Hike Gone Odd

Our plan this morning was to go for a hike off of El Paseo de los Tristes at 10:30! There is a church on that road, so that is why the name was given, because people heading to funerals always had to take that road to get there. Anyways, there’s a spot off to the side of it that leads into the mountains, so we decided to see where it went!

It started off with a paved road, and eventually became more of a small trail where we were walking in a single file line. I was loving it!


We got about a mile in and were surrounded by mountains and beautiful views, but the trail was starting to head down! Shouldn’t we be going up?? Then we saw tents, bikes, fire pits, and realized that people were living in this little patch in the woods. Ooooops. We were going to turn around then and there, but there was a sign with an arrow that read “camino” which I’m pretty sure means that the trail continues this way. So we kept going.


Pretty again! For half a mile. I was about to cross a bush on a tiny little trail, but I heard a meow in the bushes. I’m not afraid of cats for the most part, but I couldn’t see where in the bush it was! It was also a meow that was long, like it was starving. I just had this image of it jumping on us and everyone else seemed kind of nervous, so then we did head back to the beginning. All in all, a weird experience hiking. I think we must have taken a wrong trail or something because we saw a ton of people at the bottom of the hike, surely they weren’t going to the same place we had came from??

But we hadn’t gotten far like we planned. We were all ready with snacks, water and good hiking gear! So our “hike” ended up turning into a long walk, we walked 7.5 miles through the gardens of the Alhambra and the area nearby.

First we walked to Generalife, its like a garden part of the Alhambra to picnic before we walked a few miles.


And we kept walking, there is so much to see in this part of Granada! Palm trees, organge trees, cacti (is that the plural of cactus?), mountains, streams…


It was long and tiring, but I’m so glad that we all got up to do this long hike-turned-walk! I was starved when we got back, luckily we had paella waiting for us! (I probably ate way too much of it). The shrimps were big and still had the eyes on them, but I am allergic and Joanna (our other roommate doesn’t like them) so they were all Julia’s! She had to learn how to rip it’s head off and get the shell off neatly, so I looked the other way for that part…

After lunch, I decided to go for a 7-mile run! The weather was perfect and I actually think I got a little tan from it 🙂 I haven’t run that far in a while, I hope I do it more. I actually wrote a post about running that I need to put up on the blog soon!

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Rain, Coffee, Sacromante

We woke up to a grey and rainy Friday, luckily it turns out that Granada is still beautiful with stormy skies! We had nothing planned, so Julia and I took a stroll up to the Alhambra lookout again, this time followed by a trip to the café.


Julia bought an umbrella because she needed one anyways, of course if stopped raining right when we left the store…img_1490

We were the only ones in the café because nobody wanted to go outside in the “rain.” (It was pretty much a small sprinkle of water. The vibes were super.. I don’t know, hippyish? Groovy? Moroccan? Everything at the same time.img_1478img_1480img_1482

We stopped by the Moroccan shops on the way back down:img_1487

This morning I went exploring on my run and I found so many palm trees!! I also found an airfield, a great view of the mountains, and running trails in only 4 miles of running.img_1509img_1508

We went for coffee at a vegan restaurant near the classes we’ll have on Wednesday, but we stopped in at the pet store first!img_1510img_1511

65 euro lizards anyone???

Then we made another stop at a historical/cinema/museum kind of thing. img_1512img_1513

Until we finally made it with no more stops! I got a coffee and Julia got a peanut butter smoothie. We miss peanut butter SO MUCH, they don’t sell it here at all.img_1517img_1518

And we spent this afternoon enjoying the nice 55 degree weather! So many people were out this weekend, so the place was packed but we didn’t mind waiting.img_1520img_1521img_1524img_1525img_1529

These little tea boxes people get are so cute!!!img_1531

It was getting cold so we headed back to our apartments, the views walking down were just as amazing 🙂img_1532img_1533

I’m kind of excited for classes to begin on Wednesday, it’ll add something new to our schedules, and they will all be in Spanish so that we can speak more and more!


Mojitos, Runs, and Differences

Yay for free time! (Even though it’s not too much). We’re finally settled and have been having one or two meetings per day, but out night time is free! Yesterday was the first time I actually took a long nap during the siesta, and I can see why people do it. I take naps at UMass too, they always give me so much energy. The past two nights we walked by a couple different places the first night with people from our program and got a feel for the places we liked best 🙂 It’s the J-term finals week right now, so most of the spots were rather dead, good for us though!


We got mojitos:img_1464img_1465


Running along the river has been my favorite way to wake up! It’s easy because I don’t get lost, and I don’t have to stop for cars or people. It reminds me of the canal at home a lot. These pictures make it not look as pretty as it is, but the further I go, the further into the mountains I am! It’s good motivation to get in some extra miles.img_1460img_1462img_1463

The coffee is so small but so perfect! Café cortado.img_1471


Of course there are cultural differences when being in a different country, and some of them definitely surprised me! Here are four things that I can remember wanting to write about:

  1. Walking: boy does everyone walk slow here! I mean really slow, I thought people were injured at first. They really take in their surroundings, walking and talking at a very leisurely pace. I feel like I seem so rushed because I am walking past everyone all the time, I have a destination and it’s like I have tunnel vision to get there.
  2. Time: it seems like almost everyone is late for everything all the time. If you’re meeting someone for tapas at 10:00 it’s really 10:20 that you’ll see them. Some people said that Spaniards will show up an hour or more late for events! I think that is exaggerating a little, but it is noticeable. It frustrated me so much at first but now I can adjust to estimate what time people will actually be doing what they said.
  3. Meals: breakfast is virtually nothing, lunch is huge and late, and supper is small and late! I’m somewhat used to just having coffee at breakfast, but I am definitely not used to the big lunch at 3pm. I think we are beginning to adjust, and the supper at 10pm I actually kind of like because I never go to bed hungry. Sometimes if I eat in the US at 5:30 or  6, I want food by the time the night is over. I wish there was some kind of protein at breakfast (I miss breakfast sandwiches already).
  4. Saying thank-you: People from the US say thank-you WAY more than they say it here. I’m so accustomed to saying thank-you to a waiter for bringing the menu, the drinks, my food, filling my water, taking my plates, everything. Here, people say thanks probably once per meal, all the other times they stay silent. It felt rude to do at first ,but it’s so normal in Spain.

Toledo and the First Days in Granada!

Even though 6 hours were spent on the bus today on our way to Granada, we got to stop in Toledo for a tour!

There’s only one boy in our group, poor guy 😦


The Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo was so tall it hurt my neck to look up at the top! I’ve never been big into architecture, but I don’t see how someone could not appreciate all the work put into the inside and the outside. It was SO beautiful! We didn’t get to go inside because the church was holding masses (Sunday) but the inside is filled with hundreds of stained glass windows.


I might be made of coffee by the end of these four months. SO GOOD. Also, if you just ask for a “coffee” they give you a small shot of espresso (made that mistake!) So I have to ask for “cortada,” which is coffee with a splash of milk, just how I like it.img_1329img_1325img_1322img_1321img_1320

There are only 2 synagogues in Toledo, while there are 80 churches! There is only one Star of David in the whole synagogue because the Star of David came out after it was already built.img_1313

Orange trees everywhere!! Curra told us that they are really tart and there is a special way to tell if one is sweet by the way the leaves looked.


Pretty pretty Toledo 🙂img_1336img_1304img_1303

And then we were off to Granada! We’ve been walking around trying to get a feel for the city and I love it already. I went on a short run this morning (I didn’t want to get lost), and I think I am starting to get the hang of it!

Before I get on two that though, two weird things to me:

  1. All the stop signs in Spain that I’ve seen say STOP in English??
  2. There are Dunkin Coffee, McDonald’s, and Burger King in all the cities! In Madrid there was even Shake Shack, but it was called Steak Shack instead.


Which is funny because my roommate brought Dunkin Donuts coffee as a welcome gift for our land lady, oooops nevermind… 🙂 I guess we didn’t realize Spain has a few Dunkin Donuts too! We gave her the salt water taffy from Cape Cod as well.

Then we walked up through the Albacin and El Sacramento (I think those are parts of the town?? It wasn’t really explained), so that we could see La Alhambra! It used to be a palace/fortress until Granada was conquered by Spain.


The Morrocan buildings were so pretty, like a painting!img_1352img_1353img_1354img_1356img_1358

Doesn’t this tree look like the Whomping Willow?!img_1359img_1361img_1363img_1366

We’ll be visiting the inside of the Alhambra tomorrow!img_1368img_1375

Therese legs were tired by the end of our long long walk! I think it was about 6 miles.img_1382

There are lots of water fountains around that have fresh, clean, potable water that taste amazing, just like the Gristmill in Sandwich!img_1384


The sky was like cotton candy on our walk back towards our living areas 🙂img_1387

My friends rewarded themselves with churros con chocolate, I just wanted water at the time though, so thirsty!! I need to bring a bigger water bottle with me.img_1389img_1394

The churro guy was SUPER excited.img_1391IMG_1393.JPG

But of course I got jealous, so I ended up getting a chocolate covered waffle, just me being healthy over here!img_1395




Teatro Kapital and a Run (Finally!)

It’s so helpful to know people who have been to Madrid before because they recommended the best clubs to go to for our (probably) last night out in this city. We chose Teatro Kapital for the night, and though we had to pay to get it, the ticket came with one drink which was all I really needed! I’ll get to that later though.

This morning I woke up at 8:15 and set out for a run! The sun doesn’t rise here until 8:25 right now (but I think it’s getting earlier each day). It was so much quieter than I have seen the city, and pretty much the only people besides me that were awake were the food delivery trucks. My GPS watch wouldn’t connect for a while, so in the spirit of being carefree I set out for a run not even knowing the distance (although it was around 3 miles)!! I haven’t done that in over a year, go Amanda!

I can’t wait for more runs this semester, I am off to a good start!

I ran through this plaza:


By the fountain:img_1281img_1279img_1278

And here are some people that were with me at club last night, they are seriously all so nice and I feel like I could talk to them for hours on end.


There were 8 FLOORS to this club, and each one had a totally different vibe. There was something for everyone! We opted for the two dancing floors, that constantly had confetti and fun lighting. img_1274

I got a vodka redbull as my one drink which was surprisingly good 🙂 I panicked when I got to the front of the bar because they didn’t have the drink I wanted, so I got the same thing as my friend. “Lo mismo por favor!!”img_1272img_1270img_1269


Disorganized Photos in Madrid!

We made it!! After one 6-hour flight and one 2-hour flight, we finally arrived in Madrid and headed to our hotel in the center of the city!

Hotel Moderno was perfect because it was so close to everything, we went window shopping and got tapas 🙂 I have a bunch of pictures that are not organized in the slightest (sorry!), but there isn’t much time until we are on to the next event!!

We walked around after the Escorial tour, but no photos were aloud inside, so we took a lot before we went in:


The roads were super steep, which you probably can’t tell from this photo:img_1252


SO STEEPimg_1244img_1245

El Escorial was beautiful, and filled with so much history. I was happy to learn more about the culture right away! The mountains surrounding it were beautiful tooimg_1247img_1240img_1243img_1241

Went out for drinks on our first night in the city! Of course we were lame and got Heinekins but I didn’t really know what the other drinks wereimg_1237

Went out to a three course paid-for supper, the chef was so nice and was happy to see us eating all the food he had made!img_1233

The coffee is so good, EVERYWHERE. Just a coffee with milk tastes like heaven.img_1128-1img_1226img_1224

And the hotel with a small balcony, happy happy girls over here!img_1223img_1231

We went to the Museum de Reina Sofia, but no photos were aloud! Afterwards we went to get supper at La Taberna


Then had a pretty walk back!img_1257


Mountain Biking, Amherst, a Puppy, and Bare Mountain

The beginning of this week started kind of slow, and ended with adventure! Treadmill running was still a thing all week with the snow piled up on the sides of the road, but it didn’t feel too boring 🙂 One day we improvised and Ian biked next to me on his trainer while I ran! I liked our set up, I wish treadmill running was always like that.


I ran so many last minute errands this week (DMV, CVS, bank stuff) so I’m glad I’ve gotten that all out of the way! Then we were free to do fun stuff like go mountain biking and make a trip to Amherst for the weekend 🙂


So on Friday we went to the West Barnstable Conservation area to bike! My mountain bike wasn’t ready because it needed new brake pads, so we borrowed a fat bike for me that had HUGE wheels. It was like riding a bike, but it had car tires instead of those skinny ones.

We went a little over 7 miles, not very fast, but I had fun!I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Without Ian I would have never tried mountain biking, and now I miss it every time I’m not home.


I was happy we went at least once over break, and we rewarded ourselves that night with the food I’ve been craving for a while now: chicken fingers and French fries!


We left early on Saturday for Amherst, and visited Ian’s great-grandmother who was born in 1914, and is 103 YEARS OLD! Amazing, she was really funny too! We got to Amherst later around 4:30, and we were sooo excited to play with their new puppy, Bailey 🙂 She’s a golden-doodle and rather small. She seemed like the perfect fit for their house!


All the pictures of her are super blurry because she doesn’t stop moving, she really had so much puppy energy!

We ordered Chinese take-out and watched the Pats win! Well I fell asleep before the game was over, but I found out they won the next morning 😉


Ian found his grandpa’s plane models so he was invested in that for a while:


Until we went out for a short walk around the neighborhood!


And when we got back we set out for a real hike at Bare Mountain! We set off on the opposite side of the Notch, and it started off super steep and veryyyy icy, I thought we were going to call it quits but once we got past that part, it wasn’t too bad. We made it to one overlook after a lot of climbing and some running too!


And for a while it was kind of flat, no ice or snow! We made it to another peak after .75 miles.


Then we made our way back down: wayyy more snow and ice on the way down, and we only got a little bit lost.


It was really fun and it felt good to go for a hike that was over an hour, and it was actually a pretty good workout! We got home around 6 and I watched Parks and Rec with my mom and Morgan before calling it a night, I was so tired.

I think it would be so fun to do a trail race, but I would need a lot of training! It’s very different than running on the roads and I wouldn’t want to get hurt because I’m not used to it.

And this morning I headed downtown for a 3.1 mile run! It was such a pretty day and my favorite kind of running weather: cold, but not so cold I need a hat or gloves. There were a ton of people on the boardwalk and down by the ocean!

I stayed and stretched for a while afterwards, I’m going to miss Sandwich that’s for sure 🙂


And now it’s time to say goodbye to a lot of people the next two days, then on to Europe!!