Tag Archives: vacation

Me Enamore… pero de Sevilla

“Me enamore de Sevilla, España.” I am convinced that out of all the cities I have visited, during my study abroad experience, Sevilla has been my favorite (Vienna was second.) I fell in love with absolutely everything, the food, the music, the atmosphere, the language and accent, the people, the architecture…the culture in general consumed you to the point where leaving made you sad.

Off to Sevilla, Spain

I went to Sevilla to meet up with some friends and enjoy my birthday weekend. It turned out to be a greater experience than I expected. I didn’t think I would fall in love with the city. I stayed in a single room in Hostal Florida. It was great! The room was clean, nicely organized, and had a TV. I was satisfied! I payed about 48 Euros for 2 nights. I only slept on the bed one night because Sunday my flight was at 7:45am and we stayed out till 4am partying and celebrating. It was my last time taking Ryanair to travel in Europe. Going back home was the worse experience. There was so much turbulence! I hate turbulence. I was running on no sleep just a 1.5 hour nap, and we took about 5 tequila shots to celebrate our experience that night! It was definitely worth it though.

One of my many Tapas

We ate tapas the entire time I was there. They were so delicious that every time they were placed in front of us we ate them quickly. Ordering a couple would equal to a full meal and all at a really good price! Everything I ate was less than 6 Euros! I loved chorizo it tasted delicious! I kinda wish I had more. I even orederd a tapa of Jamón ibérico “cured meat.” That was interesting. Tasted good though.

Live Flamenco

I was able to see live Flamenco! It was absolutely beautiful! The lyrics just took my breath away and the rhythm was just hypnotizing. There was so much soul in the music I could of listened to it all night! Truly an amazing experience!

la Torre del Oro

On our way to Calle Betis, a street a tad similar to Delirium here in Brussels but just more open and not so narrow, we stopped by the Guadalquivir river. It had an amazing view! Gorgeous just absolutely breathtaking! We also passed by la Torre del Oro. It seriously reminded me of Rapunzel. I always pictured her dropping her hair down from a tower similar to la Torre del Oro. The bars in Calle Betis were more spacious than the bars in Delirium and you were able to dance if you wanted.

Guadalquivir river

The cathedral was absolutely HUGE! It is so big you couldn’t take a picture of the entire thing unless you were taking pictures up from the sky. We had 1 Euro beers in front of la Iglesia de El Salvador. That was different. I never seen something like it! The place was packed! Full of people drinking in front of the church. Afterwards, we went inside the church with beer in our system… no big deal. The details inside the church were absolutely impressive. There were so many intricate details everywhere! It was a lot to take in.

Inside la Iglesia de El Salvador

We met so many interesting people! We had so many cheap drinks! 1.50 Euro shots! Absolutely unbelievable! My friend even got me a Birthday shot! I was so happy! Exactly what I needed to finally feel 21!

Best hot dog ever!

There was also this hot dog stand outside this club we went too. Seriously, best selling strategy ever. That was the best hot dog I have ever tasted in my life!!!! I don’t think I will ever taste something like it again!

Sevilla was absolutely amazing! I need to return!

Birthday Shot!

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Oh Budapest: The Sites (Part 1)

Buda and Pest (Budapest)

I went to Budapest, Hungary for 4 days for a small vacation with some friends. It was quite the experience. Definitely a city I would recommend for people to visit. I had no idea where Budapest was prior to this trip. I even had to look up how to say Hungary in Spanish when my grandmother asked me where Budapest was, clearly not a city I’m talking about on a daily basis. However, I’m extremely happy I went because not only do I now know how to say Hungary in Spanish, “Hungria,” but I also learned a lot about Budapest’s history and was able to explore its beauty.

Heroes Square

Budapest is the capital and largest city in Hungary with 23 districts. There are 2 sides to Budapest, “Buda” and “Pest,” they are divided by the Danube River, which flows into the Black Sea. The currency used in Hungary is the Forint. 275 Forint is equal to 1 Euro and 210 Forint is equal to 1 US dollar. I absolutely hated the Forint! Too much math for me! I absolutely hate calculations!

To explore the city we used Big Bus tours. We were able to visit a lot of historical sites. The first site was Heroes Square in the Pest side of the city. In the center of the square is the Millennium Monument with statues of the 7 tribal leaders who founded Hungary as well as other important people in Hungarian history.

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Our trip to Budapest wouldn’t have been complete without a day in one of Budapest’s famous baths. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. It’s also the first thermal bath of Pest. The water supply for the bath comes from a hot-spring water with calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, and fluoride. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath was truly an experience. For starters the baths were filled with hairy men in speedos… that was pretty funny. We had to rent towels (we didn’t have any) and wait in a ridiculous long line because there was only 1 person working. After we changed into our bathing suits we had to walk outside to the freezing cold to get into the hot and relaxing waters. That was definitely worth the cold because it was so relaxing just being in the hot water surrounded by all the steam. It made you forget that you were outside in really cold temperature. We then decided to explore the insides of the spa. We found more baths and a sauna. I always wanted to try a sauna! However, because I had no flip flops I was pretty grossed out. The sauna was filled with old, fat, sweaty, hairy men rubbing their sweat into their bodies! I was definitely stepping on some of that sweat! But I still tried it for the experience!

Hungarian officer changing guards

The view from The Castle District to the Pest side

Nothing was more gorgeous in Budapest than Parliament and the Grand Palace “Buda Castle.” We saw them both on the bus tour, when we visited the Castle District, and during the river tour Big Bus tours also offered. Parliament is built in Neo-Gothic style and has 691 rooms. It is located on the bank of the Danube river and serves as the permanent seat of the National Assembly. In WWII, the Buda Palace and the Castle District were the last refuge of the Germany Army, which fell under heavy siege from the invading Soviet Army. When we were up on the Castle District (Buda side) we were able to watch Hungarian soldiers change guards. It was pretty funny because at some points it looked like they were posing for the tourists as we all took pictures. We also came across this crazy old man who kept asking people if they wanted their photo taken by him. He was pretty creepy. He did let us know that the changing of guards was going to happen in a few minutes so his craziness was of some use to us. The view from the Castle District was absolutely stunning. Left you speechless as you looked at the Pest side.

To be continued…

Musée Magritte Museum

Musée Magritte Entrance

René François Ghislain Magritte

Today, I visited the Musée Magritte (English translation) Magritte Museum located in downtown Brussels. It is a museum dedicated to the Belgian surrealist artist René François Ghislain Magritte. His artwork is suppose to challenge observers views of what they consider reality. The museum is composed of 3 different floors each pertaining to a specific period of his life. The rooms are dark with dimmed light (no pictures allowed because of this.) There are paintings, sketches, advertising posters, vintage photographs, and letters hung up all over the rooms. There were also a couple of videos. What I found to be the best part of the museum were the beautiful quotes (in French) all around the rooms said by Magritte himself .

René Magritte

 

Some of the quotes translated into English:

“I love subversive humour, freckles, knees, the long hair of women, the dreams of young children at liberty, a young girl running in the street.” –  René Magritte

“Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.” – René Magritte

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte

Magritte at work

 

Some of my favorite painting were: “The Unexpected Answer” – 1933, “The Harvest” – 1943, “Black Magic” – 1945, “The Companions of Fear” – 1942, “The Lovers” – 1928 (This one wasn’t exhibited in the museum but I absolutely love it!)

I absolutely loved that his paintings were so different. You can interpret so many different things from his work. It also seemed like he appreciated the female body because he had a lot of creative works that incorporated a woman’s body. I definitely recommend visiting the museums site Musée Magritte Museum . You might learn a thing or two about one of Belgium’s famous artists.

A Day In Antwerp

Welcome to Antwerp

Yesterday, Saturday, I visited Antwerp. It is a Dutch speaking city in Belgium. In Dutch Antwerp is spelled Antwerpen. It also has one one of the largest seaports in Europe, the 2nd largest I believe. The city is located on a beautiful and peaceful river called Scheldt. Antwerp is known for diamonds, shopping, and of course its seaport.

I really enjoyed visiting Antwerp we were top notch touristsyesterday! After a night ofchugging beer waking up at 7am was definitely interesting. We went to downtown Brussels to take about a 40min trip to the city of Antwerp by train. The train was full of European pre-teens that later we found out were going to some event called “laundry day.” Don’t even ask… We visited so many sites. We went to the Grote Markt, the main square of Antwerp. The city hall was located right in the square so I witnessed about 4 weddings yesterday, apparently people are constantly getting married. We saw the National Maritime Museum, a museum full of all types of boats! It was really fascinating to see.  We got on a bridge with an amazing view of the river Scheldt. We even went to what used to be Napoleon’s kitchen and witnessed some pretty cool chocolate sculptures.

Antwerp City Hall

Antwerp Train Station

Stella before shopping

After the sightseeing we drank some beers, like true Belgians, and off we went shopping. I am not really a shopper so I mostly just walked around the stores while my friends shopped. I did splurge when I went into Forever 21 though! Finally got myself some red pants and bought a nice little dress 🙂 As we finished with our splurges and thought about our bank accounts we witnessed a parade with lively Africandrums, the people were promoting their church. A little after that we found a Brazilian and Mexican food place where I wasted more money than necessary. We got a pitcher of Martini’s, which I wouldn’t recommend having if you end up eating spicy food and don’t like spicy food! It felt like my mouth was 10x more on fire whenever I took a swig! (But I had no water and was definitely was not purchasing one) Might as well been having straight up hot sauce! I had 2 tacos with rice and if it wasn’t for the spiciness it would of tasted absolutely delicious!

Brazilian & Mexican Restaurant for dinner

Martini’s

After dinner it was time to head home. I was absolutely exhausted!! Never did a shower feet so good! But overall Antwerp was a huge success! 🙂

Changes

This rainbow makes me feel like there are
only good things waiting for me at the end of the road!

A lot can change in one day. It’s crazy how by the end of the day everything seems different than from when you woke up this morning. Yesterday, I was excited about the Corporate Communications and Public Relations class I took… well now I have to drop it and take the professor’s other class Business Writing and Social Networking Applications. I figured since it’s a more media related class I can try to scheme some RU credits and maybe try to actually graduate on time! Things can never be easy with RU. My internship offer was finally finalized today so starting next week my trips to the Accessible Art Fair office will become more current. Hope I don’t get as lost as I did the first day I traveled there. eek! I also made my first hair appointment at a “coiffure” hair salon near my current school, Vesalius. That should be an interesting experience.

Today, I had my first Intercultural Communications class and boy was the class full of culture! There was a girl from Argentina, another from Ecuador, and twin boys that were French and Dominican. I had no idea that, that mix even existed! So much for me being the only Dominican at Vesalius! That’s three Dominicans I found already! There was even a handful of kids from Jersey and kids from all over the states! I loved being in that atmosphere!

I’m finally home and call my mom as usual. I like to update her on my abroad activities. Plus is nice to hear her voice. Experiences

Keeping it classy in Belgium!

like these really make you closer to your family and close friends. Makes you appreciate them more. Also makes you see who’s really there for you throughout the distance. I always believed that whatever makes it through long distances is there for the long run! 

Chocolate pie! with Belgian chocolate! ^__^

My host mom arrived last night with her daughter Lou! She is the sweetest girl!!! With the most adorable French accent! In the morning I spoke to her for an hour about my fascination for owl jewelry and talked to her about my family. When they arrived from shopping this afternoon she brought me an owl notebook! She literally made my afternoon with that amazing gesture! She then asked me to help her cook dinner! I can proudly say I officially cooked my first meal in Belgium! It was Paella rice with vegetables, baked cheese on top, ham on the side, and a fresh small tomato! Absolutely DELICIOUS! She even made dessert!!! Chocolate pie and yes! with Belgian Chocolate! We ended the night with “Fashion Victime” Sweet Home Alabama. How that became the name of the movie in French beats me! I love that movie so I was excited to hear the French version!

Now to go to sleep with the sound of raindrops on my window pane! 😀 Sounds like a peaceful sleep ahead of me!    

From Bug Bites to Spanish music

I have been getting attacked by Belgian bugs!! >:O I have counted approximately 10 bites! I don’t know why bugs love to bite me! This problem needs to get fixed! Maybe buying bug repellant?

Community yard sale

Well I finally made it to Downtown Bruxelles! I took out my camera and became a tourist for the day! But of course getting there was not easy! Courtney went on Google and mapped out a bus route for us to take. We arrive at the first stop and of course the bus was not stopping for the next four to five stops! A portuguese lady asked us if she could follow us to the next stop because she didn’t really know where she was going and we kindly assist her (we really didn’t know our way either but saying no is just rude!) As we begin to walk we realize why the bus was not stopping at any of the previous stops… a small community was having a yard sale! It was the most interesting thing to see! Every house had an abundance of things just waiting to be sold. We eventually made it to the working bus stop and the portuguese lady spoke to us for a little. She explained to us how she works with boys who have autism teaching  them Portuguese. I found her very interesting that’s a very cool job if you ask me.

We finally arrive to Downtown Bruxelles! Absolutely beautiful! I of course before anything had my first frites Belgique (Belgium fries.) They are pretty big and you can have them with any sauce that you prefer mayonnaise, ketchup, cocktail sauce, and even, some spicy sauve I will never try (not a fan of spicy food.)

Frites Belgique

The buildings are gorgeous! They have so many details and for being so old they are very well kept! Architects are just so creative! To come up with buildings so beautiful that you can just stare at forever! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and everything was just so peaceful. We visited Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule, La Grand-Place, Mont des ArtsLe palais Royale, and even stumbled upon a gypsy circus. We haven’t even seen everything there was to see either and we saw so much!

Brussels – the Mont des Arts view

Hoegaarden Beer

Of course the night ended by stopping at a couple of bars. Had some Hoegaarden and Stella beer, very tasty beers. It was a great night for me! As I was drinking my beer out of nowhere Don Omar’s “Danza Kuduro” started playing! I was so happy that music I understood and loved was playing in Belgium. I had my own little party on my seat and danced! At the next bar there was even more spanish music! For my Dominicans let me just tell you that Omega was playing in Belgium! That had to be the biggest shock and laugh I had the entire night. The man is crossing borders with his music. Beers and Spanish music felt like I was at home!

 

From Normal to Crazy

Being tourist on our way to school

My day started out pretty normal looked like much wasn’t going to happen for the day. It was Courtney’s first day of school. I decided to take her on a small tour of half of the school since we had 15min to kill before class registration. We ended up crossing some invisible border between the French and Dutch sides of the school!! We were so lost! Apparently the school has two sides and we are part of the Dutch side. It was incredible the French side was so different! It was truly fascinating to see. Now it make sense as to why there’s little French around the school.

Crossing the border

I registered for classes and the schedule didn’t look half bad. Like two three hour classes but RU prepared me well for those. Then the internship program coordinator comes and tells me I still have to attend another interview .__. I have jeans on!!! First time I go to an interview so informal never have I felt so unprepared in my life! But the lady seemed to have liked me and it helped that she didn’t look as formal as I figured she would. It would of been nice if they gave me the correct address getting there!  But it wouldn’t have been right if I didn’t get lost getting there and going back to VeCo. My legs and feet feel like I’ve been running a marathon!

Then me and Courtney went on a mission to find a flatiron! I had no idea what was the French word for flatiron! We looked like mimes trying to act out a flatiron to the beauty shop lady! As we walked back a man that helped me and Courtney find the store used me to translate to her how he would like to take her for a drink of Coffee (Courtney doesn’t like coffee.) He said she has the most sweetest face (I was invited as well since I was translating.) It was the funniest thing ever! The guy wouldn’t take no for an answer… felt like forever till he FINALLY let us go. Did I mention he was like in his 40s and was definitely buying some type of hair growth product at the beauty shop?

We get back and it was the last day that our host grandparents were spending with us 😦 It was so sad!! I got so used to them and they were so sweet! They were the best! I will truly miss them!

On our walk to the Tram I heard my first French cat call! (towards Courtney of course who apparently is the European man’s dream.) It was “Ca va cherie?” That seriously made my night! It was hilarious!!! I told Courtney it was nice for a change that a creep wasn’t trying to holla at me 😀

My first full beer in Belgium

Me and Courtney were going on our first night social with our school. It was an event called “Pub Crawl.” Yes my first night social was a pub hopping event!! After experiencing Belgian night life I have to say that if you like to go hard just go to Belgium! I’ve never seen so many bars in my life! We went to this place called “Delirium,” the name explains it all! However, before we went to “Delirium” we started off the night at school at this place called “KK’s.” Had my first full beer! It was called “Duvet” and it definitely set my mood for the rest of the night. We then took the metro (train.) It was crazy so many people from school occupied the metro it was hilarious! Next bar we bought shots of Tequila! Jose Cuervo for a toast to an amazing semester in Belgium!

Toast to an amazing semester!

Then we finally headed to Delirium. It was seriously just not real!! I honestly just thought wow my friends would love this place! The place was PACKED! It was just a very tight street full of bars with people in and out the bars drinking!

On another note…some guy called me and my friends ugly and thought I didn’t understand French. His friend knew I did because I was speaking to him in French the entire time. He tried to tell me his friend was stupid, that I was very beautiful, and that he wishes me a good trip. I thought that was sweet.

What a night!