Hola. These are my words, a Spanish blogger and a student of Jenny.

Really, believe me. Sometimes shes a little bit crazy but she´s awesome.

Si estas buscando clases particulares de inglés no te lo pienses, llama a Jenny.
Ahora sin el MAYBE. De parte de Jenny, "call me".

Por otra parte...os digo otra cosa: Por qué??????
Os tengo que decir que aunque no me hace gracia, Jenny se va a Florida el año que viene. What will I do without her? And her beautiful smile? And just...her.

No more questions, I love her! <3

P.S. Visit my blog: www.recreosenblanco.blogspot.com.es
 
 
I had such an amazing time in Valladolid last year. Now I am living just an hour and a half away in the city of Salamanca. 

Salamanca is known for its university students and the way they like to fiesta. But I personally know Salamanca for another reason, the Plaza Mayor. 

Translated to main square in English, every major city in Spain has a plaza mayor and they are all different. It has no real purpose other than being the center of the city (where City Hall is located) and a beautiful place to sit and have a café con leche.  Salamanca's plaza mayor dates back to the 1700s. 

I've visited here many times before and taken countless photos in this Plaza Mayor, and now I will call it my own. It's funny how your path can lead you right where you are supposed to be sometimes...
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The first day I ever set foot in Salamanca. May 2010
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January 2011
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November 2011
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September 2012
This year I have new students, new colleagues, new roommates, and lots of new experiences awaiting me in Salamanca. 

I also have a new Plaza Mayor to call my own! 
 
 
SiestayFiesta.com is currently being updated to the new and improved website...

Chapter 2 of This Spanish adventure is in Salamanca, a city that has a lot to offer!

Check back soon for updates about Spanish life
 
 
When in Rome (pun intended) we wanted to explore a bit more of Italy. 

An hour train ride and 30 euro later, we arrived in Florence. Firenze to the locals. The city had more of a hometown feel to it, and while it was a rainy overcast day, it was still beautiful.
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Santa Maria delle Fiori
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Beautiful museums
The city, in general, was a lot more elegant than anywhere I have visited.

The true feel of Tuscany was apparent in the Renaissance architecture and tiny side streets with expensive buildings and shops.
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Ponte Vecchio bridge
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Festival in the city center

The piazzas and palazzos are so historic and beautiful that you can't help but stop to take a picture of everything the city is lined with. 

And while some photos aren't permitted...
I was able to sneak a photo of Florence's most famous resident.
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David
 
 
Florence, Italy was a beautiful city that made me feel less like a tourist and more like an Italiana.

On the particular day trip we made into the city, it also made me feel like a chocoholic. 
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Liquor flavored chocolate drops
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Chocolate tools and knick-knacks
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Dark, white, or classic hot chocolate? Um...can I have all three?
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Oh, fudge.
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Fruit kabob dipped in chocolate. I think that covers all the basic food groups.
Spain, take a few notes, because while churros con chocolate are one of my favorite foods, the cioccolato festival in Florence's main square blew all of your tiny churreria's out of the water. 

I think I'd go back only for the chocolate!
 
 
I, my friends, have been a bad blogger. 

This post is solely for the purpose of stating my apologies for neglecting this blog and my readers for the past month. I have gotten a few strongly worded emails wondering what has been happening, and I just wanted everyone to know that sometimes life gets in the way, even in España

Things That Don't Stop Just Because You Live Abroad

Bills
Responsibilities

Reminders of home
"They are totally playing our song!" Oh no, wait. You aren't here. And I'll have to spend, like, $10 to call you to tell you that.
Laziness
I think we can all agree sometimes Ryan Gosling and popcorn are just so much better than fiesta-ing on Saturday night.
Bills
Loneliness
Carelessness 
Glass breaks. Coffee spills. I have 2 left feet and trip and fall down stairs, no matter the country. 
Bills
And have I mentioned the bills?
The truth is that living here it is just that....living. Another destination on a map. Another place where people work, live, play, siesta and fiesta. 

Overall, I apologize for being a bad blogger the past month. But life just got in the way!
 
 
Once upon a time... 
there was a young girl who went to a land far far away from her own. 

At six feet tall with blonde hair and light eyes, the girl looked nothing like the people around her. 

They stared at her and shouted at her on the street, "¡Rubia! ¡Americana! ¡Hija!" in a language she didn't understand. They spoke very quickly, and insisted on giving her two kisses each time they met.

The people ate strange foods she had never seen, like the ears of pigs. They drank, a lot. Sometimes early in the mornings. And usually until very late at night.

Their towns and cities shut down in the middle of the day. And they walked. Everywhere.

The young girl was very uncomfortable in this land, and cried almost every night wishing she could go back to her own land.

After time had passed, as it always does, the girl began to learn.
She learned the new language. She learned to like strange foods. She learned how to fiesta and how to siesta. She learned how to be comfortable in a land away from her own.

She not only began to learn, but, she began to love. With every new word she spoke, every bite she took, and every step she made, she began to love the new land she was living in.

In a short time, this young girl has turned into a young woman. In her heart, she remembers her old land, and still misses it everyday. 

But today, on this Valentine's day, she is learning and loving, in her new land.
 
 
What makes a vacation?

Relaxation? Adventure?
Is it the weather that's most important? Or the people you are with? The new foods you try? Or maybe your accommodations?
I went to a casa rural over the holidays with Spanish friends. Other than falling in the freezing cold river during a hike (me only, not everyone), we had a wonderful time. 

If you like hiking, beautiful views, skiing in the winter time, and overall just, peace and quiet, this is the place for you. 
La Sierra de Francia is an area in central Spain consisting of many small pueblos. Each day we visited a different area and took in wonderful new sites and adventures.
La Alberca had wonderful cobblestone streets and a tiny tea shop with the best Chai tea I've ever had in my life.
Our rented house was in Mogarraz which was a town in the middle of a hiking trail "El Camino del Agua" and in a perfect secluded location for renting a vacation house.
Béjar is the most beautiful pueblo, situated on a mountainside, covered in snow.
Miranda del Castañar and San Martín del Castañar were two other must-see picturesque villages to visit.
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Beautiful views
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Typical foods in La Alberca
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Mountainside Hiking
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And a little bit of snow! (Well, ice.)
I am a Florida girl, all the way. I love the beach, and I have spent the most part of my childhood covered in sand. 

However, in the middle of Spain, in a rural house surrounded by good friends and beautiful atmosphere, this, for me, was a perfect vacation.
 
 
In the teaching program I am in, I will be re-newing for a second year.
As a second year teacher in the program, I will have priority of my choice of destinations.

My choices are limited to:
ANYWHERE in the entire country of Spain. 

For an American not living in Europe, you make think it's no big deal. But, this is like having a job opportunity in any state, and having to choose just one, when each one is filled with so much different culture. 

Before deciding, I'm doing my research on any and all destinations in Spain. Along with it, I thought I'd give y'all (I'd probably choose a southern state if this was the US....yeehaw!) a little lesson in Spanish geography.
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This is Spain. Member of Europe. Neighbor of France and Portugal. See Italy close by? The boot? And Africa underneath?
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Sidenote: THIS is not Spain. We don't eat spicy foods here. We don't say "¡Ay mamacita!" on the streets. Nobody wears sombreros here (at least not anyone I associate with). And we aren't just over the border from the US.
If you did not know that, please shut down your computer and go buy a map.
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The orange part of this map is Castilla y Leon, Spain. The capital city (and center) of this region is the place where I live now, Valladolid.
Castilla y Leon has rich wine, beautiful cathedrals, and the best, purest form of Castellano Spanish you will ever find.

Salamanca has the prettiest plaza mayor and golden light in the streets. León has history and free tapas. Segovia's castles are breathtaking. And there isn't enough I can say about Valladolid. I really do love my cuidad

The weather is pretty much the opposite of Florida, and the people are said to be frio right along with it. I find this stipulation to be untrue, in general.
Asturias, Galicia, and Cantabria are all in Northern Spain. 

These regions bring fresh seafood and beautiful landscapes. You have the mountains on one side of you while the sea is on your other. It can be rainy at certain times of the year, but when it isn't, the landscape glows with green grass. 
In the south of Spain is Andalucia

When you hear "Spain"...this is what you picture in your head. Or at least I did before I knew my own version.

White houses (no, Americans, not like Obama's). Flamenco. Sangria. And SUN. In summer, it gets up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 
On the east coast of Spain on the Mediterranean cost is Barcelona and the region of Cataluña. 

One of the most famous tourist spots because of its picturesque surroundings. In this region, they speak Catalan in the schools, which is an entire other language. That, I don't know if I'm quite willing to take on.
The Balearic Islands are off that same coast of Spain, situated smack in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

The climate is supposed to be perfect, and the people are said to love fiesta. Ibiza, one of the islands, is a party capital of the world.
The Canary Islands are another option. A popular vacation spot in Spain, off the coast of Africa. And they are just a bit closer to my home in Florida because we both share the Atlantic ocean.

It goes with out saying there is MUCH more to Spain than these few highlights on the map. I haven't even touched on Castilla la Mancha, Extremadura, La Rioja, Madrid, Navara, the Basque Country, Aragon, Valencia, and Murcia.

If you had your choice, how would you choose? The hardest part, is I am not going on a vacation, I am going to live there. 

The first time I came here, I had no other option. The second, I knew where my heart was. 

Now, I'm ready for another year of adventure!

But, where do I go?
 
 
Only 80 km from Madrid and 7km from the city of Segovia, one of my favorite day trips this year has been to La Granja, Spain.
The most famous attraction, the 18th century palace, is the former summer residence of Spanish royalty.

This city has been called the Versailles of Spain because of its beautiful Baroque architecture and its sculptured fountains. Each of the 26 fountains that are located around the palace are different, representing themes of Greek mythology. 

Unfortunately, the fountains were off on the day we had visited, but they were still equally as stunning. 
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[Source]
The gardens surrounding the palace are of French architecture, and equally as beautiful as everything else surrounding the palace. They are made to gaze at, as we did for the entire overcast afternoon. 

We also opted for a hike through the woods and terrain surrounding the palace on our day trip. Many Spanish kings have used the over 1,500 acres of land for hunting.