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Old 14th July 2008, 10:59 PM   #21
Perro Callejero
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July 14th
By Jordan Nelson
I went to Granada and Almuñecar's beach this weekend. It was great! I know I say this about everywhere, but Granada was one of my favorite places last time I was here. It has a cool mix of Spanish, Middle Eastern, North African, and hippie vibes.

I saw the old city, stopped in the shops of the obligatory "calle de las teterías," and had a guy hand-calligraphy my name in Arabic on a cool wooden plaque for only 5 euros! It's pretty neat looking and I think there's a photo of him making it in this post's photo album.

The beach was alright but it was SUPER windy (this is coming from an Oklahoman, mind you so it had to be REALLY windy) and the beach was made of rocks instead of sand which was a little wierd/uncomfortable. I'm not much of a swim-in-the-beach kind of guy unless there's some watersport activity involved like snorkeling or surfing lessons or something, so I didn't actually swim, but I did read my book under the shade of a 4 euro/day beach hut I'm reading "El viajero perdido" by César Mallorquí. It's a book for teenagers though, not high literature. I prefer that in English as well as Spanish though I much prefer to simply enjoy a good story than to worry about exploring life's problems through literary symbolism The added bonus of reading this reading-level of story in Spanish though is that I am more likely to understand it than, say, a book like "Cien años de soledad,"and I'm more likely to enjoy it too!

On Saturday night I went to a flamenco show at the same place I went last time. It was very cool. The footwork, incredibly fast clapping without getting off-beat, and the amazing guitar work is a sight to see!

Back in Madrid classes started again today (Monday). They're alright, but long and not terribly interesting. I like my first class (grammar, surprise surprise ) though. I happen to be one of those 1 in 100 people who enjoys grammar, though, even if I don't always follow it!

Other than that, I'm just enjoying my free time in Madrid! I still enjoy walking around aimlessly, exploring new parts of the city, after classes. I usually take out a MetroMadrid map, close my eyes, and choose a random metro station. I then take the metro there, and walk around! As the mom of my Spanish house says, "There are more places in Madrid than Sol and Grand Vía." (Although she says it in Spanish haha).

I bought my plane ticket to Paris for the weekend after this (this weekend is Santander). I will arrive Thursday evening/night and will have Friday and Saturday free, and most of Sunday (I don't depart until 9pm!). One of the days I will probably go to Lisses though.

Well, that's it for now! Enjoy the photos. This post's corresponding album is HERE. *Photobucket's being a real pain right now. I wish all photo hosting sites could follow Facebook's nearly perfect model. I'll post them later. Sorry to make you wait.

*Thank the Lord. You can make your facebook albums public; I just figured out how. This post's corresponding album is HERE.
See ya around Madrid!

P.S. Yes, I'm still making a videoblog! But I'm busy AND I just changed to a new video editing software that I'm SO not used to yet! A few of the videoblogs may be post-return!

Last edited by Perro Callejero; 14th July 2008 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 14th July 2008, 11:51 PM   #22
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Very nice album!
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Old 15th July 2008, 11:05 PM   #23
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Titulares breves de un día
--I stopped for the first time in the famous Chocolatería San Gines today and had churros and chocolate. Heaven. I drank all the chocolate afterward.

--I'm finally figuring out the Cercanias system and will be traveling to Segovia either tomorrow or the day after (I love Segovia!).

--My friend was ripped off (or engañado if you prefer) at a restaurant in the Plaza Mayor today and I thus had my first "argument" in Spanish. It remained civil, but I was proud at how fluently and easily my words came to me.

--I am past the lull that often occurs in long trips (you do "sightseeing" type things at first, then you get tired of them and just do what you have to, now I'm back in the mood to see new things and do new things).

--I really want to snowboard at Madrid Xanadú.

--I don't like rain.

--I will never talk like a taxista . I promise to forever speak fluently and quickly, but with impeccable intonation, articulation, and accentuation.

--I want to be completely fluent. NOW.

--I soon will be riding the cable car from the Palacio Real.

--A scheduled visit to the Palacio Real was cancelled because of the King's presence at an official visit...I wasn't invited.

--I have to see Estopa in concert before I return!

--This weekend...Santander!

--Next weekend...Paris!
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Old 16th July 2008, 06:11 AM   #24
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I happen to be one of those 1 in 100 people who enjoys grammar
Me too!

Last edited by greytop; 17th July 2008 at 08:38 AM. Reason: quote fixed
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Old 16th July 2008, 09:40 PM   #25
Perro Callejero
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Errant in Iberia? No, that's Ben! I'm Errant in Cercedilla!

Too often it seems that we get so caught up in traveling, seeing the "must sees" and doing the "must do's" that we wear ourselves completely thin, running from one place to another, all for the sake of checking off a list. We're so occupied in making sure we do what is "expected" of a trip to a certain place, that we forget to simply relax and relish the time we spend there! That's one advantage of being able to stay somewhere for more than just a few days or a week, I think: you get to experience the ups and downs in your enthusiasm to do the touristy things.

When I arrived in Madrid only a few weeks ago, it had been three years since I had been here. I was so excited to get back and to reacquiant myself with the sites I had seen and for three long years longed to see again. I went everywhere. I spent my afternoons wandering the city. Palacio Real. Plaza de España. Templo de Debod. Plaza Mayor. Bam, bam, bam. Always moving, always seeing, always doing.

But what results? A week goes by, then another. Classes start. Metro rides seem longer and longer each day. You get worn out. And, along with your energy, goes your desire to do fun things, to have adventure! Pretty soon you're stuck in a rut that goes something like this: Wake up; metro ride to school (or work); classes (or work); metro ride to errands; metro ride back home; you're worn out; you eat; you go to sleep; you go to bed; you do it all again, kind of like a shampoo bottle--lather, rinse, repeat.

It's tough, and it takes a conscious effort, but it's important to snap out of this rut while abroad! No matter how long you are in a foreign place, it always seems too short when it comes time to end. It's easy to fall into the workaday/everyday rut, but that's what home is for! When you're abroad, you simply have to make the best of your time. So break the mold, put on your adventurous façade (whether you actually are or not is of no relevance), and do something completely unexpected and spontaneous!

For me, this breaking-of-the-rut happened today. It was tough, since nobody wanted to do it with me. All my friends here are still in their ruts right now. But as for me, I was ready to get back in the adventure lane. So I took a dive into the unknown and hopped on a train system with which I was completely unfamiliar to go somewhere. I did not plan; I did not think; I did not pack. I got out of classes, got on the metro with the intention to head home, and, upon stopping at Atocha Renfe station, I decided to quite staring at that Cercanías sign I see everyday and just hop on board already!

I had previously thought about going to Segovia, but like I said, sometimes you just have to abandon all organization and planning and simply go for the adventure. As I rode on the train, I admired the scenery whiz by me. We pulled into Cercedillas train station, where I would have to transfer trains to go to Segovia. Upon stepping onto the platform, however, the town's charm caught my attention...and thus I abandoned my already minimal plans and started walking on the road.

It wasn't much. I just walked around the town, bought some supplies at the supermarket for a picnic, and ate on a bench overlooking the town and the mountains beyond. I made my own sandwiches of bread, ketchup, mozzarella cheese, and jamón serrano (all my favorite ingredients!). I completed the meal with a doughnut and a Cola-Cao energy chocolate drink.

I walked a bit more, enjoyed the countryside, the cows with bells around their necks, and the cars flying by on the narrow streets with non-existent sidewalks. I returned to the station and caught the next train back to Madrid.

In short, sometimes the sites with the longest entry lines, or the most number of visitors per year, etc aren't always what you will remember most when you return home. Sometimes, what you will most remember, is the day you hopped on a train without knowing its destination, and wandered the streets of a town you had never heard of.
--Jordan Nelson--

Some things to remember when injecting spontaneity in your trip:
--If your companions don't want to join you, don't be afraid to leave without them! You can meet up with them later. Don't miss out on adventure just to tag along with people.

--Don't be afraid of having no plan, or even no "escape route." Chances are you're traveling in at least a semi- if not fully developed nation (like Spain!). If you get on a train somewhere, you'll be hard pressed to arrive somewhere where you can't get back easily. So just go! What's the worst that could happen? Get stuck there for the night? Sounds like a good thing to me!

--Turn off your cell phone. If you're just going for the day, take full advantage of the escape and turn off your communication to the outside world. If you have a phone for emergencies, then put it on silent and simply check it when necessary; but a get away isn't a get away if you're still chained to other thoughts and worries!

--Pick a place you've never heard of, instead of going for some place on your "list." Better yet, hop on a train without paying attention to the destination (or click on a random destination at the ticket vending machine, if applicable).

--Get aways don't equal expensive! My round trip ticket cost about 6 euro. Picnic food cost about 8. If you're really pressed for cash, narrow it down a little. Pick a random metro station and explore a new and unfamiliar part of the city.

--Stop reading this, and just go already!

Happy travels,
Perro Callejero

Last edited by Perro Callejero; 16th July 2008 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 16th July 2008, 10:10 PM   #26
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--Stop reading this, and just go already!
¡Ya me voy!
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Old 19th July 2008, 05:01 PM   #27
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You're just like me! I too went to Cercedilla/Navacerrada (and further up the mountain to Cotos), although I did plan a little bit and friends came along. I've been to that area about 5 times now and I have to say it's probably my favourite place in the world - I've never felt so at peace while hiking there.

Next time, buy a ticket to Navacerrada and change at Cercedilla for a small train to go up the mountain (or if you prefer the bus, it is a bit quicker and goes from the Moncloa bus station. It's about 30 mins quicker if you want to go all the way to the top to Cotos. Cant remember the number, 6XX something). There are some established hiking routes there. A nice gentle one is Camino Schmid (just follow the people off the train in Navacerrada, it's signposted too). It's long, and wear proper shoes, but it's all down hill and goes all the way down to Cercedilla (at the end of the route, a long straight road goes all the way to the train station). It took us about 3 or 4 hours if I remember correctly.

Then for some more serious hiking, go to the Peñalara in Cotos. Theres Rutas and Rutas Verdes. Just google "peñalara rutas". I did Cotos to Rascafria and stayed the night there (about 15km).. it was awesome!

I would pack some more things if you were going on hikes though And I'm not too sure about random destinations... have you seen some of the stations between Cercedilla and Charmartin? Middle of nowhere! LOL

And Rascafria has 2 buses a day to Madrid on Sundays. I missed the first one, next one wasnt for 6 hours. So I wandered round the town for ages, had a coffee in just about every bar there is until I got chatting to this group of guys from Chile. One of them offered to give me a lift to a town about 20 mins away where there are more frequent buses! He was so cool!

My best memories of my time in Madrid were these trips! I want to go back already! ... 2 months to go!

Last edited by switch007; 19th July 2008 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 20th July 2008, 04:36 AM   #28
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Exactly Jordy, what's the worst that could happen?

It's never as bad compared to the possible rewards. Nice work man.
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Old 20th July 2008, 10:02 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Perro Callejero View Post
Errant in Iberia? No, that's Ben! I'm Errant in Cercedilla!
--Stop reading this, and just go already!
Perro Callejero
Sounds like you'r really enjoying yourself, Jordan! I agree it's better to do things on your own if nobody wants to come along, especially if you are fast-paced traveler like yourself! I couldn't possibly keep up with you!
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Old 20th July 2008, 11:26 AM   #30
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Someone once said, "He travels fastest who travels alone". So true and I did it for years. Now, maybe it's Spain, (or age!), but now I go a little slower and like to share experiences. It's so nice later to say to someone, "Do you remember when we .....". And if your companion is native, y bonita(!), you learn so much more!!
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Old 21st July 2008, 04:00 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by richardksa View Post
Someone once said, "He travels fastest who travels alone". So true and I did it for years. Now, maybe it's Spain, (or age!), but now I go a little slower and like to share experiences. It's so nice later to say to someone, "Do you remember when we .....". And if your companion is native, y bonita(!), you learn so much more!!
I think Jordy would agree with this but on this particular day, noone would come with him. So the choice wasn't between do it with someone or do it alone, the choice was was do it alone or sit on his ass all day.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 03:52 PM   #32
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By Jordan Nelson
Well, classes are still in full swing but they'll be over in a week! And I go home in 2! Too bad, so sad. I wish I could just find a briefcase full of money. If I did, I would go home, spend a week seeing my family etc. and then come right back and stay. And since money wouldn't be an issue anymore, I'd just send my family plane tickets to come see me in Spain. I would live in Santo Domingo de Silos.

But, unfortunately, I have yet to find said briefcase of money. As such, I am faced with the reality of this trip ending [somewhat] soon, and thus I need to make the most of the time I have left.

Today was the last day of a week long "conferencia" about the political transition of Spain from dictatorship to democracy. It has been my favorite class so far. I have to write an essay tonight about what the keys of the transition were to hand in tomorrow as my final test.

Other than that, my classes go on as before. Grammar is still my favorite, followed closely by "Prácticas," then by written expression/comprehension, and finally I have my conversation class which I still hate, I mean, dislike. The professor still talks like a cab driver and I have yet to pick up more on her accent. I am seriously considering secretly recording her voice with my video camera through my backpack so you can hear what I'm talking about!

Since last post I have visited Santander, which was excellent. I spent the weekend hanging out on the beaches, and left just in time since it started raining as I left. One day earlier this week (Monday I think) I went to Arganda del Rey, a small suburb of Madrid. Another one of the pick-up-and-go spur of the moment type things. I didn't spend much time there, though.

I'm writing this at 3:49pm, and I am going to the Reina Sofia museum at 4:30, so I should go catch the metro now. I'll be sure to be back soon to update!

P.S. I leave for Paris TOMORROW EVENING! I am coming back to Madrid Monday night.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 08:31 PM   #33
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Today was the last day of a week long "conferencia" about the political transition of Spain from dictatorship to democracy. It has been my favorite class so far. I have to write an essay tonight about what the keys of the transition were to hand in tomorrow as my final test.
Don't mean to put you on the spot....but maybe you could consider sharing it with us if you think it turns out well....I'd love to read it.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 09:11 PM   #34
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I don't mind at all! Though I can't guarantee quality nor correct Spanish grammar! (It will be in Spanish by the way. I think only one of my professors speaks English anyway!)

Last edited by Perro Callejero; 23rd July 2008 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 09:46 PM   #35
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A new photo album for your enjoyment. This round includes Burgos, Santander, and Madrid

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...&id=1445310677
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Old 23rd July 2008, 10:10 PM   #36
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Cool pictures, Jordan!

RE 'bored' (photo # 18): when did you have any time left to be bored?
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Old 23rd July 2008, 10:12 PM   #37
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Cool pictures, Jordan!
Thanks!

Quote:
RE 'bored' (photo # 18): when did you have any time left to be bored?
Haha; true. But a 6 hour bus drive does leave something to be desired
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Old 23rd July 2008, 10:16 PM   #38
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Haha; true. But a 6 hour bus drive does leave something to be desired
That's where ¡Pods come in handy.
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Old 24th July 2008, 04:19 AM   #39
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I am seriously considering secretly recording her voice with my video camera through my backpack so you can hear what I'm talking about!
What about a cell phone?

Thanks for the pictures!! The ones of Burgos made me so emotional, especially the one of el río Arlanzón with la catedral in the background!! I spent about 7 months there studying abroad and I crossed that river 4 days a week to get to class! I havent been back in 4 years, so needless to say, Burgos is definately at the top of my "places to re-visit" list.. just a little over 1 month left!
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Old 25th July 2008, 09:08 PM   #40
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I'm in Paris on a small "vacation" until Monday night. I arrived last night without a hitch via Air France . I spent the morning/afternoon going to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, walking along the Seine, and walking more throughout the city than I ever have walked anywhere before! I know this isn't Spain related, but I just thought I'd update!
-Perro Callejero
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