Tapas and Elche

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March 6th 2009
Published: March 6th 2009
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Our wonderful teacher and cook
lunes 2 marzo 2009- My six hours of class went well, after which I took a 3.5 hour siesta before going to my Tapas class. This was another class that CIEE subsidized, so it only cost me 5 Euros for the two, two hour classes. Earlier in the day, I had asked the CIEE office where the in the city the bakery where the class was taught at. I was surprise to see that it was near my house, just on the on the other side of the tracks. I thought I knew how to get there going one way, but since I had over sleep, I decided to try the other way and save some time. However, I got so lost. I always knew where I was in reference to landmarks, but I couldn’t figure out where the bakery was. Luckily, I had my phone with me, so I called a friend that had the same class the week before and she, with the aid of a map, helped me street by street get to the bakery. Randomly, while I was on the phone I ran into another CIEE student who was lost because they were using directions from MapQuest.

Some of the final products before we wolfed it down
The class was a blast because we just watched the lady make us tapas while she told us in Spanish what she was doing and at the end of our time, we got to chow down. She only spoke Spanish, but it was amazing how much of it I was able to pick up, even though I didn’t think I knew food vocabulary that well. When I got home from class, supper was already on the table, so I ate my second meal in an hour, why complain.

martes 3 marzo 2009- After my two hour Spanish class, I met with my intercambios. This time there were seven of them and we again had a lot of fun playing foosball. Also, this week, we were able to talk more, so that was exciting that I got to work on my Spanish while they worked on their English. Then from 12 til 3 I worked on an outline for my term paper for my History of Spain class. At 3:00, Chris met me to buy tickets for Spring break. During my 2.5 week break, I will be spending the first week on the Camino de Santiago, which leaves the last

Some cool trees and a small church in the background
week and a half free. Chris is going to start in Western Europe and work east, which is good for me because I will be seeing much of Western Europe after my program is done, so we decided to travel together. Today, we bought our tickets from Istanbul, Turkey to Alicante, Spain for Saturday April 25 and in the next few days; I will be buying my ticket from Spain to Ljubljana, Slovenia, where we will be meeting up. We are still in the planning stages of this trip but we plan to go from Ljubljana to Zagreb, Croatia to Belgrade, Serbia to Sofia, Bulgaria and finally to Istanbul, Turkey and will be spending between 1 and 3 days in each cities and using trains to travel between them. I’m really excited to explore this unique area of the world! After finally getting home at 4:30, I ate lunch before doing some homework and going to my Tapas class. Here I ate again before I walked home. At mi casa, we ate a little later than normal, but I still had three meals in 5 hours, so I really wasn’t that hungry. I ended up working on my outline until

An old castle that you can go into if it isn't siesta time.
midnight before calling it quits and hitting the sack.

miercoles 4 marzo 2009- My 6 hours of class went fine and afterwards I met Tessa in the library to look into flights to Lisbon, Portugal. In 3 weeks, we have a 5 day weekend because it is a national holiday, so we thought it would be perfect to travel to Portugal since the two of us and a friend really want to see this country. We both had looked into flights the night before, so it went fast. Unfortunately, one of Tessa’s classes now has an exam on the following Monday that we were going to skip because it saves us over a hundred dollars, so she is going to figure that out and we will buy the flights tomorrow. After taking the bus home, I rounded the corner to mi casa; I saw a lot of cops. When I got up stairs, my host family said that about two hours earlier, a fire had broken out in the apartments to the right and below of ours. Luckily, people were home and were able to call the fire fighters, so no one got hurt and the fire was contained.

A bigger church. All the churches in the Valencia region have these blue tiled navels instead of the typical steeple.
My apartment is fine, other than smelling a little of smoke, but our entry way smells strongly of smoke. This was a wakeup call on how fast you can have everything and a few hours later nothing. After doing homework for a few hours, I took a walk downtown to buy more bus passes, but unfortunately that place closed seven minutes before I got there. On my way back home, I stopped at a book store and looked at the travel books for Eastern Europe and Lisbon. I don’t know what I was bitten by, but lately I have wanted to get all of my flights bought for all my trips, so I really enjoyed looking at these books, even if they were in Spanish. I then did some more homework before spending time online and calling it an early night.

jueves 5 marzo 2009- Since I was out of bus passes; I decided to take the train to school. This was a good experience because some of my friends that live near me do this daily because it allows them to sleep an extra 30 mins. However, I don’t think that I will take the train in the

I found a 'Q'
future because if I want warm toast, I have to get up at about the same time as mi hermano, it gets me to school exactly on time so I don’t get to talk to anybody before class and it cost about .80 Euros more a day. Once at school, about an hour into my two hour Spanish class, my brain just shut down because my stomach and head started to hurt. I had been taking it easy this week and trying to catch up on my sleep, but Luis (mi hermano) had been sick earlier this week, so I probable caught it from him. I wanted to go home right after class, but I had to meet with my second group of intercambios at 1. I decided to skip going to the gym and did some errands on campus, I attempted to do some of my homework, but it just wasn’t happening. I really wasn’t looking forward to taking Spanish for an hour, but it actually went really well because I needed to work on past tense so I talked about going to Canada and showed them pictures of my trips that were on my IPod. I only ate

You can also up up in that bell tower, when it isn't siesta time.
about half of my lunch and my host family gave me some medicine before I took a 3 hour nap. When I woke up, I was still feeling like crap, but after eating just toast and taking medicine, I felt even worse. I would go from shivering to sweating in a matter of minutes during about a 45 minute period. My host Mom asked if there was anything else she could do and to wake her up during the night if I needed anything, which was really nice of her. I had to do some homework, which was a challenge, but I had Luis check over it because my brain just wasn’t comprehending Spanish. During the afternoon and night, I kept drinking a lot of water and juice to try and keep my body hydrated. I spend the night watching TV online, which was quite enjoyable. I was extremely tired, so I feel asleep fast, but it wasn’t a very enjoyable night with much turning.

viernes 6 marzo 2009-I woke up feeling a lot better, but I still took it easy at breakfast and took some more medicine. Class went fine and in the afternoon, I went with 2

Overlooking one of the many parks that we weren't allowed to go into because it was windy.
friends to Elche, a small town 30 mins away by train. This town has the most and largest palm trees in all of Europe. It was really an interesting town, but because it was windy, they had closed all the walking paths thru the palm trees and because we went during the early afternoon, most the shops were closed for siesta. We were only there for about 4 hours which was perfect because I was extremely tired. I stopped at the store and got more juice and Sprite so I can stay hydrated and give my body the energy that it needs. I slept the whole train ride home and then took a nap for 4 hours. After this, I was feeling a lot better, but was still extremely exhausted but I figured that I better get up for a few hours so I could sleep through the night. I plan to go to bed soon and try to be as rested as possible for my big hike tomorrow in the mountains of Alicante.

Additional photos below
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I took a break and had an orange and a pop while the others went shopping, not a bad view.

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