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Spain

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SpainSpain

Flamenco de Barcelona

  When you go to Spain and especially in Barcelona you must know you are in for a treat! Spanish culture is one of the most passionate, laid back and interesting cultures.  After a long day of eating delicious tapas in champagneria, walking the narrow streets of gothic area and relaxing in parc guell, ... read more

Stylianos Papardelas

SpainSpain

los dos jamónes (supplemental)

Yesterdays' post had a slight malignancy of tone, I feel, and it kept me up last night that I might have uttered some less-than-savory strokes upon the subject of dear jamón. More importantly, I'm concerned with projecting an image that some degree of discomfort in settling here has me lashing out ... read more

Levi Shand

SpainSpain

El jamón

I suppose since the provisionary title of this blog deals in poking fun at the highlights of southern Spanish culture, I'm required to cite my references. This post is a cultural footnote meant to inform/charm/warn travelers to this region of Spain (Extremadura). Perhaps you'll get along with some foreshadowing: Perhaps ... read more

Levi Shand

SpainSpain

Beery

After battling the transportation repercussions of clouds over Philadelphia, flying seven hours over the Atlantic, and busing nearly three hundred miles through the dusty, lonely terrain of the Spanish dehesa, Levi arrived Wednesday at the little bus station in Zafra. After getting his bags unpacked, we spent the evening exploring ... read more

Savannah McDermott

SpainSpain

Culture shock

Having been through it once before (and in a Spanish-speaking country, no less), I fancied myself immune to, or at least well prepared for, the ugly confusion and loneliness of culture shock. As you can probably glean from the structure of that sentence, I was mistaken. I spent months working ... read more

Savannah McDermott

SpainSpain

A new home

In the chaos of the last couple weeks, I haven’t found a moment to write. Sorry, Mom. Now I’m here in sleepy Zafra with all the time in the world. Barcelona was wonderful, aside from the beach robbery incident. We met some great people in the hostel and spent a ... read more

Savannah McDermott

SpainSpain

Addendum

I love Europe except for its thieves.  Lindsey and I are having a perfectly lovely day on the beach in Barcelona—sea air, sunshine, a good book etc. etc. We both doze off for a bit and when we wake up, Lindsey’s bag, which contained her camera, some cash, our subway ... read more

Savannah McDermott

FranceFrance

SpainSpain

Country #3

Country #3   After adding a day on to our stay in idyllic Nice, Lindsey and I have finally decided it’s time to move on to Spain. We’ve spent an incredible four days wandering beaches, shopping districts, and historic sites and now Barcelona, the centerpiece of our month-long journey, is ... read more

Savannah McDermott

SpainSpain

I N S E R T I O N

This very laptop was cranking out of control and overheating during a Skype convo at Indianapolis International Airport when the breaking point came; I had just enough time - an hour - to make a currency exchange run and get back in time for boarding. I slapped the computer shut ... read more

Levi Shand

SpainSpain

Mi nueva vida. (My new life).

After my first experience in Madrid, Spain was over, I knew from then on this was the place I wanted to be. Now, during the past 5 years I have made it a point to return here as often as possible. So now, this is my 5th time and I've ... read more

Jessica Felix

SpainSpain

Does the Rain in Spain Stay Mostly on the Plains?

 This has been an año muy raro, just ask any Spaniard. And in a land so famous for its sunshine that it is named after it, rain and cold are not very common. Up until November it rained about three times and the weather was still hovering in the 70s. And then in ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

Spanish Fashion

 Spain is known for many things. The Alhambra, bull fights, Penelope Cruz.But behind the glitz and glamour, there are a few others things this country is famous for, even though they don’t advertise it, like the Spanish Mullet.That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I live in the land of the Spanish Mullet. ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

Feria de Abril

 The Feria de Abril is probably one of the most important holidays in Andalucia. Forget Christmas and Easter with their biblical backgrounds and mass. Every town has one, but Sevilla’s is the most famous. The Spaniards prefer a much less complicated festival: La Feria. And what is La Feria, you ask…it is a weeklong ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

Dia de Andalucia

 In Andalucía, there is a special day set aside every year to recognize the greatness of Andalucía, because in case you didn’t get the memo, Andalucía is awesome. It’s actually the best place in the world, just ask anybody who lives there. Now, Andalucía Day is on a Sunday, but ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

El Parque

 There is a strange phenomenon in Spain called a botellón. It is basically a massive party that takes place in the street. You see, in Spain, people do not have parties in their houses. You do not invite friends over for a drink or go over to someone’s home for dinner. It just isn’t ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

And You Thought You Knew How To Party

 Spanish teachers put American college students to shame when it comes to throwing a fiesta. Four years at Lynchburg did not prepare me in the least for the annual Christmas celebration in La Palma. Spanish Christmas parties are not like their American counterparts. There are no office Secret Santas, pizza ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

Food, Family, Pilgrims, Pie

 “Who knows what Thanksgiving is?” I ask my students slowly as I write the word on the chalk board in big letters and turn to meet their blank faces. Nothing. I was being too optimistic. “Quien sabe que es Thanksgiving.” Still nothing. I give up. “¿La día de la acción ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

Field Trip! Excursion to the Rio Tinto

 This past Monday I was invited to go on a chemistry fieldtrip to the Rio Tinto.The field trip consisted of a three minute train ride and about a two hour walk to the river. During this time, I chatted with various professors and students about the weather (About 60°F, que frio!) politics ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

Weekend in El Rompido

 This past weekend I was invited to stay at one of my teacher’s beach house with her and her family. Elena is a math teacher who I work with twice a week.I help her with her English and she helps me with my Spanish. She has two young children, Francisco, 6, and ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

SpainSpain

No Pasa Nada

 should be the slogan of Andalucía. It basically translates to “Don’t worry about it” or “that’s OK.” I hear it about fifty times a day and it is the regional answer to almost any situation in the south of Spain. I forgot to make the photocopies…No pasa nada. I overslept and missed my first ... read more

Carolyn Nelson

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Books

Bring some English books

Courtney Rogers

24 Nov 2009

Spain

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Courtney Rogers

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If you're an English speaking traveler/reader traveling to Spain, bring along your own books. Yes, books take up extra space in luggage, but it's NOT unnecessary space. English books in Spain are few and far between. When you do find them, be prepared to pay through the nose. A book on the cheaper side might set you back 10 euros.

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Getting Around

Bringing your address and phone number with you

Dawnielle Castledine

23 Jun 2009

Spain

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Dawnielle Castledine

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When out traveling anywhere, it's a good idea to have the telephone number of where you are staying. But more importantly, make sure you have the address written down so you can show the taxi driver. Having this information would have come in handy when traveling in Madrid a few years ago. I ended up forgetting the street the hotel was on and there were two hotels that had the same name in that city. Instead we had to figure out how to get money to use a pay phone to call the hotel and get the address, all in not very good Spanish.

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Festivals & Events

Spring festivals in spain

Natalie Hunt

02 Apr 2009

Spain

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Natalie Hunt

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When the orange trees start to blossom, you know it is spring in Sevilla, which means two great things. First is Semana Santa (Holy Week). Even for those who are not Catholic, it is quite the spectacle. During the day, it might seem as if the KKK is coming through (the traditional robes eerily resemble clan outfits), but at night, when the processions begin, it is a very moving experience. The best way to see it is sitting at an outdoor restaurant. Two weeks later is the Feria-Spring Festival. Dress up in your best authentic flamenco gear -- just wear sturdy shoes and watch out for horse poo. It is a magnificent party full of food, drink, dancing, and fun. Be prepared to stay up all night and do it again the next day.

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Culture Shock

Relax!

ryan stoy

26 Aug 2009

Spain

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ryan stoy

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The siesta in Spain is a wonderful concept. It's too hot to work, too hot to really do anything. Do what the locals do: eat, drink, and play. You'll miss the entire opportunity if you don't relax and go with the flow. Trust me, you'll often find the current quite appeasing. More often than not, where people collect, greatness will be found.

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Must Do

Get lost

Nicole Karlis

10 Feb 2009

Spain

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Nicole Karlis

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One of my most rewarding experiences was finally finding my destination using my map and the help of locals when I got lost on the narrow cobblestone streets of Sevilla. It's tempting to just flag down a cab, but be strong and find your own way. It gets easier each day and soon you'll be a pro!

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Etiquette

Kisses are actually cheek-touches

Lindsy Glick

24 Jun 2009

Spain

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Lindsy Glick

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When I started the Spanish "double kiss" greeting I was sure to actually do a little cheek kiss or at least that little "muah" sound. And then I realized that when I was greeting someone, I had to stop talking to do the kiss. Meanwhile, other people did not stop talking. That was when I realized that the "kiss" is just the act of touching cheeks; real cheek kisses are somewhat more rare.

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Food

How to eat vegetarian in Spain

Dawnielle Castledine

23 Jun 2009

Spain

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Dawnielle Castledine

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If you are traveling to Spain and are a vegetarian, know that it will be hard to find food without meat, and expect that there will be meat visible anywhere there is a food market. The best food I found without meat was spaghetti and pizza, though finding these items outside of actual Italian restaurants there can be difficult (and sometimes the Spanish version of Spaghetti is not anywhere near what Americans think of). If you want good vegetarian food, shop for yourself at the open air markets, but be prepared to run into meat drying in the air at these places. The most popular were Pigs heads, as pork is very popular in the country.

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Film

When going to the movies, bring your Spanish dictionary

Marcy Miranda

27 Apr 2009

Spain

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Marcy Miranda

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It is an old Spanish custom, much like wearing hoods and carrying religious icons during Semana Santa or hanging ham legs in your kitchen. It's watching all movies in Spanish. Unlike many other European countries, Spain continues to shun the use of subtitles in foreign movies, opting instead to dub them for movie-goers. Instead of hearing Penelope Cruz's voice in "Vicky Christina Barcelona," audiences at the cinema hear another Spanish accent reciting Cruz's lines in the film. Finding films in their original language is not impossible, however. For the few who prefer watching movies in their original language, several movie theaters in Madrid, Barcelona, and other big cities do offer films in their original language with subtitles.

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Packing

Extra bag = More memories

Whitney Griffin

22 Jun 2010

Spain

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Whitney Griffin

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Going away for a weekend trip? Toss a collapsible, reusable sack into your purse or backpack to ensure extra space for all the goodies you will pick up while exploring new towns! Don't try to cram fragile items into your already crammed backpack. Make it easy, just pull out your handy sack! Several friends have thanked me for this tip, others have been thankful FOR my extra sack, as I was able to get their new collectibles back in one piece!

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Religion

Granada: The "praying pot" of Spain

Mike Mian

21 Jun 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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As the last Moorish kingdom in Spain and with a long history of Jewish presence, coupled with the modern day presence of Catholicism, Granada is a veritable melting pot of religion. Though the conquest of the Moors by the Catholic monarchy tried to stamp out other religions, they are very much present in the community today. In many places, Catholic churches and mosques stand side-by-side, a relic of the regions intermittent religious history.

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Politics

The students still take to the streets in Europe

Mike Mian

27 Jul 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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During my stay, a somewhat controversial piece of EU legislation called Plan Bolonia (a plan to universalize university education across EU member nations) sparked hot debate among students and academics. The young people took to the streets in massive waves, chanting and holding banners in opposition to the plan. In some cities, such as Barcelona, the protests even became violent. In Europe, political activism via street protests is still alive and well.

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Music

The return of the boombox

Mike Mian

19 Jun 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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The streets of Granada are filled with a cacophony of everything from Daddy Yankee to Celine Dion singing "My Heart Will Go On." In a recent phenomenon, many adolescents in Spain have decided to forgo headphones and iPods to instead use their cell phones as personal speakers. However, I must admit my surprise when my twelve year-old host sister insisted on listening to her Spanish version of Beyonce's "Si fuera un chico" ("If I Were a Boy") at the dinner table. I think this will be the first generation with a life soundtrack!

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Sports

Real Madrid or FC Barcelona?

Mike Mian

27 Jul 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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The first night I arrived in Granada my host family put me in the car, dropped my stuff off at the house, and rushed me to a bar to watch a soccer game. When we sat down, my host father ordered some beers and tapas, pointed at the screen and said, "Real Madrid is wearing the white jerseys. They're your team." And that was that. Over the next few months I would come to see the strong divide between the Barcelona and Madrid supporters. Though the rivalry is somewhat friendly, it is also based on deeply rooted nationality issues, namely Barcelona's separatist sentiments. My host mother wouldn't even drink wine from Barcelona!

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TV

The TV is always on

Mike Mian

21 Apr 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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My study abroad classmates and I have all made the same observation: in Spanish households, the TV is always on! And I mean always. Cooking, eating, talking, studying, working, cleaning, sleeping, and so on. My advice: pull up a seat. Sitting by the tube is actually a great way to interact with your family--a lot of talking goes on, and you can learn a lot about Spanish culture. Also, make sure you check out a show called Fama. It's a reality dance show, and I still can't tell if it's meant to be comical or not.

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Fashion

Loose fit? Ha!

Mike Mian

19 Apr 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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Men, good luck! I bought my first pair of "Spanish" jeans about 6 weeks ago, and I have yet to wear them. While browsing through the local Xara, my friend helped me pick out a few different styles of jeans for my 32 inch waist. I became quite dismayed and self conscious when I found I couldn't fit. It wasn't the 32 that was the problem, it was my legs! After 5 minutes of wrestling in the changing room, my friend had to check in to make sure everything was okay. Apparently my concept of "loose fit" didn't carry over to Spanish style: I had to settle for a pair with which I could feel my pulse in my calves. And ladies, I'm jealous -- boy-style pants are now not only acceptable, but popular on women!

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Health

Choosing between public and private care

Mike Mian

21 Jun 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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While on study abroad, a friend of mine had an unfortunate skiing accident. He called in sick to school to go skiing with his host brother, but on his first run down the mountain he hit a patch of ice and made a hard landing on his left shoulder. He was taken to the hospital (the school's director met him there). The first diagnosis was that he broke his collar bone and the second that he tore a ligament in his shoulder. The second proved true, and he had to decide to pursue his surgeries and treatment through either the public or private medical systems. While the public system is nearly free, the waits for treatment can be long. If insured, one can go through the private system with greater speed. The caliber of treatment is equivalent.

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Slang

Cool, dude.

Ellen Burkhardt

19 Mar 2009

Spain

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Ellen Burkhardt

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In Spain, there are many popular slang sayings; however, most are a bit too inappropriate to post here. One that is used frequently is, "Que guay!" meaning, "Sweet!" or "Awesome!" Most popular among young adults, this phrase crosses all the regional boundaries in Spain and is quite addictive once you start using it. Give it a shot!

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Nightlife

Shots are cheap!

Katherine Sasser

27 Jan 2010

Spain

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Katherine Sasser

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It didn't take long to discover how pricey living on the Euro could be, especially in regards to the nightlife. Thankfully, there are these lovely places called "chupiterias" or shot bars. Most bars or clubs will charge anywhere from €3-10 for a beer or a mixed beverage, but at the chupiterias, shots usually go for around €1, depending on their potency.

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Being an American

Spanish girls apparently like American men who sing

Mike Mian

23 Jun 2009

Spain

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Mike Mian

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I had met up with a friend in Seville, and we went out to a small bar in the city known for its sangria. After we got our pitcher, we noticed a group of college-age people standing in a circle. We decided to investigate and found that some Spanish university students had a guitar out and were getting everyone to sing along with them. A beautiful Spanish girl stared at me for a second, grabbed my arm, and threw me into the circle with a playful smirk and said, "Sing! Sing!" The circle fell quiet. I belted out a few nervous notes, and was unofficially welcomed in to the group of Spaniards. After talking to the males in the group, they told me,"We like having American guys around. Especially if they look good. The girls just flock over!"

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