World Map of My Route

World Map of My Route
Fall Semester 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Quick Facts

Favorite Drink – limon cervesa (1/4 lemon fanta, ¾ beer)

Food – green olives, jammon (illegal in America, salted and dried- not cooked- ham)
Moment- Riding bikes through Barcelona as if we had any idea where we were going
Place- Sagradia Familia
Bar- Dow Jones, basically modeled after WallStreet. People bid on drinks and order by saying “I’ll take two shares of Sangria”

…The most popular drink is most expensive and the least can be bought for as low as .25 Every hour the market “crashes” and prices reset.

Scariest moment(s)- thinking I lost my BlackBerry to a pickpocket, when in actuality my roommate took it and forgot to tell me…Pro

bably a blessing in disguise because I experienced that feeling of loss and have been overly cautious since…Or Jay nearly getting jumped by an Armenian man who thought we had stolen his girlfriends purse. I watch helplessly at a bird’s eye view from a lifeguard tower above. Who would blame the hundreds of homeless men sleeping nearby? Just blame the Americans students…logical.

  • Spain is ranked 12th largest in the world GDP/per capita; compared to America which is ranked 11th…in other words, its really nice.
  • Dean David (the head dean of SAS) spent many years in Spain during his college years and was eventually knighted could he be any cooler?
  • Everyday between 3-8pm Spaniards “siesta” and everything shuts down while they catch up on zzz’s. Plan accordingly, or just join in the napping like I did!

Our first port was Cadiz, Spain. We docked super early in the morning. I was wide eyed and awake with journal/camera in hand to document our first sight of land in nearly 10 days. To my pleasant surprise I found Desmond TuTu on the top deck getting his morning workout in (walking laps around the deck, periodically stopping to do toe raises) adoooorable.

We ventured out into Cadiz, everyone was super stoked to just have land back under their feet. It was hilarious watching people wobble around as we had all just recently adapted and got our “sea legs”. A lot of people including myself were land sick (who would have known?). The only cure was being near water where I could see and hear the crashing waves. I never imagined these two things would become such a comfort!

I spent what was most certainly one of the best days I can remember exploring Spain, stopping at markets, local pubs and street vendors. I quickly learned of my mild (others may argue unhealthy) obsession with international children. They are so fun to photograph. So I used Jay as my decoy until I got up the nerve to start talking to parents and gage if they would be comfortable with me snapping some shots of their little nuggets (nugget- international kids under the age of 5).

Later that day we ventured down to the beach. It was such a change of pace from the local markets we had experienced all day. Everyone was so mellow and eager to strike up conversation. It was my first time to put my feet into the Mediterranean Sea and one of the best views I’ve had since leaving Halifax. We walked along the 3 or so mile long shore collecting sea glass and “treasures”. Everyone makes fun of me because I love being a “gatherer” and discovering free souvenirs (for example broken pottery that I plan to tile when I get home) We had no intention of walking the entire beach but between good conversation and competitive sea glass hunting we ended up at the opposite end of the shore. We walked back the other way and decided to try some Tapas at a local place. The restaurant overlooked the beach and everyone seemed to have forgotten the concept of time. We ordered some calamari and some kind of fish dish, a bottle of water and two glasses of red wine. The wine (surprise, surprise) came right away. It wasn’t until two hours later (we were trying to refrain from being impatient Americans) that we decided to inquire about our tapas. They had entirely forgot. We were too happy to care. At this point a woman and man who had been mingling with locals took the stage and began to perform Flamenco (a traditional form of Spanish singing/dancing accompanied by guitar). We really were not anticipating this portion of the evening and overall it was quite entertaining. By the time we finished our wine, got our food, contained our laughter, drank free shots of Honey Rum (delicious as it sounds, no chaser needed) and paid we had probably spent close to 4 hours dining. This is nothing out of the ordinary for a Spanish meal and to my pleasant surprise turned out to be extremely refreshing.

Early the next morning a group of us woke up and snagged a cab to Jerez, the nearest airport was here. I, of course, ended up riding shotgun (I kinda have a thing for talking with locals) and by the end of the 45 minute ride was doing Flamenco claps to Spanish music on a cassette tape with our cab driver. Did I mention it is 5am?

The airport was like no airport you will ever experience in the states. No one ever asked to see a passport or even a photo-ID. Lots of kids actually walked onto the airplane drinking mimosas and beer. I bought my standard gigantic Toblerone chocolate bar and a bottle of Honey Rum for Barcelona (we’re on a budget here, so this sort of planning is important). As we took off on Vueling Airlines, there was music playing and everyone was so eager to get to Barce.

Oh Barcelona. What a city! It was everything and nothing I had imagined it would be at the same time. We found a hotel that was actually really nice for 30 Euros per person/per night. I had a view, free breakfast and my own bed, so no complaints. We enjoyed delicious tapas, sangria in the streets and the incredibly detailed architecture for the next 3 days. Barcelona is the type of city t
hat seems to have left no corners untouched by art or something to make it unique. The entire time in Spain, sleep was secondary. I mayyybe spent 4-6 hours sleeping or should I say seista’ing (because the times I did sleep was usually after a late lunch) for the whole 6 days. We checked out of our hotel and biked our backpacks to a friend, shout out to Tyler Wallace & roommates for being great hosts! Tyler is studying in Barce for the entire semester (gnarly, right?)…The grand finale to an amazing visit was our last night in the city. Rather than sleeping we closed down a Disco staying until 4:30am with some other SAS kids who we ran into that night. DJ Popcorn was spinning all night, the music was perfect and at one point they shot “popcorn cannons” into the air as 500+ kids stood idle with mouths wide open to catch a snack. It was epic. From here we swung by Tyler’s apartment to grab our stuff and took a taxi to the airport.;
True story: after being told in Jerez airport that my liquids would be no problem and I could carry
them on, no worries, they were confiscated in Barcelona. On our flight back when I was told “check these or deeestroy” by a security woman, it was quite liberating to snap back in Spanish, but of course I lost this battle (and close to $200 of Moroccan oil, face wash and lotion)

“When traveling there is no such thing as a bad experience, only a good story”
^Quickly becoming the motto of the trip

Live music in the streets of Cadiz (Cadish) Love Life.
Authentic Bull-fight in the streets...for free? Not so much. Love this homeless lady, somebody take my wallet.
Biking in Barce <3
Skylines from the plane en Barce
OH-IO...Where'd you go boys ? WE MISS YOU! <3 Erin and Amanda
AFTER we took our time, no biggie.

Improvisation at its finest...but is still caught you.
For YOU Madeline
I found your mentor... ;)

MOROCCO and MORE PHOTOS TO COME SOON, so much love to all!

*Something I have noticed and love about travel in groups is you can get on a train as 8 strangers and feel like a family by the end of day 2. The unfamiliar situations require everyone to be alert and supportive of one another. I’ve been very blessed to
be surrounded by a lot of lively, interesting students. I feel like I’m making new best friends every day, which is a phenomena I’ve never experienced. I’m learning quickly to keep an open mind and never judge. That funny looking quiet kid will probably be your new favorite person.

Sahara Desert, M<3ROCCO
Moroccan Out..."One love babygirl"


  1. ERIN!!!! :) This blog post is SO beautifully written and your pictures are absolutely fantastic! I am so happy that you are having such an incredible time an that you have gotten the opportunity to see and do so many amazing things. I miss you so much but am so happy for you. Keep having the time of your life and updating me through your blog...I love it!


  2. Hey Erin,

    Soak up the sites and get lots of landscape shots! If you want to share more pics let me know and I will share my web site with you. I can hardly wait to see all of the photos. I liked the one out of the airplane. Have fun and stay safe. Continued prayers for you.

    Love Gram