April 22

I woke up at 11:00 and threw in a load of laundry. Everyone had the same idea, but I was the second one to the washing machines that morning so I didn’t have to wait. While I was waiting on my laundry, I started to collect all of my things together to pack up. I couldn’t believe it was already time to leave Valencia.

At 1:30 everyone headed down to the cafeteria for our last lunch in the dorms. We had spaghetti carbonara that I cut pieces of ham into and made a sandwich out of. The olive oil I doused over it completed my masterpiece. After lunch, I threw in another load of laundry. It was rainy and overcast but Diego and I decided to go out in Valencia for a while to pick up some souvenirs and to get one last big walk around the city.

We went to the Valencia Soccer store and Corte Ingles. In between our destinations, we took the long way and we cut through Plaza de Ayuntamiento, Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen. They are all so great, it was hard to walk through and think that they wouldn’t be a daily routine to see them anymore.

After we got back to the dorm, I took a shower and hung out with everyone on the hall up until dinnertime. For dinner we had an excellent meal; we had chicken strips and fries (I made a sandwich), bacon and mushroom pizza and an orange soda. It was definitely the best last meal at the Rector Peset that I could ask for.

After dinner, we hung out in the dorm until about 11:30. We headed to O’Haras (just like our first night in Valencia) and mostly just talked about how much fun we had and remembered stories from the trip. I went with Ben, Brittany, and Caroline to Doner Kebab to get my last fill for the trip. I had a piece of chicken pizza with hot sauce. It was as good as ever. After we finished our pizza and said goodbye to the owners of Doner, we headed back to O’Haras. We stayed there for about thirty minutes longer before we headed to the discotheque Mya.

Mya has a really cool location, in a corner of the City of Arts and Sciences looking out at the reflection pool that the Artic Monkey’s performed at earlier in the year. The walls were white but the lighting projected a light pink color on the walls. If you add in the all white dress theme, it looked exactly like a Miami nightclub. We got there at around 2:40 and were the first ones on the dance floor. The next thing I noticed, the dance floor was packed. The club was really cool, the music was great and the people I was with were awesome. It was a great way to say goodbye to Valencia.

We all decided to leave just before 5:00. We were exhausted and had to be in the lobby all ready to leave for Madrid at 11:00. We had all three of our taxis stop at La Lonja. Some of the girls were hungry so we found some pizza and headed back to the dorm. As I went to bed, I couldn’t help but think about how great this semester had been.


**Internet is really slow and I can't upload images but I will get pictures up soon.

April 21



I did the same method I did the day before to study when I woke up. Study in the study room, review at breakfast and review on the way to class worked well. My Business exam went well and I am anxious to get my grade back. Virginia has been a great teacher, and the actual class content has been helpful and relevant to my major.

I finished the test about thirty minutes so I had two and a half hours to review before my Composition exam started. I went down to the cafeteria at school with Diego and Kristen. I normally don’t like studying in groups in Athens, but Spanish has been helpful because a lot of times if you don’t know something like the meaning of the word, they can help and vice versa. This test was difficult to prepare for because the exam was cumulative and I had about 10 different chapters to look over.

The exam was pretty hard, it was seventy multiple-choice questions and we had to write a letter about a recent trip. I talked about my parents coming and I had more than enough to write about. After I finished, it didn’t hit me that I was done with my spring semester of my junior year. The walk back was beautiful, another perfect blue-sky day. For lunch we had steak and fries that I made a sandwich out of. They have been putting the ketchup out from behind the counter so now we can take as much as we want. Four packets are always better than two.

After lunch Diego, Taylor, Scott and I went to a public park over by the Torres de Quart. We hung out kicking the soccer ball and two kids started playing with us. We were kicking the ball around for a while when an old man with a cane approached me and spoke really raspy Spanish. He said that he enjoyed watching us playing soccer with the kids and he proceeded to show me team pictures when he played for Valencia back in the 1950’s; he had over ten pictures. It was really cool.

After we hung out in the park, we were near Alberto’s man pad so we called him up. We played some pro evolution soccer on playstation 2 and hung out. We left a couple hours later and walked back. It had been a great afternoon in Valencia.

We hung out in the dorm until dinner. We had curry chicken with rice, which was delicious. This is one meal that I could eat in the U.S. After dinner, we didn’t start getting ready to go out until right before 12:00. First we went to the Irish pub right outside my balcony in my room. After we finished our pints, we decided to go to El Negrito. Mary Claire and I stopped in the dorm and woke up Scott and D White who had been sleeping since dinner. They rallied and came out with us to El Negrito. We didn’t stay too long but we had a beer at some tables in the back of the restaurant. It was fun to go out with everyone; it had been a while.

We came back to the dorm and hung out in Diego’s room for a while, listening to music. I decided to go to bed just past 3:30. I couldn’t help but think about how quick this trip has gone.

April 20



I woke up at 7:00 and started reviewing my literature material. I went down to one of the study rooms and Diego and Mary Claire had beat me down by a few minutes. Not more than ten minutes later Kristen and Brittany came down. We went to breakfast around 7:45 and reviewed our study guide at breakfast. I had a café con leche and some toast. They haven’t had strawberry jam all week but I settled for a jam that is a close second in taste, apple.

We left for class around 8:15 and got to class early and got to ask Celia questions that we were unsure about. The test went well, it was four short answer (a paragraph in length) and an essay (about 300 words). I finished a few minutes before class let out and hung out in the hall until Culture started.

In Culture we had a big discussion about our papers and what we have learned. We went around and we had to tell the class if we thought we would come back to Valencia. There were a lot that said that they wanted to return after the graduate and work over here. I decided that I don’t think I could live in Europe, I would miss being in the U.S. too much. I love the culture, the language and the food and I will hopefully plenty of vacations back to Spain.

After we got back to the dorm, I hung out in my dorm before lunch. We had pasta with cheese that made a great sandwich when I doused olive oil over it. After lunch, I studied for a couple hours for Composition. I took a break and hung out on the roof for a while. The weather has been perfect.

I came back down at 6:00 about two hours later and started studying for Business. A big group of us went to dinner at the Rector. We had a cheese plate, patatas, and baked wings. They were good but they don’t really compare to the baked chicken ma makes back at home. My parents have already taken requests for my meals that I miss most: Cheeseburgers and Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches (my Dad has perfected both on the grill).

After dinner, I spent the rest of the night studying. I decided to go up to bed just pass 12:00 and wake up like I had before to review.

April 19



It was a beautiful day in Valencia, the sky was blue and the temperature was perfect. I woke up, took a shower and enjoyed a nice breakfast of café con leche and toast with apple jam. It was delicious. In Business class we had a review day. The exam is luckily not cumulative and it is as big as a test.

During my break, I used my time to finish up my culture paper. It was pretty easy to finish but I used my full two hours to read over and correct it. I really enjoyed writing the paper and thinking about all I have learned, and it has been fun asking other people in the group what they think too. In Composition class we checked our homework on prepositions that we had over the weekend. Our exam is going to be pretty difficult because it is cumulative but she did hand out a practice exam that we got to look over and review in class before we handed it back to her.

After lunch, I headed straight to lunch at the Rector Peset. It was a little hot outside and I broke a sweat walking back in pants. Lunch was chicken and fries. They had a soup that didn’t look very appetizing so I opted just to have one course. It wasn’t very satisfying, but I was full. After lunch, I started studying for my Literature final and skyped with Laura. She was in between work and class so I got the chance to talk to her for a while.

For dinner, we had tortilla and my favorite pizza bread. I was lucky enough to have the man serving give me two pieces of pizza. I spent most of the night studying; I took a break and hung out in Diego’s room right before bed. I went to bed at 12:30 and sent my alarm for 7:00 to wake up and review.


**Both pictures are from barcelona (port vuell and the cathedral of barcelona)

April 18



I woke up at about 11:00, saw that no one was up from the night before and decided to head back to sleep. The extra three hours I got when I went back to sleep was incredible and I woke up feeling great. We headed down to lunch at 2:00. More chicken and French fries, but I guess I am happy with anything besides jamon. After lunch, I sent out some emails, and got a chance to catch up with most of the family. Laura had her induction for Arch Society and President Adams was at the inauguration that Laura gave a speech to. It was pretty exciting. The Arch Society gave out superlatives to all of the members and Laura proudly received “Most likely to take over President Adams’ job before they graduate”. I laughed when I heard the news because it is so true.

I worked a little more on my final paper for culture. This paper has been pretty fun to write because it has allowed me to stop and think back about all of my experiences from this past semester. I sure have had a lot. As I have been writing it though, it has just made me more anxious to get back to the United States. Hopefully the volcano in Iceland won’t present any huge disruptions for an easy flight home.

I typed up our last assignment for Business class, a formal complaint letter. It didn’t take me too long at all and I emailed it to Virginia right before 8:00. At around 8:15 I headed down to the cafeteria to get dinner. Some of us had plans to go and eat with Celia so I just grabbed a ham and cheese croissant and some French fries to hold me off until we ate. At 9:00 Diego, Joe, Greg, Dave, Dave and I met Celia in the reception lobby and we headed to a nice tapas bar (the name is slipping me right now).

I enjoyed having dinner with Celia, Diego and I split some patatas bravas and a tapas dish with sausage and peppers. We talked about the difference between American and Spanish students, which was funny to hear a professor’s opinion on the two. She said Americans were very hard workers, which I was proud of. I was so disappointed when she explained that in the past some students have lied about family members being sick in order to have an excuse for not doing an assignment. It is true that some people will do whatever it takes to get a good grade or an extension on an assignment.

After dinner we said our good byes to Celia and I headed back to the dorm. I started reviewing a little bit of my Literature notes for my final on Tuesday. I went to bed a little bit after 12:00, very content with the happenings of my last weekend in Valencia.


**The pictures were both taken in Toledo over Easter

April 17



I woke up at about 12:30 and do what I normally do on weekends. First, I check my email because Laura always gives me an update of what went on with her meetings and stuff after I go to bed, which I love reading. Second, I check ESPN for any scores that I should know about that I might have missed. Third, I update my blog. Fourth, I find people who are awake and go to lunch. I followed my normal rountine to the “T” and headed down to lunch shortly after 2:00. Lunch was decent, I made a chicken sandwich and had some French fries. I have been really disappointed with no orange soda at meals though; I should probably find the story out behind the illusive orange soda.

The Manchester City vs. Manchester United game was being televised yesterday so Diego, Joe, Greg, Dave and I all decided to find an Irish bar to go watch the second half at after lunch. We went to Finnegan’s first but decided to move on because there were no good tables left to see the game. We ended up going to every Irish bar we could think of (5) after that and they were all closed. We ended up walking around for a good hour and a half; we decided to come back to the Rector Peset with our mission unsuccessful.

I skyped with Laura for a little bit, showered and went out again to get a drink. This time I was successful. I went to the Lounge and brought my book. I haven’t read really at all this whole week and it was good to pick back up with the story I love so much in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I finally thought McMurphy had been beat but it looks like he is coming back with a vengeance at Nurse Ratched. After a couple hours, I decided to come back to the dorm.

The group of us who went to find the soccer game at the bar plus Taylor all decided to skip the Rector Peset dinner and go to an all you can eat Chinese Buffet for 8 euros. I decided to stick to eating things that I knew would be chicken, beef or rice. I had a total of four plates of food. Chicken lo mein, fried rice, Chinese doughnuts, spring rolls, and plenty of soy sauce were only some of the highlights. Diego and I had to take three deep breaths to actually stand up from the table. It was a pretty miserable walk home, I was filled to the brim.
We got back to the dorm just after 11:00. I didn’t do too much else, I found the Hawks game streaming online and watched the first half before I fell asleep in front of my computer, gorged from the meal I just had.

April 16



I woke up around 1:00 and we started getting everyone rallied to go to the beach I knew it was going to take a while to get everyone up and going so we shot to leave after lunch. For lunch we had a chicken breast and fries. After lunch, we packed up and were on our way to the beach just a little bit past 3:00.

The weather was definitely not the typical beach weather you would expect, it was in the mid-60s and overcast but we decided it would definitely be one of our last opportunities to go so we wanted to take advantage of it. The tram was pretty full of people in their normal Friday afternoon routine.

After we got to the beach, we met up with about 6 people who had gotten to the beach before lunch. It was fun to have such a big group on the beach (around 12). It was pretty windy and cold, so I put on sweat pants. We got hungry so we split a pizza from Da Vinci’s. It hit the spot. Some played soccer against some other Spanish kids, but I just laid on my blanket and enjoyed the view, there were tons of sailboats out on the ocean and it is fun to watch them go by.

As the sun started to set, we decided to catch the tram home. It took us probably a little under to get back home and we were back at the Rector Peset just before 8:00. I had a wonderful shower and got ready to go to Mexican food. I got ready a little early though, we didn’t actually leave until about 10:00. The restaurant was good but it’s no Cinco, I had grilled chicken nachos with jalopenos, onions, and pico de gallo scattered on top. It was delicious. We all enjoyed a couple drinks and some appetizers.

We didn’t end up leaving until just after 12:00. I came back to the dorm, skyped with Laura for a little bit then decided to hit the sheets and fell asleep by 1:00. I couldn’t believe it was my last Friday in Valencia, but I loved it.

April 15



I woke up at 8:00 to another overcast sky. I showered and headed down to the cafeteria. I had some orange juice and toast with strawberry jam. We were out the door just after 8:30. I couldn’t believe that it was already my last Thursday of regular classes. This semester has just gone way too fast.

In Literature class Celia gave us a study guide for the final and we had a presentation from Greg and Kristen. This class has just been great, I have a renewed interest in Literature thanks to this class. In Culture class we had a substitute and we spent the class talking about bull fighting. Adrian also showed us clips of toros por la calle which are different versions of “the running of the bulls”. All of the with the exception of 1 do not harm the bull. Toros de la Vega is the brutal exception in which the town lures a bull up on a mountain and they all have lances and take turns stabbing it. It is unfair and I was troubled by it.

After class, we headed back to the dorm. I was so excited because about halfway home the sun started to poke through the trees. It looked like it was going to be a great day to be outside. I hung out in my room until lunch. I made a ravioli sandwich and had some French fries. Shortly after lunch, a group of eight of us decided to head to El Rio to enjoy the great weather. We ended up finding an empty field and played 4 on 4 ultimate Frisbee then soccer with the same teams. It was fun to switch up between the two sports.

After we got back at around 6:30, Diego and I went to Alberto and all of his friends “man pad” and we watched the Real Madrid vs. Almeria soccer game. It was a great game, Almeria (a team that should have been dominated) scored first. Real Madrid ended up pulling it out but it was an interesting game. I didn’t realize how late it was getting back and I had to rush to meet the six guys I was going to the Valencia soccer game with. I ran upstairs, grabbed my ticket and we were out the door.

The game was great, we went to Manolo’s famous bar before the game and had a drink. We made it to our seats just as kickoff started. The game was against Bilbao. Bilbao is in sixth place and they needed to win this game if they had any hopes of playing in the Europa League tournaments. Our seats were great, they were upper deck but we had a great view of everything going on. I also enjoyed it because you could see the Micalet (the large cathedral tower that my parents and I climbed), it reminded me of the view. David Silva had two fantastic goals and Valencia won a great game 2-0.

After the game got out, I was exhausted. Joe, Greg and I took a taxi that let us out right near Doner Kebab. We grabbed a late night snack and headed back to the dorm. I decided to stay in for the night and get a good night sleep. My bed never felt better.

April 14



I woke up and had a feast for a breakfast; I had two pieces of toast, a café con leche, a glass of apple juice, a bocadillo and I grabbed two packs of breakfast crackers as I was out the door. The weather was cloudy and the streets were wet from the rain Valencia received the night before. It was also noticeably colder; we were so lucky to have the weather we did when my parents were here. In business class we had a presentation and corrected all of the homework we had from over the break. We went over the format for our final, which thankfully is not cumulative.

During my break in between classes, I went to the computer lab and started to work on my final grade for culture. We have to write a four-page reflection paper that basically compares and contrasts our culture to Spanish. We also have to explain what we like and what we don’t like about both cultures too. It was actually pretty easy to write, my ideas flowed pretty easy and I knocked out a page and a half.

In composition we learned our last piece of grammar about prepositions. As been the case all year, when she started to teach us all of the rules fell into place and it started to make sense. Her best way of teaching is she writes on the board anywhere from 2-4 different options to compose a sentence and then asks us to choose which one we think is right and tell her why. After we finished our preposition work we were dismissed and headed back to the dorm.

For some unknown reason, lunch was great. I made a spaghetti sandwich and doused it in olive oil. After lunch, I updated my blog and sent some of the pictures from this past week to my dad. The rest of the afternoon and early part of the night I hung out with everyone on my floor. It has been great to be living where I am because it reminds me a lot of the fun we had freshman year where everyone always has their door open and people can just freely walk and hangout in whichever room they please.

For dinner we had curry chicken and rice that was really good too. Two good meals have been hard to come by at the Rector lately and I was very satisfied. After dinner, I hung out for a while and then decided to head to O’Haras to see Juanjo. Diego came and met up after a while. After about twenty minutes Ben and Joe came then twenty minutes after that Scott, Ashely, and Mary Claire came too so it turned into a pretty good crowd.

Alex and Daniel, two friends I have made here were at O’Haras and we talked for a while. It was crazy because Alex is a huge R.E.M. fan and we started to talk about Athens. When he dropped the 40 Watt (a bar/venue for music) and Oconee Street (one of the streets in downtown Athens) I was surprised and really impressed. Diego and I arranged to meet up with them before we left which should be fun. I stayed for a while but left at 1:00 because I was pretty exhausted.

April 13



I woke up to Joe saying, “Dude, it’s 8:45 we have fifteen minutes until class starts.” I hoped out of bed and scrambled to get ready. My alarm clock broke a few weeks back and I have resorted to using an alarm clock that I downloaded for my computer. It actually works nice but a lot of the time my computer doesn’t turn on like it is programmed to do. Joe’s alarm didn’t work as well. We scrambled downstairs, skipped breakfast and caught a taxi to class. We were only about 7 minutes late and I was happy to be in a taxi because it was raining and cold. We had a funny conversation with the taxi driver in which we talked about all of the breaks that students here have from class. He was saying how unfair it was.

Celia didn’t mind us being a few minutes late. We started answering questions on narratives. We read an excerpt from a work called “Las Medidas Rojas” (the red stockings). It was pretty thick and difficult to understand at parts but it discussed the roles of the working class and showed a more vulgar view of a girls father that beat her because she wore red stockings (normally a sign of higher class). She ends up losing vision in an eye and some of her teeth and can never obtain her dream of going to America because those with physical disabilities we not allowed to make the trip.

In Culture class we started our last unit on art. It was great having just gone to the Prado because I had seen most of the works that we discussed. We talked about neoclassical architecture and looked also at some examples of architecture from Antoni Gaudi, the architect for Sagrada Familia and many other famous buildings in Barcelona. The cool thing that Gaudi did when he designed a building is he would also design the interior as well such as rooms and furniture.

After class, the walk back was rainy and I got drenched. When I got back, I changed into some warm sweatpants and felt much better. I updated my blog before lunch. At 1:30 we rushed down to eat. The lunch ladies weren’t done eating and needed time so we waited until they finally went back to the kitchen, when we tried to open the door it was locked. The ladies purposely walked by the locked door to get to the kitchen I think just to spite us. We had to walk all the way around the building to the other entrance. It was pretty unnerving.

After lunch, I spent most of the afternoon doing some small tasks I needed to get done. I changed my pin number for my debit card (now I finally can withdraw cash), ordered a new license (got stolen with my wallet) and did laundry. Dinner was a cheese plate and some croquetas that I made a sandwich out of. The rest of the night I didn’t do too much. I went to bed shortly after 12:00. It was a great day.


**The pictures are from the Royal Botanical gardens in Madrid.

April 12



I woke up at 10:30 and rushed down to the laundry room because I knew the washers and dryers would be in high demand with everyone just recently got back. I threw a load of laundry in and updated my blog.

We had steak that I made a sandwich out of for lunch. I am getting a little suspicious though, we have had steak a few times this week and a few of us think they are just heating up the old steak from this past week. It’s okay though, the light is at the end of the tunnel for when I can get back to normal food. And at least they always have good fries and orange soda.

For the first part of the afternoon I didn’t do too much, I showered and folded my laundry. After, Laura and I went to Negrito for a cup of coffee. I brought One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and read a lot. I have really enjoyed the book and from what my Dad said I think I am really going to like the movie too. After two café con leche, Mary Claire and Caroline joined us. We left pretty shortly after they came.

For the rest of the afternoon leading up to our weekly informational meeting about upcoming events I hung out in my room, catching up with Laura, Ryan and Dad. Our meeting was short, we don’t have any planned events and Aitor was just discussing our final exam schedule. I can’t believe this semester is coming to an end. For dinner, we had chicken wings and chicken noodle soup (another dish I feel like we have had way too much lately and probably are the leftovers).

After dinner, I hung out in my room while most people worked on some papers that they have coming up this week. I am pretty lucky in that the three classes on this program I am not in have the most work. At 11:00 we went to O’Haras with a bunch of people to grab a beer for Ashley’s birthday. We all came back after a drink, after all we had our first day of class for 12 days. It was a great break though and I am excited to get back to my last two weeks of class.


**The pictures are from Toledo and the Cathedral in Valencia

April 11



I woke up at 9:50 to catch the last ten minutes of breakfast, but my bed felt so good I decided to sleep in. I woke up just before 12:00 and watched the last thirty minutes of Breaking Bad’s newest episode. I updated my blog and got some new pictures loaded up. At 12:30 I started looking for people to see if anyone was awake. Dave and I tried to get some people together to go to el Rio. We recruited Diego, Scott, D White, Katie, Joe and Rebecca. It took everyone a while to get ready and as soon as we thought we were ready we would recruit one more person. It was pretty funny actually.

We finally left for el Rio at about 1:00. The weather has been outstanding lately, never a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the mid to high sixties. The sky is bluer than ever and the flowers are all starting to bloom. It is a wonderful springtime in Valencia. When we got there we passed a men’s soccer league and walked for a bit before we found a nice green space to throw the Frisbee. Some of us kicked the soccer ball around and others threw the Frisbee. I chose the Frisbee.

We played for about 45 minutes until Rebecca and I decided to play paddle ball with the beach set she had gotten over Semana Santa. We played for a while as the other six played a three on three soccer game. At 2:00 there was a mini-mesclata (loud fireworks) and we heard a band playing. We know there is a holiday on Monday but we aren’t exactly sure what for. We all got pretty hungry around the same time and decided to head back to the Rector.

Lunch was chicken that was a little dry with rice. I am at my wits end with the cafeteria food and frankly I am excited to be heading back to be able to have my favorite American dishes like cheeseburgers and buffalo chicken sandwiches. After lunch, I used the afternoon to relax. People were still coming back from their trips so I caught up with them. I didn’t do too much the rest of the evening/night; I caught up on the Master’s leader board.

Dinner was gross and I left still hungry (I was spoiled eating so well while my parents were here). After dinner, I hung out in the dorms while most people got working on some papers that they have due for their history and cine class. Diego, Joe, Dave and I hung out for awhile until I went back to my room. I skyped with Laura before I went to bed. Even though it was Sunday, it was nice knowing there was no school until Tuesday.

April 10



I was pretty tired from my week of traveling so I took the morning to catch up on some rest. It was great, I woke up to lunch and Diego, Greg and D White had gotten back. We ate lunch and swapped stories. A few of us were looking for something to do so we planned a little afternoon excursion to the beach. It took everyone a while to get motivated and ready but we left for the beach just before 4:00.

The weather was great, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the mid 60’s. I ran in to a bit of bad luck, the metro machine ate my money and I didn’t get a ticket. Diego had the same thing happen to him earlier in the semester and he said it was really easy to get back. He said he would help me get to the office to get it back this week, which is nice.

The beach was packed. This weekend there is a kite festival and there were hundreds of kites in the air. We found a spot and posted up for a few hours with an ipod, some speakers, the bags of easter candy my mom brought me and two Lufthansa blankets that I got from the airplane. It was so relaxing. The breeze wasn’t strong so it didn’t get cold even when the sun started to go down. I did have a little too much candy though. We decided to head back at about 7:00. Right as we were leaving, two gyrocopters flew overhead and kept circling the stretch of beach that we were on. It was really cool to watch them. The metro ride took a while on the way back; it seemed like our tram stopped at every intersection and red light. We managed to get back to the dorm right around 8:00.

After we got back, I showered and caught up on all of the sports happenings in the U.S. with the start of the MLB season and the Masters. I am really hoping that Fred Couples will come up with a big win going into Sunday. Dinner was pretty awful; we had calamari that didn’t hold a light to the calamari that we had at Cal Pep in Barcelona. After dinner, I was pretty exhausted and decided to stay in. We all hung out in Diego’s room until about 12:30. After, I came in and caught up on me and Ryan’s TV show, Breaking Bad. I went to bed shortly past 1:00.

April 9



I could not believe that it was already Friday, the last day my parents were here. The week had just been so great and had just gone way too fast. We met up at 9:30 on Calle de la Paz because my parents actually started walking my direction and we met in the middle. We went to Starbucks and got a coffee and some orange juice and we talked about how fun/comical our dinner was the night before.

After we finished our coffee my parents really helped me out and we went over to the hospital to pay my bill. It had been hanging over my head because I haven’t had a credit card, only the number and I was just nervous to go back. We took the metro over to the hospital and asked at a few desks until we were pointed in the right direction to the payment department. The ladies were so nice, they were asking me a lot of confusing questions that I didn’t completely understand but we finally got it paid. I was surprised because I thought with the ambulance ride, there would be a lot more damage done but thankfully it wasn’t.

After we lifted that huge burden off my shoulders, we went over to L’ Almoina because I wanted to show my parents the Roman, Visigoth and Muslim ruins that were right under the Cathedral. After we went to the desk, I found out a tour was mandatory and the English tours didn’t start until 4:30, which was too late for my parents because their train left back for Madrid at 5:50. I decided to show a little of my translating skills and we opted to take the all-Spanish tour that started at 1:00.

The tour was only the three of us plus the guide, which was good because she would pause after every few sentences to allow me to translate. When she played a video about the ceramics they had found, she was nice enough to play it in English. I didn’t translate perfectly, but I was surprised at how much I actually translated. The tour guide was actually so good though that my mom was able to pick up on a lot of stuff before I even translated it.

I was starving after the tour so we decided to look for someone. I couldn’t pull the trigger and decide anywhere so we walked around for a little over thirty minutes until we all decided that the lunch we had yesterday was so good that we should go back. I was so glad we did, the meal was better than the day before. We started with an awesome salad with Balsamic vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, chunks of delicious cheese. I had bowties again with this Bolognese sauce that was so good. My parents got delicious entrees too, my dad had linguini with a really good Carbonara sauce and my mom had a cheesy orzo that was wonderful as well.

After lunch, we only had a little less than two hours so I decided to take my parents over to the Torres de Quart to have them climb up to the top. The view is incredible, not as great as the Micalet but incredible nonetheless. We stopped back at the dorm to drop off my leftovers from lunch and to see if Joe wanted to come along too. Of course knowing my luck, It was closed for siesta and wasn’t going to open back up until 5:30. My parents still got to see the whole façade covered in craters from canon balls over the years. We decided why not go grab a little gelato and a drink to enjoy the beautiful weather.

We went to Montadito’s and got some drinks and just talked. It was great, my parents really enjoyed meeting Joe. At 5:00 we needed to start making our way to the train station. We said bye to Joe and then headed over to the Hotel to grab my parents bags that they kindly let us leave behind the counter when we checked out. We went over to the train station and looked up where the train to Madrid was leaving. I stood with them in line and saw them off. It was so hard to believe that their trip was already over. I just had the greatest time with them; I ate like a king, saw three beautiful cities, viewed beautiful artwork, but most of all just enjoyed my parents company.

After I got back to the dorm, I saw the Mary Claire, Caroline and Ashley had gotten back from Portugal. I spent most of the evening comparing pictures and telling stories about our respective trips. I got to talk to Laura for a while which was great, our limited Internet access in Barcelona and Madrid coupled with her busy schedule (that is six hours behind) made it hard for me to talk to her. She had a large break in between work and an Arch society retreat so we talked for a little over an hour.

I was disappointed to be back with the cafeteria food. Every restaurant that I ate at while my parents were here was so good and the less than stellar hamburger (without a bun mind you) didn’t look very appetizing. After dinner, we all hung out for a little bit before we decided to go to O’Haras to grab a drink. They were having a Guinness promotion there so I thought I should have one. It was good to catch up with Juanjo and talk about everyone’s trips they had this past week. The girls were going to get another drink but Joe and I decided to turn in early for the night. I was pretty exhausted and my bed felt great.

April 8



I met up with my parents at 9:30. I figured the best spot to meet them would be their hotel because we didn’t have cell phones to correspond with each other. I was surprised to find they had already had been exploring the Calle de la Paz and had been to a bakery and grabbed some coffee. I knew my parents would love the central market so we checked that out first.

I was right. The hundreds of vendors selling fresh fruit, seafood, wine, olive oil, cheese and so much more was right up their alley. We bought some toasted almonds, dried strawberries and some olive oil. The only part that was hard to stomach was the container of fresh, live eels that were trying to frantically escape their eventual demise. After we dropped off our newly purchased goods, I decided to show them our beautiful beaches.

We purchased our round trip metro tickets and I advised them, “You do not want to lose this ticket. If you do, it causes a lot of problems and is a 10 euro fine.” They listened and made sure to keep extra good care of them. After the metro, we walked all up and down the large public space that they had running parallel to the beach. The weather was perfect, I was happy I was wearing long sleeves when the breeze picked up. After we walked around for about an hour and a half, we decided to head back to the Barrio del Carmen to grab some lunch.

Of course, I was too busy telling my parents to keep up with their ticket that I somehow misplaced mine. When the metro employee asked for our tickets, my parents quickly presented theirs but I couldn’t account for mine. The man saw after reading the tickets that I really had purchased a ticket, so instead of giving me the fine, he made us pay 1.40 (the price for a single trip) instead of the 10 euro fine. As is always the case after we were about 100 yards away from our stop, my dad looked in the bag of dried strawberries and almonds that we had brought with us and sure enough there was my ticket.

There were a lot of good looking restaurants that lined the huge walkway up to the Plaza de la Virgen and it was hard to decide which one we wanted to go to. We decided the restaurant with the Guinness umbrella out front was the winner and we sat down. We made a great decision. We had some great salad, some pizza and I ordered alfredo bowtie pasta. It was out of this world. My dad and I enjoyed a birthday pint of Guinness and we sat out enjoying our wonderful afternoon in Valencia.

After lunch, we went to the Valencia soccer store and poked around for a bit. After we made a couple purchases, we went back to my dorm to make some calls back home. It was good to talk to Ryan, Peter and Mimi and I know my parents enjoyed it as well. After we got off the phone, I was pretty exhausted from staying up too late the night before and I decided to take a power nap and get ready for dinner. We parted ways, deciding to meet up at 9:15 back at the hotel. My nap was incredible, I was in a deep sleep and the hour was exactly what I needed.

I met with my parents and was excited to head to the restaurant I had chosen called A Tu Gusto. We walked about a block over to Cortes Ingles to catch a taxi and we were on our way. Or so I thought. The taxi driver had no idea where the restaurant was and said he couldn’t get their without an address. We hurried back to the hotel to find the address and then we were on our way.

The restaurant was in a small little neighborhood over by the City of Arts and Sciences. It was really well decorated, and I enjoyed the quiet environment (we were the only ones there). We went ahead and ordered the set menu that they had prepared for the night. Our server didn’t speak any English so I was forced to translate for my parents. I tried my best, but there were just some things I had no idea what they were. I basically was just saying, “Ham,” or, “More Ham.” The food was actually very good and we had a great meal. It was definitely more of a restaurant that would appeal more to Spanish taste buds but I really enjoyed talking with my parents and enjoying their company. After an espresso and a brownie with ice cream, we caught a cab back and split ways. I had an absolutely great day and I know my parents especially my Dad (with it being his birthday) enjoyed themselves too. Having this 1 on 1 time with them over here has been better than I ever imagined.

April 7



We woke up pretty late in the morning (thanks to the great shades that blacked out our room), packed up and took a taxi over to the train station with forty five minutes to spare before our train left for Valencia. We decided to stop at a café in the train station and have a cup of coffee. We munched on some cheese bocadillos that don’t sound too good but are actually awesome.

I was a little worried the entire train ride, it was raining and overcast and I was worried that the weather wouldn’t be perfect to show my parents my favorite city. As we neared Valencia, I could see a patch of blue skies in the distance and I just hoped that the weather would hold out. By the time we got off the train, the only sign of earlier rain were damp sidewalks; otherwise the weather was beautiful. We took a taxi to my parents’ hotel and we dropped off all of their stuff.

After I gave them a quick tour of my dorm and dropped my bags off, we went over to the Cathedral. With admission, we were given a free audio tour that was actually very cool. It explained what each chapel meant, the significance of different architectural structures, and even gave stories about significant martyrs to the Cathedral. Another interesting fact about the Cathedral that not too many people know about is the only Vatican recognized Holy Grail is kept in the Cathedral in Valencia. I think Indiana Jones made me think that it was lost forever, but actually it was moved to Spain in the 5th Century when the Roman Emperor started persecuting Christians.

After the informative tour, we climbed the steps of the huge central tour they call the Micalet. The view was absolutely incredible. It was great too because I was able to point out important landmarks all over the city. After we finished a great tour, we went to Montaditos and we had a few drinks and some tapas. It was my second time being there but I feel like I have mastered the menu now and know which sandwiches to get. My favorite was probably the chicken caesar salad montadito.

After we finished our late late lunch, we walked to el Rio to catch the last bit of sunlight. We ended up walking all the way down to the City of Arts and Sciences, which my parents enjoyed. We had been doing a lot of walking so we decided to catch a cab back to my parents’ hotel. We separated ways and agreed on meeting up at 10:00 back at the hotel. I posted my blog, showered and relaxed a little before I went to meet up with Mom and Dad.

I decided to take them to Bar Pilar, after all they were voted the best mussels in the city. We were still stuffed from our late lunch so we just stood at the bar and ordered some grilled vegetables and an order of mussels. It turned out perfect, it is a great atmosphere and we talked for a while and enjoyed each other’s company. We finished at a little past 11:00 and we parted ways.

After I got back to the dorm, I started registering for classes. Deciding whether or not I want to stay for an extra semester and double major (in Spanish) has been a little stressful because it means that I need to take 8 more classes, which greatly ups my workload. I decided I was willing to put in the work; after all, I am good at Spanish right now but close to being great. I stayed up for a few hours making everything fit into my schedule and was relieved when I did. My summer is going to be packed with 12 hours (almost a full semester load) but I think it will be well worth it. It was good to be back in my bed, it didn’t take me long to fall into a deep sleep.


**The picture of the altar has the holy grail in it. If you click on the actual picture, it will enlarge the picture so you can see it a little better.

April 6



The hotel’s blinds were great, it blacked out the room and I was surprised to see that it was 9:30 when I first woke up. I took a shower and we got ready for our day out in Barcelona. We took the metro to Sagrada Familia, I was impressed with our navigating skills, we figured out switching metro trains with no problem at all.

Sagrada Familia was beautiful. There was a pretty long line for general admission tickets but they had it moving pretty quickly and we didn’t have to wait more than thirty minutes to get inside the gates. I picked up an information pamphlet and it said the main “Jesus Tower” that has yet to be constructed with be 550 feet high and you will be able to see in from the Mediterranean. It is such an impressive building. We waited in line for about forty-five minutes to ride the elevator up to the top of the Temple; the view was awesome. We took a few minutes to take some pictures before we started our descent down about ten stories of winding stairs.

We were all looking for some normalcy in our diet, namely some vegetables so we stopped at a “Buffet Libre”. It was an all you can eat buffet with a delicious salad bar, fresh pasta and great pizza. We all enjoyed in thoroughly and recharged our batteries before we kept on going. We took the metro over to the Picasso Museum. It was awesome.

The arranged the museum and his works chronologically so it was really cool to follow his growth as an artist. In each room, they had an explanation about different people and places that influenced his work at the time that was pretty insightful. I had no idea that he actually spent some of his later years making ceramics. His wife Jacqueline donated all of his ceramics to the museum and ther were cool to look at. I also had no idea that he followed rather traditional form when he was younger either; he painted a lot of portraits and landscapes that were very good.

After we left the Picasso museum, we headed toward Port Vuell to see if the vendors were back today after the police had scared them away the day before. Luckily they were and my mom got a prada bag. After Port Vuell, we went and grabbed a drink in a very comfortable hotel lounge in the same plaza as the Cathedral of Barcelona. It was very relaxing. When we got back to the hotel, Mom and Dad went to do P90x while I used my internet card to update the blog and send an email to Laura. I caught up on the world news and had a very relaxing break.

When my parents got back, we got ready for dinner. We ate at a small restaurant and bar called Cal Pep. The restaurant was closed for a private party so we sat at a long bar and had tapas. I could tell it was going to be delicious because all of the restaurants we passed in the same plaza were empty but this one had a wait. They did a good job of turning tables, and we didn’t wait longer than twenty minutes. The server could tell it was our first time and he suggested what we should have. He was spot on. We had calamari, roasted green peppers, a delicious tomato and olive oil bread, clams, beef and potatoes, and tortilla (egg, onion, and potato mixed to kind of make an omelet) that were the best I had ever tasted. No lie. The seasoning was perfected and all of the dishes were cooked perfectly. Each bite I took was better than the last. My favorite tapas were either the clams or the beef and potatoes.

After we all had a café coratado (my parents like them just as much as I do), we took a cab back to the hotel. I had a great day and was looking forward to showing them my home of Valencia for the next few days. This trip has been outstanding and I have been having an absolute blast.

April 5



Our train’s departure was set for 10:30 so we were able to take our time waking up, showering and packing for Barcelona. We took the metro over to the Atocha Station and got to our train with no trouble at all. The high-speed train was incredible. It had speeds that reached just short of 300 km/hr. (about 186 miles an hour). The train was very enjoyable except there were about four kids within four rows of us that were making a lot of noise.

We pulled into Barcelona’s train station a little past 1:30. We caught a taxi to our beautiful hotel near the coast called the Hotel Fira Palace. Our room is huge and complete with a mini-fridge and high definition television. We got unpacked pretty quick and decided to start exploring. We took the metro to the Plaza de Catalunya (the city’s main plaza) and started down a mile long pedestrian walkway called Las Ramblas. It was so cool. There were street vendors, musicians and entertainers everywhere. Las Ramblas finished by the water at Port Vuell.

We didn’t see any good restaurants that particularly struck our interest so we decided to cut through a neighborhood and see if there were any right on the Mediterranean. We stopped at a delicious restaurant called Restaurante de Salamanca. My parents had a vegetable paella and I had a steak that was about the size of two of my heads. It was out of this world. I didn’t realize how hungry I was; I ate the entire thing.


After we finished, we walked back toward the center of the city. There were men setup everywhere selling fake Prada, Burberry, etc. bags that actually looked very real. We were wondering why they had a rope tied to all four corners of their blanket that they had lying on the street. Then we saw two cops pull up and we figured out quick. The men yanked the chord and hoisted the bag over their shoulders and scattered. It was funny to watch all of them scatter.

We walked back into a gothic part of town and stumbled on the Cathedral. It was a gothic Cathedral that is very dark and cold but it was so beautiful. The ceilings were so impressive. After we went through the Cathedral, we stopped at some stores as we made our way back to the metro. After we got back to the hotel, we hung out until it was time for our 10:00 reservation at a restaurant a block away from the Hotel called Las Rias de Galicia.

I got a little brave and decided to order blindly without knowing anything about my dish; It was monkfish with shrimp and clams. I really enjoyed it but was jealous of the huge filet of Veal that Dad had. We enjoyed some wine and talked for a while before we headed back to the hotel. I went to bed shortly after we got back.

April 4



I woke up to my parents getting ready for Mass. I hopped in the shower and we were out the door at about quarter to ten. There are three beautiful churches right on the same block as our hotel so it was a quick walk. The church we went to was beautiful. I tried my best to translate what I picked up from the Mass to my Mom. The one thing I was surprised about was how quick the Mass was. It was only about forty minutes long. I tried to snap a few pictures, but I had a security guard yell at me that photos weren’t permitted.

We walked to Starbucks for a quick coffee then started to get ready for our 12:20 train to Toledo. The metro is really quick and easy to use; we got to the train station in about ten minutes. We went through light security and were on our way to Spain’s historic capital. Toledo is pretty far from Madrid but the high-speed train only takes thirty minutes. We caught a cab ride up a mountain to the Plaza Zocodover and the historic part of Toledo. The city is beautiful. The weather was perfect, probably in the mid to high sixties with about two or three clouds in the sky. I really enjoyed exploring the old cobble stone streets of the historic district.

The Cathedral didn’t open until 2:00 but we decided to wait in line to buy our tickets. It was smart that we did, by the time 2:00 rolled around, the line was almost double what it was when we got in line. The Cathedral was absolutely beautiful. The inside was so ornate and there were so many side rooms that were stunning. The sacristy in the Cathedral had thirteen masterpieces of Saints from a lot of famous painters like el Greco and Rafael. When an archbishop would die and he chose his spot to be buried in the Cathedral, they would hang his hat from the ceiling upside down over his burial spot until it rots away. You could see a lot of deteriorating red hats hanging from the ceiling, which were pretty cool.

We went and grabbed a quick bite to eat at a restaurant started by a famous Toledo chef named Adolfo. We had a glass of wine and had a sampler platter of four different dishes. We had Jamon Iberico, Cheese covered in olive oil, shitake mushrooms, and venison. My favorite was probably the venison; it was very tender and perfect. After lunch, we didn’t have much longer until our train left so we walked to the edge of the city and took some pictures. It was beautiful. Instead of taking a taxi back to the train station, we decided the walk down would be much easier than the walk up.

After we got off the train in Madrid, we decided to walk over to the Royal Botanical gardens that were right near the Prado. I really enjoyed walking through the rows of different plants from all over the world. There were some beautiful flowers; I think we were just a couple weeks early to see the garden in full bloom. We went over across the street to a place called el Bar Museo and had a drink to enjoy the last bit on sunlight. We caught a taxi and had the driver go by the Royal Palace so my parents could see it. It is stunning and to boot the King doesn’t even live there; He lives about ten miles outside of Madrid in a different palace.

We decided to have an easy night in and just pick up some bread and cheese to snack on in our room. Dad and I went to Cortes Ingles and Mom headed up to the room. Cortes Ingles was packed. It took us a while to navigate all of the aisles but we found what we needed. Dad and I had a funny conversation with a couple while we were waiting in line. The man was Spanish and the female was German but they both couldn’t speak each other’s languages so they had to meet in the middle and speak English. The woman was trying to tell her boyfriend about a tradition her mom would do each Easter. The woman was trying to think of the English word for nest and was trying to use gestures to help the man understand. My dad helped them both by saying, “Nest.” The woman was relieved and she responded saying, “Oh! That’s how we say it in German too!” After we checked out, we returned to the hotel.

We tried to buy some Internet to talk with Peter and Mimi but the guy at the hotel lobby tried to pull a fast one on us and told me that we needed to purchase twenty-four hours worth of Internet in order to access it on our room. Dad didn’t care so we went ahead and bought it. I really enjoyed having Internet again; I posted my blog, got to talk to Peter and Mimi and got to talk with Laura for the first time outside of e-mail since Friday. It was nice. We all had an early night; I ended up staying awake until 12:00 because I was editing all of my pictures from Toledo. I have been having such a great time with my parents.


**I have some great pictures and will be sure to post them, the internet here is pretty slow and isn't allowing me to upload any.

April 3



We all enjoyed sleeping in and we didn’t actually get out of bed until 11:00. It was very nice to have a relaxing morning; we took our time getting ready and didn’t leave for the metro station until about 12:00. We took four stops to the Atocha station and headed toward the Prado. The weather was nice but it was overcast and the sun was trying to come through the clouds.

The Prado was incredible, three stories of famous art. We bought a Prado guide that was very helpful to read about the significance of each painting and a little bit about each artist. My favorite artist was Goya, he has a very interesting story. He painted the 2nd of May and my favorite the 3rd of May among many others. Both of the paintings tell the story of the Popular Class uprising in the early 1800s when Napoleon tried to remove the Spanish royal family from the throne and make his brother king.

I was disappointed to find that it was raining out especially because I opted to not bring my rain jacket. My parents were smart and they were kept warm and dry as we walked over to a nice restaurant across the street called La Taberna. We ordered some drinks and for lunch we had a mystery plate of six canapes. Canapes are open faced sandwiches; they consisted of some crazy combinations like smoked salmon and bleu cheese and me and my Dad’s favorite an octopus and cheese canapé. I was surprised I ate it all without gagging to be honest, my dad joked saying it looked like Medusa.

We took the metro back to Puerta del Sol and after a quick stop at Corte Ingles we went back to the hotel and started to get ready for the night. While Mom showered and got ready, Dad and I watched some tennis and the news (on BBC so it was in English) on TV. We took a cab a few blocks away to a Flamenco Bar called Cardomono. It was a very small, very intimate environment that was perfect. We enjoyed a drink and some great music accompanied with some very skilled dancing. After the show was over, I could definitely see why the New York Times had loved it so much.

The Flamenco show was over by about 9:15 and we had a dinner reservation at the Senzone at 10:30 so we decided to head over to the restaurant and get a drink before we sat down. I have really appreciated the time with my parents just sitting and talking over a drink. It is so relaxing and very fun. The dinner was out of this world. I ordered a beef tenderloin that was absolutely delicious. My dad had lamb shoulder and my mom had sea bass that were both excellent. For the second night in a row we lived up to the European standard and turned a meal into an event, we didn’t leave until after 12:00. It was a blast.

On the way back, we saw a ceremony starting at a church and we decided we would try and check it out to see if we could go to an Easter Vigil Mass. By the time we got out of the cab and walked back down the hill to the church, the doors were closed. We headed back to the hotel, deciding to go at 10:00 the next morning.

April 2



My alarm set for 11:00 never went off, luckily my body woke itself up at 12:30. I had already packed most of my clothes so I didn’t have too much to do before my 2:20 train departure. The great thing about traveling on trains is you only need to arrive about fifteen minutes early to go through security and load on. I showered, threw all of my clothes in a bag and picked up my room a little bit before I left for the train station.

I got to the train station just as planned, fifteen minutes early. I found my seat and started a new book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I haven’t read it yet and have only heard excellent things about it. I love going through the Spanish countryside. I read about fifty pages and decided to listen to some music and just watch out the window. The olive tree farms are just beautiful and I feel like mountains can be seen from any region in Spain. I ended up dozing off for about forty five minutes and when I woke up, I only had an hour left on the train ride.

After the train got off, I found the right metro train to Puerta de Sol (the stop nearest our hotel) and hopped on. I have really enjoyed traveling by myself and figuring out maps, routes, etc. It has been challenging, but I haven’t had too many major problems. I took about four metro stops and got off at Sol. I found the Hotel Regente without too much trouble. I definitely had a slight advantage because as soon as I walked out on Gran Via (the main city street), I noticed the hotel we had stayed in, my first two nights in Madrid. It was a pretty funny coincidence but I was happy because I knew we were in a prime location to see the whole city.

It was a little surreal to knock on the door and have my Mom answer. I was just so excited to have my Mom and Dad over here. I hadn’t seen them with the exception of skype in two months. They had just showered after working out and we decided to go explore a little bit. We walked down toward Puerta de Sol and explored the Plaza for a little bit. There were so many people; we decided it was a mix of Good Friday and just a normal busy Madrid Friday afternoon. We decided to grab a drink and some tapas and sat at some outdoor tables at a restaurant tucked back on one of the small streets near Puerta de Sol.

We ordered some Gazpacho, Patatas Bravas and some artichoke hearts. It was very relaxing to eat and catch up on the happenings back in Atlanta. I always enjoy my one on one time with my parents. We enjoyed ourselves for a couple hours before we decided to start making it back to the hotel. We happened on a religious procession complete with a relic of Jesus with the crown of thorns and people doing penance wearing purple robes that look exactly like the Klu Klux Klan wear. After the procession had passed chaos broke loose. Everyone was pushing and shoving while trying to leave in a different direction. We ended up making out of the crowd and were on our way back to the hotel.

We looked up a few restaurants in our guidebooks and decided on a couple that looked good and weren’t too far away. Mom and I went down to the lobby and got a map. We all started off toward the restaurants. We got off course somewhere and ended up walking around for thirty minutes. We all didn’t mind though because we were exploring the city. We ended up catching a cab to the restaurant. The cab driver was a little puzzled by the Plaza we told him so he had to look at a map for a while. After looking at the map for some time, he drove us about two hundred yards forward and said we were there. He was nice enough not to charge us and I got out laughing a little to myself.

We asked a man and he said the restaurant we were looking for was closed for a party so we decided just to walk and find something that looked good. We read a few menus and decided to go in a restaurant called Boda Bar. It was very nice. The ceilings were brick and it had a very “wine cellar” feel to it. My Spanish food vocabulary is a little lacking so I couldn’t translate the menu very well. We ended up asking the waiter what he recommended and got a mystery rice for my parents and I got a fruit of the sea linguini. The food was excellent. We all ended up sharing. The mystery rice actually had lobster in it and was out of this world.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the restaurant and the time spent there. We all remarked how European we felt because our meal didn’t get finished until after 12:00. We were all turned around so we decided it was best to take a taxi home. After we got back to the hotel, I didn’t spend too much time getting ready for bed and I fell asleep pretty quickly. I am so excited to show my parents more of this great country.

March 31



I grabbed a queso and tomato sauce bocadillo after a cup of café con leche and I was out the door. In business class we had three really interesting presentations on McDonald’s, illegal music downloading and the Spanish lottery. It was really interesting to look at the difference between menus in different countries; for example in Germany they have the Big McFeast that comes with a beer if you get a combo.

In between classes, Ashely and I walked to OpenCor (the small chain supermarket) and got some snacks. Then we went to a garden that we walk past everyday on the way to school. It was so cool, it had a large rock toward the back that had a small path winding around it. We went up to the top and saw it was a natural well that was really deep. We sat on a bench and I ate my bocadillo and some breakfast crackers. We headed back to the building after an hour and I spent the rest of the time on the internet up in the computer lab.

In Adela’s class, we worked on commands. I have always been pretty good at commands but I have never been taught the vosotros form because most of our teachers in the U.S. are from South America. I like vosotros because it is kind of like the equivalent of saying “yall” in English. South Americans just never really use it. After class got out, I was really excited. Spring break part 2 just started and my parents are coming to visit.

For lunch we had boneless chicken pieces that made a great chicken sandwich. They didn’t have any ketchup but I put lettuce, huge tomatoes, oregano and some olive oil on it. It tasted great. After lunch, some of us wanted to go walk around. We went to the Torres de Quart and climbed to the top. I had never been to the top but realized it is taller than the Torres de Serrano. We enjoyed the view for a little bit before we walked back down. We were looking for something to do, so we called up Alberto and went and hung out at “the man pad”. They had a playstation 2 and I played Pro Evolution Soccer against Alberto but got beat 3-1. It was no big deal though, I am definitely new to the game and it probably should have been a lot worse.

After we hung out at Alberto’s for about two hours, we came back to the dorm and hung out for about an hour before dinner started. We had Ribs which we decent, but not very tender and a twice baked potato that was delicious. After dinner, I went and met a bunch of people at O’Haras for the Arsenal vs. Barcelona soccer game in the Champions League. Barcelona was up 2-0 and dominating but Arsenal found a way to come back and tie the game up 2-2. It was a really tight game and I enjoyed it. At about 9:30 I came back to the dorm and hung out until about 1:00. The dorm is empty because all of the Spanish students have gone back home and most of the UGA group has left on their trips too.

March 30



I took a shower, but was a little late in getting down to breakfast so I just grabbed a water and a bocadillo on the way out the door. I was pretty disappointed when I saw that it was tuna and cheese and I threw it out. Tuna is definitely not one of my favorites. In Literature, we had presentations that took up most of class. The most interesting presentation was on “Generacion 98.” Spanish literature groups some prolific or influential writers of their time into generations. It is really cool to look at the similarities in message, writing style.

In Culture, we had more presentations. David and I presented on Spanish history starting with Carlos IV (the king of Spain during Napoleon’s reign) leading up through the industrial revolution. The presentations went well and we talked about all of the rituals for Semana Santa in Spain. Processions are a similarity between all of the regions. For penance, men can volunteer to hoist very heavy religious relics and statues of Jesus or Mary and carry them all around the city. In the north there is a region called Navarra that has a procession that is in complete silence and held at night. The tone is much more serious and it is meant for reflection. In the South such as Sevilla there is applause and talking is permitted. The most well known relic is a statue of Mary crying called the Madre Macarena. It is Mary depicted as a woman that has very similar looks to an Andalucian woman so it is very important to the south of Spain.

After class, I ate lunch and shortly after went with Dave, Ben and Rebecca to el Rio to throw a Frisbee. It was fun except we had a little wind issue; the Frisbee wasn’t heavy enough and it would go wherever it desired when thrown. After we got tired of fighting the wind, we went over to one of the large jungle gyms and climbed up two huge rope towers that were strung like a spider web. Dave and I sat at the top for a while and just people watched. There were jugglers that were actually very good and I assume they were practicing for a street show or something. Also there was a group of four teenagers that had buried a bouncy ball halfway in the sand and were using it for an extra help on jumps. They were doing all sorts of cool twists and flips.

We got back at like 6:00 and right as I was sitting down, Ashley came in my room and asked if any of us wanted to go to a café. I quickly said I wanted to go because I really felt like just being out in the city. We went to a new place that I had never been to. I didn’t try any but Ashley said the hummus is excellent. I had a café con leche and started to finish the Alchemist. I really got into it the last part of the book and I especially liked the ending. The book was really good and I thought it had a lot of great messages.

We got back to the dorm at around 8:00. I put down my book and went straight down. We had chicken nuggets (which I made a sandwich with) and my favorite pizza bread. They were out of orange soda so I settled for a water. After dinner, I worked on a Spanish assignment for business class; we had to write a letter to a business describing a product we were selling. After, I went with a few people to O’Haras. We hung out for a couple hours before I came back around 11:00. I played around on the computer for a while and went to bed around 12:30. Today was perfect, great weather, great people and a great city.

March 29



I woke up and took a shower and had a café con leche before I headed out to class. The weather has been absolutely perfect lately. In class, a couple of people had presentations on Spanish business and we worked on more exercises with travel vocabulary and corrected them. Class went pretty quickly and I didn’t even notice that the hour and a half was over.

During my break, I needed a Spanish student help with correcting an assignment for my Linguistics class. To select the student that could help me, I just went to the cafeteria and looked at the students that looked like they had nothing better to do and just asked them. Two students helped me and it was painless on both sides of the transaction; my paper was short and I understood what they were saying to me. After, I went up to the computer lab and mapped out all of the classes I would like to take this summer and the fall to finish up my graduation requirements. It was actually pretty exciting.

In Linguistics class, we learned more about pronouns. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I think that I am finally getting the hang of all the rules for different usages. We corrected some homework exercises to finish up class. Before I knew it, it was 2:00 and we were out the door on the way back to the dorm. For lunch, I made a steak sandwich. They had brought out a fresh batch of fries as I was going through line that were exceptionally good.

I spent most of the afternoon on the rooftop patio. I fell asleep for a little bit and woke up feeling reenergized and ready for the last part of the day. I headed back downstairs and skyped with Laura for a little bit before our weekly meeting with the UGA group. The meeting was pretty short and we all went straight to dinner after. For dinner, I had a ham and cheese melt, some curry chicken and rice. I have normally always had French fries instead of rice, but the changeup was great.

After dinner, I didn’t do too much. I hung out in everyone’s room until about 11:30 before I decided it would be smart to get a full night sleep. It felt great to get into bed and I didn’t waste much time in falling asleep.