A Travellerspoint blog

Changing Cities

Barcelona to Madrid

We have had a very relaxing time since finishing our course in Madrid. I can hardly believe how lucky we've been with the weather.
Here I am studying and below is a photo of my certificate of completion and my well deserved glass of wine.

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The food has been so good! On our last day in Madrid we had a degustation for lunch which only cost 15 euros each. At this rate I'll hardly need to wear a coat when we make it to eastern Europe; my extra weight will do wonders for insulation.

It was a very 'feliz navidad'. Mum the sneaky thing had also bought me a pair of earrings when I was trying on some clothes. Like mother like daughter. Heres a picture with mum and the earrings I bought her and a picture of me with our 3 kings cake and the earrings mum bought me. Mum was saying how she thought it made more sense to give gifts on the 5th and I agree. It also allows those with religious faith to spend the 25th reflecting on the birth of the deity and then on the 5th everyone can celebrate the history of the three wise men travelling to present baby Jesus with gifts.

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On our last day in Madrid we stumbled upon this gorgeous rose garden which we both loved pottering around in.

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Within about 15 minutes of our being in Barcelona mum had her ipad stolen. I don´t think I´ve ever seen her so angry. A lady (a gypsy - to make a generalisation based on appearances) helped her with her large suitcase onto the metro which connected from the train station and within that time unzipped her handbag and took the ipad out! It was so quick. I was vaguely looking in the direction they were in and noticed nothing. The thief quickly hoped off the metro and the doors shut so there was nothing we could do even though mum looked down straight away and saw what had happened. We finally found our way to a police station and waited several hours for the interpreter to be free so we could file a report. There were quiet a few people there who had had things stolen so for a few hours our wait was undertaken with the sounds of sobbing.

I told mum she was robbed instead of me because I had the lucky king.

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This little guy was baked into the 3 kings cake and my peice had him in it. I´m not actually sure what the tradition is but we´ve assumed it means goodluck to get him. Before we left Madrid mum slipped him into my backpack to keep me safe for the rest of my travels. I am yet to locate him in my bag but I´m sure he´s in there somewhere.

Apart from the theivery I have absolutely loved the 2 and a half days I´ve been in Barcelona. At first I was a bit sad to leave Madrid as I knew my way around the city reasonably well but Barcelona has a great atmosphere. There are also amazing sales on and I couldn´t helped but buy a jumper, 2 skirts and a top all good quality brands for under 90 Euros.

We visited one of Gaudis buildings and did a tour and it was increeeedible. It cost 15 Euros to get in but it was worth every Euro. It´s lovely walking around the streets and seeing his works amongst the other buildings. This afternoon we are going to go visit the Sagrada Familia which is still in construction.

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Here is a very unfinished sketch of the inside of the house Gaudi built. I loved the recurring mushroom shapes (that´s a window - bit hard to tell what anything in the image is at the moment)

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Today was the first day of class in Barcelona and it was really good. Our teachers spoke much more slowly and the others in the class are at a similar standard so I don´t feel like I am struggling to keep up. There are only 4 of us; mum, Miguel - a 44 year old television journalist from the US, Zubir - a programer who works for nintendo and I.

I am looking forward to Lucys arrival in Barcelona which is on Wednesday evening.

That´s all for now.

Posted by SusannahBinsted 06:13 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Madrid

Work & Play

Today was our last day of class. My vocabulary hasn´t improved very much but I am much better at speaking and listening.
I have a new found appreciation for my ability to express myself in english which I previously would have argued was reasonably limited. In class we were required to talk about our views on gay marriage, raising children and living experiences among other thing which is very difficult when you aren´t able to talk in shades of meaning and are struggling to grasp for basic words.

Our teacher was from the Dominican Republic and the other students were from Holland, Germany and Tokyo.

Each day class finished at 2pm so I was required to stuff myself at breakfast so I wouldn´t starve until lunch.
We´ve had some fantastic lunches. I´ve heard tapas is poor value for money but mum and I have been more than amply fed for a decent price.

We have walked most of Madrid. Yesterday we stumble upon a gondola which we rode which gave us a good overview of the city.
I had another sketch session and hopefully I´ll find some time to put some colour into it later. I´ve been spending all my free time reading and I´m a bit over half way through my novel.

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We´ve visted the Prado which is huge and the palace and we´ve done some shopping.

The main present giving day is tomorrow and I ´lost´ mum last night in the markets so I could sneakily buy her a pair of earings I saw her looking at.

Here´s a picture of the celebratory food for the 5th of January. I think I will have to buy one tomorrow as I´m feeling festive. There´s a parade this evening and another one tomorrow so they should be good fun.

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I wouldn´t say Madrid is a beautiful city but it looks pretty at night.

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I´ve written this all in a rush (pretty hungry) so I hope its coherent. Will update you when I´m in Barcelona. We are now off to the Sofia de Reina (I think that´s what it´s called) to see some more art!

Posted by SusannahBinsted 05:11 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Madrid

Getting Orientated

Our final evening in Salamanca was lovely. We walked through the cobbled streets to the main square which was lit up for Christmas. The main present giving day in Spain is the 5th of January so the atmosphere is still very festive. At around 7.30 we decided to have some dinner and walked in and out of several places miffed as to why none of them were serving menu food. Finally one of the waiters reminded us that dinner is served much later in Spain by writing 9.30 on a piece of paper. We decided against staying up for dinner and settled for a hot chocolate which was absolutely delicious - Max Brennar has nothing on Spanish hot chocolates.

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The next day we packed up and caught the metro and train to Madrid. We are staying in a little apartment in Chueca shown below.

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When I get home I love sitting on this couch and reading on my kindle.

The next day we visted Segovia and Avila. On the way we saw The Valley of the Fallen which mum was very pleased about.
Segovia was gorgeous; they claim (as well as the Germans) that the Disney castle was based on this palace. The building has a very interesting Moorish history and the interior decorations are a Islamic-Christian blend.

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Avila had an aquaduct which I enjoyed seeing after years of building them in the Rome and Cleopatra computer games when I was little.

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Yesterday mum and I had a very relaxing New Years day walking through the main park and streets of Madrid and having a New Year Days feast.

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I would love to write more in more detail but our first Spanish class is about to start (I am on the computer at the school) so until next time.

Posted by SusannahBinsted 00:12 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Salamanca

Arriving in Spain

At Sydney Airport I met up with Anna whose flight for indonesia left 5 minutes after my flight to Spain. It was nice to catch up and chat about our respective trips before we both left. Whilst sitting there she spied James Brackin who we had a brief chat with. He would be in Japan skiing by now - I hope he stays injury free as the last time he was in Japan I was with him and he broke his collar bone on one of the first runs of the day.

Mum and I were very lucky to get upgraded to business class for the Sydney-Dubai part of the plane trip. Once in Dubai we only had a 2 hour wait before boarding to Madrid and at Madrid we had a few hours to wait before catching our train to Salamanca. Once we got off the train I was freezing as it was mid evening and all I was wearing was a t-shirt with a hoody and jeans. We shortly made it to the hotel, showered, and had an early evening as we were both exhausted.

The next morning I dressed like a marshmellow I had so many layers on. We went for a frosty walk around the old part of the town.

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I should state that most of the town is the old part; it´s heritage listed. The whole city is a gorgeous golden colour and it looks stunning in the morning and afternoon sun. Part of one of the churches had to be restored and to show that the section was not authentic the builders carved this little guy into the building.

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Very cute.

It was very peaceful wondering around in the winter sun. There is hardly a section of the town that is ugly.

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The university is lovely, I could very happily study here. It is the oldest university in Spain and fourth oldest in Europe. As the locals say it is a very ´easy´ town.

Both days we have eaten in the Plaza Mayor and I have sat and attempted to paint.

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So far we´ve both been pleased with our attempts to converse in Spanish. We have said very little besides ordering food but you need to start somewhere. In the next hour or so we will venture out for our first tapas then get an early night as we travel to Madrid tomorrow to start our language courses. I might read until then. My kindle has proven to be a very good purchase. It tells me that I am now 19% through the Count of Monte Cristo.

Adios!

Posted by SusannahBinsted 07:37 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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