Dos semanas, dos paises, dos playas

After starting to get settled and more accustomed to the Spanish lifestyle, I decided to change things up a little bit and begin to explore the many places that surround me here in Madrid. Two Saturday’s ago, I hoped on a bus with the rest of the students in my program and we headed to Valencia! (I was just excited to finally get back on a beach!)

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Post AMAZING castle breakfast 

It is about a 5 hour trip from Madrid to Valencia, but we stopped about halfway to have a fabulous, 7 course, breakfast in a an old castle.  I have never eaten so much bread and it was wonderful 🙂  Quickly after, everyone on the bus was fast asleep until we reached Valencia.  We spent some time exploring the city, including climbing 207 steep stairs to the top of a cathedral, but was so worth it for the views from the top!

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View from the top of a Cathedral bell tower overlooking Valencia 

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We quickly headed to the beach after and arrived just in time to get into the Mediterranean (!) and watch a beautiful sunset. The next day was spent at the aquarium which is the largest in Europe.

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Cuidad de ciencias y artes in Valencia (where the aquarium was)

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Got to experience paella for the first time with this view 🙂

Last weekend, some friends and I climbed aboard an all night train to Lisboa (Lisbon) Portugal. We were all very disappointed that they never check your passport while traveling within the EU, so we won’t be able to collect lots of stamps :(.  We arrived on Saturday morning and quickly made our way to the beach to take a wonderful nap (maybe the cheap overnight train was not the best idea..). The following day we  joined a free walking tour and then ended up exploring the old neighborhood, Alfama. Alfama is the only neighborhood in Lisbon that was not destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 because it was built on solid rock.  It is full of very narrow streets which prevents cars from being able to pass through this neighborhood and people reply solely on foot traffic to get around.

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La playa en Lisboa (Atlantic Ocean)

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Apparently we really enjoying climbing large towers to get good views of cities…

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Taken from the top of Alfama (tallest/oldest part of Lisbon)

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The tower of Belem (a suburb of Lisbon)

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Pastel de Belem – a custard tart that was voted as the 14th best food in the world by Guardian Magazine!  It was delicious 🙂

After these two trips I quickly learned how exhausting it is to travel every weekend, so I am looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend in Madrid!

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