Last weekend we took the bus to Es Trenc and spent the day in the sun. We relaxed, hung out, and a couple of the students went paddle boarding! Courtney the pro. Courtney and Rachel testing their balance on the board.Dakota's first time.
On a Saturday excursion, our students spent the afternoon hiking to Cala Deià. Soaking up some sun on the rocks, they spent an hour at the beach before heading to different panoramic lookouts around the coast. They ended the afternoon with a great view and cold “cafe con leche” after spending the day learning about the island’s Roman, Arabic, Christian origins and frequent run-ins with pirates.
Quick group picture - might be missing a few in the back!
Our view while drinking our "cafes con leche"...not too bad.
Driving through Valldemossa.
Stopped for a picture of the panoramic view and made a friend along the way.
Andrew, munching on an apple and excited that he found a hiking stick.
There are so many small hidden streets in the city that you will never get bored exploring.
It was nice to walk along the water with the palm trees on one side and the cathedral on the other.
La Molienda - I got the brown bread with pa amb oli with a poached egg and chili flakes and a cafe con leche. The food is so good at this little cafe and pretty cheap.
One of the things I’m going to miss most about Europe is the cafe con leche, it’s just not the same as coffee at home.
Tangopan- It was definitely the Spanish version of an American breakfast but it still hit the spot and I got to enjoy the sun and people watching while sitting outside.
Bertoldo - I stopped at this cute little cafe on the corner on the way to cooking class one day. I enjoyed a cafe con leche while people watching. I could spend hours in Spanish cafes relaxing with a cafe con leche and a snack.
With no possible way go see everything/eat/drink everywhere I have learned to make the most of my time and know that I can’t possibly do everything that I want to here.
This past weekend (after only 48 hours in Palma) we hopped on another plane and flew to Bilbao in the North of Spain. From there, we took a bus about an hour and a half to San Sebastian, Spain. The drive was along a gorgeous countryside complete with sheep, mountains, and little villages.As we made our way to San Sebastian I look out the window realizing that it is my first time in mainland Spain, so I am taking in the view. When we get there, we settle into the most quaint little hostel you will ever find called A Room in the City. They conveniently have umbrellas stocked by the door because little did we know it was going to rain for the next 36 hours. After settling in, we ventured out into this new and exciting city. The wind and the rain were unreal and after just a couple minutes we were soaked. We had to ditch the plan that Antonia had made for us because the weather was just awful. Instead, we went to the San Telmo Museo to learn about the Basque Country and look at Basque art. After the museum, we were free to explore the tapas area. I had tortilla de patata with spinach and some surprise items and a piece of bacalao (cod) with peppers and onions. Both were delicious but not as delicious as the one euro wine at Atari my friends and I drank all night long (well until we crashed at midnight haha yeah we’re lame)
The next morning, we started the day early at a cute little cafe with coffee and pastries. Then, we went on a walking tour of the city (umbrellas in hand) with a bilingual tour guide. She did a good job of explaining the city and some traditions to us as she showed us the beautiful (wet) city. We stopped for lunch in what seemed to be an Irish bar and got hamburgers (how American!) but they were so good. After warming up, we ventured back out to see the coastline (Paseo Nuevo), sculptures by Jorge Oteiza, and hike up a little hill to Castillo de la Mota for views of the city. Paseo Nuevo was really cool because the ferocious waves would come up higher than the wall and spray everywhere. Also, hiking up to Castillo de la Mota was cool, it was slippery rocks the whole way up to some pretty breathtaking views of the entire city and coastline. We also walked along the coast and saw the beach, surfers (who must have been crazy to be willing to surf in that water), and the sunshine (for 2 whole minutes). Honestly, I was pretty miserable and I wanted nothing more than a hot cup of tea and to warm up in bed after a full day in the cold and rain. After a siesta, we were ready to go get some mussels. The place that was recommended to us by Antonia was incredible. It was a counter service type place that only had mussels and calamari on the menu. You got a bucket of bread when you ordered your plate to sop up all of the leftover sauce and juices. I had only had one mussel before in my life, but this was a life-changing meal for sure. Then, of course some cervasas y vino before heading back to the hostel for the night.
The next day, it was back to Palma! I had such an amazing trip and did I mention that the sun was only shining for a total of 10 minutes the whole weekend. Now for a week filled of classes and internship learning!
This past weekend I went on my first trip in Europe!
A group of my friends and I set out on Friday morning to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We flew into Belgium and from the Airport, we took a three hour train to Amsterdam. Once we arrived, we headed to our hostel and began exploring!
Just hopped off the plane in Belgium!
Our hostel was really cute! All eight of us shared a room and it felt like summer camp so of course I loved it! It was very modern and a perfect distance to the city. The hostel provided breakfast and was very comfortable. I think my favorite part was that we had to travel through this adorable pathway through a little garden to get to our room.
Vondel Park- located next to our hostel
The first activity we did in Amsterdam was visit the Anne Frank House. We were not allowed to take pictures but I can tell you that the pictures wouldn’t have really conveyed much. The museum was simple but the feeling you had from reading the quotes and just being in the building was astounding. It was unreal to think that Nazis walked these streets and raided these homes not too long ago. Seeing the recreation of the bookcase that covered the passage into the hidden annex was unsettling. The idea that people had to hide themselves due to fear of being killed because of something they believed in is horrible. I am very thankful for the opportunity to see the museum and for the progress we have made after this black spot in history.
That night we went to dinner at the Butcher. IT. WAS. AMAZING. I got a truffle burger and fries. It was so juicy and flavorful! I was so hungry from traveling that day that it tasted so great and was just what I needed. On the way to dinner, we got “appetizers” at FEBO. This is essentially a fast food vending machine. They sell burgers, croquettes, etc. where you put in your change, 1.6 euros in my case, and receive a hot snack. I got a croquette that literally tasted like fried gravy. It was so gooooooooooood. Never would I ever have preciously eaten anything like this but wow, no regrets.
Truffle Burger & Fries
Fast Food Vending Machines
The next morning we visited the Van Gogh Museum. This was super cool to see! There were two parts: a temporary exhibition and the Van Gogh part. We weren’t supposed to take pictures but I snapped a few. It was really cool to see all of the artwork. The museum taught me a lot about Van Gogh and his life as well. He was born in The Netherlands in 1853 and was always contemplative of the modernist art movement. He wrote numerous letters to his friends and family that contained many of his thoughts and wonderings. He battled with mental illness for most of his life and admit himself to a mental institution. He shot himself in the chest and dies two days later from untreated wound infection. He is best known for cutting off his own ear, his self portraits, Sunflowers, Starry Night, and the Potato Eaters. Van Gogh became famous after his death thanks to his sister in law and nephew. His sister in law worked very hard after his death to promote his work while his nephew established the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation. Unfortunately, his sunflower painting was not available to view and starry night is located in a museum in New York so I was unable to view these. Regardless, all of his works are beautiful and his story fascinating yet tragic.
Chillin with VG
The Potato Eaters
Next we went to the local Market. It was so fun and delicious. I bought some chocolate covered peanuts, mixed nuts, and some juice. It was all so amazing but my absolute favorite was the STROOPWAFFLE!!! Stroopwaffles are two very thin, cinnamon waffles with a sweet caramel syrup sandwiched in the middle… literal heaven. They were made right in front of us and so warm! Ugh, I can’t even tell you how good it was and I am kicking myself for not buying like twenty of them.
Pineapples at the Market
Michelle & I sipping some juice!
Incredible looking Apple Pie… Wishing I had bought some.
In the afternoon we went to the Heineken brewery and completed the Heineken Experience tour. It was pretty awesome. The beginning of the tour they showed us the ingredients of the beer: water, hops, barley, and “A” yeast. We got to taste a kernel of barley. Next we had a little history lesson on Heineken and how it came to be. Next, we went to see the vat that the beer is brewed in, ground some barley ourselves, and even taste the sugar water made from soaking the barley in water. The Heineken horses are even housed here! We watched a video that showed us what it would be like to be Heineken beer along the process from raw ingredients to the first sip. It was in a dark room and we stood on a sort of pad that jostled up and down or side to side in accordance with the video. It even blew bubbles on us when the brew was boiling. It was very fun! Lastly, we got to taste the beer. My friends and I went to the rooftop bar and drank ours overlooking Amsterdam. It was a great time and lots of cheers to us! Fun fact: cheers in dutch is “Proost” which is kinda like Prust. And how cool is it to say that I had my first beer in the Heineken factory in Amsterstam… let me answer that for you: Pretty Amsterdam Cool!
The beer is brewed in these giant vats.
Famous in all the World
The Rooftop Bar
Proost // Cheers
My first beer, believe it or not!
My friend Michelle and I love to check out the local grocery stores everywhere we travel because it is such a genuine representation of the local food culture. I took the obligatory pineapple picture! Michele bought some orange juice that she fresh squeezed herself in store. I tasted some and it was incredible!
Michelle with her fresh OJ
Though I have never seen The Fault in our Stars, the bench was a must see! The bench itself was ordinary, overlooking the canals and surrounded by tall, picturesque buildings. On the back of the bench is a quote from the book. It was pretty neat to think that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort sat here.
After the photo op at the bench, we continued to explore the streets! The buildings are so gorgeous. The interesting thing is that the buildings are slanted. Houses used to be taxed based on the width of the houses so they are deep and narrow, lined one next to the other. The foundations were set on stilts because most of the city was once marshland but the water table is now very low, which can be seen in the low waters in the canals. This is a problem because if the stilts are not covered with water then they will rot, hence the leaning buidings. Another key characteristic of Amsterdam are the canals and bridges. TO really learn about these, my friends and I took a canal boat tour. We learned that there are over 250 bridges, many of which open/lift to allow boats passage through the canal. House boats are also very popular and can be seen along the canals. They are so cute, covered in plants with little benches.
Bridges & Canals
Leaning Houses of Amsterdam featuring Bikes, of course
The city with more bikes than people
We ate a late lunch at The Pancake Bakery. This place has every kind of pancake you could think of! Savory with chicken, sweet with Nutella and bananas, even one with beans! The place was packed which is always a good sign of a delicious restaurant. My friends ordered pancakes of all sorts and loved them. I opted for a traditional split pea soup and apple pie with cinnamon ice cream for dessert. The cinnamon ice cream made my entire day. One of the best things I have ever eaten! IT WAS SO INCREDIBLE!
I would eat this one billion times over!
After our amazing meal, we stopped by the Tulip Museum and the Cheese Museum. They were fun to see and the cheese samples were nice!
Amsterdam was so beautiful and historical. We had the opportunity to do so much in the short time we were there! The food was delicious, the views were incredible, and the company was unbeatable! And just a disclaimer: I did not take advantage of the many coffeeshops readily available in Amsterdam.
I got up early to take this picture so I could be the only tourist in the picture.
Last weekend we took a plane to Northern Spain. We flew to Bilbao and then took a bus to San Sebastián. The plane ride was so turbulent and I thought I was going to die. Every movie scene of a plane crash was flashing in my head. Apparently, this is very normal when flying into northern Spain due to the coastal rain and clouds but I didn’t like it at all. The bus ride was much better! The views were like that of a painting with mountains and and dark green trees and tiny little houses. When you looked out the window, there were layers of landscapes, even snow covered hills could be spotted through the clouds. There was water running down the rocky sides of the highway like little waterfalls. The grass was so green and lush due to all the rain the area receives. There were even little sheep strolling around. It was so beautiful to ride the bus along the winding roads.
We arrived at our hostel, A Room in the City. This hostel was so fun! It was very modern and my favorite part was that they had tons of cactus!!! My roommate for the weekend was my friend Emily. This hostel was really nice because it had a sink in the room. We had a floor bathroom as well. Normally, there are more people in each room but this really felt like a hotel. Very comfortable and a great location.
Our rad little hostel
Roomie for the Weekend
Our own sink! That’s rare for a hostel.
Michelle. Looking classy as always.
The first night we visited a museum called San Telmo Museo. The museum contained works of art that related to Basque history. San Sebastian is also know as Donostia or Basque country. Basque is a language spoken in this region and in Southern France, which is just North of this area. The museum was connected to an old monastery. The monastery was also used for military storage and then transformed into a museum. In the church section of the monastery, a Mallorquin painter had been commissioned to paint large murals of San Telmo, the saint of sea men. The large murals of Saint Telmo holding a boat in one hand and a candle in the other consume the high walls. In the other rooms of the monastery, more modern Basque art can be seen.
For dinner, we got tapas! The Basque country is known for their incredible tapas, also known as pintxos. Tapas and pintxos are essentially like appetizers. They are often served on a piece of bread. They can be topped with meat, cheese, fish, or anything really. Going to a tapas bar is the same as going to get dinner for Spaniards. Traditionally, their largest meal is lunch and then they eat a light dinner. It is very typical to go to tapas with some amigos and order a couple pintxos and a drink. The great thing about this is that its all cheap! Drinks are a euro or two and pintxos the same. Everything was delicious!!!
Tortilla de Patata
Mi Cena // My Dinner
The next morning we went to this amazing little cafe for breakfast called Irubi. Defiantly a local place, not very big at all. They had many pastries, fresh bread, juice, and of course coffee. I ordered a cafe americano and what I think was the spanish equivalent to a cinnamon roll. This thing was incredible. Loaded with raisins and just the right sweetness of the dough. And washing it down with some coffee was divine!
Next, we went on a walking tour of San Sebastian. It rains a lot in San Sebastian, and by that I mean there was probably about an hour total the whole weekend without rain. I brought a rain coat, expecting a light drizzle throughout our stay but it rained, really rained the entire time. My shoes were like little boats willed with water. I smartly invested four euros in a very fashionable pink poncho. No regrets.
S-Prust & Jeffrodog (rain)droppin our first mix tape
But anywho, back to the tour. We learned a bit about the history of San Sebastian. San Sebastian used to be just a poor fishing town until Queen Maria Christina built her summer house here. It then became a tourism destination for wealthy Europeans. Now, as I said before, it is known for its pintxo gastronomy and beautiful beaches.
Queen Maria Christina’s Summer Palace
We had lunch at this bomb burger place. Like OH MY WORD this burger was one of the best I have ever had, and that is saying a lot coming from America. It was a burger made from local meat, cheese, bacon, and a fried egg… so great. I was originally going to order a chicken sandwich but then I saw the waiter bring out a plate with this burger and I was like… I NEED that in my life! hahaha it was so delicious!
After lunch, we ventured back out into the lluvia (rain) to walk along the coast all the way up to a castle. The views were incredible! The sea was very rough and it was a bit foggy but that just made it all the more beautiful. We walked along the beach, passing boats, and then started our ascent. It was so green, mossy, and Ireland-esque. Reminder, it was still raining… the whole time. The view from the top of the castle was really cool and totally worth it. You could see the whole cove, the city, and the mountains. This country is beyond beautiful!
My favorite picture from the weekend
Look at that sexy pink poncho!
The sea was so rough!!!
“I took it” -Antonia
Literally the things of fairytales
Ugh!!! Love it!
We had dinner at this relaxed little tapas bar in the old town. They had tapas but we were feeling bocadillos (sandwiches). The food here was so cheap! I got a giant sandwich for six euros. So delicious and fresh. The waiters were so friendly and really worked with us asking lots of questions about Spanish words we didn’t know. Afterwords, we met up with the rest of the group to enjoy each others company.
So much for so cheap
The next morning we went to the same cafe for breakfast. This time I ordered a croissant with chocolate dipped tips. Little did I know, there was also chocolate on the inside and woah it was incredible! With my amazing pastry I had two cafe americanos and was ready to explore with out last few hours in San Sebastian. We visited the Cathedral. It was very ornate and beautiful. We also visited a nearby bridge with stunning architecture. Then we were on our way back to Bilbao to fly back to sunny Mallorca. By this point, we were beyond ready for some sun!!!
Filled with chocolate = Cloud Nine
A bit of blue sky right before we leave
San Sebastian was a short and sweet trip but it was so cool to get to visit and taste a part of mainland Spain!!!
We stayed in a family owned hostel, Hostal Moni, decorated with Andalusian style, and with a big terrace on the top where we had breakfast every morning overlooking the roofs of Albaizín neighbourhood, the old Arab quarter of Granada.
On Friday, we visited San Bartolomé Church, Plaza Larga, Puerta de las Pesas, the Mezquita Mayor, the El Salvador Church, and of course the Mirador de San Nicolás to see the Alhambra colored in orange by the afternoon sun.
We went down to the Cathedral walking by the Cuesta del Chapiz, stopping every once in a while to contemplate the Alhambra rising on our left side, on the other side of the river. We visited the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, where we literally saw the coffins of Isabel I and Fernando II Catholic Kings of Spain in the XV century and authors by their marriage of the unification of Spanish kingdoms Castilla and Leon.
We had some time to wander and shop in the little Morroccan stores in downtown Granada. And afterwards we had the best kebabs of Granada in Baraka, of course with a very sweet Morroccan style mint tea.
In the night, we went to see a classic Flamenco show, with two spectacular dancers, a guitar player and a singer "cantaor". Students were so impressed as to say they had never ever seen something so intense and such a beautiful dance.
On Saturday we spent the day at the Alhambra, the Generalife's Gardens, and the Palacios Nazaríes. An absolutely wonderful experience! And in the end, of course, we had chocolate con churros for breakfast!
Where better to go than Madrid! One of my best friends, Saroja has been studying in Madrid this semester and it was so fun to catch up with her plus have a local expert to show me the city! And it was the weekend after her birthday, so we got to do some celebrating.
I arrived Thursday night, had a drink with Saroja, and then went to dinner at her homestay and met her adorable Spanish mother who cooked us some delicious empanadas. Qué ricas! Then it was off to the discotecas. Madrid has an incredible nightlife. It definitely wore me out this weekend, but it was a ton of fun!
A beautiful Chapel we visited where we ran into a wedding party outside
El Parque de Buen Retiro
Friday we gathered up as much energy as we could to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was El Parque de Buen Retiro, basically the “Central Park” of Madrid. We enjoyed seeing some of the gorgeous buildings and fountains in the park and people watching. We then headed over to El Museo del Prado, one of the most famous museums in Spain. It was overwhelming–we could have spent days in there without seeing everything! But one of the highlights was Velazquez’s “Las Meninas” which was pretty surreal seeing in person. That night we went out for a huge tapas dinner and later on to Kapital, Madrid’s infamous seven floor club. Each floor has a different theme from karaoke to hip hop and we had an incredible time dancing the whole night.
After squeezing in a few hours of sleep, we took advantage of my last day in Madrid and spent the day wandering the streets, visiting the Cathedral, and attempting to get into the Palacio Real (unfortunately it was roped off all day). We also found an incredible authentic Mexican restaurant and I finally had some guacamole (you have no idea how highly anticipated this discovery was). All in all a successful trip!
El Palacio Real being strictly guarded by a police officer
Back in Palma, today a few friends and I went to some beautiful cliffs called Porto Pi. The brave ones went cliff diving into the Meditteranean; I was more of a scared cat and climbed down the rocks and slid into the water. I did skin my knee and bear some battle scars from the rocks though!