Monday, April 18, 2011


Hello everyone!  

Lately I have been a traveling fool and leaving every weekend!  It’s been great – but also very tiring.  First I was in Granada, which is located in southern Spain.  It was a great trip and definitely ranks as one of my favorite cities in Spain.  It has a very cool mix of cultures, Arab, Jewish, and Catholics all lived in the city, making it truly diverse.  The Alhambra is located there, which was a fortress/palace thing built above the city in the “mountains”.  Its one of the most beautiful palaces I have ever been to.  We visited the Alhambra twice, first at night and then again the next morning.  I recommend to everyone who goes to Granada, the nighttime visit.  There are less people at night, and the moonlight makes it especially beautiful.  We spent a lot of time wandering around the small winding streets of the old Jewish ghetto, and Arab neighborhoods.  We had tea at a cool old Arab teahouse and wandered around the street vendors selling tea of all flavors.  I bought one because it smelled glorious, but haven’t bought tea bags yet…so I will keep you posted on how it tastes.  (Hopefully as good as it smells!)
            We took a bus to get to Granada…5 hours on a bus.  When we got to the bus station to get back to Madrid the bus was over 30 minutes late to arrive at the station.  Normally public transportation in Spain I have found to be extremely reliable and on time, surprisingly.  However, it is still Spain and the bus arriving 30 minutes late seemed to bother only us…all the Spanish were just waiting.  Nobody was telling us what was going on, or even where to wait for the bus.  Now, after living here for 6 months I have calmed down a lot over things like this (for those of you who know me, dad, should be very proud/thankful for this).  But I was traveling with my friend from Korea, and in Korea buses arrive 30 minutes early, and leave exactly on time.  She was slightly more annoyed than I was.  But the bus arrived, finally, and we were on our way back to Madrid.  

The Alhambra

View of Granada
  The next weekend I went to Venice with Sooyoung.  We left on Saturday evening and arrived in Venice late that night.  When we arrived at the airport we had to make our way to the hostel, which was made slightly more difficult when the tourist information desk at the airport was already closed…there went our free city map.  We found where the bus left from, and they told us that we had missed the last bus.  So we were quite worried, but soon realized that the bus hadn’t actually left yet.  We made it onto the bus and were on our way into Venice.  They dropped us off at the bus station, and without a map we had to find our hostel, quite a task in Venice when suddenly the street ends and its just water.  We started walking and after a few wrong turns found our hostel, no problem.  The hostel was located right on the Grand Canal, but because we arrived late at night, we couldn’t actually see anything.  We decided to get to bed right away so that we could get started early in the morning. 
            When we left our hostel in the morning, we had a slight girly freak out over how beautiful it was during the day.  We had a plan to take the “water bus” after a girl in the hostel gave us a tip that it was a great way to see the city.  We got on and planned to make our way to St. Marks Square.  We spent the morning there, walking around the super touristy area.  We ate lots of great food, and had our fill of gelato!  (But what else would you go to Italy for??)  The next day we decided to go to Murano, an island close to Venice that is famous for glass.  We found where the free factory tour was, and had a nice morning there.  We then went to the Jewish part of Venice, which is less touristy, and therefore has cheaper food.  We had a nice lunch; pizza and wine of course, and then decided we wanted to go to Burano, another island famous for lace.  This was probably my favorite place we went to during the trip.  There were not a lot of people there, and it was extremely beautiful.  The houses are all different colors, and it has the “Leaning Tower of Burano!”  (Or at least that is the name Sooyoung and I gave it.)
            It was a great trip to Venice and we had a really good time!  We were picture crazy, and took over 1,700 photos during the trip!  It took me about 3 hours to go through all the photos and get it down to about 700…yikes!
St. Marks Square



            This weekend I was here in Madrid, finally!, to enjoy the AMAZING weather here.  It’s been about 80F/28C!  I have been spending lots of time in the parks around Madrid with friends, and struggling to go to classes…who wants to sit inside when its 80 and sunny?!?  Looking forward to next week because MOM COMES!!! :D

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