Monthly Archives: August 2011

Madrid

Hola!  Estoy en España y estoy muy ilusionada por la empieza de mi viaje.

I got into Madrid around 11am yesterday and, thanks to the handy metro, made it to the hostel by 1pm that afternoon.  Beds would not be ready until 3:30pm so I dropped off my luggage and wandered the city, losing myself (literally) in the sights and sounds of a new place.

Today was full of more wandering and exploration on a larger scale, this time with the company of my roommate Megan.   We walked huge figure eights across the city, exploring the Plaza Mayor, Plaza de España, and the Parque de la Montaña, along with numerous side streets and small shops along the way.   For lunch, we took a siesta picnic of bread and fruit to the Parque del Retiro.

Pictures will be posted sometime soon, probably not until Sept 2nd-ish, but tomorrow I leave for Granada.  There are still a lot of things here in Madrid that I want to see and do, but I know I´ll be back so it´s only a temporary goodbye to this beautiful city.  I haven´t had enough time here but for now, hasta luego Madrid!  Granada, I will see you soon.

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Travelling

29.08.2011
8am Spanish time
Somewhere over the Atlantic

Three more hours to go until arrival in Madrid.  Time is an interesting thing, and never does it seem so arbitrary as when travelling.  Hours on a plane can stretch like days or flit by in the blink of an eye.  Adjusting to different time zones can be perfectly seamless or horrendously impossible.  So far, I think this trip has gone the way of the former.  Thankfully.

It’s strange, most of the time when I travel somewhere new, I end up having a harder time sleeping on the way there.  This time however, has seemed pretty standard – perhaps I’ve become so used to flying every few months for school that it no longer phases me, idk.  On this latest flight to MAD I was asleep before the plane even left the ground.  I suppose getting up at 4:30am after only two hours of sleep will do that to you.
Toronto was an interesting airport, if somewhat strict about connections (everyone had to go through customs before being funneled back into the same terminal they arrived in).  I enjoyed the big windows, views of the city, and art installations and was happy to find a cool keychain for my cousin in India.

I’ve come to realize some great benefits to travelling by oneself.  There’s no one to wait for, hold up, or keep track of as you navigate security, customs, boarding, etc.  There are also a lot more opportunities to talk to people and make new friends.  On my flight from SFO to Toronto (YYZ) for example, I sat next to a lady from Greece who probably loves and appreciates travelling as much as I do [which is saying something].  Needless to say, that first flight went by much faster than I anticipated.  Five hours went by in no time.  Let’s hope the next three do so as well.

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The Final Countdown

We have arrived at the final countdown to my departure.  The next few days will be the last I spend in the US this year as I leave for Spain and Morocco in less than a week.  The continuous cycle of hurry up and wait, so pervasive in any travel experience, has already begun to make itself felt.

My bags are (mostly) packed, plane tickets and reservations are in order, and I’m looking forward to exploring Madrid before meeting my study abroad group in Granada, Spain for orientation.  All that’s left is to finish my engagements this week (which somehow seem to have become both extremely busy and full of time with nothing to do) and double-check (aka. finish or perhaps re-do) my packing job.

  • Clothes? – check
  • Toilet paper? – check
  • Diarrhea-preventing medicine (and antibiotics)? – check
  • [Fake] Wedding Band? – check
  • Scarves? – check

Yep, I think I’m ready.

Since my farewell dinner party took place last Saturday, my imminent departure suddenly feels much closer and much more real.  However, there is not really anything left to do to prepare.  So, here I am, starting the final countdown.  There are now 6 days left until I leave, 7 until I arrive in Spain and the great adventure begins.  Europe and Africa here I come!

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