Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April showers bring May flowers...but there's only sunshine in Madrid!!

Well, so starts my last full month here in sunny warm Madrid. I am amazed at how time has gone by so fast. I still feel like I just arrived! But, alas I will be home in a month and 5 days...I will try to bring the sun home too!! (but no promises!)

My Mom and my sister Emily came to visit me April 5-17th. We spent one week in Madrid and the other in Paris. The first day they arrived they managed to stay up till 7pm which is 10am Seattle time. I recommended that they stay up as close to nighttime as possible in order to try to adjust to the time difference as quickly as possible. Here they are the first night, as you can see it is still light out. (P.S. If you click on the pics they will appear bigger, but you have to click the back button to return to the blog, not X)

Oh, and we got lucky because my host family was out of town the whole week, so my Mom and sis got to stay with me cost free!
The first full day(April 6th) was Emilys 25th birthday. We spent the day at the Madrid zoo.

More from Madrid....

We wore our sunglasses on the Metro to avoid the people who have staring problems!

People watching at Retiro Park.

We took a day trip to Segovia. They wanted to see the castle.

And here we are(without sunglasses!!) being our usual dorky selves, and taking advantage of our big eyes! :)

PARIS! :) The best part of the two weeks!
WE stayed in a hotel on Rue Cler, about two blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Rue Cler is a funky street full of great restaurants, fruit markets, wine shops and no traffic!

While in Paris we saw many things including the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Père Lachaise Cemetery(where Jim Morrison is buried), Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral, and the best of all was our trip to Versailles. I could have spent days there! Here are some pics of these places...

Jim Morrison's grave in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. We also saw the graves of Oscar Wilde and the famous composer Chopin. It's the biggest cemetery in France.

The Notre Dame.

The Louvre museum, standing in front of the Pyramid.

Arc de Triomphe.

Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral(known to have the most light of any cathedral because of it's many stained glass windows)

Saved the best for last...Versailles! This was the best part! I will go there again one day. This is the palace where Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette resided. Here are pictures of the Palace, the massive Gardens and the Peasant Village that Marie had built on the grounds for her own imaginary pleasure in the 1700's.

As you can see the gardens stretch on forever.....

The best part, the peasant village. It was like being in a storybook.

So, that is about it. The rest of April I have kept busy taking care of the kids and enjoying my weekends in Madrid with my friends.

Now I have a trip to Portugal to look forward to. I am going with my friend Cynthia(from Tennesee y'all). We are flying into Lisbon May 30th, spending 3 days there, then heading up the coast. We will spend a couple days exploring and will spend our last three days in Porto before returning to Madrid June 7th. Then I will be back in Seattle June 10th!! I can't believe it!!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

March...where did it go??

Wow, so apparently I have been slacking in the Blog Dept. Well this is why..
I have been very busy enjoying the weather in Madrid. Spring has sprung and the trees and flowers are all in bloom. Pepe and I have been enjoying a weekly English playgroup and have been having play dates with an Au Pair friend of mine and her little boy. They are so cute together! Here is a great pic, Pepe on the left and Adria on the right, followed by some more fun times.

The last week of March finally brought Ian to Madrid! We had two days in Madrid where we spent time with my friends in the park and also attended a Real Madrid game, which they won 3-0 against Almeria.

We then met Elizabeth and Allen(Ian's parents) in Peñíscola. It's a small city right on the coast between Barcelona and Valencia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peniscola
There is a beautiful castle in the city with incredible views! Here is a pic of me and Ian at the resort.

Here are some pics of our visit to the castle....and some fun beach photos...

We also were able to spend a day in Barcelona. (After a three hour drive where I swear we paid a million tolls along the way, it was quite comical!) We ate at an amazing tapas bar, visited the Barcelona Cathedral, Sagrada Familia and the Picasso museum. All of this packed into one day with a three hour drive home!

On the last day we were able to spend a couple hours in Valencia where we took the Metro into the city to have lunch.....here is a pic on the Metro.

So, with March long gone...bring on April!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Hello...well almost goodbye February. This marks 5 months. I can't believe it!

This weekend I went for a hike an hour outside of the city. I wanted a bit of nature, like back home. It did the trick for now but I really miss forests full of ancient evergreens. This is a pic of me halfway up.

Happy Belated Valentines Day!! I was very lucky to spend the day with good friends and enjoy some good food. We had a gathering at another Au Pairs house(her host fam was out of town, but gave her permission!) where we all brought good food. I made my famous guacamole. YUM! After we dressed up and went out on the town looking lovely!

February 4-13 three of my best friends from Seattle came to see me. We spent the weekend in Madrid then went to Granada for the rest of the week. Granada is southeast of Madrid and right next to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granada

In Granada we visted the Cathedral, the Albaicín neighborhood and the Alhambra. The Alhambra(literally "the red one") is a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish rulers of Granada in southern Spain. Once the residence of the Muslim rulers of Granada and their court, the Alhambra is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions exhibiting the country's most famous Islamic architecture. All in all, a beautiful wonder of the world in my books!

So now I have to wait four weeks till Ian arrives. We will spend the first weekend in Madrid so he can meet my friends, see the city and we'll also attend a Real Madrid football game! Then it's off to Barcelona for a week where we will meet his parents and explore together. I am so excited to see them.
A week after Ian leaves, my Mom and sister arrive to spend a week with me in Madrid then we are off to Paris for another week. :)
Before I know it I will be on a plane to Seattle. Time flies!! xoxo

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Friday, January 30, 2009

January 2009!

Wow, I cannot believe January is ending already! Today marks four months abroad. It's incredible that I am half way through my journey. So since the first snow in Madrid has passed, now mother nature has decided to bring extreme winds. Despite the beautiful blue skies, its still freezing when you're practically being blown off your feet!! I have been getting back into running finally, and it feels great! There is a park I run at near by. There is this steep hill in the middle of the park and Tuesday as I was running up the hill I was practically blown away. The wind was so strong that I had to push so hard to make it to the top as my eyes were watering and my earphones were struggling to stay in my ears. It was insane, but felt great every time I made it to the top.
This weekend my friend Jessie and I are going running Friday night and Sunday! I am falling back in love with running after almost a four month rut. It helps having someone who is interested in it as well. Yesterday we ran very far and included hills, sprints and intervals! Today I admit I'm a little sore, but the good kind.

I have been taking Pepe to a play group on Thursdays called Sticky Fingers. It is so fun and the highlight for him is riding the Metro(underground subway). The group is for children to learn and play in English. It's fun for me as well because I get to chat with other adults, some who speak only Spanish and others who speak English. I look forward to Thursdays....

So.... Jan 17 the girls and I went to a concert to see Jeremy Enigk. My Mom dated his Dad over ten years ago and he used to be in a very popular band(out of Seattle) called Sunny Day Real Estate.

I was stoked to see he was playing in Madrid and I had a great time. His music is very moving and the venue it was at, Moby Dick, was perfect!

Last weekend we walked around the city to see the many painted cows displayed all around. It's exactly like in Seattle when there were pigs all over the city. I'm not exactly sure what the purpose is, but there are over 150 in the city painted by different companies, even one from Microsoft.

This Saturday night night some of my friends and I have been invited to a Mojito party by one of our Spanish friends. I am very excited, mojitos are soooo good. Sunday we plan on going ice skating!!

Wednesday, finally, three of my girlfriends from Seattle are coming! They will stay for a week and a half. We are staying in Madrid from Wednesday the 4th till Monday when we will fly out to Granada. Its South of Madrid and from what I have heard it is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. So I will definitely have some great pics for my next post.

Wishing all a wonderful New Year and a great start to February! xoxo

P.S. The kids love baths now that I started putting bubbles in! :)