Posted by: morgangoesabroad | December 16, 2010

Last Day in Spain

And so it ends. This is my LAST day in Spain and it is so hard to believe! It’s weird, but leaving Spain now feels very similar to how leaving the United States did in August. It is so surreal how fast the time went by and now I’m a little bit in denial that I will be back in the homeland in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t be more excited to see my family and friends but at the same time it is going to be another big change adjusting to life in the States after I have experienced so many things this semester. Not to mention everything that has changed at school since I left it! I am at the point where I am definitely ready to go home and get back to “normal” life, I just have a different definition of that now. And as ready as I am, there will always be a huge part of me that wishes I could just be in two places at once!

Overall, I just feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to come over here and live and learn for so long, with so many great things at my disposal. I think when I look back at this for years to come, these four months will stand out as a defining moment in not only my education but also my growing-up process. I am seeing this as an end to a semester, but the beginning of many more adventures to come. Thank you to all who were a part of making it happen! (Especially the bank of Phillips that has now over-compensated for the stupidity of the bank-that-will-not-be-named)

Also I wrote an article for the Washington College sport’s newsletter that basically sums up my semester and how it affected my life as a student athlete. If anyone is interested in reading it, you can find it here:

http://washingtoncollegesports.com/sports/wswim/2010-11/releases/20101214a99gow

Hasta luego España!

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | December 15, 2010

10 Things I Will Miss Most About Spain

10.  Clean laundry magically appearing on a silver platter in my room, seemingly free of charge and literally the day after I wore it.

9.  Being able to talk in English about anything I want and no one besides the person I’m saying it to being able to understand.

8.  Actually having nothing to do but take a nap between 3pm and 5pm.

7.  Walking everywhere.

6.  Meeting people from all over the world with the most interesting life stories.

5. How easy and cost-efficient it is to travel all around Europe.

4. Going for a run with the Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop

3.  Thunderstorms in December.

2. Bueno Bars.

1. The amazing friends I have made who have become by family away from the states :-)

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | December 8, 2010

Last Trip and the Start of the Countdown

I have gotten pretty lazy in the past few weeks about posting, so the first thing I need to catch up on is our last trip to Sevilla and Córdoba. We left the day after Thanksgiving and spent Friday in Córdoba exploring the city. We saw the Muslim palace and the mosque-turned-cathedral that is a great example of the moorish influences in Spain. Both Córdoba and Sevilla are in Andalucia, the southern Spanish province that Granada is also in, and Sevilla is actually the capital. Besides the two Spanish cities in Africa (Ceuta and Melia), Andalucia is the closest province to Africa and has the most Muslim influences. To me, that makes all of the architecture that much more interesting because the Christians tried to cover up Muslim influences during the Reconquista. The “mosque” in Córdoba has all of the characteristics of a traditional Mosque, except that it also has an alter, sanctuary and numerous idols and sculptures that are typical of a Christian Cathedral. The tower has also been converted into a bell tower and had an entire section rebuilt under order from the Catholic Monarchs. Córdoba is a relatively small city with lots of  little windy streets and charm. My favorite part was definitely the mosque and seeing the clashing of cultures.

Next stop was Sevilla, where unfortunately it rained for almost the entire weekend. We only got a few hours of sunshine on the last day, which sort of put a damper on things but I still really liked the city! And actually it is all over Spanish news this week that Sevilla is experiencing a huge amount of rainfall and horrible flooding. Andalucia is typically the warmer, dryer part of Spain so this weather is pretty abnormal. Sevilla was actually pretty uneventful because we were stuck inside a lot. There is a cool mosque there too and a bunch of historical buildings that I had just studied in my architecture class that were really interesting to see. My favorite part was definitely on the last morning  (when it was sunny) when we saw the beautiful arab palace and La Plaza España. Plaza España is an absolutely gorgeous and gigantic building with a big open plaza in the middle. It even has a little river that goes around the middle and you can rent row boats or take pony rides around it. Here’s a picture: After that it was back to Granada and 18 days until the U.S! I’m at the point now where although I love living here so much, I’m definitely ready to go back to school and my family and friends at home. We had a week of classes after Sevilla and then an entire week off for “winter break” (because life here is just so grueling…). A lot of my classmates went on one last Eurotrip to various places but my three girlfriends and I decided to stay here, or rather were forced to by the pathetic state of our bank accounts.  We still had quite the adventurous week though!

It started on Friday when I set out to track down the money my Dad had to wire me due to my bank being extremely stupid (Another thing I can’t wait to go home and do…switch banks!). It ended up being a sort of wild goose chase that led me all over Granada. At the same time, a heating pipe in our apartment burst and flooded almost the entire thing with about three inches of water. I came home to my host mom basically wading around in her crocs and the maintenance guy trying to get the leak under control. Water was gushing out so fast and it was so hot that our whole apartment turned into a sauna in a matter of minutes. A bunch of neighbors came to help and eventually they all got it under control and cleaned everything up and now you couldn’t even tell. Since we only have tile floors, there was zero damage except for a few water marks on the wood furniture. Que suerte!

Two days ago (Monday) we decided to get up into the mountains and go on a skiing adventure. It was a bad idea for a few reasons: One, I haven’t been skiing since I was 8…and those were the Blue Ridge mountains. Two, it hasn’t been very cold in the mountains lately and you can even see from Granada that there isn’t much snow. Three, not that I really own ski gear anyways, but the few snow clothes I do have are back in the States-but of course we went anyways. We took a 45 min bus ride up to the little ski town only to find out that all of the slopes were closed due to fog and bad weather (probably a blessing in disguise to be honest…). The only thing that was open was a bobsled ride that would never pass safety tests in the United States and a bunch of restaurants and souvenir shops. I’m still glad we went because although we didn’t get to ski, we got to eat in a restaurant called Cafe Morgan and finally see what was in those beautiful mountains that I stare up at all day.

Next planned activity is a spa date at the Arab baths on Thursday :-) Class starts up again tomorrow and I think I forgot how to be a real student…9 days left in Spain.

 

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | December 1, 2010

Just Touched Down in London Town

What I am going to miss most about leaving Europe and returning to the states is being able to just pick up and fly to London for the weekend for the sole reason of seeing a movie premier. I love the feeling of being able to go wherever, whenever! That’s enough talk about going home though…

Two weekends ago I did just that- flew to London with a few friends so that we could see the Harry Potter 7 premier in the city of the series’ conception on opening weekend. To describe it in a few words: Best weekend ever. Not only was the movie (in my opinion) the best one yet, but I also got to see a bunch of my friends from Washington College who were studying in and around London. It was so cool to all meet up in Europe and I hadn’t realized just how much I missed everyone until we were face to face. Two of my friends are actually working for members of parliament as a part of their program and took us on a full tour of Parliament. I have been to London and seen the outside of Parliament and Big Ben before but you have to ‘know people’ or be part of a school/tour group to get inside so this was really exclusive and special. Did you know there is a pub inside of Parliament? They also sell chips that are flavored ‘turkey and stuffing’. Sounds disgusting, but tastes EXACTLY like Thanksgiving :-)

On Saturday we took a free walking tour with our hostel and saw a few sights I had missed last time I was in London like Henry VIII’s palace. Our tour guide told the best stories about people breaking into Buckingham Palace and England’s history of violent torture and be-headings. Good stuff. The last day I got to spend with one of my roommates back home and we just walked down the river and saw all of the bridges and the London Tower. Definition of a perfect weekend! I have to say though that it was extremely weird to be in an English speaking country…first time that I have in over three months!

We came back to Granada all decorated for Christmas already. Obviously since there is no Thanksgiving here, there’s also no ‘rule’ that you have to wait to start Christmas until December. Although some of us celebrated Thanksgiving anyways! My program had a really nice dinner for our entire group plus all of our professors. I haven’t missed my family more since being here than on Thanksgiving, but it was still a good substitute to get to spend it with other people I love too!

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | November 14, 2010

Barcelona!

The first time I went to Barcelona was May 2009 when my sisters and I went on a trip to Spain and Portugal. Needless to say, this time around was a very different experience, but visiting a city abroad for a second time is really interesting. All of the trips I have done in Spain were included as a part of the Delaware abroad program (which by the way I recommend for any WAC students!!) so we have an itinerary already paid for and set up for us when we get to a new city. It’s really convenient and has allowed me to visit a lot more museums and sights than I was able to on my first trip to Spain. Barcelona was no exception.

We got there pretty late Friday night and all we did was wander down the road to this AWESOME restaurant for dinner. Saturday was museum day and we hit the Catalunya National Art Museum (Catalunya is the Spanish province that Barcelona is the capital of), the Miro museum and the Picasso Museum. I’m a huge fan of Picasso, but I could have done without the other two. In my ‘professional opinion’, the National Art Museum is too old and the Miro museum is too weird.  That afternoon four of my friends and I walked down to the water and watched the sunset over the Mediterranean and caught an impromptu outdoor concert of this really cool reggae-ish group. I some beautiful pictures of the harbor and it actually made me miss the waterfront in Chestertown a lot! Maybe a little smaller and less busy, but the sunsets rock there too :-) Here’s a picture:

I also got to meet up with one of my oldest friends who is studying in Barcelona and it was so much fun getting to see someone from the States. Besides my Grandparents, the closest I’ve come to seeing anyone from back home while being here is skype, so it was great to see a familiar face!

On Sunday our group spent the afternoon in Parc Gruell, the park designed by Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi- easily the coolest and most creative guy who ever lived. I had been there before but it’s the type of place you can appreciate no matter how many times you’ve been…it’s that cool. Home to the longest bench in the world, and also an America’s Next Top Model final runway show… Tyra Banks follows us wherever we go.  Monday we did the Sagrada Familia (another Gaudi masterpiece) and I would definitely say that it is the coolest cathedral ever created. It is still under construction because they are building it with the same tools they started with, according to Gaudi’s original plans. The first time I saw it we didn’t go in, and this time that was a huge advantage of going with an organized group. I can’t even really describe the inside effectively, and the pictures don’t do it justice either, but believe me I tried so here is the closest I got: All of the lighting inside is natural light from the stained glass and windows, and if you are ever in Barcelona you HAVE to see it. The rest of Monday was relaxing, we shopped around and hung out at the hotel and then tried to go see the Castle that was a little further away than we bargained on. I’m so used to walking everywhere in Granada, that I hate paying for transportation when we travel other places, buutttt in this case it was a little different because we were literally scaling a mountain to get to this thing. We got about halfway before taking the gondola ride the rest of the way up because it was now dark out and the castle had closed anyways. It was an amazing view of the city though! We never got in the Castle but standing outside of it up on the walls looking down at Barcelona was probably just as cool.

One thing that traveling to other cities in Spain has done is made me sure that I made the right decision in studying in Granada. I love visiting all of the big cities and learning about the history of other places, but it coming back to Granada actually feels like coming home, and I think I wouldn’t get that anywhere else (the mountain views and super cheap prices don’t hurt either!). It’s hard to believe that I only have about a month left here! I feel really bitter-sweet about leaving because I miss my family and friends in the states so much, but I know as soon as I get back that I’ll miss my family and friends here! Has to end at some point though so we’re just going to make the most of our last month in Spain.

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | November 1, 2010

Hippies, Sultans and Zombies: Just another weekend in Granada

So I did a pretty novel thing this weekend…stayed in Granada! It couldn’t have been a better weekend though. On Friday it was one of my friend’s birthdays and we did one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life to celebrate. Granada is in a big valley surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains and other smaller mountains of olive tree fields. My friends and I  decided to take advantage of this fact and went on a little hippie hike to see the sunset over the city. We took a taxi up to the Alhambra park and from there just picked a random mountain and scaled it. We were almost definitely trespassing in someone’s olive farm (oops…) but this view was so worth it. Picture this: picnic dinner on a blanket in the middle of an olive tree field, over-looking the sun setting over Sierra Nevadas to one side and the most famous Castle in Spain to the other, guitar music and good friends- I could have stayed there forever!

And then on Sunday my Grandparents came to visit, completing the awesome weekend! I have lived here for over two months now and have yet to go to a single museum or tourist sight in Granada. Not proud of it, but hey its expensive to see the Alhambra! Lucky for me I got to tag along with my Grandparents on their trip and it was all I was expecting and more. I have seen it from far away many times but you can’t tell how massive it actually is until you take the three-mile long tour. Spain has a very interesting religious history because of the influences of the Moors and the various religious conflicts over the years. It makes seeing cathedrals and palaces all the more interesting because you can see the years of history in the architecture and how all of the cultures meld together. I’m actually going to see the Alhambra again later this week with my art and architecture class and I’m glad because once was not enough!

Halloween this weekend was also an interesting cultural clash to observe. All week long my madre was drilling about candy and trick-or-treating and dressing up. She was fascinated because they don’t have any comparable holiday here and if you think about it, to a foreigner Halloween must be pretty weird. I don’t know who first thought that it would be a good idea to dress your kids up as spooky things and send them around the neighborhood begging for candy, but they were definitely American. Since there are so many students in Granada (American and International) Halloween is huge here. The biggest difference I noticed about they celebrate it here was costumes. Spanish girls all dressed up as some sort of zombie with blood and gore and face paint etc. I was….a Christmas tree.  Needless to say, there was no hiding the fact that I was American that night.

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | October 25, 2010

The Do’s and Don’ts of European Railways

In just under two months I have managed to travel to 6 countries and 12 different cities in Europe. I have also managed to get horribly lost in the train system (counting metro)  3 times. I finally feel as though I have some sort of handle on it (although that’s what I said last time…) so I decided to take the phrase “lived to tell about it” literally and came up with this list of do’s and don’ts.

1. DO make sure the other people getting on the train are going the same place that you are. Sounds easy, but you’d be surprised at how quickly these sneaky little guys can humble you.

2. DON’T buy your ticket online. They are always cheaper at the station and they sell standing room after all the seats are gone.

3. DON’T assume just because the nice guy who sold you your ticket speaks English…that anyone else working on the train will.

4. DO travel with other people. They make getting lost more fun.

5. DON’T fall asleep on an overnight train. You might wake up at 2am in the middle of a train yard and the only person still on the train except for a very confused worker who has no idea why you are still there…and doesn’t speak English.

6. DO make sure the car you are in is not scheduled to randomly split off from the rest of the train and stop in a train yard for the night instead of your final destination.

7. DO pass on travel karma. You never know when you’re going to be kicked off a train in the middle of Germany aaand having the universe on your side comes in handy.

8. Highlighted stops on your ticket usually mean you have to transfer trains. DON’T miss these. Even though they say the name of the stop in a foreign language, this is no excuse to the German train conductors.

9. DO make friends with Croatian soccer players.

10. DO bring snacks. Sometimes a two-hour train magically turns into a ten-hour train and the food guys only come by once.

Here’s to getting lost in Europe :)

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | October 20, 2010

Fall Break Eurotrip

Usually I just go home for fall break and relax…this year I decided to do something just a bit more exciting. My three girlfriends from UD and I planned a 9 day trek across Europe, starting in Italy and ending in gorgeous Prague. Our first stop was Pisa- decided partly on behalf of the leaning tower and partly because we scored the last four seats on a 6 euro flight (We later found out WHY it only cost 6 euros when we hit the worst turbulence I have ever experienced and spent almost the whole flight crying and screaming along with everyone else who had gotten this amazing deal. Did I mention the guy directly behind us got sick?).

Once in Pisa though, it really was a beautiful town. We got there too late and shaken up to do anything but go get pizza with our new, Australian hostel friends. The entire next day we hung out in the tower plaza trying to come up with the best touristy pictures holding up the tower and laughing at how funny everyone else looked doing the same. The whole plaza is literally just random people standing in weird poses with strained expressions on their faces, and only to the person standing five feet away holding the camera do they really appear to be holding up the tower. Makes for some entertaining people watching :) It’s true that there isn’t very much to do in Pisa other than see the tower.  Although, the Cathedral there is my favorite that we’ve seen so far  AND we met a professional Rugby team from Ireland. It might not be Rome, but we made the most of the time we had there!

Next stop was Florence and it ended up being one of my favorite cities that I have ever been to. The way everything worked out, we were only spending about a day and half there but we still wanted to see as many things as possible. On Monday as soon as we got there we sprinted around the city and saw the Duomo and Cathedral, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Medici Palace all in the first day. The Duomo was my favorite because we climbed all the way to the top (it was the first domed structure to be built in Europe, and also the highest point in Florence) and got an amazing view of the city (and our exercise- 463 steps!). The Ponte Vecchio was also really beautiful and is the only bridge in Florence that wasn’t bombed during the second world war. The Medici Palace is actually the second palace built by the Medici family in Florence (first wasn’t big enough) and most of it was closed but we got to see the royal costume gallery and play around in the gardens. The next day we had tickets to see the David and it really was THAT impressive. Lining the hallway up to it were other unfinished Michelangelo statues, which I thought were cool to see because you could really tell how much work went into the David. Then we got gelato from the ACTUAL best gelato place in the world (In my opinion, there is a better one in Granada, but this one was pretty good…). A little souvenir shopping in the open air market by our hostel after that and then we were on to Rome!

Not going to lie, at first I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe it was because we were tired, maybe it was because I loved Florence so much, but at first sight Rome wasn’t what I was expecting at all. For one thing, thanks to Mussolini there is a major highway right through the middle of the ruins of ORIGINAL Rome (knew I liked that guy…) and also everywhere is really crowded and expensive. After we started seeing the sights though, I fell in love and Rome definitely has things to offer that you just cannot get from any other European city. My favorite part about Rome ended up being what I didn’t like in the first place: that everything there is only preserved by time. Nothing is behind glass, nothing is “renovated”, and you can get up close and personal with thousands of years of history. Sure, you have to dodge 21st century traffic to get to the entrance of the 1st century Colosseum, but  we danced on the original marble flooring of the first Roman palace built by Romulus himself-you can’t do things like that anywhere else. We also visited the Vatican Museum, which was cool, but unknowingly caught St. Peter’s on a day when the Pope was in town. Pope= a huge line that we did not have the patience for so unfortunately we missed seeing the largest church in the world. It was pretty impressive just from the outside though. We had a flight to Prague to catch anyway!

We definitely saved the best for last. Obviously I would have wanted to stay in any of the four cities we went to for longer, but Prague was really the only one we left feeling like we needed to go back soon. I had no idea how interesting Czech history was and the tour we took in Prague was my favorite of the whole trip. Our guide told us that the astronomical clock that everyone goes to Prague to see is the second most overrated tourist attraction in the world (second to the Mona Lisa) but I even thought that was cool! The architecture and spirit of the Czech people is just so different from anywhere I have ever been. It also has an interesting WWII history because the Jewish quarter of the city “set aside” by Hitler to be a museum after he accomplished all of his disgusting ideals. That idea in itself is appalling to me, but it made seeing the oldest, still active Synagogue in Europe that much more gratifying. Also in the Jewish quarter, they are currently filming Mission Impossible 4 (because 3 weren’t enough). We didn’t see Tom Cruise, but he was apparently there.

Overall, this was probably the best solid week of my life. We had a blast and got to see so many cool things! (As you can tell from this super long post). Minus almost spending the night in a train yard, we didn’t even run into any travel trouble. And coming home to Granada after living out of a very small duffel bag for a week felt so good :)

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | October 5, 2010

Toledo and Madrid

This past weekend I went to Toledo and Madrid with my program. I have already been to Madrid and knew I loved it, but was really surprised at how much I loved Toledo too! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Toledo is a gorgeous little town that has kept all of its ancient charm despite being a tourist attraction. We started out by seeing all of the windmills that inspired Don Quixote. I really can’t say enough about all of the amazing views here…every new place I go I like more and more! There are so many mountains and blue skies, it’s all just so beautiful!! After that we walked around the city a bit and saw the cathedral, monastery and synagogue. It is really rare to find a synagogue in Spain because they were all destroyed during the Reconquista. In fact there are only three in the entire country and two of them are in Toledo.

After Toledo we headed to Madrid which is about an hour or so drive. Our hotel was literally right beside el Palacio Real which was perfect for everything we wanted to do. The very first thing being walking to Puerta del Sol and eating the most delicious dinner everrrr. It was a place that had a menu del dia and all you did was pay a flat price and got to choose three courses. I was in heaven, naturally.

We actually didn’t have that much free time in Madrid because together as a group we had tours scheduled at el Museo Prado, la Reina Sofia and el Palacio Real. On our only free time all day Saturday we went to el Parque Retiro which is my FAVORITE park in the entire world, and the reason I almost studied abroad in Madrid instead of Granada. The last time I was there with my sisters we for some reason didn’t go out on the row boats on the lake in the middle of the park, so I was excited to do that this time around. It was a group of six of us and we had so much fun trying to navigate in this huge lake. We must have accidentally ran into at least three couples at a crucially romantic moment, and my other friends never even got their boat ten feet away from the dock.

And then comes a big high light of the trip: We had to meet up with our group to head to the Museums, which I was excited to see el Prado, but had already been to Reina Sofia and was not that impressed. So after the Prado (which is home Velazquez’s Las Meninas) I was less than excited to head to Reina Sofia which is a modern art museum and although Picasso is my favorite artist and La Guernica is one of my favorite paintings, I didn’t really like seeing the rest the first time I had been there. But who was casually sitting outside the museum on the steps but Tyra Banks herself. Admittedly not one of my favorite celebs but it was still really exciting to see her and my friends even went up and talked to her. For the record she is very nice :-)

We then totally got Mcdonald’s like any good American tourist, but I am not at all ashamed because McDonald’s in Europe are so much nicer than in America. The one big difference I notice between the way Americans and Europeans eat is that we Americans love our condiments. Everyday that my host mom serves us bread, I wish we had butter. I can’t even eat eggs without ketchup and I wouldn’t even consider myself a condiment lover. The girl from Belgium who I live with thinks me and my American roommate are nuts at the dinner table.

That’s pretty much it for now! I am just getting ready this week for the big fall break trip that my three girlfriends and I have planned for next week. We’ll be hitting Pisa, Florence and Rome, Italy and then ending the ten-day trip in Prague! I can’t wait!

Posted by: morgangoesabroad | September 30, 2010

Toro, Toro!

It has been a pretty typical week to be a Spaniard…just your average bull-fight and nationwide strike kind of week. Naturally, as an American I found it to be the exact opposite.

So I went to my first bull-fight on Saturday-first and LAST that is. I decided that I couldn’t live in Spain for four months without at least seeing what all the fuss is about, no matter how hard it would be to watch. I went into it with pretty gruesome expectations, and was not disappointed. There were six bulls (we only made it through two and a half…) and six different matadors. The beginning part was really interesting when the bull would chase all of the little sparkly suited men around the ring. The part I took issue with is the fact that it is not an actual “fight”. Without going into much detail, basically what happens is they tire out the bull by putting spears into his back, and then the matadors show off their stuff until the bull finally collapses and they kill it. It was very sad for me just because the bull gets so confused by all the people, and of course he never even has a chance. It is more of a show of how much more intelligent men are than bulls (surprise to me…) rather than any physical  superiority (the bull would totally win in that category!). I am definitely not sorry I went to go see it though and I would say that anyone studying Spanish culture should. It was interesting to see how many little kids were in the crowd and realize that this is how the culture is raised and to them it’s just a way of life, not animal cruelty. Bull fighting is a dying tradition though and outlawed in Barcelona and a few other places in Spain. Even if it was hard to watch, I’m glad I got to experience it while I still could, and I’m even more glad that in the future fewer bulls will have to go through it.

The bullfight was the start of a festival for a holiday on Sunday in Andalucia, the province that Granada is in, called El Día de la Virgen. From what I understand, it actually has very little religious significance and is just a day to pay tribute to the “Virgin” of Andalucia. In Spain there is  a very small sense of nationalism and a very strong sense of loyalty to the province you are from instead, and this holiday is an example. It was a fun day though because my entire Spanish family was in town, including the newest addition: four-month old Spanish-niece Carlota. We had a big family lunch of paella and torta de la virgen, which is basically chocolate deep dish pizza and how I think every lunch should end. There was also a huge parade and fireworks!

On Wednesday something even MORE foreign to me happened. The entire country went on strike. Sort of the wrong event to follow my comment about nationalism but its true. I even had the morning off of classes because my professor was participating. The strike was protesting a labor reform act  and the socialist president who passed it. Almost all of the stores and businesses shut down for the day and there was a big demonstration in one of the plazas. I think it was even more heated in the larger cities of Spain, although it was interesting enough just to walk around and see all of the posters and closed stores. I also REALLY enjoyed the halt of the construction outside of my window on a day I could sleep in as long as I wanted :-)

Madrid this weekend!

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