Posts Tagged With: Sevilla

So this is goodbye?

Well, I am officially back in New Jersey so I guess this is goodbye. I could talk about what an amazing and life changing experience this was and how I grew as a person and sound as cliche as a Study Abroad pamphlet. So rather than be a redundant bore, I’m going to talk about how delicious the food is in Europe.

I actually tried snails! They were surprisingly minty and gross.

I actually tried snails! They were surprisingly minty and gross.

Spanish Tortilla with salmorejo (creamy tomato soup)

Spanish Tortilla with salmorejo (creamy tomato soup)

First, I’d like to thank my incredible host mother because home is where I had the best meals. She even taught me how to cook a few of my favorites, like Tortilla Espa√Īola.

Churros and Chocolate: possibly the best thing to ever exist.

Churros and Chocolate: possibly the best thing to ever exist.

Those who study abroad and have the option of a host family should definitely do it, without my homestay, I would not have been exposed to the delicious cuisine of Spain without breaking the bank.

Patatas Bravas :)

Patatas Bravas ūüôā

Pancakes from a very american brunch place in Spain

Pancakes from a very american brunch place in Spain

In Spain, the majority of the food was deliciously fried or very meat heavy. Ham and cheese croquettes was one of my favorite meals. The seafood in Spain is also beyond amazing (before going there I did not eat fish…that changed quickly upon arrival!), cod fish, shrimp, and other shell fish are popular.

Ham and cheese croquettes.

Ham and cheese croquettes.

Don’t be surprised either if you find all your meals lacking in vegetables. Coming from a home where I ate raw veggies on the daily, it was hardest to get used to having all of my veggies cooked in oil or fried. Bread is another staple at every meal. My host mother would buy bread from the bakery basically every other day and we would eat it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Pirinono (a cinnamon-bun like dessert from Granada)

Pirinono (a cinnamon-bun like dessert from Granada)

Spanish coffee is better than Starbucks. But then again, any coffee is better than Starbucks.

Spanish coffee is better than Starbucks. But then again, any coffee is better than Starbucks.

Another main difference between Spanish and American cuisine is the hour at which food is eaten. In Spain, I would eat breakfast, then snack, then lunch at around 3pm, then another snack, and dinner was early at anywhere between 9 and 10pm.

I found the best cake place in Sevilla (its near Plaza Nueva!)

I found the best cake place in Sevilla (its near Plaza Nueva!)

Cookies from Madrid

Cookies from Madrid

Besides just eating in Spain, I tried foods from eleven countries total: France, Holland, England, Morocco, Portugal, Czech Republic, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, and Hungary.

Sausage and potatoes in Budapest.

  Sausage and potatoes in Budapest.

Dutch cheese

Dutch cheese

Currywurst in Germany

Currywurst in Germany

Beef in Hungary!

Beef in Hungary!

Trying local cuisine was one of my favorite aspects of traveling but that is just because I’m an incredible foodie.¬†IMG_4766

Fancy grilled cheese in Paris

Fancy grilled cheese in Paris

French Croissant

French Croissant

Anyways, I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone (AKA my grandma) for reading about and keeping up with my semester in Spain.

Belgian Waffle

Belgian Waffle

Adios! 

Coffee

Coffee

Fancy Iced Coffee

Fancy Iced Coffee

More Coffee

More Coffee

French Coffee

French Coffee

Coffee from an eastern european country (I forget which one)

Coffee from an eastern european country (I forget which one)

Spanish Coffee....Again

Spanish Coffee….Again

I'm not the only one who drinks coffee!

I’m not the only one who drinks coffee!

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A Tale of the Accidental Home Invaders

imageThis week I had the best visitor yet- my mom! She flew all the way from New Jersey to spend the week with me in Sevilla and together we visited Portugal for the weekend. I showed her all of my favorite places in the city, she really loved the cookie store and trying cappuccinos from every cafe. We also went to the Arab Baths together,¬†which¬†were the most relaxing two hours I’ve had in a while.

Then, on Thursday evening we rented a car and began our short trip to Portugal. The drive to our bed and breakfast was only supposed to be an hour and a half, so leaving Sevilla at 6pm should have given us plenty of time.

One tiny town in Portugal

One tiny town in Portugal

My iPhone GPS took us to this teeny tiny village five kilometers from the Spanish border. We drove through it in about three minutes and decided that Google Maps must’ve messed up because there was no way there could be a bed and breakfast in a town that only had one restaurant.

Thirty minutes later and we ended up in¬†a town just as small where we stumbled upon the road of our bed and breakfast. But for some reason we still couldn’t find the physical place. We drove in circles for what felt like an hour and even went in to the one bar in town to ask for directions but still no luck. Finally, we drove past a house that looked as if it could potentially be a bed and breakfast, so mom parked the car and I got out and knocked on the front door. There was no answer but I definitely heard voices on the other side. Mom came over and together we went around to another front door which was already open.

imageInside, was a tiny old woman probably in her 80s or 90s sitting on a chair. My mom tried to ask in Portuguese/Spanish if this was the B&B and old woman nodded happily and told us to come right inside. So we did. She pointed us toward the kitchen and we started to hear voices that sounded like a family having dinner. That was when we really looked around and realized we had just walked right inside this family’s house during dinnertime. We thanked the old woman and went around to a third door where the father¬†opened up and finally pointed us in the right direction of the B&B. It ended up being just¬†around the corner, however there were no signs or street names or anything to make finding it easier. In the end we made it to the B&B, it was run by a family and we were their only guests, but it was cute and the village was very pretty.

This was the only sign for the B&B

This was the only sign for the B&B

imageThe next day we went further into Portugal and stopped in three beach towns. My favorite was Tavira, it was very cute and we ate a great meal in the town center. We spent the night in a hotel in Albufeira.

image¬† ¬†Albufeira was incredibly touristy to the point that we couldn’t find a single restaurant that served Portuguese food, every restaurant was British and had three hosts outside just waiting to try and lure you into eating their overpriced meals. But at least the hotel view of the beach was stunning.image

On the ride back to Sevilla, we stopped at a supermarket so my mom could take back cheese and chocolate and olive oil. Then I dropped her off at the airport and returned to my house in time for dinner.

It was a great week of eating lots of good food and spending some quality time with my mom.image

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One Week, Three Cities

Last week was Semana Santa, where every church¬†parades its Jesus statues around town while dressed in costumes¬†that look just like the KKK, attracting many tourists as well as freeing students from school for the week. I’m sure it is much more than just this, however, as I am not religious whatsoever nor am I very curious, I really cannot say much more. However, I took this week-long break as an opportunity to get to know more of the less catholic side of Spain.

SEVILLA

To begin the week, I had some lovely visitors in Sevilla including my roommate from last semester. They were my first real visitors and I was very excited to show them the city. We had a lot of fun walking and sitting and eating (it seems like that was all we did).

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I showed them the more popular sights in Sevilla including La Catedral, La Giralda, Plaza de Espana and El Real Alcazar de Sevilla. I also took them to all of my favorite places like the top of Las Setas at sunset, my favorite cookie store on Calle Regina, the park by the river, and my favorite tapas bar in Alfalfa called Bodega.

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La Catedral during one of our many sitting breaks.

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Plaza de Espana.

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Las Setas at sunset. My favorite view of all time.

I really enjoyed being able to show them around Sevilla because it made me feel more like an actual resident and less of a “long term tourist”. I also was able to do a lot of things I had wanted to do like ride the little boats in Plaza de Espana (best five euro ever spent!) and eat churros for breakfast.

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We had about two full days in Sevilla which in my opinion was the perfect amount of time to do everything we wanted.

MADRID

Our next destination, Madrid, was a beautiful two hour train ride away. To be honest, I was rather underwhelmed by the city. It was very beautiful but it didn’t feel like Spain, at least not the same way that Sevilla does. My friends said that it reminded them of London, it had a much more “European” feel to it rather than “Spanish”. Also it didn’t help that practically everyone there spoke English too.

One of the cuter Madrid streets

One of the cuter Madrid streets.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Madrid, I really liked being able to explore the streets and the architecture was absolutely stunning. Once again, we spent most of our time walking and sitting and eating (I think that’s the best way to travel, personally).

Parque "El Retiro"

Parque “El Retiro”

I forget what this building is called but it was very pretty.

I forget what this building is called but it was very pretty.

We went inside one museum, “Reina Sofia” which was nice. But my favorite part of this city was walking through the park called “El Retiro”. It was beautiful and gave us a shady place to sit and avoid getting sunburnt.

BARCELONA

From Madrid, we took a three hour train ride to Barcelona, which is by far one of my favorite cities in Spain. In Barcelona, I felt a lot more like I was in Spain again, even though their primary language there is actually Catalan (everyone also knows English too) and many of the residents want to secede from Spain.

We visited Parque Guell, the Gaudi house, La Sagrada Familia, Plaza de Espana, Las Ramblas, and the beach. My favorite out of all of these was Plaza de Espana because it was absolutely stunning with a beautiful fountain and steps that once you climbed to the top, you could see practically all of the city.

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana.

The view from the top

The view from the top.

Las Ramblas was mostly tourists and very crowded, though looking at the cute little pop up style shops was fun.

The food was also delicious, we got tapas twice and went to this wonderful sandwich place called Bo de B where I had the BEST sandwich of my life. I am not over exaggerating, I swear, it was delicious and only 4 euros.

In Park Guell.

In Park Guell.

The view from Park Guell.

The view from Park Guell.

Overall, I think I liked showing Sevilla the best, but only because I think of it as my city and it was really great that my friends could see what I’ve been doing the past few months. My second favorite city was Barcelona probably because of all the beautiful views it had to offer (I don’t know why but I love being up high, maybe because I was short as a child?). And Madrid is third on my list only because it didn’t seem to offer as much as the other two cities, though I did eat a DELICIOUS fried calamari sandwich while I was there.

It is really interesting to be able to see three major cities in Spain within such a short period of time, it really gave me an insight into the differences within the country. I also just loved being able to spend time with so many familiar faces (shout out to Vicky, Seannie, Shelby, and Steph for making this trip so much fun!).

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Want to Test Your Language Skills? Try Going to a Hospital

Long story short: I got a piercing back in the states a few months ago and for some reason¬†it just now got infected and embedded itself into my skin. It’s gross, I know.

Yesterday morning I realized what had happened to my piercing so I decided to visit a local piercer and solve the problem. However, the piercer told me to go to the hospital immediately. She said there was nothing she could do and that if I waited any longer the infection would get worse and could become harmful (since the ear is so close to the brain). Afterwards, I got two other opinions from different piercers who all¬†told me the same thing: go to a hospital. I’ve never been to a hospital in my life, and the thought of going alone in a foreign country freaked me out. But it had to be done.

So this morning I woke up and went to the ER. I waited for over an hour amongst countless people all coughing and sneezing- I could practically feel their germs in the air- until I finally saw a doctor. He led me to another doctor who loosened the earring and then cut it out of my ear. Then I had to talk to two other doctors and give them my insurance, information, etc.

It wasn’t exactly what I had planned for my Friday morning, but at least now I know how to say “ear infection” and “no needles” in Spanish.

In other news, I also started University classes this week at La Universidad de Sevilla, which is absolutely gorgeous (Fun Fact: it ¬†used to be a tobacco factory!). I haven’t taken any pictures of the University so far, so please enjoy the view from Las Setas for the time being. I promise I’ll take some pictures this week! ¬†la giralda

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Allegra, Meet Sevilla

It’s Sunday and raining and I couldn’t ask for anything more. After a week filled with activities it’s nice to take a moment and relax even though my¬†brain keeps telling me to keep exploring.

On Monday I started Spanish classes at a language school called CLIC IH and I am amazed at how far my Spanish has come in just one week. Though I’m sure this is partly due to living in a homestay with four Spanish host sisters. They are all roughly my age and have similar interests like film and music so there is always plenty to talk about besides the usual¬†comparing of cultures.¬†We¬†live in the center of Sevilla, very close to the Cathedral and La Giralda, and all of the surrounding streets look very¬†similar which means that I have already gotten lost more times than I’d like to admit.

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Las Setas right around the corner from my home.

I have also explored (and gotten lost in) the city center, the surrounding Plazas, and the main shopping streets (their biggest sale season is going on right now and all I want to do is shop!). My favorite area as of right now is la Avenida de la Constitución which is where the Cathedral is located.

The Cathedral in Sevilla

The Cathedral in Sevilla

My excursions, though, haven’t been contained to Sevilla alone. Yesterday my school took us¬†to visit Cordoba, the capitol of Andalusia and a city well know for its Mesquite and one remaining synagogue. It is amazing that you can walk¬†down a street here and stumble into something that was built over 600 years ago, like the Synagogue. That is something you can’t see¬†every day walking through Times Square or downtown LA.

La Mesquita en Cordoba.

La Mesquita en Cordoba.

Just your average Jew in a 700 year old synagogue.

Just your average Jew in a 700 year old synagogue.

Spain is quite¬†different than what I’m used to in the United States,¬†but I can say that I’ve already fallen in love with the customs and culture here.

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I Made It!

Well folks, it’s for real, I officially landed in Madrid! After about 40 minutes of trying to figure out how to access the airport wifi I can finally relax and wait for my connecting flight to Sevilla. Everything here is so trendy, even though it’s only an airport the ceilings are gorgeous and the atmosphere is much more comforting than even the VIP lounge at JFK- which I also got to experience earlier today (or yesterday? This time change is messing with me). Spain, I love you already.

It’s funny actually, the time now is 8am but in my head it feels like the middle of the night so I’m really confused whether I should be feeling hungry or sleepy. The good part about airports is that it’s so easy to grab a snack and take a quick nap. That’s pretty much the best of both worlds when it comes to traveling. Since the time change is so drastic I ended up sleeping for only two hours on my six hour journey so I’m afraid some of my logic is dampened by delirium at the moment. But that’s okay because in two more hours I will finally be in Sevilla and get to start my four month long adventure in Spain!

Now time to find my gate… More adventures to come!

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