Monday, September 19, 2011


Hello!  Here are pictures from my travels so far!

Chugging espresso in the train station after a long overseas flight..the coffee here is so teeny!

My bedroom in my piso.  Like those matching curtains and bedspread?! lol.

Dining room with stereo to blast all those Spanish hits.

Living room!
 Kitchen with washing machine!

This is the main bathroom...if I were on House Hunters International I would say, "Oh that tile must go!!!"  But since this is real life I will say, "Oh what a functional bathroom that is!"

This is the castle on the outskirts of my little town.  So pretty!

Why join a gym when there are random exercise machines in the local park!?

Just getting a quick workout in during my stroll through the park!  Couldn't figure out if this was real until I saw a man legitimately working out on this equipment the other morning.  Interesante.

We went to Avila for the weekend and couldn't figure out the bus system to get to the train station so we just walked.  The train station is about a kilometer from the town so we took a break for this photo op.  I totally don't look like a tourist, right???....

The entire town of Avila is surrounded by a beautiful ancient wall.  Our friend John is teaching in Avila and there are more people our age in this town so we had a fun weekend inside the wall!

That is one serious wall if I ever saw one!


Avila also has a very high altitude...I am thinking around 6,000ft and Boone is only at ~3500ft so the town is surrounded by beautiful mountains as well!

I have to go pay my landlord so that is all I can post for right now! Hope you enjoyed looking at my trip thus far and I'll post soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Days in Spain

Hola, y'all!

I am sitting here eating a tortilla espanola and drinking cafe con leche in a restaurant that we FINALLY FOUND that has Wi-Fi! ES UN MILAGRO!

But let me start from the beginning.  My flight left out of Charlotte at 4:25pm and arrived in Madrid at 6:15am their time.  My body felt like it was still about 1am and was like, umm why are you eating this airplane breakfast pastry so late at night?  Despite the fact that I was seated next to a very normal, non-smelly, quiet, polite Spanish woman, I was unable to sleep.  So I watched  Pirates of the Caribbean 14, Water for Elephants and some dumb Medea movie.  I waited for Annie in the baggage claim area and changed out my money for Euros.  That was a depressing experience.  I watched the exchange rate gobble up so many of my dollars! =[

(Side note:  The cafe I am in is playing old episodes of Family Matters on the TV!  DID I DO THAAAT?!)

Once Annie arrived we got a taxi and fear flashed across the driver's face as he saw how huge and heavy all my luggage was.  He was able to smush it all in and he drove us to the train station.  We bought train tickets to our town and drank some serious espresso to keep us going.  We went to 2 wrong platforms with all of our luggage in tow before we finally found the right one.  This is how I felt hauling both of my 50lb suitcases, purse and ~30lb backpack around Spain.  On the third try we finally got to the right platform and started hauling our luggage aboard, all the while sweating profusely.  In all the hubbub, I dropped my train ticket and the breeze blew it beneath the train.  I ran frantically to the employee nearest to me explaining what happened (in Spanish) and if there was anything they could do.  There was not.  In fact, I think the lady had been waiting for a silly American to be mean to and I presented her with her golden opportunity.  With an evil smirk she told me I would have to purchase another ticket.  However, another lady who checked the train tickets told me "no pasa nada" which I took to mean "sure, go ahead and get on the train".  So I got on the train and we laughed nervously all the way to Arevalo.

When we arrived at the train station there was no one waiting on us like there was supposed to be.  Picture a train platform in an abandoned western ghost town and you can envision the platform in Arevalo.  The one girl there told us that the nearest hotel was about a 30 minute walk. I used my handy dandy global phone to call the school and the lady said she had been working from home all week (no internet) and hadn't received the emails we had sent her.  Oh the Spanish and their non-internet using ways!  She came to pick us up and drove us to the apartment in which we will be staying.  It is 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with a nice sized kitchen and living room.  Couldn't ask for much more!  Our landlords are Paco and Carmen who are married and teach in the town.  They are so friendly and told us they would be like our family away from home if we ever needed anything.  We are only paying $125 plus utilities/month!  Sweet!  They had their daughter Lidia take us on a walking tour of the city later that night.  We ended up in a candy shop drinking a Coca-Cola, eating gummy bears (called Ositos in Spain) and watching the Barcelona game.  The town is actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  There is a pretty historic district and a very old castle.  (Pictures to come soon..I left my camera at the apartment).  Our town specializes in a dish called "Cochinillo" which is basically just a whole roasted baby pig splayed out on a plate for about 6 or 7 people to share.  Remember that scene in "A Christmas Story" when they bring out the whole duck and chop the head off?  Yeah, it's kind of like that but with a pig.  Don't get me wrong, I totally plan on eating one of those pigs before I leave.  It is just strange seeing pictures of them everywhere with "Especialidad de la Casa" above it.

If all you do to have hot water is turn on the faucet, you should consider yourself lucky.  I have to do some major finagling with the hot water heater and electricity unit which is aptly named "Junker" before we get hot water.  I finally figured it out this morning.  Annie said that when she studied in Ronda, she had to light a match while opening a slot and throw the match in really fast in order to get hot water!  Hot showers and wi-fi have made this the best day so far in Spain!  Our first day of work is not until Monday so we are trying to get a feel for the town and get settled in.  Maybe we will even do a little traveling within the country.  I will post pictures soon and now that I have a place with Wi-Fi I can post regularly!

The language barrier is pretty intimidating but it is getting better every day.  Hope all is going well Stateside with everyone reading this!  I'll post again soon!

Adios, y'all!