore Paris" shirt :) and some gifts for some people! It was a very relaxed day since we couldnt do much of anything.

Saturday night, we went to a great resturant to try French pizza, and it was amazing. The food was great, the wine was even better! After that, we all went to the Eiffle Tower and just hung out infront of the fountains, took lots of pictures and just talked. It was awesome. We meet some Moroccan guys, who turned out to be pretty freaky. Good thing we had the boys with us! This was where my brand new camera, that I just bought last week, pooped out on me! I am having terrible luck with cameras here. So, I have to go return it and get a new one!!!

Sunday, we made our way to Versailles. It was PACKED. Kelly was not feeling good what so ever so her and I left Versailles and met up with Arnaud and just sat under the Eiffle Tower and enjoyed the beautiful day. It was a nice relaxing Sunday before we had to leave. The three of us went to goo see the Moulin Rogue after we got some crepes! Arnaud bought us crepes with nutella. Aunt Jane, you would LOVE them. After walking around Moulin Rogue, we were running out of time in Paris. So, Arnaud, Kelly and I got some dinner at an Irish Pub then headed back to the hotel. We met up with the rest of the group, got snacks and made our way to the train station.

Our train left Paris at 10:50pm on Sunday night. We did not get back into San Sebastian until 8:30am the following morning, just in time for class at 9am!! I did not get one lick of sleep on the train due to having mass amounts of homework, an uncomfortable first class seat and a screaming baby. It was terrible. I was so crabby and cranky and sick that day, I was a mess. And I am glad it is over.

Looking back, visiting Paris is a must for anyone. It is the coolest place I have been thus far. We'll see how Rome, Florence, Milan, and Geneva measure up!!

This week is just filled of cleaning, packing, finalizing plans for travel, studying and finals. It is a stressful week and I don't do well with stress!! Yesterday was the festival of San Juan, they celebrate how it is the longest day of the year. There were bonfires and fesitvals all over town, and I was stuck inside writing a 4 page spanish paper on Andy Warhol and studying for my Art final-- which was a piece of cake!

I have over 200 pictures from France. So, I decided to make an album instead of posting them in this post. Make sure you look at them!!

Come Friday, I will no longer have the internet and will no longer be in San Sebastian. So this maybe the last post until further notice. I enjoyed writing all of my experiences on here for you all to see. It was such a great idea to start a blog. I will do my best to upload things. I will be returning to the beautiful United States of American July 7th. Only 13 more days!!

Hasta Luego.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum

Outside of the Museum
Beth, Me & Seth

A cool view of all the outdoor works and the museum from a nearby bridge.

Torsos that were created by Richard Serra
A really neat bridge
The Wonderful Landscaped Dog outside the Museum
On Sunday, Beth, Seth and I took a little excursion from San Sebastian to Bilbao. It was my first trip outside of San Sabby and my first experience on long bus rides as well as on a metro! We took a bus from one city to the other and it took roughly two hours. I experienced quite a bit of motion sickness, which is unsual for me, but I probably was just still a little under the weather from my day of sickness on Saturday.

Bilboa is a bigger city than San Sebastian, and more industrialized. We got off our bus and headed onto the metro and stopped at a little mexican resturant on the way to the museum. I had a margarita and chiquiles (which were basically nachos). We sat next to a cute family of 4, a mom, dad, little girl and little boy. They may have been the cutest family I have ever seen because they spoke both fluent English and Spanish. The mom seemed to be American and the dad Spanish. They would talk to the children in English and they would respond in Spanish. The little boy was aboslutely adorable. He got his dinner which consisted of tortilla wraps and when he tasted it, he said "buenisimo", it was so cute!!

ANYWAY... it was terrible weather in Bilbao and it was rainy and cloudy all day, so the pictures are kind of dreary. We got to the Guggenheim museum and spent a good couple of hours there. It was so neat! It is made up of 3 floors, but only 2 were accessible that day. We got to see the works of Richard Serra who created The Matter of Time, as well as works from Cai Guo-Qiang.
Richard Serra's The Matter Of Time.

My favorite was some of the things Cai Guo-Qiang made. He is still living today in China and specializes in gunpowder drawings, which is where he puts gunpowder on canvas and sets it on fire, the remains are art. Qiang created a project called Footprints of History: Fireworks project for the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The fireworks were 29 footprints and ended in the 5 rings that symbolize the olympic games. One of my favorite works of his was a porcelain sculpture of a rose.. It was absolutely gorgeous, naturally! The whole second floor of the museum was dedicated to Qiang. There is one part that he calls Everything is museum. It is an educational part. He extended to kids around the world to create what they think is a museum and plans for creating a new art museum in his hometown. That expo is also a part of the Guggenheims "Learning Through Art" project. They have 2 whole exhibits of art made by kids. It was awesome.

Qiang's Porcelain Rose and Gunpowder sculpture. I need to find a replica for my room!

I enjoyed the museum a lot. It was so neat seeing modern art instead of old paintings. It was definitely more my thing.
This weekend I am headed to Paris, France! So, make sure you check back soon!!
besos y abrazos

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fin de Semana Trecero-- Cideria and Sick Day.

Me on the walk home from school.. this is my favorite picture ever.

This weekend was fun for the most part.. It all began with a wonderful crazy and traumatic Thursday night!! Everyone was finished with midterms, so we all decided to get together, start out the night with a few American games of Beer Pong, then heading to the local bars. Kelly and I had the time of our life that night. We had been outside in the streets of San Sebastian where we found 3 Spanish men beating (well jokingly) eachother with styrofoam sticks! So we joined and began a game of styrofoam baseball in the middle of the street! It was an absolutel blast.. Then we went on our merry way to the rest of the bars with the group. Later into the night, I had a funeral for my camera. Kelly dropped it and it bit the dust. I was and still am pretty upset. Now I have to spend a lot of my traveling money on a new camera. :( Such a huge bummer. So, it is sad to say, I wont be able to upload any new pictures until I purchase a new camera. Hopefully I'll find one in the next few days.

This is a picture of some of the group at Tas Tas..

Friday after class, my friend Lauren and I went to the beach from 12:30 until 4:30. It was so relaxing after a stressful week of studying for midterms, which I did fairly decent on. It was an awesome day, but my face got sunburnt really badly.

At night, 12 of us USAC'ers went to a cideria.. It is almost like a wine tasting place. It was this cute little house about a half hour away from San Sebastian, where they made their own cider and give you a 5 course meal. The cider was gross in my opinion, but everyone else seemed to like it. It tasted like straight olive juice to me, so I found myself some water!

Here is a picture of the cider kegs.. they were huge!! There was 6 different types.

Here are the girls that all went to the Cideria. Lauren, Rose, Emma, Me, Sarah, Kelly, Litzaya, and Janice.

For dinner, they started us off with tortilla. Tortilla is like an omlette. This specific one had egg, carmelized onions, cod and some other stuff in it. It was pretty good for having to of my most disliked foods in it... onion and fish. The second course was fried cod with peppers. I have been very, very adventurous on my trip and trying all new kinds of things, so I tried the cod. Supposedly Spain has some of the best cod in the world, and I have to admit, I really liked it. ODD.

The third course was a HUGE ginormous steak, which would come back to haunt me the next day. They don't like to cook their meat too well, and everyone said it was amazing, so I had it too. It was worse than the way my grandma likes it. It was still bleeding and mooing. The forth course was dessert, it was this solid applesauce tart thing with cheese and then they gave you walnuts. I was stuffed by then so I just had some walnuts. We made a mess with all the shells. But we had a wonderful time. We didnt get home until almost 2am. Since we went for dinner, we didn't go until about 10pm. Spaniards eat dinner way late!

Saturday, I was paying for that raw steak and fish. I was in hell. I had the worst stomach pains and was throwing up. I guess my body can't hand the odd food I have been eating. I had never been in so much pain before. It was funny because while we were eating the steak, we had a conversation about how when people eat really rare steaks for the first time they usually get sick. Well, I made that a proven fact! Needless to say, I spent my day in bed watching movies and looking online for a new camera. What a boring Saturday. Oh well.

Tomorrow, I will be going to Bilbao. It is a city about an hour south of San Sebastian. There is a famous Gugenheim museum of modern art there, so it should be really fun and exciting. I wish I would have a camera for that, but I will just make my friends take pictures for me!!

I will make a post all about Bilbao once I get back!

Hope everyone is enjoying their days. Love you all. Be home in 3 weeks from Tuesday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fin de Semana Segundo

The second weekend in Spain was pretty good!! It is hard to believe that I only have 3 more weekends left!!

This past weekend, Friday was a bust, I slept the night away. I get so exhausted from my week and doing so many things that I am just worn out by Friday. I stayed in and ended up sleeping for an eternity. I had only planned on taking a 2 hour siesta, that turned into a 19 hour coma. I ended up missing the planned excursion to Gipuzkoa. I am slight on the dumb side, but I did get a lot of things accomplished that day. Me sleeping is nothing new... Dad laughed at me.

Saturday night, all of my fellow USACers went to our favorite bar, Molly Malone. We all had a blast, had some drinks and hung out. We all have such a fun time together. Bethany spent the night at my apartment because Kelly was in Barcelona. I plan on going to visit Barcelona next weekend (19th 20th 21st).

Sunday, we made a night little adventure to one of the only American themed resturants in San Sebastian.. It was called Foster´s Hollywood. We were so excited to see quesadilla, chicken wraps, chicken fingers, ranch dressing and free refills (they don´t believe in free refills in Spain) and things like that on the menu!! We ended up eating like pigs! I had chicken fingers and Beth and I split quesadillas.. my stomach ended up hurting really bad because I haven´t eaten greasy, fried foods since the states. It was sooooo good though.

The weeks are getting fewer and fewer! I made all of my travel plans today as well... changing your flight is a pain in the butt though!! It took me an hour on the phone with orbitz! But finally, that got taken care of. Our weeks aren´t boring, but we have seen almost everything the city has to offer us. We usually go to class, go to the beach, shop, eat and study. We still want to hike up Jesus Mountain, and visit the Aquarium. On the weekends, of course, starting on Thursday nights, we go out. Everything is so close and I know my way around this place pretty well. I feel like an actual spaniard.

I had my first exam today in my grammer class. It was...interesting. Some parts were quite difficult and others were a piece of cake.. like most exams. I only have 2 more weeks of class then 1 week of traveling. I will be visiting the wonderful cities of Rome, Florence and Milan, Italy. Geneva, Switzerland. Paris, France as well as Pamplona, Spain (we will get to see the running of the bulls!!)I will be back in the states on July 7th at 8pm--- CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULES!!!!!! :) The only bad thing is, I´m flying alone!

Hope all is well back in the states, os extrano.

Hasta luego mis amigos.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spanish Sunset and Windcombs

Last night, Kelly, Beth, Seth and I went to dinner at this really cute Irish Pub.. it was kind of ironic, the name of the pub was named Kelly´s. So obviously Kelly enjoyed it. We had amazing pintxo´s (which are little appetizers) and then had some bocadillos (sandwiches) along with some Guinness.

After our delicious dinner, started walking all the way across town. On our way, we stopped at my favorite place, gelataria boulevard. It is an ice cream place that is quite delightful. I had cappucino flavored (it was sugar free which made me think of Steff). We walked and ate our ice cream along the boardwalk and made our way to this area where there are statues called Windcombs.. It was absolutely gorgeous. We got to watch the sunset, I wish I had a boyfriend for that, but my friends were just as good!!!! The windcombs dont really have a purpose, but to just be there and be pretty. There are about 3 windcombs and one of them is a little harder to get to. you have to climb down the side of the rocks and truck it through more rocks to get over there. It is pretty neat and both Seth and Beth decided to make a little voyage over to the 3rd windcomb. Kelly and I both were wearing flipy flopys and thought it wouldn´t be such a good idea to go climbing through rocks in them. But Beth had a different idea. She wanted to be a tough girl and go with Seth, and paid for her decision. She stepped on a rock covered in moss and fell straight on her dupa. We captured the moment on film. It was funny, and yes, she is okay, but today we had to ride the bus instead of walking to school!! Poor Beth, she should have listened to the mommy of the group!

On our way back, we walked the boardwalk again. There are so many doggies that play fetch on the beach and usually they are very obedient and just stay a few feet infront of their owners. We had stopped along the way to take a picture of the beautiful sky and one dog came sprinting up to me. The owners started calling for the dog and it just so happened that the dogs name was Bella. How weird.. Mom must still be watching me all the way over here in Spain!!

I took a bunch of pictures, so here they are. Hope everyone enjoys..

Besos y abrazos.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Beach and more...

The past few days have been very laid back and relaxed. I have gotten into the routine of waking up early, having some breakfast, taking my 40 minute walk to class with Beth and Seth and having class until either 11, or 2. Then on my way home I stop at the beach where I do homework and usually take a nap there for a few hours. It is so awesome having such nice weather and 3 different beaches to go to. Minus seeing half naked people the whole time.. but hey, more power to them.
I havent done much but be a beach bum and walk around the city, so there is not much to report on. Actually, yesterday, I ordered a pizza in complete spanish and it came out how I wanted it! It was pretty cool. My spanish is getting better, but it still can improve(obviously!!). After being in class, which reminds me a lot of my spanish classes in high school, makes me want to be a spanish teacher again. It´s a little too late for that.
Tonight I am going to go on a long walk with my friend Beth. There are these really cool windcombs on the coast and we are going to watch the sunset. Don´t worry all, I am going to take lots of pictures!!

Hasta luego,