Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Things you will do when you come back from a year in Spain

1. Mix up your adjective and noun: lots of things different.

2. In fact just have problems with grammar in general: "I have 21 wait."

3. Get very anxious when you don't know how to say hello to someone.

4. Say goodbye far too loudly when exiting shops.

5. Start listening to all that Spanish music you only half listened to when you were actually there.

6. Miss olive oil.

7. Feel a little glow when shop assistants are nice and polite. You've forgotten what that was like!

8. Find it very difficult to calculate getting ready/pre drink/ going out times.

9. Roll your 'r's to yourself just in case you lose the skill.

10. Find yourself staring adoringly at your kettle, wondering how you ever coped without it.

11. Go on Google street view and walk down the places you lived when you were there. Just like you did for places at home when you were away!

12. Look back at what you wore when you were there and realise just how bright your jeans were. 

13. Bond with everyone else you know who was on a year abroad in Spain, because they are the only people who will listen to reggaeton with you while drunk.

14. Not do any of the things you promised yourself you'd do to keep up with the language i.e. reading El Pais, watching Almodóvar films.

15. However you will make up for this lack of practise by insisting upon talking incessantly to any Spanish people you meet, regardless of how annoying you found it in Spain when people only wanted to talk to you in English.  

16. Notice that 'Poundland' is actually just a chino shop but with a much less racist name.

17. Be amazed at the fact that places like Tesco stay open past 9pm yet horrified that clothes shops close at around 5.

18. Realise just how awful your Spanish work was pre-Spain. Honestly how was I even passing?


20. Try to make tortilla de patatas and fail miserably.

21. Appreciate where you're from ten times more and feel a little sad that you know more about where you stayed in Spain than your own city.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Interrailing, part 5: Krakow.

Krakow was a beautiful surprise for me and I fell utterly in love with it. Even though I knew that it was meant to have very high temperatures in summer, my preconception of Poland was of a cold, grey country, both in weather and attitude; probably formed by old war movies. And certainly my introduction to Poland was probably not the best- a stop off at Poznan train station at night: far out from the city centre, surrounded by stony buildings and populated by grumpy staff and rather dodgy looking customers. Not to mention the sweaty, rickety train which took us overnight to our destination. However once we found our way out of the highly confusing Krakow train station and made it to our hostel it wasn't long before we fell head over heels for the place. Krakow is a truly beautiful city, with a rich history whose bleakness contrasts the happy bustling streets of today.
St Mary's Basilica

Ok, yes we chose the hostel based on the name...wouldn't you?! Now, we stayed in the other branch of this hostel, the pub and garden however I've linked you to the first because when we dropped by it it seemed to be a bit livelier and was much closer to the city centre. We enjoyed our stay at Goodbye Lenin and probably could have had an even better time had we not been so exhausted out first night there. Don't worry if you get lost and go to the wrong one, as they're all (there's 3!) close together and the staff are very helpful; they made us a little map and we were at our actual hostel within 15 minutes. The washing machine at ours was broken but they let us take it to the other hostel where we were able to collect it the following day, freshly laundered and folded. Breakfast is free and there's a pretty good variety. Our hostel had a garden attached to the downstairs bar which was great in the hot weather and they run a regular free pub crawl, so it's a good place to meet fellow travellers. One thing I really liked in this hostel was that not only did they have free wifi but they had a small computer room, albeit with fairly ancient computers. It was great to not have to use my tiny phone screen for once! The rooms were a good size although I did have a number of ants on the window sill beside my bed. But really, it was a good place to stay even if I'd rather we'd chosen the one which was in the heart of the centre. 

Jewish Quarter
The city: There was so much to do here that it was hard to fit it all in. The main square is the largest medieval square in Europe. It's buzzing with activity, tours and a hell of a lot of birds. Some of the architecture surrounding it is positively gothic so it's quite haunting at dusk. But make sure you check out the square at night; some of the street acts we saw were amazing, including dance troupes and a singing act which stopped about 20 people in their tracks. The first attraction we went to was Wawal castle. You can pay entry to various different areas. It's pretty impressive even if the walk up to it is rather steep. It's home to the legend of the famous Krakow dragon which if you didn't know about before arriving you certainly will before you leave. The city is littered with dragon references- merchandise, street names, coins. After that I recommend you make your way down into the Jewish quarter of the town. It's nice to wander around and take in the history but really I've sent you here for the food. We experienced one of our favourite lunches of the trip in Hamsa Hummus and Happiness, an Israeli restaurant with an extensive hummus menu. I'm drooling just thinking about it. 

The next day took a more serious turn as we took a trip to Auschwitz. The tour lasts mostly all day as there's more than one camp to see and they're about an hours drive from Krakow itself. I highly recommend that you book a tour through your hostel/hotel or if you're staying elsewhere then through one of the tourist information shops. Our roommate in the hostel worked out that the price of paying a bus out to it plus the tour price (which is obligatory to enter) once there would be around the same as the organised trips, and the one we got picked you up from the hostel, which saved the bother of working out bus routes. It can be quite harrowing at times but the tour guides are passionate about teaching the history of the camps and very interesting speakers.

The following day we took  trip to another museum: Oscar Schindler's factory. This was something lower down on our list- just for if we had time- but it was one of my favourite parts of our stay in Krakow! The museum is very interactive and well laid out. We took a few hours to go around it but could easily have spent more, as there was just so much to learn. It's a bit of a walk from the centre but there are carts (yes carts, of the golf variety) which drive people out to it. However it's perfectly within walking distance- we just had the mistake fortune of trekking out to it in a thunderstorm. 

Tips: Krakow was the first place on our journey which started to be confusing money-wise- it's pretty much four zloty to a euro, which sounds easy but can get irritating when you're trying to split bills and make sure you're not paying ridiculous prices. A good idea is to work out how much you want to spend that day (in euros, convert that to zloty) take that out and just use that. Being left with too much at the end can  be annoying too as you might find you get a bad deal when you convert it into your next currency. That said if you're an economist just go ahead and do your thing as everything I've just said is for people like me who like to stick their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and pretend that we never need to understand money and exchange rates. 
Main Market Square at dusk
Now I've given you a real financial downer of a speech here's for the good news: Krakow is very cheap. Food, accommodation, drinks are all very affordable. For that reason you will probably be able to eat out a little more here than in other places and I highly suggest that you do- the food is great, and it's one of the few cities where you'll probably be able to afford eating on the main square. Always nice to feel a little fancy! Also check out the nightlife. We were in the middle of two of our big party cities at this point (Berlin and Prague) so we didn't get a night out here but even just a stroll down the main streets after dark was enough to give us a glimpse of the atmosphere. There's a lot of live music bars too, particularly jazz and you'll find free performances quite easily. 
If you're going in summer prepare for the heat. As I mentioned, there was a thunder storm while we were there and the humid weather beforehand was sweltering. Climate change was clearly taking it's tole here and even the locals found the heat unbearable- as a result air conditioning was less common than you'd hope so keep that in mind. 
Generally English isn't widely spoken in Poland but in the centre of Krakow you shouldn't have a problem. Learn a few words to be polite of course. Polish looks terrifying though so make sure you have access to an audio guide. 'dziękuję' is thank you- it's pronounced: "Gin-ku-yu(n)." As you can see you're probably best not trying to guess pronunciations unless you have some polish knowledge so just learn a few phrases and try your best not to butcher the language too much! (that's what we did....) 

Finally: Touch the bell. Just do it. It's silly, it's superstitious, but just.... just do it, ok? In the Wawal castle there is a Bell Tower and it is said to be very lucky to touch the largest of the bells at the top. After a number of things going wrong we decided a bit of luck wouldn't do us any harm so we trekked up the minuscule staircase to get to the bloody thing. Almost immediately our luck changed and genuine problems (transport wise mostly) fixed themselves. Now, I don't believe in luck. But it can't hurt! 

Next post: Prague

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Interrailing, part 4: Berlin

If Brussels was the person you just couldn't quite place, then Berlin was the complete opposite. The moment you step into it, Berlin just exudes coolness. Graffiti, fast paced, tall buildings, style, quirkiness, boho bars, but with a dark past which gives it a certain edginess, Berlin quite simply is the cool kid. An artist's haven, Berlin is certainly not a traveller's secret by any means but the number of local projects and unique spots allows it to maintain a sense of newness and youthfulness.

A number of incidents meant that we didn't get to enjoy Berlin as fully as we could have. Our night trip there was more than eventful and meant that we only scraped a few hours sleep. Also we spent our last day trawling through opticians' in the burning heat, as I'd managed to lose my glasses the night before. Despite that we did manage to get a good feel for the city and it's safe to say that it's at the top of our list for a return visit.

The hostel: Heart of Gold 8/10
Brandonburg gate
Arriving utterly exhausted to this hostel we were pleased to find that it was a comfy, cheerful wee hostel. It's description on hostel world reassures us that it is a "state-of-the-art hostel that looks a bit like a spaceship but is mostly harmless." The rooms were huge, very very spacious and had good storage ports. It could do with a few more electrical outlets but we found enough to meet our needs. Tea and coffee is free, as is the wifi although there are signs about the place encouraging travellers to put down the smartphones and engage with the people around them. The bar was quite busy at night and the outside area had a lot of people milling around. Had we not have been so sleep deprived/ hungover while we were there I'm sure we could have gotten to know the others quite easily. They have sunglasses for rent, a movie room and a kitchen/laundry area. The location was good; Berlin is very big so you need to use public transport to get around, and this hostel is about a ten minute walk from one of the central metro stations.
On the negative side breakfast is not free, and will set you back 4 euro per person. However there was quite a good selection so you could fill yourself up for the day if you wished.

Holocaust memorial
The city: Berlin is a city packed with reminders from the past and nods to the future. We only had a glimpse of what it has to offer but we definitely liked what we saw. Despite having had hardly any sleep we set off straight away and first on our list was the Reichstag, the imposing and impressive government buildings. We didn't have enough time to do this but if you get a chance you can go all the way up to the top of the great glass dome from which you can see all of the Berlin landscape. Next was the Brandonburg Gate home of many historic events but on the day we arrived, seemed to be setting up for a music concert! Close to this you'll find the Holocaust Memorial, a simple yet powerful design. It's hard to really 'get' it at first glance so go in, explore and soon it'll start to hit you. The next day we set off in search of possibly the most famous Berlin monument: The Berlin Wall. Initially we took a detour via the temporary Berlin beach which had been set up just for summer, and had a break there as we felt that we were well and truly lost. However after a bit more map reading we realised... "oh it's just.. over there!" If you're by the river and can see an enormous O2 shop then you know you're almost there. It's seriously impressive and the artwork will keep you occupied for at least an hour. In fact all over East Berlin you'll find interesting bits of graffiti and political statements. On our way back we stopped into the Topography of Terror however didn't give ourselves even half of the time needed to read through this impressive collection of information. Leave at least 4 hours to browse through this museum; some leave you bored and wanting to skip over the descriptions, but this isn't one of them.

Berlin Wall
Another side of Berlin we wanted to experience was the famous night pub crawls we saw advertised. I think the link I've provided leads to the company we used however I'm not entirely sure. In pretty much every city there are red leaflets advertising free city tours and inside will be details of other paid tours, often including a pub crawl. Normally the crawl costs 10 euros and you get a number of free drinks included plus your entrance fee. We had a brilliant time on this tour and met so many great people. It was the perfect way to see the city and not waste time deciding where to go. You'll get an insight into the typical social life but you'll also meet other travellers in the same position- not just locals who have no interest in you whatsoever!

Berlin Wall
Tips: Germany always gives the impression of a cold country, probably the after effect of countless war movies. However while we where there it was HOT and I mean seriously hot. Being so inland there was a very fierce heat and remember I've been living in Southern Spain all year! So if you're going in summer prepare for the heat. Berlin is a big city and you will need to use public transport at some point. Check out the group/multi journey tickets once there and decide which is best for you, it'll save you money in the long run, and a pre paid ticket was required for the pub crawl. Another thing, regards the size of the city, is to really plan your time well. misfortunes ate into our time but we also didn't plan for transport times and left ourselves with a big rush in many places. Berlin is a cool, young fast paced city- you need your energy here.

As a general interrailing tip I would seriously suggest that you try out the organised pub crawls. They can be a little awkward at first but everyone is up for making friends and it takes the pressure off trying to organise the night yourselves. We went on 3 during our trip and the other nights just had casual drinks or tried out local bars which saved us money in the long run and meant we still saw the nightlife but had less hangovers! If you're in a small group it really is the best option; sure nights out are great with your friends but really a club in Berlin is kinda the same as anywhere else- to give it that extra travelling kick you should aim for meeting new people and also getting a little break from each other! That's where the crawls come in ;)

Next post: Krakow

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Interrailing, part 3: Brussels

Grand Place
It was around the time when we headed to Brussels that we started to realise that each city had it's own little personality; rather like the people who pass in and out of your life. Amsterdam had been the educated hipsters in university, taking their bike everywhere and...experimenting. Brugge was the good girl, into reading and long walks through the park in autumn. But Brussels was harder to place. A city renowned for mixing the modern with the old it was sometimes hard to know where you stood with it. As home of the European parliament it has a sense of importance and yet at times one of uneasiness: like the high end banker with the 2.4 family who is secretly falling apart inside.

Despite this, we were won over by Brussels. At first unsure as we got to know it we found it's idiosyncrasies endearing and once we left we were genuinely sad to go.

Hostel: Sleep Well 6.5/10
This was a perfectly respectable hostel however not somewhere to go if you're hoping to meet other travellers. As we were only staying one night it didn't bother us however the place was dead considering we were in high season. It's about a ten minute walk from the central station and just down the road from a metro station so location is pretty good. The rooms were pretty spacious and what I really liked was how big the ensuite was- all rooms are equipped with their own bathrooms. There was a pretty good selection at breakfast which was included in the price and internet is available, but for a fee. There was a bar but I rarely saw anyone using it. Laundry facilities are available. The difference in this hostel compared to the previous two was the atmosphere; at times it all felt quite clinical and lacked the warmth we'd become used to. Saying that we did have lovely room mates and overall enjoyed our stay.
Beer testing :) 

The city:  The moment we arrived we set off in search of the Cantillon Brewery. We simply could NOT leave Belgium without going on a Brewery tour, and as we were arriving on a Saturday afternoon we only had a chance of seeing it if we went immediately. However it probably wasn't the best idea to head straight there as it takes you to a rather seedy looking part of town. I thoroughly suggest letting yourself see some of the more beautiful aspects of Brussels before venturing out of the centre. Once we found it things got even more confusing as you have to enter through a side door which looks like nothing more than a back alley storehouse. We happened to walk in on the end of a tour and felt like we'd just gate-crashed a private barn party! However we soon realised that we were in the right place, got our tickets and started to relax. You're given a short introduction and then allowed to wander around by yourself following a written guide. The ticket includes 2 beers at the end where you can sample the brewery's famous Lambic beer. 
The Royal Palace
After the tour we headed into the centre of Brussels where we saw the old part of the town. We passed the Palais de justice, the Royal Palace and the countless museums to offer. There are literally hundreds of attractions to see in this varied city and it's impossible to fit them all in. We ended up in the Grand Place meeting square, a very impressive and bustling area, outlines by lots of tiny streets with great places to eat. Two or three streets out from the actual centre is where you'll find the best value food. On our second day we headed further out of town to see the headquarters of the European Parliament and many of the surrounding buildings which are equally important. My favourite was the Parc de Cinquantenaire with it's massive central arc. I was honestly overwhelmed by the amount that Brussels had to offer and wouldn't surmise to even suggest an itinerary. If you only have a few days make sure you see Grand Place and the Royal Palace and after that I'll leave the research up to you!

<3 I loved this 
Tips: At one point we managed to stumble upon the red light district (yes, Brussels has one too!) and it was a very different atmosphere to that of Amsterdam. While the previous had been jovial and busy, that of Brussels felt seedier and downright sad. It's located in the north district and it's inadvisable to walk the area at night. DON'T try to see too much. It genuinely is impossible to get around even half of what's on offer. The metro is quite hard to work out at first so grab a map from your hostel/hotel and maybe ask advise at reception before stepping on. Also don't forget to get your ticket stamped before getting on, the machines aren't always obvious.

One piece of advise which applies to Brussels and Brugge is to pick up a Use-it map! They are available in other cities but Belgium was the only place we really saw them in. They are fantastic little guides which are perfect for travellers. They have an easy to use city map which is surrounded by great advise that you don't normally see in the mainstream travel guides; they're created by locals so they have all the top class secrets. They tell you where to eat, party, see, the usual but also give some more quirky ideas such as where the local underground art squat is, or where to find an all night rave once a month. They usually supply an "act like a local" guide along with quotes from young people who live there and all in a funny, honest tone- if they think something is rubbish, they'll tell you! We loved these guides and I thoroughly suggest you look out for them, especially seeing as they're being developed in many more cities.

Next post: Berlin

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Interrailing, part 2: Brugge

View from the Belfry
Second stop on our interrailing adventure was somewhere which could not be more different to bustling, modern Amsterdam. Brugge is a city in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. It's mostly famous for being the location of the film, In Bruges, a dark comedy starring Colin Farrell. It's a quiet, fairytale-like place with beautiful canals and lots of history. It was the perfect place to have a rest after busy Amsterdam and chill out before heading onto the capital cities of Brussels and Berlin.

Hostel: St Christopher's Inn- Bauhaus. 7.5/10
This hostel wasn't so close to the train station as the last but it was easier to find that we expected. The instructions on the website tell you "You can take bus 6 or 16 (going every 10 minutes). The driver will tell you which stop you take for the Bauhaus. " and that is absolutely true. It sounds a little odd, but just mention to the driver that you're looking for the hostel and he'll call you when it's time to get off, and point you in the right direction. The journey takes about ten or fifteen minutes and you'll get to see a little of the town on your way. It wasn't as wild or bustling as our Amsterdam hostel but it was a great place to stay! The bunks are great. it's the only hostel we stayed in which gave curtains to each of the bunks, so you got a lot of privacy. Although we did had the pleasure of one guy near us assuming he had a little more privacy than he actually did.... sex noises in hostels are just not ok.
Belfry and central square
Considering we were there at the weekend the bar wasn't as lively as it could have been, however we did go to bed a little earlier than most, as we were pretty exhausted, and many other travellers did find enough to do for a good night out in the city. The bathrooms were clean and large and the rooms were quiet as we were in one which was a separate complex to the main bar. Breakfast is free and the internet connection was brilliant, it even stretched to the rooms. You can also catch  a "In Bruges" special film city tour from the reception. They also have bikes for hire which would have been fantastic had we been staying longer as the city is very bicycle friendly. 

The city: We fell in love with Brugge. It really is beautiful and we all agreed we wished we had a little more time to relax there. I can see it being the sort of place I'd love to go to year after year, just to relax. the main thing to visit is the Belfry tower a medieval tower located in the central square. The top gives you a great view of the whole city. The other main thing on our list was to have our first REAL Belgium Waffles. Which of course were fantastic. In fact on our second day we checked out the Chocolate museum and saw a live chocolate cooking demonstration. We really didn't give ourselves enough time for it so make sure you have around 2 hours to really enjoy it. We also had a few drinks at De Republiek , a cool open plan bar with wood interior. A rum company were doing promotions that day so we were handed free mojitos within 20 minutes of arrival! However more than anything the best thing to do in this city is to just wander around. As we were only there for around 24 hours we didn't want to spend much time inside. The streets are gorgeous, especially around dusk.
Ask Becca to order you a drink and she brings a jug. That-a-girl!

Beautiful canals
Tips: The bike advise applies to here as well, I was inches away from serious injury in the central square... kind of embarrassing. Take money out when you can as we found it a little hard to find ATM's off the central square. However do venture out of the square when you want to eat as it can be pretty pricey. We searched quite a bit but eventually found a street full of affordable cafes and restaurants. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of that street now... sorry! Other than that, just relax and enjoy. This is a city to slow down in and spend your day eating chocolate. Oh and do watch 'In Bruges' before going, I didn't and I regret that! It's really good and would have been hilarious to location spot.  

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Interrailing, part 1: Amsterdam

At the beginning of the year two of my best friends from school and I finally (after years of talking about it) sat down to organise an interrail trip.
Rebecca, Siobhan, me (and lots of mojitos!)

Pretty much everyone of our generation has an idea of what this involves but if you were wondering it's basically a train ticket you can buy which gives you unlimited rail travel around countries in the European Union on almost all rail companies. There's different types of tickets you can get and they're cheaper for those under 25.
We decided on the 10 travel days within 21 days option. This means that you enter 10 dates within a 21 day period and you get unlimited travel on that date. There's extra rules surrounding times of trains and things like that, which can help you to take overnight trains and waste as few of the days as possible. If you're going for this option I'd suggest you read into these rules carefully beforehand, so that you can make the most of it and not run into extra costs along the way.

We planned our route as follows: Amsterdam-Brugge-Brussels-Berlin-Krakow-Prague-Budapest-Venice.

We realised half way along that the middle bit of our trip took a bit of a zig zag route, but it didn't make much of a difference.

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla
I spent one night in Seville before heading off on the trip. I love and feel comfortable in the city so I wasn't at all worried about occupying myself for one night. However airports are a different story. I love travel .I'm content to take long journeys alone. I don't even mind flying! But for some reason I just HATE airports. They make me nervous, I always feel like I'm 'doing it wrong'. Ah well needless to say I was slightly nervous flying out of and into two airports I'd never been to before. And yet fate decided not to help me out at all and landed me right into the beginnings of the French air strikes. Already nervous flyer told that they have no idea when the plane will be able to leave. Fantastic. After a lot of back and forth we were quickly hurried onto the plane and told we had only 10 minutes to get ready and make our time slot. We left about 2 hours late and took an alternative route around Italy and Germany, to avoid the French air space and I met up with my friends in Amsterdam just 1 hour after they arrived. It all worked out in the end :) 

Amsterdam canals

We stayed in Amsterdam for 3 nights and it both met and exceeded out expectations. It has a reputation for being very open minded and that is certainly true. We ended up strolling into the red light district unexpectedly and I might have been pretty shocked if I hadn't already known about it.

Hostel: Flying Pig Downtown - 9/10
This was probably my favourite hostel of the whole trip. It was about 10 minutes away from the central station and pretty easy to find. Look out for the massive cheese shop and you'll know you're almost there. When you enter you're immediately confronted by a lively bar and chilled out reception staff. The bar has a pool table and further back was a smoking room where we were informed we could 'smoke what ever we wanted'. The bar has regular party nights, with music and free shots and the smoking room is lined with comfy cushions, books, chess sets etc. It's a fantastic environment for meeting people.
The rooms were a little bit tight and although each bed had it's own cage below it for your case, you could only get into yours it those around you weren't using theirs.
Breakfast was free and wifi was available in the bar. Laptops could be rented.
The location was good and we were close to pretty much anything we wanted to see. But it was the atmosphere and friendliness that really made this hostel. A little pricier than some but the cheaper drinks at the bar saved us some cash in the end as we were able to retire to our hostel but still hang out rather than forking out more money on some of the expensive bars.

Siobhan enjoying the sex museum

The city: I totally loved Amsterdam. It has a really cool atmosphere and beautiful buildings. We took a free tour of the city to begin with and later a ten euro Red Light District tour. I would highly recommend both as the first gets you adjusted to the city (which can be a bit of a maze sometimes) and the later really gives you an insight into the history of the area. We also checked out the Sex Museum and the Anne Frank Museum. The later was really interesting; it takes you around the actual house where the Frank family hid from the Nazis. We also managed to find one of Amsterdam's most famous flower markets, awaiting for all your tulip needs. Whilst in Amsterdam you have to try the chips with mayonnaise. At first I couldn't see what all the fuss was about- sure chips with mayonnaise is popular everywhere. No this is REAL mayonnaise. It's just so deliciously addictive. But mayonnaise obviously isn't the only substance Amsterdam is famous for. Of course one of the things people are most aware of about the Netherlands is the relaxed attitude taken towards soft drugs. There are "Coffee shops" (as officially advertising what they're selling still is not legal), where you can purchase and smoke to your heart's desire.

Flower Market
Tips: The Dutch speak English fantastically well and were very friendly on the whole so if you're lost just stop someone on the street- if they have a bike, they're more likely to know their way around. Speaking of bicycles- WATCH OUT. Seriously, they're everywhere and if you're not used to the bells you honestly stand the risk of getting in a nasty accident. If you hear a bell, move. Amsterdam can be quite expensive so look out for offers for the museums in your hostel. Also if you're feeling peckish but don't have much money, you can buy small burgers for around 2 euro from any Febo vending machine; yes that's right, a vending machine with fast food!
Do not take pictures of the girls in the Red Light District. They will smash your camera and possibly your face too. Also if you are tempted to rent the time of any of the girls know exactly what you're getting for your money before you step in. Anything that's done outside of those parameters you will be charged for. If you refuse, then a panic button will be hit and a large angry bouncer will make you pay up.

Next post: Brugge and Brussels

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Qué no te vayas!

So I haven't posted anything in quite a while. That would be because the sun is finally shining and everyday has been spent on the beach! Since the last time I wrote I've gone to a music festival in Murcia, had my mum to visit and took her to Granada and Mojácar and last week I even finished work .


My last few days in school were a proper emotional challenge. Having little children hugging your waist asking you repeatedly "Qué no te vayas!" (Please don't go!) really isn't easy! I was inundated with cards and presents throughout the week and managed to get a picture with almost every class; unfortunately my sexto had gone on a school trip the week before so I didn't get much time to say goodbye to them. One of my classes had made a huge poster and another spent the last lesson making a picture book of me at the beach! I brought in some homemade chocolate chip cookies for the staffroom and some sweeties for the children. And tonight I'm having a little leaving party with some of my teachers in Aguadulce. I am truly truly sad to finish my work in Arco Iris- and I feel lucky that I've had the opportunity to have a job here that I really love. I will seriously miss the children SO MUCH, something which surprises me because I never thought of myself as much of a kid-person before. I'm kind of lost for words as to how to explain my time with the school , so I'll just leave you with all the beautiful smiling faces of a selection of my classes.