Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Some Words of Wisdom

    Sadly these are not my own words of wisdom, but if I had to write my own, I would most likely use exactly this!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Month Left!!

            It´s hard to believe that I have been in Spain for 8 months already, and even harder to believe that I only have 2.5 weeks left of teaching! Some days I feel like I just arrived in Logrono, and other days it feels like I´ve lived my entire life here. Both of those feelings are awesome and partly why I decided to come back here next year. I have had an amazing year of experiences, from traveling, to meeting new people, to making life long friends, it has all been one great year! It will definitely be bittersweet to leave in a little over a month, but I think I am ready to head home for the summer to see friends and family. I think going home this summer is made easier since I know I will be returning here in 2 months or so and will have yet another amazing year (or at least I hope so!). Just like my other two times in Spain, this year will be a year that I will never forget and one that has helped make me the person I am today!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Canary Islands: Where Brits and Germans Reign Supreme

            This past week was our spring break, so Diane, Maggie, and I decided to head somewhere exotic; somewhere we had never been before. We all finally decided on going to the Canary Islands, specifically to the island Lanzarote. The Canary Islands are a province of Spain and are between the eastern coast of Spain and Africa. We were all very excited for some tropical atmospheres and exotic landscapes, however we were slightly disappointed when we arrived our first day. The Canary Islands are a huge vacation destination for the Brits and Germans, which we knew going in, but had picked the least touristy island out of the big ones. Lanzarote was still extremely touristy and full of Brits and Germans all speaking English! Not a single person spoke Spanish to us the whole week, which was slightly odd seeing that we were still in Spain. We stayed in Puerto del Carmen, which is one of the most touristy areas of the island, which was a disappointment as well. The weather wasn’t fabulous as it was windy and cloudy most every day, but we still managed to soak up as much sun as we could and still got a bit tan! We rented a car one day and headed to the Timanfaya National Park, which is the volcanic national park. The park was cool and we learned a bit about how the island was created by volcanic eruptions, but we weren’t allowed to get out and walk through the volcanic rock. We also found a nice secluded beach named Papagaya, which was a little bit of paradise so hung out there for an afternoon. Overall it was a good trip and we still had a lot of fun, but the Canary Islands are certainly one of those places that I am glad I went to, but don’t feel the need to return. So if anyone is planning a trip to the Canaries any time soon, just be prepared for lots and lots of English speakers and touristy strips!

Volcanic rock beach in Puerto del Carmen

Boats in Playa Blanca

Old castle used to ward off pirates

More volcanic rock in Playa Blanca

Palm trees!

Timanfaya National Park

Part of the volcano


One of the other islands off in the distance

Papagaya beach: now this is what I call paradise

Sunset in Old Town Puerto del Carmen

Sunset on our last night

Man struggling to fish haha

Semana Santa: Logroño Style

                Semana Santa is one of the biggest festivals in Spain and is celebrated in every town throughout Spain. Semana Santa celebrates Easter week and starts on Holy Thursday. Most people have off work and school starting from Thursday through Easter Monday, and some (like me!) have off that whole following week. The week is celebrated with processions, complete with floats and religious statues and people dressed up and walking in the processions. There are different brotherhoods throughout the cities that each have a different color hood and carry a different float. The hoods look like Klan hoods, but in fact are penitent hoods and were used back in the day so people could perform public penitence without giving away their identity. The floats that are carried through the processions are extremely ornate and beautiful, taking up to 50 men to carry just one. I was able to see the Good Friday procession here in Logroño and it was truly amazing! It lasted almost 3 hours, complete with lots of drumming, floats, flowers, and the procession. I wish I could have been in Sevilla for Semana Santa, as their processions are the most well known throughout Spain, but it was amazing to see them in Logroño, especially since I saw some of my teachers and students out watching the procession as well. All in all it is an amazing experience and one I am happy I was able to partake in!

Lots and lots of drumming

Kids taking part in the procession

One of the amazingly ornate floats

Full outfit

Float of La Virgen

Carrying the cross

One of the last religious floats to go through