Life in Spain was full of festivals and holidays that gave me deeper insight into Spanish culture and also provided some of my best memories from my time abroad. This week, I got to partake in my first truly Australian celebration, the Melbourne Cup.
Known as “the race that stops a nation,” the Melbourne Cup is a major horse race dating back to 1861. Think Kentucky Derby times ten, where every person in Australia stops whatever they’re doing for four minutes to cheer on their favorite horse. Victoria, the state where Melbourne is located, declares it a public holiday, and (more…)
I encourage everyone I know to travel as much as possible, but when you’re out there seeing the world, it’s important to be a smart traveler. Today’s guest post comes from Sheila Kurdinger, who shares seven and a half tips that can help you be safe while gallivanting across the globe.
Traveling the world can be quite an adventure. Unfortunately, sometimes everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. This is why it’s important to plan ahead so that you can travel safely. The tips and advice below will help you get the most out of your trip, no matter where in the world you travel.
Tips for Safe Travel
Here are some basic tips for safe traveling.
Keep money separate – While you want to carry money on your person, of course, you don’t want to carry ALL of your money around. Instead, make sure you have a good hiding place for the rest of it back at your hotel.
Scan those documents – Before you leave, make sure you scan all your important documents and keep one digital copy as well as printing out an extra copy. This doesn’t take a lot of time and can really help you out. (more…)
Halloween isn’t anywhere near as widely celebrated in Spain as it is in the Anglosphere (and especially in the U.S.), but, thanks to globalization (sorry, everyone), it’s gaining traction as a worldwide favorite holiday. In Spain, at the very least you’ll find scattered decorations, the occasional invitation to a costume party, and a smattering of costumes roaming the streets. Here are nine more ways to have a ghoulishly good time on Halloween in Spain.
1. Only scary costumes allowed
Forget about dressing as your favorite Game of Thrones character or a risqué bunny — in Spain, the only way to dress on Halloween is scary. Vampires, witches, zombies, devils, skeletons, and ghosts are all fair game, and the more blood and dark makeup the better…apparently even if you’re a sweet five-year-old. Leave the funny/cute costumes for Carnaval in February.
Who knew seven-year-olds could be so terrifying?
2. Stock up on cheap chino accessories
When you’re on a student or auxiliar budget, there’s no better place in the world than chinos, the discount stores with a politically incorrect name that offer basically everything you could possibly need. And they’re a great source for wigs, makeup, costumes, and other Halloween accessories for creating the perfect quick and easy Halloween outfit. (more…)
Yesterday marked one month since I arrived in Australia, and time has flown by like mad. Here’s a taste of what I’ve done since arriving in Sydney:
- Found, after grueling hours of apartment hunting, a beautiful apartment with a stunning view.
- Gotten used to walking on the left side of the sidewalk (or footpath, as they would say here), standing on the left side of the escalator, and getting into the left side of cars. Silly Australia.
- Survived a few days of ridiculous smoke in Sydney as over one hundred bushfires (ahem, brush fires, as we would say) burned across New South Wales.
Quite a different view from my apartment with Sydney flooded with smoke.
- Started saying bond instead of deposit, uni instead of college, and Hungry Jack’s instead of Burger King.
- Dealt with virtually no bureaucracy, as obtaining an Australian working holiday visa is a cinch, particularly compared to Spanish visas and NIEs (I never have to see Madrid’s former fascist prison extranjería, breathtaking Aluche, again!). (more…)
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Okay, fine, I don’t have any statistics on Madrid’s actual favorite day trip, but when you ask the locals and guiris of Madrid for the best place to spend a day outside of the city, Toledo is almost certainly the first name to roll out of their mouths (soon followed by Segovia). As an UNESCO World Heritage site, the capital of Castilla-La Mancha, and a fascinatingly historical town just seventy kilometers from Madrid, Toledo makes a fantastic trip out of Spain’s capital for any local, expat, or tourist.
The Toledo Cathedral, dating back to 1226.
A quick peek on Wikipedia (where else?) reminds me that Toledo has existed since the Bronze Age and flourished under the Roman Empire. After the city was conquered by the Moors in the 10th century, it experienced a period of peaceful co-existence between Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and today the influence of the three distinct cultures manifests itself in the architecture that has remained. Since then, Toledo has remained an important site for culture, politics, and now tourism. (more…)
I’ve been in Australia for 17 days now, but I still have a lot to learn about my new home. Fortunately, today I have Richard Daniel as a guest writer, who has some fun facts to share about the Land of Oz. Hopefully you can learn as much as I have!
Australia is filled with natural beauty and wonders, but there are some things you might not know about this island nation. Below are some interesting and weird facts that you might not know about Australia.
Did You Know?
Did you know these tidbits about Australia?
Women voting – Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote.
West Australia – Back in 1933, the people in West Australia tried to secede from the Commonwealth of Australia. They were not successful. (more…)
As much as I love seeing the variety of colors and faces across international currency, knowing when and how to exchange money abroad can be quite the dilemma. Traveling to Spain or elsewhere in the Eurozone? Today’s guest post from Peter Lavelle of PureFX should help you decide if now’s the best time to exchange your money for euros.
Are you a planning a holiday to Spain, for a week of sol, surf and sangria? Or, like Kirstie, do you intend to relocate to Spain entirely, and live la vida Madrileña (it’s like la vida loca, but with more Ana Botella.) If so, in between packing your bags, jotting down all the great things you want to see and do, and brushing up on your Spanish, you’ll need to exchange currencies. And, until Spain decides “¡Basta ya!” with the whole shared currency business and relaunches the peseta, that means getting your hands on some euros. Given this, how can you make sure you’re getting the highest euro total for your pounds, US dollars or whatever currency you’re starting with? In short, is it a good time for you to exchange currencies? Find out, with the article below! (more…)
Well hellooooo readers, and I apologize for the long absence, but I’ve just been doing this crazy thing called picking up and moving to Sydney, Australia. And here I am!
Fireworks over Sydney Harbour for the Fleet Review this past Saturday
Not gonna lie, the first few days were tough. Really tough. Coming here with no job, no apartment, and no friends, I figured it would be a little rough at first, but for a couple of days, I couldn’t shake the deep feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’d made a huge mistake. GOB Bluth levels of huge mistake. (more…)