Tag Archives: culture

lisboa con las chicas

Let me just start off by saying that this was one of the best weekend trips I’ve taken since I got to Spain. The combination of the beautiful city, friends I was with and lots & lots of laughs all came together perfectly. This trip was the last few days we would be spending with Jackie’s two best friends, Sally and Meg, who had been visiting from the US since the weekend before.  Although it was short, the two-hour long flight really made all the difference.  We had nearly the whole afternoon on Friday, plus all day Saturday and Sunday to explore.

After a few minor mishaps at the beginning concerning the apartment we were staying in, we were all a little on edge.  Jackie, Meg and Gabby went out to buy some snacks, wine and breakfast for the next morning while Sally, Lauren and I stayed back and started getting ready.  Worried they would return with even more woes, I was delighted when they came back in wonderful spirits and very excited to get our first night in the city started.  Between Friday and Saturday night, we managed to explore a large part of the Portuguese nightlife here in Lisbon.  We started out in Barrio Alto, one of the many hills of the city, lined with bars and filled with just as many locals as tourists.  We also got to see a Fado show, Portuguese flamenco, which was really beautiful.  Lastly, we went to two different clubs in the city, Urban Beach and Luxe that were both really fun.

  

Scenes from the trolley car.

We spent Saturday doing a little bit of shopping, taking the local trolley up through the Alfama neighborhood and strolling back down, taking in breath-taking views of the riverside and the city-side of the city.  Sunday was a little more relaxed (if that seems possible); we headed over to Belem, for the Pastéis de Belem, a very famous egg custard pastry.  It was really good, although I don’t know if I would say it merits being as well-known as it is.  Then we headed over to the beach town of Cascais.  There we relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the best gelato in Portugal.  I chose chocolate chip and lemon raspberry in a cup, which was so yummy.

Besides the wonderful sweets, we also tried many traditional Portuguese dishes.  Friday night we tried a tasting menu with Portuguese chorizo & blood sausage, baked cod in a thick cream sauce, kale soup, roasted potatoes and pork with a variety of seasonings.  If we thought the service in Spain was bad we had no idea what we were in for in Portugal though.  We had been to the southern beach towns of Albuferia and Lagos two years ago, but had completely forgotten the services issues we had there (we ordered four English breakfasts for four people, and for some reason the waiter had only written down an order for three).  Here, we got lucky though with a free sampling of chocolate and fruit mousses for dessert to compensate.

 

Saturday for lunch we had the funniest waiter I have ever had.  His broken English and radical change in mannerisms through out the course of the meal had me crying and falling on the table laughing.  Jackie and I shared a huge piece of fresh sole fish (although we had ordered swordfish… oh, language barriers) and roasted chicken.  Lisbon was such a beautiful city, and, just like with every other city I’ve been to, I really hope I have the chance to go back someday.  A lot of parts of the city reminded us of Prague; the style of the buildings and architecture was just very similar.  Every trip I go on, I hope to cross somewhere off the list, but unfortunately, that list is just getting longer and longer!  I hope you guys enjoyed your weekend just as much as I did!  Ciao, amores:)

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feliz san isidro

Tuesday was el Día de San Isidro, the patron saint of the city of Madrid, so for the whole first half of the week there were cultural events and parties all over the city.  Since we didn’t have to work on Tuesday, Monday night Dan and I met up with our friend Chrissy from Northeastern and a bunch of her friends for some beers in Sol and then walked over to Retiro to see the fireworks.  They shot them off of the statue on the back on the man made lake (where I rented a boat when my parents came to visit!).  Everything was lit up beautifully, and they even had music to go along with it.  Unfortunately, they only lasted 15 minutes, but it was still a lot of fun, especially since we all sat around in the park for a couple of hours after they ended.  The weather was finally warm and sunny this week, so it was great to finally be outside!

There was a huge festival in the San Isidro park all day on Tuesday, so we headed over there after lunch!  It’s located by the river on the west side of the city, where I haven’t really gotten to explore all that much yet.  It’s so beautiful though and I definitely plan on spending a few days this summer relaxing in the park along the river.  We relaxed in the shade most of the day, drinking ice cold tinto de verano, but as it got later we walked around the rest of the festival where they had carnival games (with a ham leg as the price!), awesome outdoor tent restaurants and lots of pottery and artesanal goods on display.  I also finally got to meet Kathryn’s boyfriend, which I was so excited about, and we hung out for most of the afternoon with them and some other friends too!  Dan and I went out for sushi afterwards and ended the night back at Retiro for the last night of the fireworks.

  

These types of cultural events are the things I always like to explore during our time here in Madrid.  It was really cool to see all of the Madrileños singing and dancing, and so many little boys and girls in the traditional Madrileño dress.  What a great way to spend a day off in the middle of the week!  Hope you guys enjoyed your week & weekend; an update on my weekend coming soon!  Ciao, amores:)

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semana santa en marbella

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent last Thursday through Monday in beach city of Marbella in the south of Spain.  Although it was only in the 70s while we were there, the trip was everything I could have imagined.  We spent the first two days staying in a hostal in the Old Town of Marbella, a five minute walk from the beach and the last three days at the Marriott Marbella Vacation Club with Jackie and her family!

  

Scenes from the Old Town and the girls out at a club, after a few free glasses of Moet Chandon and Dom Perignon!

Taking the overnight bus there proved to be a great choice, although we spent the morning hours between 6 and 9 checking things off the to-do list at the 24 hour pharmacy, enjoying a leisurely 2-hour breakfast feast and taking a very cold nap on the beach.  Besides that minor hiccup, we spent the rest of our two days in the Old Town of Marbella lying on the beach, enjoying great restaurants on the boardwalk and going out at night in Puerto Banus.  Puerto Banus is about 7km from the main center of the old town and is just filled with shopping, bars & restaurants.  It was really fun, and we even ate at a delicious American restaurant with the boys over there!

   

On Saturday afternoon we met Jackie, her boyfriend James and ten members of her extended family (from Boston & Ireland) at the Marriott Marbella.  After checking in, we explored the resort a little bit and then went over to the Irish relatives’ villa for a delicious Irish lunch (they brought 10 kilos of food with them on the plane!!)  That night we sat around with the whole family.  It was great to sing and play games with Jackie’s relatives; they were so fun and I’m so happy that I got to spend a few days over Easter with them.  It did make me miss my family, but I’m very glad I got to Skype with them and a few of my aunts & uncles on Saturday!

    

Sunday we went to a typical Andalucian church in the Old Town for Easter mass and then devoured a delicious brunch at the beach-side restaurant back at the resort.  Holy Week is such a huge celebration through out Spain, but especially in Andalucía, and it was really great to hear the Priest’s sermon on such an important day!  Other than that, we spent most of our free time relaxing between the beach and the multiple pools and hot tubs all around the resort.  Thank you so much, Donal, Claire & Jackie, for inviting us to celebrate the Holy Week with your family!

This trip to Marbella was a lot of fun, and I’m definitely glad that we took advantage of the very long weekend to get out of the city for a bit.  Unfortunately, I’ve spent the past few days since we returned from Marbella sick in bed, but with an antibiotic I picked up yesterday, I am already starting to feel a lot better.  The plus side is that I’m half way through the first season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.  If you never saw it, I seriously suggest downloading it; it’s amazing!

Hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend as much as I did!  Ciao, amores:)

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paella con bea

  

Feliz Semana Santa!

Last night my roommate Bea showed me and a friend of her’s from class how to make paella.  She explained that everyone has their own ways of going about it, what vegetables to add, what order to add things in, etc, but she sticks to the way her dad has been making it her whole life and it was absolutely amazing!  She even called him in the midst of cooking to check if the chorizo sausage being spicy would change the flavor (it would, so we skipped on putting it).

After dinner we enjoyed homemade torrijas, which are basically slices of french toast toasted in cinnamon & sugar made out of a special type of bread.  They’re so common during semana santa (holy week), so Bea decided to make those too.  We talked about all sorts of things from our different cultures to music festivals.  I always like hearing people’s thoughts and opinions about different things, since we all have grown up in such different environments.

It was the perfect beginning to holy week, and I’m heading to Marbella tonight for the long weekend.  Thursday & Friday are both official holidays here in Madrid, so nearly everything will be closed.  We’re spending the first two days in a hostal by the beach in the old part of Marbella and then Saturday, Sunday & Monday with Jackie’s family.  I’m so excited to meet all of them and relax by the pool & beach all weekend.  It’s going to be weird not being at my house with my family for Easter, which makes me even more appreciative that Jackie’s parents have taken us in to celebrate the holiday with them!  A post with plenty of photos to come on Tuesday.  Enjoy your weekend & Happy Easter, amores:)

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me encantaría aprender frances

  

   
I absolutely adored Paris.  Everything was beautiful: the food, the people, the sites, the culture and especially the desserts!  The city was amazing and I wish I could go back right now to explore even more because even with nearly three full days there, I feel like we hardly saw anything.  It was so relaxing for Dan and I to just be there together; we didn’t have to agree on plans, where and when to eat, or what to do each day with our friends or family.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going on big trips with everyone, but going by ourselves certainly had many advantages as well!

Each morning we woke up early-ish (around 9 or so) for the hotel breakfast of fresh croissants & baguettes, orange juice and coffee & tea.  We usually took the metro over to the other side of the river, like on Friday to start our all-day walking tour of the city at the Eiffel Tower!!  And then walked around from there.  Due to lack of time, I’d rather no go through the day by day of what we did, but I assure you it was all amazing.

  

We saw all of the other wonderful sites like the Champ de Mars, Arc de Triomphe, Musée de L’Homme, Avenue Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde & the Egyptian obelisk, Jardin des Tuileries, Opéra de Paris Garnier, Notre Dame, and Jardin du Luxembourg, We visited two of the great museums, Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay and went shopping on Boulevard de la Madeleine and at the store named after me, Colette (haha).

  

  

We ate paninis, crepes, and cheese plates for lunch in the Latin Quarter at our friend JP’s favorite lunch spot during his study abroad and at the markets near Avenue Motte – Picquet.  We had two amazing dinners at Le Procope and Les Ministeres per the recommendations of Lauriane and snacked on a million different pastries from the rum-honey cakes I ate in Lyon to strawberry shortcake, coffee eclairs, creme brûlée, macaroons from Ladurée and rhubarb pie through out the weekend.

         

    

Though the weekend was short, it was extremely fun and relaxing while it lasted.  Being there made me want to learn French and move to Paris later on, so don’t be surprised if you’re reading my blog la Blonde á Paris in a few years, hehe.  Au revoir, amours:)

{Running to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night}

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2011, un resumen

I spent New Years Eve eating 12 “lucky grapes” for the last 12 rings of the clock bells as is the Spanish tradition, having the pleasure to be out at a huge club by the river with 15 of my friends, and wishing all of my family and friends in America Happy New Year when it turned midnight on the east coast!  Yes, it was 6am … but, the club was just closing!

 

As we stride into 2012 I’d like to share this summary of everything that happened on my blog in 2011, thanks to WordPress.com.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.  Enjoy! & Thank you all for your continued support!

Ciao, amores:)

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la noche de moda

Wednesday night was Vogue Espana’s “Fashion’s Night Out in Madrid.”  If you haven’t heard of it… VFNO is a series of events held around the world each fall.  It was started a few years back in New York City to boost spending at high end retailers during the start of the recession.  Over the past few years it has grown into an internationally-known night of fashion, free food & drinks, and fun!  Of course, when I saw the posters along Calle Princesa and Calle Alberto Aguilera in the shopping district around my neighborhood I knew we had to go!

Many retailers along Calle Serrano (think the Boston Common end of Newbury & Boylston or NYC’s Fifth Avenue) stay open from 8pm until midnight offering discounts or sale merchandise along with their new fall collections.  Nearly everywhere offers champagne or wine, but some stores even offer mojitos, martinis, or other creative drinks, and a few offer the Spanish standard: bread, cheese, and jamon.

We walked up and down Calle Serrano and along some of the other side streets.  It was just a huge party of women dressed up in the streets, some shopping, but all mostly just browsing and enjoying the night with their friends, just as we were.  It was great to take part in such a wonderfully Spanish event for the night and check out this area of the city that I had not yet explored!

Buen fin de semana, amores:)

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