Friday, November 27, 2009


How was everyone's Thanksgiving? I went out to this really nice restaraunt, that used to be an old mansion. Inside the house, each room was made into a dining room. We sat in the "blue room". Patrick had read about this restaraunt in his guide book and what a place. The servers were so funny and just very professional. It was actually quite brilliant (I'm speaking Oxford english now because of my German friends and how they speak english!)
Anyway.. I had salmon and veggies... salad and flan for dessert. yummy!!
I missed home though.. thanks for all the nice texts. Here is a picture of us at the table.

I'm not sure how to spell her name, but it sounds like "Guy-a"  It is Latin, but she is Italian.. Then beside me is Patrick from Germany and Masimo from Italy.  Gauya and Masimo have been together since they were 14. Another Susie and Luke fairy tale.... so so sososo cute!!!  Love them!

During the day we went to the Gardents and Alcazabar. Basically this place is a series of rooms from different ages and styles that were used for praying, meetings, or living in. Few Spanish Kings have received such contradictory press over the centuries as Pedro I. Most of the Alcazar is from Pedro's rebuilding program, mostly so that him and girl, Maria, could have a nice cozy place to stay. But this king was also nicknamed the "The Cruel" and "the Just", as he killed his own brother in order to consolidate his position and flaunted his cohabitation with his girl, Maria de Phadilla. Craziness!
The gardens here were just gorgeous. So massive and every court you had four different exits so you would really just get lost going in and out of them. Fountains, pooles, lemon and orange groves, palms and hedgerows are in every direction! Here are some pictures of the day.

peacocks just romaing around the garden :)

I am off to Madrid tomorrow. It's going to be very cold there and I am not looking forward to that. I should have done my trip the other way around, cold first than warm :) oh well!  I will meet up with Marcos and his twin brother Paco .... we will rock out to Marcos's favorite band.  Should be a good time.  I am hoping for good weather :)  I am really looking forward though to coming home.  I miss home!

Today I also bought the print from Maria Ortega Estepa. She is so nice and beautiful. It was so exciting meeting her and she is so happy that her artwork will be up in the USA!

Here is the piece:

Miss you!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am in Seville, Spain unsure if where I might find a table of americans, giving grace (or fighting like any normal family), roasted turkey, yams (my style please!), mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries and pumkpin pie... anyone?! Yeah, didn't think so.

So since I am missing out on Thanksgiving and all the wonderful traditions that come with it, I decided I could at least partake in one tradition. Before dinner, I always like it when everyone says something we are thankful for... for example, the one time at Rosie's sisters house, a guy down the table said he was thankful for my yams! That was nice. :)

I am going to write a few things I am thankful for... and I hope you enjoy reading. This is in no particular order... they are just coming out of my head as I go.

I am thankful for my Mom. I am thankful that when I was younger she said No to going to places she might have thought were dangerous, or where I would have pressured to do bad things. I am thankful she was tough and diligent, and made me the way I am... so very thankful she is one of my best friends today. Thank you Mom!

I am thankful for my Dad... for his creativity and his knowledge. My dad is amazing. He can create the most gorgeous things out of wood, and a lot of tools :) I am thankful for his love. I am thankful for each day that I get to see him and sad when I have to leave.

I am thankful for my siblings and their unconditional love. Thank you Terry for the best brotherly love a girl can ask for, you were my first best friend and always will be!! Thank you Matty for always hugging me, listening to me, caring for me when I need it. Thank you Michelle for you are my sister forever and always, and have taught me the beauty of uniqueness and true beauty. Preston and Parker, thank you for being little boys, playful, cute, and I am thankful for the days I get to see you.  Miss Kayla.. I'm thankful that you are in my life, a sassy teenager (who could ease up on your mom!) and so glad you are there to take care of P&P!  Love you girl!

I am forever greatful and thankful for Miss Rosie Ward. Without her, I don't know if I would be alive today. She is my true gem, soul sister, angel, and I adore her immensly.  Thank you Rosie.. mmmwaaa!  Yes, thats me kissing her on the cheek!

I am thankful for my job. Working for myself has allowed me to do things, go places, experience a life I never knew existed. Here I am in Spain, THANK YOU!, and it's all because I have this great job where I can travel so much in the winter time. I am also thankful for my crew.  Sarah, Willie, Jared, Katie, (Dylan, ahem), Teslyn, Brittany and Megs.... I love you... major kudos to you all!

I am thankful to the Coates family, for taking me under their wing and teaching me the ways of business. For being a second family, and all your hugs and encouragement. Thanks Dave and Lori!

I am thankful to be alive and free, to have food on my table and a roof over my head. For opportunities, whether it be to meet new people, take a new class, or hear a new band, I'm thankful. I am so greatful to be able to move, to be healthy, dance, breathe clean air, drink fresh water, hike tall mountians, see pretty gardens, smell pretty flowers and for my heart that makes me feel love... I'm thankful.

Thank you friends for being in my life and sharing my adventures with me!!
I love, love, love you!

Tinto y Tapas

Hello my very missed and loved friends,

Seville is great. I absolutely love the school. I am learning a lot in this one... more than I did in Cadiz for sure... and Malaga! I have two teachers. The first is a nice lady (don't ask me names, I forget), and she is very pleasant... just easy to listen to and talk to. The second is this man who has massive attitude and is a no bull shit kind of guy, harsh, demanding, rolls his eyes a lot. 2nd day of class he was grading my paper, and I just flat out said "you better be nice to me, or I'll leave". Ever since that comment, he checks in with me "cole, you okay, you understand?" Yes, Mr, thank you! I think I am the teachers pet. :) and I'll say it loud and proud.

I haven't been playing tourist as much as I did in the other cities, because honestly, I am tired of walking... and I live so far away. Yesterday I was super indecisive.. I would walk five minutes in one direction and then change my mind. I then realized, I was just ancy and needed a run. There is kind of this large loop around the city.. maybe 5 miles, so I decided to conquer it... but I got lost. How can one get lost when there is just the one road? I don't know, I'm blonde, and in a foreign country and I just got LOST... leave me alone! ;)
I was way off course, and Thank GOD, yes I even prayed for help, I pay attention in class, cause I simply asked directions to the big train station by my house and was directed to the place... even though it was super super far and they thought i was nuts for running there. Phew... finally home safe.

Last night I went out with two Italians, (names I can't spell), Patrick from Germany and Matild from Holland. We had wine and tapas at this little cafe by the massive size Cathedral. Here are some pictures.

Look at those bottles of wine.. and to the right, pig legs just dangling there for us to eat up.

Here is a pigs leg being cut up!

Here are Chocolate Churros... it was so much better than US churros.. SO good.. So delicious... dipped in a hot chocolate (thats almost like a pudding, but not as creamy...) I was in heaven.

Matilde, me, Patrick at the Cafe last night.

Italian friends!!

So... that is where I leave you friends... Today, Patrick and I are going to go take pictures of lovely gardents and then I might venture into the Castle type place (Real Alcazabar).  I plan on resting though tonight to finally (fingers crossed) get rid of this cold.

I miss you and tomorrow, I will post a blog for Thanksgiving... a time for being thankful!!  Make my yams Rosie!!! :)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Seville (and leaving Cadiz)

Sorry it's been so long!!! I am now in Seville. It's nice here. It's a big city like Malaga, but it has a lot more character than Malaga. Cadiz is still my favorite place.
Lets go back to last Friday night where I left off.
Friday night, Thomas, Jana, Marcos and I all went out to have drinks and go dancing. Marcos is the boy in the middle of the picture in my last blog ("new friends") from the bar where we practice spanish. He lives in Cadiz.  Thomas and Jana are from Germany who were studying at the same school as me (in Cadiz). We met in the new part of Cadiz (the part that is outside the walls of the old historical Cadiz). We started at about 11pm. Maybe three or four people were in the bar. By the time 1 am came around, it still wasn't packed, but Marcos said it would be and sure enough by the time we left it was. Note: Do not order a Mijito in Spain, it just has sugar dumped in it and tastes like sugarry liquor.. bleck!

After our drinks we headed out dancing. No one was really there yet at the early morning of 2 am. In the states thats when they close, but here, thats like 9pm for them. We stayed there til almost 6am dancing and having a good time. By the time we left, it was pretty much packed, but so smoky!! In Spain, you can smoke anywhere and it was burning my throat so bad... I had to get out of there. I also had to pee and there was no form of toilet paper anywhere in that building.. i even looked for napkins.. crazy! I would see girls coming and going and I was baffled, and slightly grossed out.

Marcos walked/took us home. It was nice. It was morning, it was getting bright again, and dear Marcos who lived on the other side of the city came all the way to our side to tuck us in ;) He's my new best friend in Cadiz. Next week in Madrid, we are going to a concert together with his equally adorable twin brother, (or maybe I'm going as I was just informed it's sold out! boooo!) Here is a picture of the two of them (Marcos on right, twin on left), as well as pictures of the night:

So after sleeping all of three hours or less, I said goodbye to Cadiz (a 20 minute walk to the train station), and arrived in Seville about two hours later. First thing to piss me off was the cab driver trying to charge me 8 euro for a 3 minute or less cab drive. If I would have known my homestay was this close I would have walked. The meter had said 3.80 and all of the sudden he made it 8!?!? I don't think so butt hole. I gave him 5. Despite that, Seville has been awesome. My homestay mother is awesome. I just love her. Her name is Theresa, but she wants me to call her Terry.. how can I not love he with a name like that! (Miss you Terry!) She is another Encarni (Malaga mom). She wants to take care of me, and I like that. She cooks me nice meals at night too and my bedroom is nice and clean. I even have my own bathroom and no smoking in the house!! YEAH.. i can breathe! She lives alone, has two daughters who have grown and moved out, and has a little bird that I talk to all the time. :) It sits beside me while I eat and I have full on conversations with it (unless of course Terry eats with me!)
Jana and Thomas came to Cadiz the same day I got here and we hung out for a couple of hours touring the city... I took a lot of pictures both Saturday and Sunday... Again, I took so many I couldn't decide what to put up, so here they are in an album. I put information under each picture of where you were at, etc...

I went to the largest church in the world (christian church). It was pretty gigantor! (is that a word?!) The ceilings are said to have their own climate zone as they are so tall. Christopher Columbus's tomb is in the church and you are allowed to go up the bell tower to look at the view. They have the largest alter in the word, and man is it "busy". Over 1,000 biblical figures and 45 scenes. It was pretty amazing for sure. As you all know, I love Ken Follette books.. if you want a good looooong story about the times when cathedrals were built (and a good romantic, adventurous, drama too) then read Pillars of the Earth, or World Without End. I might want to add though to the ladies, there are some details scenes in the books that made me want to vomit (what a certain man would do to a woman)... so just skip those parts!

As for school, I have 7 other students in my class. This is the biggest spanish class i have ever had to date. Today was pretty easy. I just wish I would be more diligent about studying my vocab. It cracks me up because the teacher will ask us if we understand a word, and about 95% of the time, I totally knew that word already, its everything else they say that I don't understand. Or another example is they will be talking about something and they will saying .. "this building is very very important because..." and then I get lost in their explanation of why it's important... Oh man!!! I'm missing the most important part of the sentence. I also am going to say they still talk weird here. They just do. I will hear a word and I have no idea what it is, and then they write it and I'm like.. but thats not what you said!!! hahah.. someday Cole, Someday YOU WILL CONQUER THE SPANISH LANGUAGE... MUAHHHAHAHAHHA!

As of right now, I'm sitting here on the street, more stuffed up than a Thanksgiving Turkey (which ps... mom will you freeze me a pie so we can have one at xmas time! pretty please!!).  After school today I came home and slept for three hours, and my cold is getting somewhat better... my head was just too heavy to look at massive size buildings and all of Seville's awesomeness...

Tomorrow I hope to go to Real Alcazar. It's a complex that has a series of palatial rooms and spaces in various styles and from various ages... where important or just rich people lived. I will write more about it later.

I miss you so all so much!! Rosie, how was grad school shopping? Mom, who is coming over for Thanksgiving!!? It's good to hear that Matt and Rachel are safe and sound and having an amazing time in Thailand.

xoxo family and friends,

ps.. I am sure there are typos here, but I'm sitting on the sidewalk and my bum hurts, and I'm too lazy to go back and fix things... I'm stealing someone's wifi.. I'm such an international outlaw!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

"waaaaa.... waaaaaa"

Ok.... predicament!!! Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are filming their new movie here, RIGHT OUTSIDE MY HOUSE!! Not kidding. They start filming on Monday though and I leave tomorrow. I could stay and watch an amazing bull running scene where Tom and Cameron are racing away on a motor cycle probably to go off and make fake love... or I could suck it up and go to Seville tomorrow.   The movie is called Witchita, or Night and Day.  I talked to some Hollywood dude and he said they might change the name.
grrr... such is life. I will get on the train tomorow and go to Seville.  "waaaaa..... waaaaa"
They are setting up for filming right now. It's neat to see how they do things. They have a zip line all the way down the street... and that is where the camera will be from up above (I'm sure there will be more). They have put up Spanish red flags on all the houses to show Spain Spirit...
Did I mention BULLS?!?! Man, what bad luck. Oh well, I'm excited for Seville anyway.
Here is the street the bulls will run through into San Antonio Plaza (my plaza!)

Here is some decoration they put on the buildings (up and down the entire street!)

This morning I woke up with a horrible.. HORRIBLE sore throat. "waaaaaa.... waaaaaa".  I am just glad it's not the swine flu. Today I went to the beach and tried to soak up the sun but I just felt too miserable so I came home and took a three hour nap. The people I live with smoke in the house. The dad is sick with a sore throat as well... so I'm actually glad to be leaving this atmosphere, not healthy!!!
Speaking of smoking... Everyone in Spain smokes. I swear by it. It's like drinking water here. The other day I actually saw a jogger, stop from his run, sit and smoke a cigarette.  If I had my camera I would have taken a photo of him, but I was jogging myself. My homestay family all smoke, and there is even a baby living here.. it makes my heart sad :o(. I'm not surprised I haven't seen a 10 year old light up yet.
And now speaking of small children... peeing in the streets... yep. First I saw a man peeing in the street.... kind of in back street... not that shocking, but then I saw a Mother, pulling her kids pants down and making him pee in public. You could tell he was shy about it because she was super persistent and he kept trying to pull his pants up. Um, is that odd? I think so.

Last day of class was okay.  They gave me a certificate saying I did 20 lessons (only did 15), and they gave me a B?  On what basis?!  I have no idea.  I never took a test, or anything.  I'm a bit bitter about it  Why not an A?!?!  Say it with me friends... "waaaaaa... waaaaaaa".

Tonight I'm going out, cold and all.  I hope it's worth it.  People in Spain start so late.  You can walk into a bar at 2 am and it will have maybe 10 people, and then at 2:30-3am it's packed.  Thats when they start!!  Just insane.  I am going to go home no later than 2 am... I don't care if Tom and Cameron themselves show up to the bar, that's just too late for me!

Hopefully tomorrow won't feel so "waaaa.. waaaaa"! haha (I'm saying this like Rosie and I say it... )
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

It seems every other day is a good day in class. Tuesday I wanted to die, then Wednesday I felt like a Spanish Goddess on top of a high mountain reigning over my people... but then Thursday, (today), I felt like crawling into a hole. After class I had to talk to the director about my hours in class. I was only getting 15 lessons, but I am paying for 20, etc.... after ten minutes of her speaking super fast in Spanish, I finally got a word in saying.. "I don't understand much of what you are saying"... and then I broke down. She must have thought I was crazy. My brain is just so exhausted concentrating on every word that every person is saying, and I just start to feel so dumb not understanding. She apologized and thought I was in the advanced class.. and asked if I needed anything, water, a beer? haha. I love her. I do think my Spanish is getting better though as I am able to tell people more things, and feeling more comfortable. I am just going to blame me not understanding on Cadiz.. (rumor has it, they talk funny!)
So what have I been up to?! Not a lot... Yesterday I studied in the sun, on a bench in the Plaza, by my house and then went out to have dinner in the city. This entire trip I have been really good and not bought anything except post cards and food. I have been tempted for sure, but I am thinking "Cole, the exchange rate is no good, everything sounds cheap but really it's not, don't do it, don't do it."  For example: 140 Euro is really $210 dollars.  Yikes!
Well, before dinner I usually walk the streets just for fun, window shop, look around... and any girl will eventually cave in, right... RIGHT?!?! Well I did. I went from boutique to boutique and bought my life savings away. (j/k) Once I bought one thing, which I debated in my head for almost an hour, buying more things was so much easier. I bought a jacket, a really cute sweater dress LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!, some gloves, some Spanish chocolates and Terry a small stocking stuffer. :) Lucky kid.
ps.. Sue, do you want a globe that says Spain on it, or just a city? I was thinking with "Espana" (Spain) on it. I have looked at a few, but most say the city name.

After my shopping spree... I met up with some students of the school and we went to a bar for English/Spanish speaking. The first hour everyone speaks English, so that the Spanish people can practice their English, then the second hour we speak Spanish, for us non Spanish speaking folk.  Basically the first hour, I was talking talking talking... then the second hour, I was a mute! hahah! I tried, but it was so loud in there, it was very hard for me to understand what anyone was saying!! Fun though, and good practice!!
Here is a picture of friends I met.  Marcos is in the middle who I am hanging out with on Friday night with other friends.

New friends!

Today was pretty relaxed.  In class I was thinking, "what should I do after class... hmm.. I think I will go to the beach!!" But right when class ended, we heard this huge rumble... thunder and mass amounts of rain came crashing down. It was awesome!! I love 'tropical' storms. :) They only last for a short amount of time, but are so huge!!  So I didn't go to the beach... instead I went to the center (by the cathedral) to study and have some lunch. I got some tapas and a vegetable salad. The salad was drenched in oil... so instead of me eating my "unhealthy" salad, I asked a man who was walking by (looked homeless and scarfing down some chips), if he was hungry. He said, Si, si.. tengo muy hambre.... I told him to sit and eat. There I was in Cadiz, sitting in a nice plaza with a smelly and rather hairy man drinking wine while he ate my salad. I felt good, and I was eating with someone, not alone! What a great way to get company! :) We talked. He seemed like a very nice man. . . with some bad luck.
My next adventure after lunch was off to the beach, rocking out to Muse on my iTouch, since the sun finally came out. I was walking on the boardwalk next to a bar when two men started to talk to me. I took out my earphones to try and understand them. One of them stood up, grabbed my hand, led me to a chair, pushed me (nicely) into it and said "sit, stay". (Like I'm his bitch or something!) He then went inside the bar while his friend was trying to speak English with me.... kind of a Spanglish conversation going on. I told them I was going to the beach, what do you need from me?  He asked what was my name, where was I from? I'm thinking "OK, opportunity to practice Spanish, guys must think I'm cute or something.... I'll play along."  Then his friend came out with a beer. hmmm.. do I drink it? Is it safe?  After the shitty morning in class, I thought, why not? It's a free beer! I drank it. It was fine. I'm still alive. Phew.  The boy, Juan, was a bit excessive. He kept saying I was the prettiest girl ever. He gave me his home address (literally showed me the door as it was just 15 feet away) and repeatedly kept kissing my cheek, which was crazy shocking every single time. "YOUR IN MY BUBBLE, GET OUT!"   His friend told me he was crazy. I agreed. After 15 minutes of conversation (Spanglish), about Alaska and polar bears, this and that...and Juan trying to kiss me every 3 minutes, I finally lied and said I had a boyfriend. I finished my beer, thanked them, and was on my way. 1 minute later, I hear someone running behind me... Juan grabs me, hugs me super tight and tells me I am his "angel from Alaska". um, OK?  Really, I'm flattered.
Moving on...
Tomorrow is my last day of school here in Cadiz.  I am glad that I am seeing different cities in Spain, but at the same time, it's a bit hard that way.  I finally feel like I know my way around the city and getting to know people, and then I leave.  This is how I felt in Malaga as well.  Tomorrow night I'm going out with some locals (see above picture) and some friends from school!! Should be fun!
Thanks for reading!!  (Am I boring you with petty stuff?)


Here are some pictures of the market... This stuff just sits out in the open... all kinds of meats and fish.  It REAKS in that market.

This may seem random, but this is very typical to see.
Old spanish couples holding hands
walking in the street together. 
It's so cute.  It makes me want to grow old with someone!

This is my teacher.  He is so great.  He loves Regnia Spektor like me.  He busts out in song randomly throughout the day.  For example, today he said "ayer" which is yesterday in spanish.. and instead of continuing his sentence he says "ayer....all my troubles seemed so far away... " (Beatles) haha.. it was funny! He does this all the time!

Last picture for today:  Gates to the city!!  So cool!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Torre Tavira

Hey friends,
Just a small blog before I zonk out. I am finding Spanish incredibly difficult to understand here in Cadiz. Maybe those Americans were right after all. The teacher talks and talks but I am not understanding anything he is saying. Yet, the German girl next to me, is getting it. . . so um, maybe my brain just isn't cut out for learning another language?!?! *sigh

After school today I crashed for two hours. Boooorrring, I know, but everyday I am just go go go here. My brain is exhausted trying to concentrate on every word my teacher says, and then after school walking for hours to see the body just shut down.
After my amazingly nice nap, I met up with some students and we went site seeing. :) There is this tower called Torre Tavira, was the official watch tower in 1778 as it's the highest lookout point in Cadiz. Cadiz has 23 watch towers. The entire city itself once had a wall around it to protect them from pirates or wars. For it being so small, Cadiz sure was on top of things. Inside the Torre Tavira there is a "camera obscura". It's so cool. Basically what this does is project a moving image of the surrounding town. It projects in a bowl that you look into.. this bowl can move up and down to help focus close things or far away things. "If it were possible to stand inside a photographic camera, with its shutter open at a very small aperture, you would see, projected on to the film, a moving picture of the scene outside. An experience almost identical to that is offered inside a large Camera Obscura". They wouldn't let me take pictures, but it was awesome. You see people walking, birds flying, boats and cars moving, and the tour guide basically shows you the entire city LIVE, describing buildings, etc, all in 15 minutes.

After my site seeing I went for a long run/walk.... which was incredible. I saw some parts of the city I hadn't seen yet, and tomorrow I need to make it back down there with a camera! There is a wall that acts as the gates to the city, and on top of the wall are old cannons!! I am not sure if they are just there for tourists, as you can't go up there or if they are just old cannons still in place.

Anyway.. here are some pictures that I took today.

Check out this tree. Notice on the right hand side the branch has a pillar holding it up. I wonder how old this tree is!

The Cathedral... Notice how the bottom design is a bit different then the top. This church took 116 years to build. The bottom is more of the 18th century design. The architect, Vincente Arcero, left the project not finished and so other architects, 19th century style, came in and finished the top.

See the two towers on the left... and then kind of a open spot in between the buildings to the right of the two towers. That is where I live! Plaza San Antonio.

These are some of the students that are in my school. Irish lady who now lives in the UK, and the other two are from Germany!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

1st day of school in Cadiz

First day of Cadiz school was great!  Carlos is my teacher and he is AWESOME.  He was telling us (in spanish) his interests.  He told us he loved music "me encanta musica", but that the kinds of music he liked, no one here knew about.  I asked him, like what?  and he says "Regina Spektor".  I screamed!  I not only just saw her in concert, but I was wearing her t-shirt under my cardigan as well!  He was floored when he saw it... we're now best friends!  There is only one student in my class.  Jana... like Anna, but Juanna sounding.  She's german, lots and lots of Germans studying Spanish here.
Class was actually pretty easy.  I was afraid of this.  Going to a new city to study each week, I have this feeling I will be learning the same things over and over again, but at least I am getting a good review!!! 
After school, I finally found a bank to change my travelers checks.  They charged me my first child, but I felt I got them back by talking in english saying things like (and in the most pleasant tone with a smile on my face) "how do you people sleep at night?  This is just ridiculous, you people stealing my money, don't you know how bad the dollar is?  you are all ass holes!"  but thats the beauty of Spain, no one really speaks english here...

I went to the beach in the afternoon and studied.  It's not super hot here, but just hot enough to go and lay in your swimming suit.  I met two americans from Oregon who have been living here for three years teaching english.  They laughed when I told them I was studying Spanish here.  They told me that its the most difficult place to learn Spanish because Cadiz has their own Spanish and that I wouldn't understand anything anybody was saying.  Awesome, thanks for the encouragement friendly Americans.  Luckily I will only be here one week, (or not lucky, cause I LOVE IT HERE!)

Before dinner, I cruised the streets.  It's a good thing I didn't use my big suit case, and instead my northface pack to get here..  I seriously could find something in every store here that I MUST have.  From cute shoes, to random housewares, Cadiz has some kick ass shopping for sure!  I wonder where there is a luggage store.  ;)

xo friends...
sorry no pictures today... didn't take much more after my marathon with my camera yesterday!


ps:  Visit Maria Ortega Estepa's website (blog site).
She is the artist that I showed in my album last blog.  The one I loved at the Santa Catalina Castle, with the green little paradises she creates.  I actually emailed her and she said i could buy one, but I had to get down there today.  Well I didn't get that email until too late.  When I got down there they had already packed up the art show and it was on it's way to the next city.  She said she would stay in contact, maybe mail me a piece when the show is over.  Her artwork is amazing.  Right up my ally... if I was an artist, this is how cool I would want to be.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome to Cadiz, Spain

I arrived last night via train, then via taxi... driving to my homestay, I got chills.  Cadiz is amazing.  I got so excited, the taxi driver probably thought I was nuts.
Cadiz is.... how can I say it in words, magical, mysterious, old, rustic, quaint (you can get anywhere by foot), comfy, romantic, so so romantic, and tons of character!  The parks along the coast line are something out of a story book.  Gorgeous fountains, bridges, caves, water falls running into ponds, floral archways, private gardens, white benches, tiny dogs and their masters, and kids running all around you. 
The city/shopping area is screaming purple.  It's Cadiz's color (in my opinion).  They use purple paint on the street for car, all the shopping stores have purple shirts and jackets and jewlery in the windows, purple, purple, purple, no wonder I love it here!
Cobble stone walk ways and streets, old historical buildings, tiny cafe's serving coffee, tea and a million pasteries (yum mum umum umm), small streets with scooters zipping down, men playing accordians, africans selling boot legged DVD's and CD's, as well as knock off bags, cats, cats, cats, couples holding hands (young and old), church bells ringing.... I love it all!
I walked for 6 hours today around the city and was happy happy happy!  I fell in love with this place.  To me, this is Spain.... This is what I imagined Spain to be like.
I couldn't decide what pictures to post, so instead, I just made a web album of the pics I took today.  You can see all 101 of them here:

My homestay is a really nice lady named Juana, who lives with her husband (I think he's her husband) and her 22 year old son Manuel..  I understand some things she says, because she speaks slowly to me.  I like that!  Encarni spoke too fast for my brain.  The house isn't as nice as Malaga, but I think since Cadiz is a much older city, things are just a little older here in general.  I have my own room, similar to the one in Malaga, and we all share one shower.  I have a tiny toilet just off to my bed room, so tiny that you literally have to climb to the side of the toilet to shut the door.  Old style flushing too, I pull a handle.  (Why am I sharing details about a toilet? Its just interesting, don't question me!)

Tomorrow I start school at 9 am for my placement test.  After walking around the city all day, I'm exhausted.  My feet hurt, my back hurts, I'm just an old lady.  I need Amy V (chiropracter in seattle!)pronto :)

My room has a million and one movies in it (some in english), so now I am going to relax, watch a movie, have dinner and sleep!! zzz...  It's 9:30 am in Seattle as I post this.  Happy Sunday to you all!!  Enjoy your day!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Walking is good for the heart.

Yesterday was a great day.  I had to say goodbye to my new friends and teachers, but after school I had a great time.  Here are some pictures first before I tell about my afternoon.

Matt Meredith, I mean, Basta from Norway, and Leon from Germany.
Two boys in my class.
 Leon was my savior, always helping me, as where Basta, we just laughed a lot together.
Basta is just like Matt.. strawberry blond hair, long hair (longer than Matt's), skater gear, aviator glasses, same expressions.  I swear Basta is like our third cousin or something from Norway! haha!

This was my morning teacher.  She was super compassionate, but also talked a mile a minute, which was so hard for me to understand.  We sang a lot in class together... she was quite the entertainer!

Ok, so after school, I went to find some good Spanish food for lunch.  I ended up having a Chicken wrap.  hhaha!  All the spanish dishes were so expensive and I just didn't want to spend $20 on something I may hate.  BUT, while sitting in the cafe, a nice man noticed I was studying my spanish.  I didn't even get his name, or maybe I did, but I don't remember... for two hours we sat at this small cafe, on the beach and he helped me speak spanish.  He speaks german, spanish and english, teaches martial arts, and is in banking now.  It was my first encounter with a stranger in Spain, that wasn't involved with the school.  It gave me hope.  The reason I say this is because I feel like when I walk up and down the street, people stare at me.. not glance, STARE!  So, being an American, I smile, sometimes I even say "hola!"  but they just kind of glare or stare back with a blank expression.
After I had lunch I walked an hour into the city, and on my walk, I encountered this 20 plus times.  After that many glares or blank expressions, I started to imagine myself just wigging out on them. You know, they look, I look back and smile, they continue to stare, and then I make weird faces and start acting like a clown, just to maybe get some reaction!?!?!  ok, so I didn't do that, but I laughed out loud picturing myself doing it, and then, I got more blank looks because I was laughing at myself.  *sigh
The walk was beautiful.  Here are a few pictures:

Can you see me?  I am in the U! This is on the beach.

How many cats can you see?  Stray cats are like an epidemic here.  Dogs not so much, but cats, everywhere.  You hear meow all day long.  :(  Most live in the rocks by the beach.

This is close to the center of the city.  In the back of the picture you can see a wall of bricks.  This is the wall of Alcazaba.  Google it. 
Here is a website that talks a bit about it.

I started at the entrance of Alcazaba and walked forEVER.  Inside the walls are gorgeous gardens, old pottery, and amazing views of the city.  You walk uphill, and it goes on and on.  But you have to walk all the way back down in order to get out.  I didn't know this.  I thought I could get out on the other end and then go see the castle, which is on the top of the hill.  Here are some pictures inside Alcazaban.

  This is me inside the walls.  Most all my pictures is one big long arm and them me.. ahha.. The city picture is the cathedral.  The one I showed in my ealier blogs.

After climbing back down, I went up the hill to see the castle.  It's a hike for sure.  Lower lake and plus some. :)  I thought the castle would be all their rooms etc... but because a lot of the walls were made with limestone the center of the castle is pretty much gone.  Inside are some walls still standing, a gallery and a cafe (and cats!).  I had a half hour left before they closed, so I was snappity snap snap inside and then on my way.  Here are some pictures:

View from the castle.  The bull fighting ring.

City view.  There was a cloudy mist out yesterday, so not that clear.

This was a very tiny room.  There were three all beside each other.  Unless it was for a 6 year old, then everyone was SUPER SHORT back in the day!

I hope you are enjoying the pictures.  I miss having a travel companion (Rose bud!), who just wrote me an email telling me that she probably would have fed me a granola bar when I was crying on the corner by myself.  Oh how she knows me so well!!

I am off to Cadiz today.  One of Europe's oldest cities!!  They also have a big church there, I think one of the biggest in Europe.

Thanks for reading friends!

and at last my trip has begun...

Some of you are having problems either NOT seeing my pictures in your email, or seeing them with writing over them or under them.  My suggestion is when you get my email, you know I have blogged, so just go directly to the blog itself online.  The address is: :)

and at last my trip has begun.....
No more auntie in town and my tears have dried up.  Thursday night, Matiz and I, (german boy who speaks good english), went into the city to enjoy a Spanish Flamenco.  The theather was small, smaller than your living room mom, with passion red walls, tiny tables and chairs, and a small stage.  The atmosphere was dark, hot and personal.  I was squished up to Matiz (who totally smelled like the Matiz in CR Rosie, remember?!?!?), sipping red wine and sangria's, and eating Spanish tapas.  I have to admit the meat here in Spain is amazing.  I usually hate red meat, but I'm eating it like it's water here.  yum mum um umu um!

Matiz and I waiting for the show to start!

Not the best picture of a Spanish Tapas... as it's very simple example, but my first tapa dish here in Spain!

There were three dancers (the girls), two guitar players (on the right) and a drum player, who is on the left singing in this picture!!  The lady in the middle was the main enchilada... she sang and so passionate!  Her husband is the man on the right!!
I was trying to put a video on here of the event, but I can't figure it out and don't have time to play around... and youtube wouldn't upload it.  I'm blaming this all on the spanish server.

Miss you friends and family!!