Tag Archives: Traveling

Rainbow Waves

17 Nov

Rainbow wave. It sounds tacky, right? I know, but it’s not. I promise. It is awesome.

After a couple days showing David around my new hometown of Sevilla (and losing the love of my host family to my boyfriend over one cup of coffee) we embarked upon a travel to David’s motherland: Portugal, where the ocean stole my heart. Deep, indigo blues socialize with turquoise waves and red sand to create a breathtaking landscape. I know this is cliché, but I honestly thought these scenes only existed on the movie screen.

Hives got the ball rolling on day one in Lagos. My body hates me. I still, to this day, do not know the source of them but do know that popping Benadryl did not relieve the problem and only made me tired. Go figure.

This did not stop me; however, it might have made me loopy but it did not stop me and I was happy that Portugal greeted us with seventy degree weather in November. Accompanied by two friends from Sevilla we explored the quaint town and spent most of our time on the beach (walking, mind you, it wasn’t quite that warm.) Portugal’s bad economy is a blessing for poor student travelers and we ate well that night after one large trip to the grocery store. We ventured down to see the beach and stars at night and the tranquility of the ocean was gorgeous. Even in darkness the ocean roared of its black beauty.

The following morning we went to “THE END OF THE WORLD!” Pronounced just like that. In Sagres, Portugal (the most South-Western point in Europe) we gawked at the spot where Europeans believed the land stopped and the ocean took over. Completely surrounded by powerful waves and deep seas I can understand why one would be frightened to explore much further.

One of the most magnificent things I have ever seen occurred ten minutes before we hopped back on the bus. It was a simple, natural phenomenon that stopped me dead in my tracks. Right after I had decided to put down my camera and take in the scenery via my own lenses (contact, to be exact) a wave started to roll into itself and a glimmer of red, yellow, green and blue skimmed atop the swell.

Rainbow wave.

Rainbow Wave

Daredevil fisherman on the Edge of the World.

It happened once and I was speechless, and then it happened again and it was real. I mumbled something about how cool it was, words escaping any thought process I was having and stared and prayed, thanking God for putting me in the right place at the right time. Considering how light spectrums work, the sun’s rays were bouncing off the soft droplets of water from these majestic waves and were only visible to those angled just behind the wave. Needless to say, I picked up my camera again.

Evora, Portugal came next but not before a queasy four and a half hour bus ride thanks to the newbie they decided to train on this particular route. Arriving late at night we were lucky to find a small pizza place and after a not-so-good dinner went to bed exhausted and a little bit nauseous. The next day we explored the town of Evora, which is completely engulfed by medieval walls and is known for having the most intact Roman ruins. We decided to settle for a cheap lunch of just soup and walked into a café that was selling bowls for a 1.50 euro. When the waitress asked if we wanted bread, cheese and olives alongside our lunch well, we couldn’t resist. Large bowls of Portuguese soup filled us up for a cheap price and it was one of the best meals of the trip.

Lisbon greeted us with rain and a locked hostel that night. We may have frightened some passersby as we sat in the sheltered doorway until the hostel owner graciously came back to let us in late at night. I might have secretly wished that someone would throw us some change but alas, no luck. Don’t judge me, money is always welcomed.

Roman ruins in Evora, Portugal

Portuguese Soup

Fever struck David the following morning and the day consisted of weird but extremely cheap drugs (I considered stocking up), navigating the foreign language and prices in the huge Portuguese grocery store and attempting to make soup out of some expensive organic vegetable bouillon cubes (only ones I could find, of course) and lots of veggies. It didn’t look very pretty but it had to be healthy! (Sorry again, David.)

Health did not grace us until our last day in Portugal and even then it was a little wishy-washy. We were able to fit in an exploration to one part of the city, find a castle on the beach, walk through the church and enjoy some delicious pastries from a famous bakery. Lisbon, spark note style.

Lisbon

Statue in Lisbon

A trip filled with illness was not expected nor is it ever ideal while traveling but is that not beauty of traveling in itself? The good and bad come in waves, but in the end, what you have seen and experienced makes it all worthwhile. Stumbling through an unknown language, exploring new foods, soaking up every last drop of this unexplored territory and enjoying the simplest of beauties, even the last ten minutes of Sagres, Portugal because you never know when you’ll see a rainbow wave.

 

To see the rainbow wave in full action, watch David’s video:

 

 

Sagres

Path leading to the End of the World.

The End of the World

Evora

Evora

It looks little because it is.

Evora

Lisbon

Lisbon

Castle on the beach in Lisbon

Lisbon

Pastéis

Advertisements

Meet me in Paris! (And Lyon and Barcelona)

25 Oct

Quick apology for the brief hiatus I have taken from my little Spanish blog. Didn’t mean to abandon anyone (sorry Mom!) but two weeks of solid traveling followed by a full week of midterms left me exhausted and in need of a recovery weekend but, now that I am back from the dead, here is my blog!

Not only has the fall of 2011 graced travel upon myself, but many people I know. Numerous friends are in various European countries as well as Australia (that’s right, shout out to you Taylor!) and in my opinion; nothing beats having a friendly face to greet you in a foreign land. And so, my first international trip began with a face I know well.

I met my boyfriend, David, in Paris for a long wonderful, yet rainy weekend. The trip was full of grandeur, touristy landmarks representing the rich history that is Paris. This being my second time to Paris, the first with my cousin Jenny as the wonderful tour guide, I was able to take in the city a bit more and appreciate the Parisian culture (even if they are a bit snobby.)

Notre Dame de Paris

Landing in Paris for the first time is overwhelming. People are speaking French, and if you are anything like me without an ounce of knowledge of the sexiest language alive, nod and say “Mer(cchhhkkaa)ci!) like you are clearing your throat, while you begin to feel like a lost puppy and a map that has more little landmark symbols than you’ve ever seen before, including not one but two Arc de Triomphs, is shoved into your hands and you think only one thing: shit.

This time; however, I was not stunned by the little symbols on the map demanding attention but rather was eager to see the landmarks again, without the glazed eyes of a shocked tourist. Step by step we began to conquer the city. First was a trip to the Louvre (for anyone who cares, is free to students with a passport on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.), which is another overwhelming experience in itself. I think they say it would take days to see the museum in full, but knowing the time it takes me to process fine, antique art, it would take weeks.

So we found our way to the Mona Lisa. Check! And yes, her eyes still follow you even if she has met you prior (possibly more?) A few more gorgeous paintings, such as the Veronese (The Wedding Feast), sculptures including my favorite the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and a couple mummies, which gave me more of a creepy feeling than an appreciative one, I’ll be honest.

The Louvre

The Louvre at Night

We walked under the Arc de Triomph the following brisk, fall day through the Jardin de Tulleries and onto the Eiffel Tower, where we got some obligatory yet unique photos, to say the least. The Notre Dame was soon to follow with swoons over the magnificent stained glass and the picking out of our favorite gargoyles. All of this was intermingled (of course) with crepes, kebabs, and copious amounts of baguettes.

Autumn in Paris is breathtaking. So breathtaking, I was left coughing for most of it. (Although the croaky voice did seem to help with the “merci’s”) My newly found Spanish body did not adjust well to the cold, rainy atmosphere. And my version of being a tourist, walking everywhere with the exception of a few metro rides, only wore me down further. Thankfully, I was in good company that made me comforting food, and I won’t lie, the French wine seemed to help quite a bit too.

A backstreet in Paris

An early morning train took us to David’s study abroad city of choice: Lyon, (pronounced Lyonnggghhh, I do not know how people speak French!) France. I was amazed at how France and Spain seemed to conglomerate in this Southern French city. The architecture was that of France, yet the colors those of Spain. It was as though Pablo Picasso himself came through and painted Jean Nouvel’s buildings (ok, maybe not quite, but you get the picture.)

The Quay along the Rhone River

The city was much brighter than Paris, and warmer both in temperature and in greetings. I welcomed both with open arms. I learned that the people in Lyon are not Parisian, only Parisians are Parisians. This means that smiles were returned and conversations sprung up instantaneously, which I met with more smiles and turned the attention to David to answer any questions or comments.

And I thought trying to understand Spanish was bad.

I felt like a woman living in the late 18th century, Pride and Prejudice era, only speaking when spoken to but not even adequate enough to do that. A lost puppy look on my face, I hoped the interrogator would not place his glance on me again and quickly asked David to fill me in on what was just said. Oh, what it would be to be multilingual.

Lyon is not touristy. With this said, it has a deep history and we were able to appreciate it by visiting the Grand Theatre and the Odeon, both old Roman theatres that were renovated and are currently used as amphitheatres. The Opera Hall, located in the city centre, is also a site to be seen yet has been “modernized” if you will, with a contemporary top hat. I think I would prefer it to be bald.

The Grand Theatre

Lyon's Opera House - Renovated

After one more night with delicious food and an early morning run to the train station, I bid adieu to France and made my way back to Sevilla.

The night following my return, I departed for Barcelona, which I flew through the day before, (oh the incessant demands of classes) this time to meet my cousin Corrinne and friend Sarah.

Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona.

Beautiful to say the least, the city is huge and infamous for pick pocketing. As I grasped my purse, a sigh of relief came with the knowledge that I could speak Spanish here! People understand me, kinda, sorta, a little bit… No more Charlotte Lucas for me! That is, until they spoke. Catalán, the dialect spoken in Barcelona, is vastly different from any Spanish I know. Don’t get me wrong, my Spanish still got us around, but I usually had to ask the front desk to switch to English (thankfully, they know that too) to talk to me because I do not understand Catalán. I; however, do not feel bad about this misunderstanding as my señora said she does not know an ounce of Catalán and if a Spaniard cannot decipher the dialect, then you cannot expect me to.

We saw beaches, the Catedral, the Olympic Stadium (and some metal man receiving a medal), Plaça d’Espanya, and the most unique architecture I have ever placed eyes on thanks to Frederic W. Goudy. One of my favorite stops of the trip; however, was to La Boqueria. This large market was located directly behind our hotel and quickly found a place in my heart. Fruit, vegetables, cheese, hanging pig legs, all were to be found at this hodgepodge of food commerce. I could have spent days sampling a myriad of Mediterranean cuisine, but alas naps were calling our names as Corrinne and Sarah fell right into the Spanish trap that I did: siestas.

Gowdy

La Boqueria Fruit

Mediterranean Fruit in La Boqueria

I was lucky enough to relish in a bit of luxury traveling this trip. Sleeping in every morning in a big, comfortable hotel bed, traveling by taxi and tour bus and enjoying tapas and sangria for every meal meant indulgence for me. All thanks to my generous cousin, of course. With the exception of one possibly haunted night in our hotel, I slept the best I have during my time abroad, which was necessary before my midterms but Barcelona, I’ll be back and next time with some Catalán in me.

Who am I kidding? One dialect is enough.

And now, few more pictures for your liking…

Paris, France

The Louvre

The Leaning Tour Eiffel

The Arc de Triomph

The Arc de Triomph

Jardin de Tulleries

The Notre Dame de Paris - Entrance

Lyon, France

The Streets of Lyon

Rustic Door in Lyon (with the doorknob in THE MIDDLE of the door!

Un Boulangerie

Some more Roman Ruins in Lyon

Fountain in Lyon

Reason #72 why Lyon is beautiful

Barcelona, Spain

Plaça de Espanya

Olympic Stadium and Weird Metal Athlete

Eggs at La Boqueria

Pig legs hanging in the market

Fresh Fruit Smoothies at La Boqueria

Fresh Fruit Smoothies at La Boqueria

And finally, the beach!

And finally, the beach!