I know I haven’t posted to this blog for a very long time, but I wanted to reach out to some of my old followers to encourage you to check out my new travel blog: Live la Vida! My boyfriend and I are moving to Spain in September to teach English for a year and we will both be blogging about our adventures living, working and traveling abroad!
If you enjoyed Spring in Seville, you’re going to love this! Check out the link here and add your e-mail to follow along on our journey!
I am very sad to say that this will be my last post on my study abroad blog. Over the past 4 months I have learned so much, about the world and myself. I’ve been so blessed to have this experience and live my dreams. I am happy that I decided to blog about my journey, and have followers like you supporting me throughout all my adventures…so thank you!
There are many people that I could not have done all of this without, and I just want to give them all a quick shout-out.
- Thanks to my Nana and Papa for always supporting me…even though I know you worried every single day about me! Thanks for being my #1 blog followers too!!
- Thanks to my brother, who always managed to tease me on Skype and make me feel like I was back home.
- Thanks to my best friends, who kept me laughing 3,000 miles away and always cheered me up when I was homesick.
- Thanks to Mark, who bravely watched me venture across the world, to live in Spain for 4 months, with a smile on his face. That’s not an easy task for a boyfriend to do, and I am so grateful for his non-stop support in every new adventure I take on!
- Thanks to my past teachers and professors (some of whom follow my blog), for helping to shape me into the person I am today. I would have never been interested in international relations, Spanish or traveling if it weren’t for some of my favorite teachers/professors who inspired me! (You know who you are.)
Finally…there are two very important people I owe it all to.
Mom & Dad. You guys never cease to amaze me. I am inspired and motivated by you every single day of my life. I could have never accomplished all that I managed over the years without your love and support. I wasn’t afraid to adventure out into this world because of you both, so thank you.
This ones for you...
THANK YOU MOM & DAD FOR GIVING ME THE WORLD. XOXO
I’ve had a lot of fun with this study-abroad blog! Now, I am curious to know what you thought about my journey and your opinion on the places I traveled. Below are a few polls asking for you to choose which you liked best. I am interested to see what the results are! Thanks xoxo
Which city, do you think, was the best that I traveled to?
Which one of the following blog posts was your favorite?
Now, where would you like to travel to? (You can choose up to 3!)
Lastly, I have an old blog (where I first started) that I have cleaned-up and would like to continue blogging on–now that I am home from study abroad. It would not just be a travel blog, but include DIY crafts, recipes, reviews and adventures I go on. I want to know if you would be interested in following this blog, where I will continue writing. Here is the link, check it out & let me know! (If you’re interested, please follow by entering your e-mail address!)
A while ago, I asked you all to send me in some questions about my study abroad experience. I received some questions, both online and in person, and now I will finally address them!
If I had 48 hours in Europe, and was on a reasonable budget, what should I do?
This question was definitely the most difficult I was asked, so congrats & thanks for the challenge. I’m assuming I can begin this 48 hours wherever and whenever, so here’s where you should start. Paris, France at 1:00pm. Spend the afternoon site-seeing, like the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Grab a baguette and a coffee in downtown for an afternoon snack. Hike up to Montemartre and Sacre Couer for one of the best views of Paris. Then, stop in a restaurant that serves dinner crepes and have one of those with a glass of wine for a meal. Around 9:00pm, head over to the Trocadero metro stop for the best view of the Eiffel Tower light show. Rent a room at the St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel for one night.
Get an early start and head to the airport for the 2.5 hour flight to Sevilla, Spain. Arrive at 11:00am. Go to the city center and visit the Cathedral. Head to the top of the Giralda for an amazing view! After that, take a walk over to Plaza de Espana to soak in the beautiful Sevillian sunshine. On your way back, stop for some gelato on San Jacinto in Triana. Then, I recommend visiting Mi Barrio, a local bar for some Sevillano dancing and singing. (If you’re feeling feisty, join in!) Then stop at Tribuna Tapas Bar (nearby) for the best patatas bravas in the city. After that, head back across the Triana bridge to the Guadalquivir River for a strawberry mojito (or two) at the kiosk. Then go back into the city center to find Las Setas (the mushrooms)–go to the top, get a drink & watch the sunset over the city. Then be sure to grab more tapas and drinks (at the international beer bar). Finally, visit Buddha–a local club, for some dancing and a few more drinks. (You could sleep in a hostel, or stay out all night dancing like the Spanish–your call!) The following morning, catch the 8am bus to Cadiz for a day exploring the city and sub-bathing on beautiful beaches.
I think this might be the best way to spend 48 hours in Europe. If I had 72 hours, I would probably send you to London or Lagos as well. I believe this is a reasonable budget, considering a flight from Paris on Ryan Air is not that expensive, and neither is the hostel or the bus to Cadiz. You might be wondering why I chose Paris though? I was mesmerized by the city. If you want a feel for Europe, Paris is definitely a great place to explore. The Eiffel Tower light show was one of my favorite things also. And of course, I had to send you to my home in Sevilla as well, because that is one of the greatest cities in Spain!! (:
What was your favorite trip?
I think my favorite trip would have to be Morocco. Originally, I was not expecting to go to Africa but I’m glad I did. It turned into a great adventure… I was able to hike up the hills of Chefchaouen to a mosque, barter with locals for goods and ride a camel along the beach! How can you beat that?
What was the best thing you ate?
I would say it has to be a tie between patatas bravas (typical tapas in Spain) or a macaroon that I tried in Paris. Patatas Bravas are basically home-fry like potatoes with a spicy brava sauce on them (so good!) The macaroon was like nothing I had ever tried before…tres magnifique!
What was the worst thing you ate?
This would probably be blood sausage. My host Mom would put this in my soup frequently. I also tried it cooked a different way when I was out for tapas with friends. In all honesty, it doesn’t taste that bad, but I can’t get the idea of what I am actually eating out of my head to be able to enjoy it. It’s really greasy, which doesn’t help either.
Is it better to live with a host family or in an apartment?
There are pros and cons to both living with a host family and living in an apartment. I am happy that I made the choice to live with a host family. If you are looking to improve your language skills, living with a host family is your best option. Usually in an apartment or residential dorm, you will be with other study abroad students, typically Americans. However, if you live in an apartment you are able to have friends over, cook whatever food you want (when you want it) and have control over your laundry. (Also take into consideration that you have to pay for your own food, which means grocery shopping! That can also be costly!) But if you don’t like to cook, or have to worry about laundry, a host family will do those things for you. It’s also nice to have locals who know the city living with you, so they can give you tips and advice on where to go and what to do! My personal recommendation is host family (but it really depends on what type of person you are)!
What is the craziest thing you did while abroad?
Probably ride a camel……in Africa.
Did you really stay out and party all night like the Spanish?
Sometimes, yes. But most of the time we went home around 3am. Some of you might be shocked to hear that, but 2-3am is actually considered leaving the party EARLY for Spanish people. They stay out until 5-6am on weekends. There was only once I actually stayed out all night, and that was Carnaval of Cadiz. I made it to my bed around 7:00am as the sun was starting to rise…it’s exhausting keeping up with the Spanish!
Was it difficult studying abroad and having a boyfriend?
Yes, it was difficult, but it wasn’t impossible. It takes a strong relationship with a person to be apart for almost 4 months. Sometimes it feels like everything is working against you, for example, the time difference or the lack of Wi-Fi. I would advise you to find a time where you both can definitely Skype each week. If you find that you have more time to talk, then that’s great. But having a set time to catch up is important. My boyfriend and I did not pick a definite time, and that was probably not the best idea. We were always struggling to find a Skype time that worked for both of our busy schedules. It’s important to be patient and understanding (on both ends) in order to make it work! Sending each other mail is also a fun idea to consider! I have to give a huge shout-out to my boyfriend though, for supporting me while I followed my dreams and traveled the world for 4 months. I am so lucky to have a such a great friend like him in my life. Thanks Mark!
If you could go back to one of the places you traveled to, where would it be?
I think I would have to go back to Paris. I felt like there was so much to see but I didn’t really have enough time in one weekend to do it all! It was one of my favorite cities. Everything about it was beautiful. I want to go back to explore and enjoy Parisian life more. I felt rushed when I visited Paris, because we tried to fit in so many things. I definitely would take my time if I went back. Paris isn’t a city you should rush.
Thanks for sending me some questions! I’m working on a few final posts to wrap up my experience abroad, so stay tuned! xoxo
I am excited to share news that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award! Basically, it is an award passed from blogger to blogger to recognize new blogs that we find interesting or enjoy! The idea to spread the word about upcoming blogs with less than 500 followers! I was very surprised and excited when I received a comment from another blogger who nominated me!
There are some rules…
- Thank the blogger who gave it to you & give them a shout-out
- Answer the 11 questions they ask you
- Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 500 followers
- Ask those bloggers 11 questions
- Let the bloggers know they have been nominated so they can continue the chain!!
First things first, I want to thank Becky from gotthepostcard.worldpress.com for nominating me for this award! Check out her blog “Been There, Seen That, Got the Postcard” HERE. She is 23, lives in England, and loves traveling (like myself). Check out her adventures, if you’ve enjoyed mine! Thanks Becky!!
1. Where is your favourite place?
This is a pretty difficult question for me, because I’ve been to a lot of amazing cities. However, Sevilla, Spain holds a special place in my heart and is definitely one of my favorites. The weather is beautiful, the sun is always shining, and there is so much culture, history and passion in the city. You can’t help but love it there!
2. How do you pass time on a journey?
In all honesty, I usually try to sleep. Traveling is exhausting. Whether you’re sleeping in a hostel, on someone’s couch, or in the airport–chances are you won’t always be getting a proper nights sleep. I always try to rest, whether on a bus, plane or train. If I’m not sleeping, I’m usually listening to music and occasionally, reading. But napping is key!
3. What’s the biggest lesson learnt from your travels?
I learned that it is very important to go with the flow. There’s a good chance things won’t go according to your plan, and you have to learn to be okay with that. As a very organized, type 1 person, this was a hard adjustment for me. There were countless times my roommate and I made a game-plan of what sites we would see each day on our trips, and then barely ever followed that plan. Sometimes you stumble across cool places that weren’t in the original plan and you want to check them out! Other times, the weather will affect what you decide to do. It’s important to take a deep breath and go with the flow. You never know what you might find when you venture away from your original plan!
4. Best travel tip?
This is difficult to say, since there’s a million things I would tell people who are just beginning to travel! But one of the most important things, when you first arrive in a new city or place, is to find a map–immediately! Bus stations and airports might have maps, or your hostel/hotel should! A map is one of the best things to help you get around! Another quick tip: If you find yourself lost, try looking up! There were so many times my roommate and I would be lost in a new city, and after running around for a while, we would finally look up and recognize a building in the distance. That always helped us to get our bearings straight and find our way again! But definitely get a map!!!!!
5. Do you have any trips planned?
Currently, I have nothing definitely planned. There are a million ideas floating around in my head about what my next big adventure will be after I graduate school in a year. As of right now, I plan on traveling around New England and enjoying time with my family and friends. In July, I am going camping with my family by the beach. Later this summer, I am hoping to spend a weekend visiting the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island! I also want to road trip down to visit some friends from study abroad in Jersey! Who knows what is in store for me next! All I know is I’ve caught the travel bug, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
6. If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
ANY JOB? Wow! Let’s see…it’d be nice to have some amazing job where you were paid to travel! I think I would love to work for the travel channel. I could make a good show hostess, right??? (;
7. Solo travel or with a friend?
Although I see the allure of solo travel, I 100% say travel with a friend! It is more comforting to have a friend to journey with, and definitely safer. I was lucky enough to have a great travel partner and it made everything that much better. It’s also exciting to discover new places with someone else and see their reactions to different places and sites.
8. What is your dream destination?
Having already seen a lot of my previous dream destinations, I’ll have to become more creative! I think one of my dream destinations right now would have to be exploring more of Italy. Although I made it to Rome, I know there’s so much more. I think some type of long trip down the coast of Italy (starting up North in Florence and ending by the Almalfi coast) would be incredible!
9. What is your favourite food?
Chocolate ice cream is my all time favorite!
10. Summer or Winter?
Summer: all-the- way!!! I don’t like the snow or cold!! I’d much rather be on the beach in the sunshine!!
11. Which superpower would you choose to have?
I think I would choose flying! I’d like to be able to climb out my window and fly to wherever I want. I also think flying would be a good stress reliever. (This is all very ironic because I am afraid of heights, but I think it would be different if I could fly).
Now time for my Nominations!! (Most of them are young travelers, like myself! The first blog is actually a close friend of mine who studied with me last semester in Sevilla!) Congrats guys!!! Keep on adventuring!
7. Where Am I?
And my questions for you…
1. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and who would be with you?
2. What is the craziest thing you have seen while traveling?
3. Favorite foreign food?
4. What is the most important thing travel has taught you?
5. What is the key to efficient packing?
6. Who has influenced you the most to travel?
7. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
8. What is the biggest challenge when it comes to blogging?
9. What is your favorite quote and why?
10. What is one thing you will never go anywhere without?
11. What’s your next big adventure?
Good luck & Happy blogging! xoxo
Hi there again!!
I want to spend some time in this post talking about Madrid, the capital of Spain, and the city we spent our first two days touring around! Madrid is the largest city in Spain…almost 4 million people live in the actual city, another 2 million in the suburbs surrounding it! They call Madrid, “el Corazon de Espana”, the heart of Spain. It is old and traditional, yet also very modern. We spent most of our time in the older, historical part of the city.
Our day in Madrid was very busy!! Tuesday morning we headed out early to visit “El Museo del Prado”, the Prado Museum. I have actually already been here before, but this time around I had much more appreciation for the artists and masterpieces. Last semester I was able to take a class on the culture and history of Spain, where we studied these artists and the history behind their work. They have some of the most well known pieces of art in the world in the Prado. I hope to write a separate post later on about my experience there, and my favorite pieces of work but for now I will leave my description at that! We were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but here are a few from the outside.
Front and side views of El Prado! It’s a huge museum!
Cathedral next to Museum.
After an hour filled with El Greco, Goya, and Velasquez…we headed out on a walking tour of Madrid. My camera has a great mode to take pictures of architecture, so they came out beautiful! (Thanks Mark!) Enjoy!
The bear and the cherry tree are the City’s symbol. It is found all over Madrid but this was a statue near the entrance to Puerto del Sol.
Fountain in Puerto del Sol. This is where many people in Madrid will meet up before getting coffee or dinner.
This is the main building facing Puerto del Sol. At the top, there is a clock. On New Year’s Eve, everyone in Spain watches that clock to turn midnight! They say this area is the equivalent of our Times Square! I also learned that it is tradition for everyone in Spain to eat twelve grapes on New Years Eve.
Kilometro 0-0 is located in Puerto del Sol. This marks the “center” of Spain. All mileage for roads in Spain begin from this point!
A lot of the buildings in Madrid had rounded corners. This is a building on Gran Via, the equivalent of their Broadway.
Plaza de Espana.
This building that looks like a castle happens to be their post office…
La Plaza Mayor!
Our hotel was right near the Atocha train station. This is where the 2004 Madrid bombings happened. Nearby was the memorial for the bombings. From the outside it looks like a plain cylinder, but the inside is filled with the names of the people killed in the terror attack and messages of condolences sent from all over the world. I unfortunately did not have time to go inside but here is a shot I snapped of the memorial from the bus.
The Atocha train station.
The train station has a tropical forest in the middle of it with a more humid environment. We ventured in it there to check it out, very unique and cool.
These pictures were taken from the top of Corte Ingles (a 9 story department store in downtown Madrid) which is said to have one of the best views of the City! I must say I agree!!
Unfortunately, it was cloudy weather in Madrid and very windy for our walking tour. Although it was high 40’s that day, many people in Madrid were wearing large winter jackets that we would wear in the snow! Even the police officers had scarves covering part of their face and thick gloves on! The weather was certainly better than the negative degrees we’ve been experiencing in New England but I wish the sun could have come out for a few of my pictures!!
I could write a lot more about all the places, buildings and sites, but I think most of the pictures speak for themselves. Even though it was my second time to Madrid, the beautiful buildings and Plaza’s never cease to amaze me! Definitely a great city!! Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Madrid!!