Ibiza, Spain 2017

“I took a pill in Ibiza, to show Avichi I was cool…” I wonder if Avichi will still think I am cool if I went to Ibiza and didn’t take a pill? That’s just one answer I am going to have to live without *insert shrugging girl emoji.*

The famous Ibiza. A party-animal’s dream come true. Though the islands official name is Catalan (which just reminds me of the dialect/language that is spoken in Barcelona), it’s Spanish name is Ibiza (emphasis on the ‘z’ as a ‘th’ sound).

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Madrid, oh Madrid

Imagine visiting a city that is filled with elegant streets, beautiful parks, great food and a diverse mix of people from all over the world. One word. Madrid.

Madrid, the capital of Spain (since the 17th century, I might add) and the third biggest city in the European Union, was one of the most beautiful cities I have visited.

Since I have been living in Andalusia (the southern part of Spain), I have gotten accustomed to hearing the Andalusian accent — a very thick accent where letters are mushed together and words sound like they have been cut in half. Contrary to those that live in Andalusia, people that live in Madrid do not have an accent and are much easier to understand.

Whether it’s spending the day in Puerta del Sol and walking through Plaza Mayor, visiting Bernabéu (even though I am a die-hard Barça fan) or visiting the Royal Palace, there is always something to do in Madrid. And, though I say this about all of the other places I have visited, pictures just don’t do this beauty justice. There is a special feeling about walking through Puerta del Sol. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it is wonderful. My favorite part about being in Madrid was visiting Kilómetro 0 – the center of SPAIN.

I normally don’t do this but I found a cool website that provides some cool facts about Madrid: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/spain/articles/10-astounding-facts-you-didnt-know-about-madrid/

I hope you enjoy the photos below and as always, please reach out to be if you want more information about the specific places I visited, restaurants and suggestions.

♥ FH 

xoxo

The Spanish Schedule

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Have you ever thought of your daily schedule? What’s it like? 9am-5pm job, lunch at around 12:30 and dinner at around 6-7pm. That is the typical American (and Lebanese, in my case) daily schedule.

Take a moment and imagine that you own a Zara shop (for those of you that don’t know, Zara is Spanish clothing and accessories retailer). If you lived in America, your normal schedule would most likely be from 9am-5pm (more or less). In Spain, however, the daily schedule is COMPLETELY different.

How? You see, in Spain, they have siestas (15-20 minute naps) dating all the way back to the Spanish Civil War  (according to some theorists). To most people, the idea of a siesta originated from the need to take a break during the day because of the hot weather outside. For those who worked from dawn till daybreak outside, 2pm is their biggest enemy. It is when the heat temperature reaches its peak and is simply too hot to be outside working. The workers would take a siesta at home while waiting for the weather to cool down a bit. This tradition spread to not only areas like Northern Spain, Southern Argentina and Chile, but also to other European countries as well.  Continue reading

Granada: the spectacular Moorish fortress

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Prettiest view watching the sun set over Alhambra

Located in Andalusia, Spain and “at the foot of” the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is one of the most spectacular cities I have ever visited. It is most known the Alhambra (a Moorish palace and citadel) – which, too, is breathtakingly beautiful. This past weekend, I had the privilege of spending a day in Granada visiting Alhambra and Albaicín.

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Weekend in Barcelona

Barcelona, t’estimo (which means ‘i love you’ in Catalan).  How do you picture Barcelona? Breathtaking? Beautiful? Barcelona is not only breathtaking and beautiful, but it is as perfect as you would imagine.

Often times we forget how blessed we are because we get caught up in little things throughout our daily life. I consider myself very blessed and fortunate to be able to experience studying abroad and traveling almost every weekend. However, it doesn’t always click that I am actually doing what I had always dreamed of. The minute the bus made a right turn and entered central part of the city of Barcelona, it clicked. The city’s beauty overwhelmed me.

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Weekend in Cazorla

Picture this: camping and hiking in the rain (and snow at some point) on a unfamiliar mountain, in an unfamiliar place, with little inhabitants (who were also unfamiliar). To some, that might sound horrific, but to all of you adventurous souls out there, it sounds amazing. 

Last weekend, I got to camp with Erasmus students from all over Europe (not really camp as in sleep in tents, but camp as in we got to sleep in cabins) in Sierra de Cazorla, also located province of Jaén in the southern part of Spain. Continue reading

Úbeda and Baeza in Jaén, Spain

Last weekend, I got the chance to go camping in Cazorla, Spain (see next blog post about Cazorla). On our way to the camping site,  we went to the towns of Úbeda and Baeza.

Though these blog posts are not written to bore you with historical facts and stories, I do believe its important to know basic (and I mean really basic) history of the towns you travel to!

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Carnaval de Cádiz 2017

This past weekend (February 25, 2017) I had the opportunity of attending the Carnaval de Cadiz in Cádiz, Spain.

Known as one of the best-known carnivals in Spain, Carnaval de Cádiz has been a tradition in Andalusia, Spain dating all of the way to the 15th century. The carnival (‘carnaval’ in Spanish), was influenced by the Genovese traders that settled in Cádiz while looking for locations to form parts of the trade route that spanned from Africa to Europe. Year after year, the decorations and festivities were introduced and became a part of the tradition.

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First Week Adventures

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The first week in Spain was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life. Why, you ask? Well, first and foremost, I was 4,005 miles away from home in a country that I knew absolutely no one. I had to figure out bus routes within the town, make sure my classes were all set, map out the area and make new friends, all within a matter of two days; talk about breaking out of your comfort zone.

Little did I know that when the tiny, jet-like Iberian airline plane landed in Almería, I will be embarking on what was going to be one of the best experiences life could ever throw my way. Continue reading