Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gran Viaje

Sorry to everybody who reads this, I´ve been slacking lately. But I have a good excuse--Michael is definately coming out and I have been making plans for the two of us. We´re going to Madrid and to Rome, so hopefully I´ll have some sweet pictures for you after this coming week. That´s why I haven´t written, all my spare time has been spent with airlines and hostels.
There´s really nothing big to report on. Last Friday night we had our second "Noche de Chicos" which was a ton of fun again. We went out to play pool, had some tapas out on the sidewalk, got ice cream, and headed over to David´s apartment to watch some movies and hang out. There´re definately some really cool guys on this trip and I´m going to be sorry when the semester´s over.
On Saturday I went with mi amigo Eric to this fair they´ve got set up in the park. They call it the "feria de las naciones" and they´ve got different stands with food from all over the world. We both had a gyro from Greece and a Mojito from Cuba (and guacamole from Mexico)--food like that is always a highlight. I´m hoping it´s still going after my trip because I´d like to make a stop at Germany...there´s a bratwurst calling my name.
School´s been fine again--I´m going to take this opportunity to say once again that I adore my class. Salva´s a fantastic teacher and I´m never bored during our three hour classes. His birthday was tuesday, so we surprised him with some cake and soda (a good way to avoid more class time). And after the party he didn´t feel like class either, so we all learned a song in Spanish by a group called Maná. Now I´m a big Maná fan and Eric and I have been learning the guitar parts to sing along with the song.
On a lesser note, we´ve been seeing all the California fires on the news out here and just yesterday I found out that my aunt and uncle have been evacuated from their house. When I got the email their house was still ok, but I haven´t heard anything since. I figure I´ve got a nice captive audience here, so I´d like to ask you all for some prayers for them.
That´s all I can think of for now--just be prepared for a much longer one after my trip. I´m definately getting excited...although I´m sure I´ll be ready for my bed at Margarita´s house after some of the reviews I´ve read on these hostels. Oh well, life´s an experience. Say a prayer for me too. Thanks everybody.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Demasiado Viaje

It's awfully nice to be back in Sevilla again. After just one month this place feels comfortable--it's not like a vacation anymore, so I guess I'm pretty settled. After this last weekend of traveling, being in Sevilla is absolutely fantastic.
That's not to say that Dublin was bad--just that it was an incredibly draining two days. We left around noon on Thursday and returned to Sevilla around noon on Saturday; and while it was short, it was definately an experience. We didn't see the sun once the whole time we were there--but I guess that's a pretty geunuine part of Ireland. We spent Friday afternoon and evening tooling around Dublin--we saw the Temple Bar district and a couple bridges and statues and things...we even stopped in a pub for an authientic Guiness. We spent the night in a hostel, all in one group room with a bunch of other people--not terrible, but certainly not the most comfortable accomodations.
Having decided the night before that we needed more secure plans, day two ended up having some good stuff. We spent the day in a small town called Wicklow which is on the coast a couple miles south of Dublin. It was exactly the picture of the Emerald Isle that I had in my mind. It was full of quaint little houses and rolling green hills. We spent a few hours exploring some castle ruins on the cliffs and feeling like we should sing something Irish (but all I could think of was "Be Thou My Vision"). We also visited an old jail (they spelled it "Gaol") and took a sweet tour. That tour ended up being the highlight for most of us.
Back in Dublin we walked around and found some of the big sights--like St. Patrick's Cathedral. We couldn't go in, bit it was plenty impressive from the outside. That night we went to some sort of amateur stand-up comedy club in a basement pub in Dublin. It was fun, even though the "comedians" weren't that funny. Mostly they made jokes about sex and used a certain word that's better to type thus: f#%*. We then went back to the Temple Bar district to try and spend our night (we were planning on not sleeping). The highlights there were a crowd of drunk Danish kids and a guy who was offering 20 Euro to anybody who could ride his bike over a line--it was rigged to turn the opposite way of the handle bars (which is even funnier when the person trying is already very drunk). We ended up getting kicked out of a club (because we looked like ugly tourists) and finally catching a bus for the airport around 3:30.
We crashed there at the airport around a McDonalds table until we hit our flight. Then one sleepy flight, one quick bus trip, and a short walk later I celebrated my siesta in good Spanish fashion.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Viaje a Lagos

So, the Portugal plans worked out and the weekend was awesome. After some difficulty getting started, we got the cars rented and hit the road for Portugal. The border is a piece of cake, like driving from California to Arizona--the girls were upset that we didn't get to stop and have our passports stamped. We got a sweet deal on an apartment, and after spending the afternoon on the beach we cooked for ourselves and hung out on the roof of our building chatting and drinking wine.
We spent the next morning checking the tourist shops downtown in Lagos and waiting for the second car to show up (they came a day later because of some other thing Friday night). It was a little rough finding them, but we got it figured out after about two hours and a lunch of bread and cheese from a supermarket. We took them to check out the apartment and then the real adventures began.
We tried to find parking near the beach, but parking in Europe is a pipe dream. We saw a sign and turned in only to realize we were in a driveway next to the actual parking lot--so, being the daring driver (only driver), I hopped a curb and parked, then repeated the process in the other car because the other driver hadn't ever driven stick before. As we walked away we realized that we were in a paid parking lot--which is why all the locals on the road were pointing at us and looking angry. This made me rather nervous because I don't think I could deal with a towing service in Spanish, much less Portugese. So we left the girls on the beach and went back to hop the cars out again. There were tons of people watching and not looking happy, but I pulled both cars over the curb and we high-tailed it out of there with my heart banging its way out of my chest. All said, we got away clean and found way better parking about a mile up.
The beach was beautiful--full of cliffs and rocks and nice sandy areas for chilling. A couple of us spent all our time climbing up the cliffs and exploring the rocks and stuff--it was definitely a highlight of the trip.
We had planned to eat out, but everybody opted to cook in the apartment again. It took some patience with 6 girls trying to figure out dinner (I'm still surprised we ate), but it all turned out pretty well. We all stayed up late after that singing songs and dancing on the roof of the apartment--even after it started to rain.
Day three was boring for those of us who had gotten there first--the second group wanted to shop so we just waited for them and walked around aimlessly while getting soaked by the rain. But, all things considered, it really wasn't so miserable and it certainly didn't change the fact that the rest of the weekend was amazing--not everybody gets to take a weekend from studying and hit the Portugese beaches.


So, this is a quick one, but I felt like I needed to share it. I walked home the other night to find Margarita in an incredibly good mood. She was smiling and laughing and clapping and giving kisses....and smelling like beer. Obviously she wasn't in much of a mood to cook, so we went down to her favorite bar for tapas--but all she really cared to order was more beer for her and for us.
Eventually we were hungry and tried to order ourselves, but they didn't have ingredients for the only kind of tapa that we knew we liked. We tried to get Margarita to order for us, but by then she was useless. We finally just told her we were ready to go home--and it took two of us to help her walk back. But, being the sweet lady that she is, she still wanted to cook for us. We decided that wasn't a good idea, and, after telling her we weren't hungry, went out for Chinese food.