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Showing posts from June, 2008

Tetouan and Granada

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As I write this, Spain has just beat Germany 1-0 in the World Cup...what an exciting time to be here! The streets are flooded with people, and the kids are all wrapped up in Spanish flags and Torres soccer jerseys - Torres is apparently the new Spanish hero of 2008.

Yesterday morning I got up early (too early for a run, sadly), and we boarded a bus for Algeciras (well, the Spanish town adjacent-Gibraltar is actually British) and hopped on a ferry to Puerta del Ceuta, which is a Spanish colony in Africa, next to Morocco. It was quite a process - we had to fax passports and numbers over to the border days ago in preparation, and have multiple copies of temporary immigration forms filled out. The ferry ride was beautiful, albiet a bit cloudy, and we arrived in Ceuta, a resort city of 85,000, full of Christians, Muslims and Jews. When Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand united Spain, all non-Christians were forced to either convert, leave or be killed; many Jews and Muslims fled to Ceuta and…

Costa del Sol and Sevilla

Here I (we) are on the beach in Costa del Sol, the southern part of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. I mean we, because my newly adopted students from West Palm Beach, Florida are crowded in around me in an unairconditioned internet café watching me type. We can see the beach from the internet café here, and after a swim earlier in the Mediterranean and some delicious buffet dinner at the Hotel de Rodeo involving some fried local fish and tortilla (our idea of a quiche or potato pie), we all walked around on the boardwalk. We are in the village of Marbella, and it is a summer getaway for much of Spain. It is 7 hours south of Madrid, which seems like a lot for a weekend - imagine having a summer condo on the beach in Maryland, which would be the equivalent. With bullet trains the trip is much shorter, and Spaniards´ vacations are usually three or four weeks, not one like ours.

Yesterday, we spent the day in Cordoba, where we saw the gorgeous Mezquita-Cathedral there, which was orig…

Madrid Day #2

Last night, I slept harder than I have slept in a long time. Until 3:37am local time, that is. At that point, about 50 screaming tourists got onto their bus heading who-knows-where. All I know is that woke me up...but I fell quickly back asleep again and walked into our morning buffet breakfast: holy cow. This was nothing like we consider breakfast to be - proscuitto ham, spicy ham, sausage, cheese, toast, olive oil, olives, fresh fruit, croissants with honey, poached eggs, apricot and peach juice...it was truly amazing. There was, in the corner, a small bit of Fruit Loops for the unadventurous-eating American. I needed, of course, my cup of coffee, which I discovered is not what we think of as a good old cup of Dunkin´ Donuts, but instead a cup of very, very concentrated espresso with some warm milk. Knowing me, this made me immediately very hyper, which psyched me up for the long day ahead (it is 11:10pm local time as I write this, and falling asleep!).

We headed to the Puer…

Madrid Day 1

The flight from Boston to Frankfurt was interesting...half the people on the flight spoke English and half spoke German. For the first time in my life, I wasn´t able to communicate using words, which was, quite honestly, quite a challenge for me. I watched Dan in Real Life on the flight, took a long, long nap, and arrived in Frankfurt at 6am local time, or midnight EST. Dinner was decent - some chicken, veggies and rice. I ate a croissant for breakfast (midnight snack?) and some OJ - the total was €6 (six Euros) or about 10 dollars! Wow.

I met up with the group after transferring to Madrid, and having the experience of attempting to speak with people who didn´t know English. This was difficult, and really gave me a sense of what it must be like for others who don´t speak the native language, as well as the understanding of how essential it is to learn the native language of one´s country. We met up with Luis, our tourguide, who is fluent in both English and Spanish (thank goodness), an…

Happy Summer!

Happy Summer to all!  I am doing my last-minute packing now and am heading to the airport in a few - with plenty of time to spare.  The weather in Boston is 70 degrees and humid...according to The Weather.com Extended 10 Day Forecast, Spain should be mid-eighties and and sunny for the next 10 days or so - what luck!  I fly to Hamburg and then on to Madrid, where I arrive on Tuesday morning.  We hit the road flying, tour the southern part of the country and then finish our trip in Barcelona, home of the 1992 Olympics.  I'm very, excited!  I have my money pouch ready to go with passport, money and my journal ready to go.  Drop me an email hello!  I will try my best to find internet cafes and use our hotel as best I can to post pictures and stories of my travels.  Adiós!