St. Patrick´s Day (El día de San Patricio)

After seeing my blog recently, my Spanish teacher decided that it would be good for me to try write some posts in Spanish. So as part of my homework I´m going to write about St.Patrick´s Day, which was yesterday (17th of March). I will post this and then update it with the corrections when my teacher has seen it.

El día de San Patricio es uno de mis días favoritos del año. Es un día especial para estar orgulloso que somos Irlandeses. El sentido del día de San Patricio ha cambiado con el tiempo. Antes tenía un sentido muy religioso. Ahora es una fiesta grande que celebran en muchos países en el mundo.

En este día hay cosas distintos que hacen todos los años en algunos sitios.

1. Ponen algo en los ríos para que sean de color verde. Este no puede ser bueno para los peces pero es verdad que es muy bonito. He incluido una foto del río en Chicago, EE. UU.

2. Similar a los ríos puedes encontrar cervezas de color verde también. Nunca lo he probado y creo que no quiero. Cerveza verde?

¡¡Que asco!!

                                                           

3. Todo el mundo sabe que hay que llevar todo verde en este día. También la gente pone tréboles en la cara y lleva el gorro de un leprechaun. El Leprechaun es un mito irlandés. Son como duendes – bajitos, pelirrojo, tienen la barba roja y por supuesto llevan todo verde.

4. El desfile: Siempre hay un desfile – es lo más importante. En irlanda, puedes encontrar fácilmente muchos defiles en todos los pueblos y también en las ciudades. A veces hay gente famosa pero normalente son grupos y personas de la zona y suelen hacen carrozas. El desfile más grande no es en la capital de Irlanda – es en Nueva York.

Lo que hice para el día de San Patricio:

Este año estoy trabajando en un colegio en Madrid. Soy la única Irlandesa en mi colegio así que podía dar un montón de ideas de lo que podríamos hacer. Hicimos una búsqueda del tesoro para encontrar monedas de oro (de chocolate). También hicimos leprechauns con papel y tarjetas del día de San Patricio. Intenté a enseñar unas palabras de la lengua irlandesa a los niños. Ahora todos los días los niños me dicen ‘Dia dhuit’ – significa ‘Hola’ en Irlandés. Además, los niños han aprendido como hacer el baile irlandés¡¡Lo pasamos genial!!

A Day in the snow

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Recently one of my best friends Marija was visiting me from Ireland. It is rare to find snow in Ireland so both of us really wanted to see some.

This was made quite easy for us in Madrid as just 1 hour from the city you find yourself in the mountains. We went to a little town called ‘Navacerrada’. It was very easy to get here – many buses leave daily from Moncloa and will only cost you around €10 for a return ticket.

We only went to the town but if you continue on the bus you will arrive at ‘Puerto de Navacerrada‘. Here there are some beautiful ski slopes if you feel like a spot of skiing! Rental of the ski equipment and ski passes are also very reasonably priced. Ski passes start at €20 and you can rent the complete ski equipment pack from as little as €15.

If you’re not into skiing and just want to see or play in the snow then you can still have a great day in the town. We felt like children again making snowmen, having snowball fights and writing our names in the snow. There are also lots of adorable little bars and cafes to get a hot chocolate to warm you up.  

It’s great to think that just 1 hour outside of the bustling city of Madrid you can escape to this winter wonderland. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Didn’t even feel like we were in Spain anymore.

So if you want a quick snow escape I recommend Navacerrada… you won’t regret it!

Enjoy your trip! 😉

Chasing the sun – take 2

Today was another absolutely beautiful day in Madrid – even had to take off our jackets!

I brought my camera with me today and got some amazing photos… much better than my phone!

Here are some of the photos I took today. If you want to find the perfect place to see the sunset in Madrid then I recommend going to the ‘Templo de Debod‘ – metro stop: Plaza de España. If you can then you should go during the day and the evening. The view of the city is breathtaking!

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Then came the sunset….

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Even after the sun had set the sky looked magical all evening. It was a lovely day catching up with friends. It really made me appreciate how lucky I am to be living in such a beautiful city.

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Little fact: 

It was donated to Spain in 1968 from Egypt for their help in saving the temples.

You can enter the temple and see some of the original carvings on the walls.

Chasing the sun

As most of you know I’m living in Madrid and I’ve just realized I haven’t taken the time to talk about Madrid itself! I could literally write a book about Madrid there’s so much to do and see. For now I just want to share some beautiful pictures from my evening walk. I went out only to take a picture of the sunset but I just couldn’t stop walking – I was admiring everything. I’m always so busy rushing around that I don’t take the time to admire how amazing the city is. In the end I ended up walking 7km – I was do distracted by the beauty of everything that I didn’t realize how far I had walked. 

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I promise I will start writing more about Madrid very soon 😉

A day in Ávila

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It was so great to be able to spend the day in Ávila and be given a personal tour of the city from an Abulense (a person from Ávila).

Ávila is a beautiful Spanish city full of history, culture, art and nature. It’s located in Castilla y León. We decided to take the train from Madrid, which took just over an hour. Several trains leave Madrid daily and will cost under €20 so you’ve no excuses not to escape Madrid for a day/weekend to discover this gorgeous city.

You should see….

La Muralla (The walls of Ávila)

Ávila is most famous for it’s incredible walls which are full of history. For just €5 you too can climb these walls and live the history.                                                                                                             The views of Ávila from the top are absolutely amazing – it’s a must see!                                         The wall was completed between the 11th and 14th century. I really recommend that you take a walk around on top of the walls… you won’t regret it 😉

Be ready for the narrow steps when climbing up and down…. not for those who are afraid of heights!

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La Catedral de Ávila & Iglesia de San Pedro

The Cathedral (modeled by Jeanann below) is a Gothic and Romanesque church located in the heart of the city.  It is thought to be the first Gothic church in Spain. It was completed around the 15th century.

Iglesia de San Pedro is located just in front of la Muralla (The great walls). This is also Romanesque and is from the 12th century. It can be found in the core of the city so there will be no problems finding it or visiting it.

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Tapas

Like all Spanish cities you will find typical tasty tapas of all kinds. So this trip was no different to others and of course we stopped for some tapas. We tried a range of food: Spanish omelette, huevos rotos (chips, Spanish ham & fried eggs), calamares (squid in batter), revuelto de morcilla (black pudding & egg). Tapas are always very cheap and in a lot of bars around Spain you will be given some for free when you buy a drink (depending on the area).

We went to two lovely bars that I would recommend. Plaza de Zurraquin and also Taberna el loslado. This taberna was absolutely adorable – you go down some steps into this tiny little bar with low ceilings and lovely decor. Apparently it’s a very popular spot.

Old narrow streets

You can easily spend hours wandering around these cute little streets. The buildings and walls are all so interesting and amazing that it’s very easy to get distracted by their beauty. You will notice the difference as you walk from the old part of the city to the new part with modern influences to be seen in the buildings. To experience this traditional Spanish town I recommend spending some time discovering the old part of the city where all the history and tales lie.

The Views 

The views from Ávila are amazing. This is something you cannot miss.                                                   I particularly loved the views from the top of the walls. You get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful countryside and of the historic buildings.                                                                                                   If you can, go discover Ávila during the day and at night – it’s like a completely different city when lit up at night.

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Enjoy your trip 😉

The Perfect Day Trip : Toledo

Toledo is an ancient historical city located in the centre of Spain. It’s around 1 hour south of Madrid making it perfect for a day trip or a weekend if you’re staying in Madrid.                     Many buses leave from Madrid daily and a return ticket will only cost you about €10.                   [Fact: Not a lot of people know it but Toledo used to once be the capital of Spain in the early 8th century.]

What is there to do in Toledo?                                                                                                      All of Toledo can be seen in a day or also in a weekend if you want to relax a little.

  • Walking around Toledo is absolutely breathtaking. The city has a very old traditional vibe. You’ll fall in love with all the little narrow streets as you wander around.
  • BE READY: Wear appropriate footwear. This is not a place for high heels. Toledo is all up hill and you will be doing a lot of walking. Don’t worry though, there are escalators that can bring you to the top… however, we didn’t know this until the end of the day!
  • If you can’t find the escalators like us, not to worry, you will keep stopping on your journey up the hill to take lots of photos of the amazing views.

When in Toledo you must go see…                                                                                                             Alcázar                                                                                                                                                         This beautiful fortress can be found on the highest hill in Toledo so the best views can be seen from here. This fortress was well used during times of war. Now, it is a military museum and also one of the largest libraries in Europe.                                                                                                         Entrance Price: €5 (free on Sundays)  

The Cathedral of Toledo                                                                                                                           You will find this incredible building in the very centre of the city in plaza del ayuntamiento. It’s also home to the works of art of many well-known artists such as El Greco and Goya.                         Entrance Price: €7 – a little expensive but it’s well worth it.

Take a walk along the River Tagus                                                                                                         Toledo is the perfect place for you if you enjoy walking. The views are absolutely amazing and unforgettable. On our trip we kept getting distracted and found ourselves stopping every few yards to take lots of photos. 

Plaza Zocodover

This is the main square of Toledo. The name comes from the market which was here during Moorish times. This is a popular meeting place. Here and close by you will find all the restaurants, bars and shops that you need. This square has an old traditional vibe to it but also with the modern influences of the restaurants and crowds of people.

Plaza de Toros                                                                                                                                              Like nearly every Spanish city there is of course a bullring that still holds these traditional bullfights. It is located just outside the city walls of Old Toledo. I would really recommend taking a look at it.

Enjoy your trip! 😉 

Sevilla – Top 5 things to see

Sevilla is one of my favorite cities in Spain. Everything about it is so beautiful and has such a traditional vibe. I hope you fall in love with Sevilla like I have.

  1. Plaza de España

This is a must see if you go to Sevilla. It is absolutely breath taking. It’s located in the centre of the beautiful park – Parque de María Luisa.                                                                                        Take a peaceful walk around the park or take a ride on one of the many horse drawn carriages.  I would highly recommend renting a little rowing boat to take in the amazing views of the plaza.                                                                                                                                             Price: €5 for 45 minutes.                                                                                                               Also, take some time to admire the impressive wall murals that represent all the cities of Spain.

(P.S; Plaza de España was used as a location in the Star Wars films.)

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2. El Real Alcázar 

Be ready for long waiting lines to enter this beautiful Royal Palace. I promise it’s well worth the wait.                                                                                                                                   Opening hours are between 9:30 – 17:00 (October – March)                                                                                                            9:30 – 19:00 (April – September)                                                  Prices range from €2 – €9.50. Entrance is free at certain limited times.                                     Get ready to be blown away by the Arabian influence of the architecture and beautiful green gardens which surround the palace.

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3. Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (The Bull Ring)

This is one of the most important and oldest bull rings in the World.                                           If you can you should go see one of the traditional bull fights which start at Easter and last until October. Prices range from €8 – €70.                                                                                                   If you’re not interested in seeing a bull fight but are more interested in the history daily tours (in English and Spanish) are given by very friendly and knowledgeable tour guides. Tours are not given on days of bull fights.                                                                                                         Opening hours: 9:30 – 19:00.   Tour price: €4

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4. Torre del Oro (The Golden Tower)

This subtle building was used as a military watch tower as it’s located along the Guadalquivir river. It’s also conveniently located across the road from the bull ring.                                 Climb to the top of the tower to get an amazing view of the river and of Sevilla.                     Opening hours: 9:30 – 18:45 (Monday – Friday)                                                                                                            10:30 – 18:45 (Weekend)                                                                                   Prices: Range between €1.50 – €3                                                                                                                                    Free – Mondays

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5. Flamenco!

Sevilla is famous for it’s flamenco dancing. If you’re in Sevilla then you have to go see a flamenco show. There are more than enough to choose from. Your hotel/hostel will have lots of information about different shows. Some of the bigger shows will include dinner in the price. For a cheaper option many bars and restaurants offer short flamenco shows which are still very impressive for as little as €5,                                                                                                      There are also many bars that play a range of traditional flamenco music for whether you want to give flamenco dancing a go, want to watch other passionate dancers practice or just to listen to the uplifting music. 

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Welcome to my life!

Hey! I’ve been thinking about making a blog for quite a while to keep track of my trips and also to give tips to anyone who wants to visit the places I’ve been. So here goes nothing, it’s worth a shot! 

I’m going to start off with some of my trips that I took last year and then will update with the trips that I plan to go on in the near future.

There will also be a lot of posts about what to do in Madrid as it’s where I’m currently working and living.Image