In one week, I’ll be back in my beloved Sevilla, porque ya huela a Feriaaaaa!
My favorite event of the year, Sevilla’s Feria de Abril, kicks off Tuesday, and I’ll be there for the final few days of it to partake in all the fabulous celebrating for the third time. I fell in love with the festival when I came down from Madrid for it in 2010, and I lived it up as a Sevilla resident last year, complete with my own trajes de flamenca, flamenco dresses. Here I come again! To count down, here are 7 things I can’t wait to experience at this year’s Feria.
1. Dressing up
I’ll admit that, though I lack the innate sense of traje de flamenca fashion Sevillana women seem to be born with, I’m aware my traje is a bit outdated and probably makes me look super guiri to native Sevillanos. Nonetheless, I’m thrilled to don my long, ruffly dress, giant earrings, and massive flower hairpiece to (more…)
After lackluster Vienna, I was ready to return to a fantastic city, and Budapest, Hungary was just the place. We arrived late at night and began our adventures the following morning, starting with a free walking tour of the city. The quality of these varies from city to city, and this one was rather average, but it did give us a good introduction to the city’s sights. My falling in love with the city began after the tour, when we wandered around the Fisherman’s Bastion, a stretch of white towers overlooking the Danube River that resembled Lord of the Rings‘ Minas Tirith.
In Fisherman’s Bastion
Madrid is, quite possibly, my favorite city in the world. Despite my current lack of enthusiasm for the city based on the sub-par weather we’ve been having, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living here for a second year. My luck goes beyond that, as I also had the opportunity to live in another insanely amazing city, Sevilla, last year. As much as I loved the place at the time, I spent the latter part of the year eagerly anticipating the big, bright life I would lead when I finally returned to Madrid, but what I didn’t expect was just how much I would miss Sevilla.
Here are five of the many things I miss about good ol’ Hispalis.
With my sister in Sevilla’s Plaza de España
1. The weather
Man oh man, what was I ever complaining about last year when it got to a “freezing” 50 degrees Fahrenheit? Madrid is no Siberia or New England — the weather here is relatively mild, and this winter has been long but less severe than the winter I spent here three years ago — but, sheesh, am I (more…)
I’ll just start by saying this: sorry, Vienna, but I’m entirely unimpressed by you. Returning to my recap of my June 2012 Central Europe trip, we left fairytale-like Prague and headed to city and country number four of the trip: Vienna, Austria.
First impressions were high, arriving at a nice hostel (albeit far more expensive than our other hostels of the trip, at a bank-breaking €17.80 per person per night), where we were greeted by friendly staff with a glass of welcome wine and we settled into our quiet room. But soon we were back on the road to explore the city. We stopped in the train station for a sandwich and then headed toward the city center without any true agenda, passing by plazas, fancy schmancy buildings, and tourist shops.
Hey, this was kind of nice, at least.
Our tour had its pretty moments, and I’m sure if Vienna had been the first place I’d ever been in Europe, the elegant buildings would have had me in awe, but, as it was, nothing stood out. So be it. More interesting was (more…)
Inspired by the light dusting of snow central Madrid received and eager to have a change of pace from city life, a few weeks ago, my friend and I headed Madrid’s mountains for snow, hiking, and unbelievable scenery.
Walking in a winter wonderland
Parque Natural de Peñalara is located in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range in the north of the Comunidad de Madrid and is a popular spot for hiking, skiing, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Thanks to (more…)
Sometimes, I swear I lived another lifetime in Andalucía. Nowhere else in the world do I experience such a profound sense of tranquility and an immense love for my surroundings. Today is El Día de Andalucía, Andalucía Day, so I write to share my adoration for Spain’s southern region.
The love affair began in the summer of 2006, when I got to call the spectacular city of Granada home for a month. A month may not be a long time, but Al-Andalus had me falling head over heels in love, especially after taking weekend trips to Nerja, Frigiliana, Sevilla, and Córdoba. One month there, and I was ruined for life — never again would I be able to leave Spain behind.
Falling in love with Andalucía as a 17-year-old in Granada
When I made my much-anticipated return to Spain in 2009 to study abroad as a college student, I chose Madrid over Andalucía because of its size and the study abroad program offered, but I was sure to return south when possible, taking five Andalucían (more…)
Our Central Europe trip was already off to a fabulous start after visiting Wrocław, Poland and Berlin, Germany, and it was time to hit up our next destination: Prague, Czech Republic.
The bus ride from Berlin to Prague took us through beautiful countryside, and, upon arriving, we navigated our way through the Prague metro and checked into our hostel. Soon, we were off to explore the city, first stopping in Wenceslas Square, one of the city’s most popular boulevards, for what may have been the most delicious sausage I’ve ever had in my life, accompanied by Cherry Coke, which I miss dearly when I’m in Spain.
Looking like a Cherry Coke ad in Wenceslas Square
We continued on to the amazingly picturesque old town center, spotting Prague’s famous clock tower, Easter egg-colored, ornate buildings, and horse-drawn (more…)
A year or so ago, on one of my beautiful, relaxing bus rides home from school, I scribbled a post about my daily work commute through the countryside of Huelva and Sevilla. Somehow, this post got lost in my blog’s drafts, but rediscovering it has made me yearn for the rural, peaceful ways of Andalucía, so here’s a nostalgic, archived post about last year’s commute between Sevilla and Villarrasa.
Having to spend about 3.5 hours and €9.50 to commute every day to work isn’t exactly the highlight of this gig, but, you know what? I really don’t mind it. My commute in L.A. over the summer was much longer (try Pasadena to Santa Monica and back during rush hour), and, in a bus, I get to sleep, read…whatever I want to do. Though my wallet would be thicker without this commute, when it comes down to it, I kind of love it.
Every morning when I’m struggling to roll out of bed, I remind myself that I’ll be able to fit about another hour of sleep in on the bus. On the way home, if I’ve brought my laptop with me, I’ll watch a downloaded episode of a TV show, or, even better, now that I have a Kindle, I get tons of quality reading time.
Not a bad way to spend my commute
But even greater are the sights along the way. Though Spain has some major, bustling cities, usually the minute you leave their borders you suddenly find yourself in the countryside. Sevilla is gorgeous, but I love my four-times weekly escape from urban life. And the Andalucían countryside is beautiful. Gently rolling hills, fields of olive trees, white towns dotting the hillsides in the distance, all highlighted by (more…)