Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This is the newest area of Valencia. Its at the end of the Rio and has the most amazing buildings. Its kind of the Smithsonian for Spain...the buildings have Science, Art, and history museums

Mas Valencia

Bridge we crossed...100 mph winds made it look like the bridge was swaying but the clouds were just moving so fast
El Rio...the park that goes all the way around Valencia

La Playa!

This pan was HUGE and full of the best Paella

After we demolished it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

So this friday is the feast day for the patron saint of education so for this reason my school decided to shut down on friday. I dont have classes on Friday but other students do. Spanish people will find any reason not to work and usually teachers do not get this opportunity so now they are.

Also I have begun to read Twilight in Spanish. We will see how it goes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fin de Semana en Valencia

This weekend I went with three friends to Valencia. What a beautiful city located just south of Madrid on the Mediterranean Sea. Friday night we took a thirty minute flight from Madrid to Valencia and arrived at our hostel around 4. Our hostel was so amazing and very modern. My friends and I stayed in a female room with 6 beds. We had a roommate named Rachel from Australia and a roommate from Turkey (could not spell her name if my life depended on it) Rachel hung out with us most of the time. So after we unpacked at our hostel which was on the mainstreet of Valencia, we gave ourselves a walking tour. We were told by some friends that we had to go to el Rio which we thought was a river that ran all the way around the city. We walked there and realized it was a park that ran around the whole city. We later found out that it use to be a river but it would flood Valencia so they redirected it and made the dried up river a park. Its amazing! We walked the whole thing on Saturday. So after we found el Rio we all had incredibly bad blisters on our feet so we went shopping for better shoes and never found any. We went back to the hostel to wash up for dinner. WE were all craving Mexican food so we went to this place called Los Zopilotes. THE BEST MEXICAN FOOD I HAVE EVER HAD. I tried guacamole and I am now in love with it. My roommate Devin ordered the spiciest thing on the menu and the waiter said she would never be able to finish it but she got it and even asked for extra jalapenos! The chef came out to personally meet her. Then we went out to a couple Discos but went to bed early so we could take advantage of our Saturday. O yeah and on our way to a Disco I was smacked in the back of my head by this girl walking by. She yelled some really mean things but basically was commenting on how much she hates Americans. What did I do to you?
Saturday we woke up early and began our walk to what we thought was the near by Science and Architecture center (the most amazing architecture I have ever seen pics to come) Well it took us a good hour to walk down el Rio to get there (maps are so deceiving) but it was a nice walk in the park even though we all had blisters all over our feet. Finally we arrived and my friend Macon loves aquairums and the largest one in Europe just happens to be in Valencia so we went in and were able to see some amazing fish and a dolphin show. I saw an octupus and decided I could serisouly never eat one again. O yeah and we saw Walrus's reproducing to put it nicely.
We then thought we would walk to the beach which ended up being an even farther walk! But worth it...the beach was beautiful (again pics to come) The wind on saturday was horrible though worse then Santa Anas and Chicago...they canceled flights at the airport because of it but the heat was amazing. After the beach we decided to take the metro back.
We all really wanted ice cream after that so went for ice cream then back to the hostel for a siesta. 3 hours later we woke up to go to dinner at a paella restaurant in order to try Paella de Valencia (rabbit and chicken) Amazing!
We went out that night to a disco and were able to meet a lot of locals and a lot of Americans too. It was so fun and to understand how small the world is, I was walking back to the hostel that night and across the stree I noticed my friend Nick Walther who I had gone to school with since 2nd grade til we graduated high school. CRAZY!!! What are the odds.
Sunday we had to come back to Alcala but all in all it was amazing. Defintely a place I would recomend. I have a very busy week at school with a speech to give tomorrow and a lot of reading!! Hope you all have a great week!
La Plaza de Reina...This is the Cathedral in the middle of Valencia
Closer view

Plaza de Virgen...kids were playing soccer and people were having picnics. At night they have these machines that come wash the marble and my friend Kaitlin slipped and fell. And there is a little back street that leads straight to La Plaza de Reina

The oranges here are UNREAL...there are orange trees everywhere!

The first building you see getting of the metro in Valencia
Calle de Paz...the street our Hostel was off of

The outside of our hostel

We stayed on the 4th floor and these were the stairs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mi Cumpleanos con mi Familia de Espana

Abuela's gift
The Fam



The picture at the top but it was taken by Me!
The Plaza with no snow (standing next to the huge tower)

"Garden" in the back of my school. Hopefully in April it will start blooming so I will see it.

The dead center of Madrid and SPAIN! In the Plaza del Sol

Plaza Mayor

Sorry I have no uploaded more pictures. Blog was being slow and then I plugged my battery charger for my camera into my converter and the voltage was too much so it died. I had to go buy new batteries.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Some interesting things I learned today about spanish culture
1. They wear their wedding rings on their right hand
2. Eggs are eaten for dinner, not breakfast
3. They are all amazing parallel parkers
4. Hot dogs are sold in jars (i really wanted to buy some)

I love being surrounded by a culture that is so rich in ideas. The excitement of being in Europe has kind of worn off. I am still having an amazing time but I am not realizing as much that I am so far from home. Today was just a normal day at school and nothing too exciting happened other then it rained o and I found out I have to give a presentation next week. I am sad that Spain does not appreciate the holiday of MLK but I remembered it in my own ways while at school. I am finding myself writing and speaking both languages at the same time (some words spanish and some english in the same sentence) I really have to catch myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The room I stayed in the first night before I had a family

Me and Macon at O'Connor

Me Macon and Devin at the Huka Bar!

Me and Devin in Atocha(main train station in Madrid)
Plaza de Cervantes (the writer of Don Quixote and the center of Alcala)

The church where Cervantes was baptized next to my school

The side of my school

A better view of the plaza from the other side. In the distance where you see the tower, my school is the point to the right.

My Room
The BAthroom


Where we eat dinner

Living room and Alexis

I FINALLY FOUND A CONVERTER THAT WORKS!!! Yeah so I can put up pictures! But first, For my birthday 8 of us went into Madrid to celebrate. We met up with Macon's friend, Kily, who took us all around. For dinner, Spanish people do not eat a lot so we went to a place and had Tapas and drinks...and yes I tried BALBA a.k.a. OCTUPUS!!! It was good except for the idea of the tentacles going down...ew...but I am totally embracing the idea of "You live once, try it all!" After dinner we went to a Huka bar and had sangria and humus (awesome but tasted kind of like taco seasoning), after that we went to O'Connors and met up with some of Kily's friends who all wanted to know about how we felt about Obama...hahaha...but it was really fun! Around 3am we went to a Discotecha and danced the night away. It was So much fun other then boys here cannot dance but the girls and I had fun. At 5 in the morning the first train leaves to go to Alcala so we caught that, missed our stop in Alcala, went to Guadalajara, and made it back to Alcala around 6:45 am...it was a memorable birthday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Tonight I am going to Madrid to celebrate my birthday, so yesterday my host family and I celebrated my birthday during lunch. They made me so much food and gave me an authentic spanish beer. My host mom gave me some earrings and a hat and my abuela gave me a bottle of champagne. It was all so nice and I was able to have my friend Macon over for lunch. They also gave me a cake that they kept refrigerated on the back porch. Does that tell you how cold it is here? Anyways I am so excited to go to Madrid tonight to celebrate. My friend Macon has a really good friend who lives in Madrid that I met last weekend and he planned a whole night out for me! 21 obviously is not as big of a deal here but I am still excited!

I was able to talk to my roommates from Auburn last night on Skype because Devin let me borrow her computer for a while. I am still trying to find a converter because I know you all want to see pictures and I want to put them up! Crystal asked me if I missed anything yet and so far I don´t but I am sure I will.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


First off...happy birthday Chrysti!!!

Okay so my schedule is set. I am taking: Civlization and Culture of Spain, A comparison class of Spain and the United States, A grammar class for advanced spanish students, and a globalization and economy of spain class. My classes will be hard but I am excited. I really like all my teachers a lot! It is snowing again here which is not fun!
Yesterday I went to Spain version of WalMart called CarreFour....its really cool and really close to my house. I went to try to find a converter but they had no idea what I was talking about. I have realized that a great way to learn vocab is to just walk through a grocery store in this case Carrefour because then you have the word and what it is actually right in front of you. I have some free time during the week so I might try to just walk through there sometime to learn some basic vocab.

Monday, January 12, 2009


So Friday we all needed a break from the orientation a.k.a a second camp war eagle, so we went to a bar in Alcala. Bars here are very different, 1. its much cheaper 2. you get a free sandwich or slice of pizza with EVERY drink (called Tapas) 3. you smell like an ashtray when you leave (because EVERYONE smokes) and 4. They never close. It had snowed that morning so there was still snow everywhere and it was miserable! I will never live near snow!
Saturday a couple of us went to Madrid. We were suppose to have a school wide tour but because of the weather we could not go so instead a few of us did. My friend Macon has a friend who lives in Madrid so we took the train to Atocha station and met him and then he showed us around. We went to Plaza Mayor, the center of Madrid, Plaza Sol, and we walked down the street with the Prado and all the museums. It was a lot of fun and we planned out my birthday for thursday in Madrid. Then we came back to Alcala and had a drink at a local pub. Devin and I were exhausted though so we left soon.
Sunday my bags finally arrived! I had to go buy some underwear from this cheap chinese store that I swear just finds anything to sell. I was so happy when my bags came though! Sunday was a very lazy day though. My charger was in my bag for my computer but it doesnt work :( so no pictures yet. I watched the holiday in spanish which was still just as good because I have all the lines basically memorized.
Today is my first day of class. I am nervous but very excited to finally have something to do.
My host family is planning a birthday party for me for Wednesday since I am going to Madrid thursday. I dont know what we are going to eat but i am sure it will be yellow or brown because everything we eat is either one of those colors but good. Last night we ate artichoke...i had a sip of water after every bite! ugh! I have also tried Duck, blood sausage, and a different type of squid. Lets just say i would take the artichoke over all of it but atleast I tried it.
Something really cool I learned is that santa claus does not bring gifts here is Spain, the three wisemen do. I thought that was pretty cool. Also all the windows have remote control blinds except for mine becuase it has a weird slant. I sleep every night with leggins, sweatpants, and a sweatshirt becase my room is so cold.
I bought a phone here and last night i talked to becca for a couple minutes. It was really good to hear her voice.
There is a ladybug rug in my bathroom so i think of mi mariquita (ladybug) or Ally all the time. Well i have to go to class!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good things come to those who wait!

So even though I did not have a my family on the first day, I met them yesterday and they are amazing! I live in a very nice house kind of far from school but I can walk if I want to. The food is giving me a constant stomach ache 1. because they give you so much and 2. because it is so different! I have internet at my house but my computer is dead. I hope to get pictures up soon of my house but I still have no luggage which means i have no converter for my computer to work. Air France lost over 40,000 bags they day we flew.

Anways it is snowing like crazy here and every spanish person you talk to will tell you that this is not normal but I like it. Also the picture that is above I actually got to see yesterday which was SO amazing! I have been looking at pictures of Alcala online for months and to finally see it all was amazing.

My family consists of a mother Mercedes, Abuela (grandmother), and Aleces, a 7 year old boy! They are all so kind. Devin and I have the third floor of the townhome all to ourselves. It is VERY cold up there but I like it. The interior of the house has no lights so when I was wide awake at 4am this morning i decided to go to the bathroom and on my way there I tripped over a plant. It is a fake one but I have to put it all back together and it made a very loud noise.

I dont think I will be able to make it home for lunch today due to the snow and the traffic so I might have time to write more later. Just know that Spain is amazing and I am so happy to finally be here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First 72 hours!

Hey everyone so what an experience this has been already. To begin my flight was delayed from Atlanta to Paris. We arrived in Paris to tons of snow and ice and a two hour wait for our next plane. The flight to Paris went well. I got a free bottle of wine which put me right to sleep! We boarded our flight to Madrid from Paris and again I went right to sleep but not after meeting my French companion who is Catholic and also studying in spain. (she knew I was American immediately) We arrived in Madrid around 6pm to no luggage (which still has not come) It is stuck in Paris somewhere. But no one really cared because we were so excited to finally be here. We then took a bus to Alcala where we met our host families which was an interesting experience. We stood in the middle of Plaza de Cervantes and a lady called out our names and our families claimed us. Me and Devin unfortunately had no family by the time everyone was called out. Our mother never showed. So we carried the luggage we had all around Alcala with Teresa (from the school) to find a lady to stay with. It all worked out well. I got to stay with one of the Directors, Jessica, she is from Arizona and has an apartment with two extra beds for me and Devin. Our mother is coming today to pick us up from school. she was confused about the dates. I was not able to take a shower last night due to no hot water but Devin and I washed each others hair in the freezing cold sink...I must admit I had the thought "what the heck am I doing here" while doing this but it was an experience!

There are a lot of cool things I have already noticed about Spain. Everyone says "Buenas" instead of "hola", they drive on the right side of the road just like us, there are no street lights really so people drive when they want to and people walk across the street when people want to and every bedroom has a light switch right next to the bed so you do not have to get up and turn the light off...or buy lamps. I am using my teachers computer to write this while we had a break!

Today we are having orientation. We had to take a placement test and I placed in the avanzado or advanced group which is good. I signed up for my classes that start Monday and now we are having a break until our mothers come to take us to lunch. When we come back we take a tour of the school and the town. This town is so old and beautiful. Becca would love all the historic buildings. Alcala is known for having Storks everywhere. So yes all the Storks make nests on the tops of the buildings. I have a picture I will post later. All the bars are coffee shops too and have wifi so I hope to be able to use that later today or tomorrow. People are already making plans for my birthday for me so thats exciting! I hope to write more later and sorry this is so choppy and random but I wanted to write some stuff while I had the chance! Hope all is well back in the US!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

So tomorrow is the BIG day! I was able to download Skype. My username is kaitlin.byrne1 I just tried using it with Becca. I had a microphone so she could hear me and she had a camera so I could see her. Although she didn't have a microphone, it still works because you can use Skype as instant messaging too. So I was talking to her and she would type her responses to me. Skype is free to talk computer to computer so if you want to talk to me, let me know your usernames and I will add you to my contacts!

I am still trying to decide what I want my last American meal to be but tonight I will get my last fill of Monday night television with two of my best friends, tomorrow I will say my goodbyes and then make my way down to the airport! 8:50pm is my takeoff time but there is suppose to be horrible weather in Atlanta tomorrow so I hope it is not too delayed. I am nervous but also very excited! I have packed my whole entire winter wardrobe into one suitcase and a duffle bag! I am impressed! Anyways, I guess the next time I will be posting is in Spain! Hope everyone has a great beginning of 2009!