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7 posts from June 2011

06/29/2011

Primer fin de semana, by Andrea Morgan, Feb 4 (Spring 2011)

Andrea 3

 

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

 

This week has been so much fun, but I am just so busy. I haven't slept, and don't think I will anytime soon. It's fine with me right now, but I'm pretty sure it's catching up with me. I have the metro system figured out, and am getting better oriented with the city, which is nice, but I still have a hard time. The streets here are not labeled, and they are not parallel, so unless you know where you're going, it's pretty difficult to know. Palma is so pretty that I don't mind getting turned around and having to walk more. Everywhere is something amazing to see, and the weather is beautiful, so the hours (seriously) of walking each day are completely enjoyable.
We've been exploring the places to go and see with the students who have been here, as well as one of our "guides" and been having a ton of fun! Tonight's Friday, and  I can't wait for the weekend to get a taste of this night life that has such a great reputation.
In sum, I love it here. Everything so far has been fabulous, and I am so happy that I get to spend the next 5 months here!

I haven't taken very many pictures, because I don't want to look like a foolish tourist. I have a couple from going around the city, but nothing too great. I'll post them anyway just so you all can see :)

Almond trees These almond trees are everywhere on campus! So. pretty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountains uib

 

 

More mountains as seen from UIB (pronounced "weeb" haha)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plaza tortugas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bocadilla de atun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aaaaand more food. Un bocadillo de atun. With olives. Living in the Mediterranean is fabulous for many reasons, one of which being that everything comes with olives. 
Love and miss everyone!

06/28/2011

At the UIB (university), by Andrea Morgan, Feb 2 (Spring 2011)

Andrea 3
Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

 

 

Picture the stereotypical cheesy Italian movie. The one where the characters are walking down a cobblestone street with vespas lined up along the sides, cafes and chocolate shoppes on either side of the road. Think of the music that is always playing in these movies. Well, I totally had this experience today. It was a little humorous, because it was straight out of a movie, music and everything (There was a man playing the accordion as we walked by).

UIB First day at the UIB today; it was long, but the campus is absolutely gorgeous. I only got a couple of pictures today, because we were going so fast, but I"ll put them up anyway. There are mountains and almond trees and orange trees everywhere. It'll be such a change from Gustavus, because the campus is so huge. I have way too much new information coming at me to remember everything. After our long day, the rest of the CIEE students and I, along with one of the UIB students went out for tapas. All in all, it was a great day in España!

 

UIB 2

06/27/2011

My familia, by Andrea Morgan, Feb 1 (Spring 2011)

Andrea 3

 

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College


Cafe 1
Today, we woke up in the hotel after perhaps the best sleep I've ever had. Breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then bought a phone and a metrocard, went shopping, and then hours and hours of orientation info.

I want to point out something, though: we do not know how to drink coffee in Minnesota; in Spain, however, they do. It is so strong (STRONG; never have I had coffee as strong as what I've been drinking here) and delicious and no nonsense flavor shots and copious amounts of sugar. I've learned to order a "cortado," espresso with just a shot of milk (note: the exact opposite of the way coffee is made at home).

Also, the Spanish understand that coffee is not just a morning item; they drink it all the time at the end of a meal.

Mi cuarto 2The most exciting thing about today though was that I met my familia, a woman named Rosario and her son Pau. She is so sweet, and I am her ninth exchange student. The apartamento is so unbelievably and fabulously Spanish! The everything is absolutely beautifull; the edifice is in la ciudad viejo (old city) so the architecture is gorgeous, and My window is floor to ceiling leading out to my own balcony with a stunning view of the plaza. Once I arrived and unpacked, we ate dinner and then Rosario and I walked to la Plaza Espana, because that's where I have to  be tomorrow morning.

 

Now I finally have some pictures as well :) My cuarto, my bed, my desk, and the view from my balcony. Ah, and the fabulous floor-to-ceiling window in my bedroom.

Mi cuarto
Mi cuarto 3
  Mi vista

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ensalada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

just one last picture of the fabulous food here in Mallorca!

 

 

 

 

06/21/2011

Andrea is in Spain. No Sleep (day 2), by Andrea Morgan (Spring 2011)

Andrea 3
 

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

 

So, today was fabulous, but way too long. When I arrived, it was only 11:00 am in Mallorca, so we had an entire day ahead of us, even though most of us had been traveling since early the day before. We had a delicious lunch together and then walked around the city until dinner (which isn't until 9:00 at night) of pa amb oli, bread with olive oil, tomato, cheese, and olives, and ham (or in my case smoked fish). So. good. Walking around the city was extremely overwhelming, though, because absolutely everything is fabulous. Even the ground, because it's cobblestone and beautiful. I didn't even know where to look, because looking at one sweet building meant I wasn't looking at another one. On just about every street corner is a sweet outdoor cafe or pasteleria, and the facades of the buildings are so pretty it's like they're out of a movie, and it's not real. But they are and I can't wait to get lost in the city once I have a free day (or week) shopping and drinking cafe con leche and taking pictures.

   We move in with our homestays tomorrow, and I'm super excited, for a few reasons, but especially because when we were walking in the ciudad vieja today, we saw where some of the families live, and it is just so fabulous. Old streets and alleys and shops are everywhere, and it's all just a short walk to the metro or the beach or anywhere else I'd be interested in going.

   We are pretty much speaking Spanish exclusively, except for the few cheats when the students talk to each other or if we don't know how to say something. I'm a fan of this, because speaking is totally the hardest thing for me to do. I think I deserve a good deal of credit, though because I haven't slept since Saturday night and my brain is able to produce passable Spanish. Win.

   I finally get to go to sleep, so that's what I'm going to go do. 

06/10/2011

The Best of Palma in 5 Days

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Name: Brittany Vulich

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee

Whether you are new to Palma de Mallorca and need a few tips on where to go and what to see, trying to plan a full week of activities for visiting family and friends or have been here for a while and want to try something new, there is more than plenty to do. Palma offers something for everyone within city borders and outside. Below are some of the most well liked activities by past students.  

Monday

Daytime: Go shopping

One of the first things you will notice about the young people in Palma de Mallorca is that they follow a very particular style ("de modo").  If you want to spruce up your wardrobe, there are plenty of store where you can find the pieces you need to fit in with the Mallorcans at every price. You are looking for higher end stores, check out Calle Jaume III. You will find big names such as Lowe of Madrid, HM and Armani mixed in with boutiques while strolling past the charming cafes and fountain on Paseo de Born. If you are looking for more economic places to shop, go to Calle San Miguel. You will find many stores ranging from $-$$$ in price. Zara, Desigual, and Mango (located on the Avenidas just a few blocks away) are some of the popular shops for students. If you don't like to waste time going from store to store, check out Corte Ingles, a huge department store that sells everything from clothing to food to computer. It has the exact layout and offerings as Macy's or Boston Store in the States.

 Nighttime: Rent a bike and go for a ride along Paseo Marítimo

There are a few stores where you rent a bike or you can bring your "tarjeta cuidadano" to the metro and rent a bike for free. The students from Spring 2011 semester and I did this with our guardian angles and it was really a great way to see more of the island other than just Palma. One of the stores "Palma en Bici" is located at the end of Paseo de Tortugas on Avenida Antoni Maura 10. For just 14 EURO you can rent a bike all day. I recommend heading towards playa de Palma and beyond because there are amazing views, landscapes, and little towns with great restaurants.

(Students from CIEE)

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Tuesday

Daytime: Go to Castillo de Bellver

This castle was built at the beginning of the 14th century by Jaume II. It's located on the western part of Palma de Mallorca on a hill with some of the best views in the city. On a clear day you can see for miles. Inside you can check out the full history of Palma and some interesting artifacts. Up top on the roof, you will be able to take in the 360-degree view of the sea, mountains, city, and woods. The entrance fee is only 2.5 ERUO Monday to Saturday and free on Sunday.     

                                                                                    (Inside of Castillo de Bellver)

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Nighttime: Tapas 

"Ruta Martiana" or tapas route on Tuesday is a young (and old!) peoples Tuesday night tradition. The route is a chain of bars and restaurants starting in Plaza Mayor, which offer food and drink specials such as a caña (small beer from the tap) and a tapa (an individual serving of some type of finger food) for 2 euro as well as hard alcohol and wine specials. Try the Sushi Club, Jamón Jamón, and Ruta de Té for a good variety. ¡Buen Aproveche! (¡Enjoy!)

 

 

Wednesday

Daytime: Take in the sun at the beach Illetes.

Hop on bus number 3 to Illetes and take it all the way to last stop to experience what most students consider to be the most beautiful beach around the city of Palma de Mallorca. 

(Illetes)

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Nighttime: Go see the Cathedral by night.

La Seu is the grand gothic cathedral along the sea right in the center of the city.  Walk around and take in the impressive architecture and beautiful views. During the sunset, the figure of the cathedral is reflected really well in the body of water directly below it.

(Cathedral)

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Thursday

Daytime: Take a day trip into Deiá

Deiá is located outside of Palma about 45 minutes by bus and is my favorite town to visit for its amazing location in the mountains, greenery, and seaside views. To get there, go down into the metro in Plaza de España and ask for the bus to Deiá or take a look at the bus times. During off-season times, tickets are just a couple euros each way. Deiá is located right in the Sierra Tramuntana although you can follow the zig zag trail through the olive groves and oranges trees to the bottom where you can then walk to the Cala de Deiá, another beautiful beach.

                                                                                                  (Excursion to Deiá) 

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Nighttime: Go to Ladies' Night in Agua Bar.

The name "Agua" in Agua Bar is a testament to the resilience of the surrounding neighbors who have been known to throw water on the loud gathers outside this popular bar. You have been warned. Inside, you will find mainly Erasmus students and English speaking folks. Ladies can drink free wine and cava from 7:30-10:30 and all other drinks are half off. Good music, good people, good location.

 Friday

Daytime: Eat lunch like the Spaniards and explore the Lonja.  

On Fridays, Palma really comes alive as everyone takes to the street to commemorate the start of the weekend. Paseo de Tortugas always has a plethora of people of every age just hanging out, catching a drink, eating lunch, reading a book, ECT. I recommend going to Cappuccino for none other than a cappuccino and catching up on some reading and people watching. Hit up the Lonja at the end of the paseo for a great lunch of a first plate, second plate, postre (dessert) and glass of wine within a two-hour period (to be truly authentic).

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Nighttime: Salsa dancing

There are many salsa clubs in Mallorca that offer formal lesson and more laid back environments where you can watch from a distance then give it a try. Made in Brazil on Paseo Marítimo offers a variety of salsa music and other Latin music (best drink award in my book too!)

Like I said, these are just a few of the amazing cities, restaurants, sights and sounds of Mallorca.  For more ideas ask locals (they are always willing to help), consult travel books or just start walking around. There is always a new person or place to encounter. ¡Hay que aprovechar! (¡Take advantage!)

06/08/2011

Having fun in Palma de Mallorca with CIEE

 

06/03/2011

Renting a Car Step-by-Step

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Name: Brittany Vulich

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee

Renting a car in Spain may be easier than you think. For one, the age requirement to rent a car is 21. Secondly, you can book online as late as the day before and still reserve the car you need. However, for all the automatic users out there, renting a car in Spain may be the easiest step. Driving a car in Spain could be a whole other issue.

Where: You will be renting a car from one of the car rentals at the airport or within the city (Hertz or the hotel Melía Salinas on Marítimo, for example). I used www.recordrentacar.com. The prices are really excellent. For 18 euro, I rented a 5 passenger Ford Escort with a huge trunk. Unlimited mileage is included in the price (just fuel up before returning it, of course.) Insurance is only 5 euro (worth it!)

  Picture 1

Warning: the website is pretty faulty. I tried renting a car between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. and was denied on the basis that I needed to rent a car for at least one day. I entered 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and was still denied. Once the website registered my information, I was told that I "only booked 13 hours in advance, please try again in 3 hours". Crazy. Stick with it though. You'll receive two e-mails. The first will advise you that your order is being processes and the second will have your confirmation number and info. All else fails, just call whichever company you want to rent from and book over the phone.

Who needs to be present: The person who reserved the car online is the one who needs come to the airport to pick up the car no matter if he or she is driving. Obviously, the drivers need to be present too. You can have up to 3 drivers per car.

What you need to bring: Passports. Bring your passport and your current address. European students, Erasmus, were able to show a driver's license. You don't need to print off your confirmation page, just write down your confirmation number.

 Note: Record, and presumably every other car rental, only offers stick. Automatic, if available, will be at least double the price.

 How to get there: To get to the airport, just hop on bus #1. From Plaza de España, the ride is about 20 minutes. You can pay the 1.25 euro or use your bus pass. The airport is divided in "incoming" and "outgoing" floors. Go to the "incoming" floor, the lower floor, to get to Record (next to gate E). You can return your car at anytime before your scheduled return time. There are attendants in the garage that will take the keys and car from you at the end of the day.

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(Alcudia)

Why: Those amazingly pristine beaches that you see advertised on front of tour guides for Mallorca are only accessible by car. Buses will only take you to the more touristy beaches. In Palma de Mallorca, take bus #3 to Islletes (30 minutes) to enjoy a few hours of sun in a relatively tranquil playa (beach!) For a long day at the beach, take a car to the east coast. Unlike the mountainous west coast of Mallorca, the east is more rolling hills and white sandy beaches with lots of coves to discover. 

Warning: Don't forget your water bottle! As obvious as it may seem, always have a bottle of water handy. Mallorca does not, I repeat, does not have public drinking water facilities. All drinking water comes from a bottle or purifier, if your home has one. Some Americans can drink a glass of the tap water and feel fine others feel sick to their stomach. Either way, the ultra calcified water tastes terrible so try to avoid it at all costs.

 I hope this has helped to settle some questions on an alternative way to get around Mallorca other than by bus. Renting a car is a relatively cheap, easy, and quick way to get to some of the best places in Mallorca and see some great countryside. Not to mention you never know what great encounters you'll have along the way with your pit stops. Happy adventuring! 

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(We saw a sign for the "Drach Caves" and decided to veer off and take a look.)