Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Amsterdam!

Eurovision in Concert!

On April 21st I decided to take a trip to Amsterdam for one of the best concerts ever – Eurovision in Concert! It’s 1 month before the actual contest takes place and half of the countries send their representatives to the concert. Since I can’t go to the real one I definitely took this opportunity. I met Dara and Nicolas there and also a bunch of other people from a website I know of met us there. Everyone was so nice and awesome.
Nicolas and I rode on this really cool ride at a random park that was there. It was a good start to the day! 


We started to get ready for the concert and for those of you who don’t know Eurovision as well, it’s all about the country you support and waving flags! I love so many different songs so I tried to support as many as possible. 


I have the Ireland flag, a Spain headband, a shirt that looks like the stripes on the Greek flag and I was wearing different colored bracelets. Dara was of course sporting the Turkish flag! Go Turkey! Here are some of us with our flags!


 Though I wasn’t feeling too well for the concert (it was so crowded and hot and I was dehydrated) I still had an amazing time! All of the entries were amazing and I really enjoyed them all, except Albania. Spain was definitely mind blowing and I’m not just being bias! The song is amazing! You heard it in my Sevilla Video log 
 

After the concert, Nicolas and I went in search of the famous singers..we were successful!
Switzerland!

 
Netherlands! (I also got her autograph)
 
And Austria!



Then we went to a club for the after party and danced the night away to Eurovision songs! It was basically heaven for me (and the rest of us!) It just goes to show that you don’t need to get drunk or even have one alcoholic drink to have the time of your life, and that is exactly what happened with us. I wish I could go every year and I wish that that moment never ended.
Let me tell you I did have an interesting way of getting back home. I didn’t book a hotel because I planned to stay out all night dancing to Eurovision, so my flight was at 655 in the morning on the 22nd. On the 21st, 2 trains in Amsterdam crashed causing the train system to shut down the trains going to the airport. Luckily I had three nice guys, Ben, Gert Jan and Nathan try and help me make my way to the airport. There were buses, but the problem with the buses was that only a certain amount of people were let on, so every time we tried to get on a bus (there were only 2, which were like 40 minutes apart)  people would push and shove and we never got on the bus! It was so stupid! We were getting so frustrated and I didn’t want to pay for a cab or miss my flight! It ended up being us paying for a cab which was 10 euros each, which isn’t bad, but please, I’d rather it be free! At the time it wasn’t as funny, but now it’s a good story to look back and laugh. When I got to the airport my flight was boarding, but I don’t even remember taking off because I was out like a light! 

All of us:
Video Log Part 1:
Video Log Part 2:










Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sevilla!
So I went to Sevilla and I saw my first flamenco show! I was so excited and I was actually told not to get my hopes up for a good show...I don't know what those people were talking about because it was amazing! I enjoyed the show a lot even if it was so full of people and standing room only! Loved it! In the morning we headed over to the Alcázar of Seville praying that it wouldn’t rain all day like it was planned to! You will probably see the pictures in the video I made and think wow this looks exactly like your pictures of the Alhambra in Granada! Well! I thought the same thing! It looks very similar to the Alhambra, but it was built for Catholics so it really has no relation to Islam even though the architecture is clearly Islamic! Now how’s that for interesting? Now, it’s actually a royal palace and is still used by the royal family when they come to Sevilla.
The gardens on the outside were gorgeous as well, there are orange blossoms all around and it smells soooo good!
We then went a little souvenir shopping and it started to rain!!!!!! But we were in luck! Because we were going to the Cathedral! Woo! Shelter! Haha..I learned a lot about the Cathedral in my art class so I was curious about it. After seeing the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona though, your mind always compares even when you don’t want to.
I was just really dark inside so my pictures didn’t turn out well. But it was cool to see Christopher Columbus’s tomb. Or so they say, our tour guide says that he may not even be buried here, they just say that. His body was moved so many times that they don’t know if the tomb has been tampered with.
Also if you look closely they are stabbing Granada!
I can’t remember the story exactly, but the four men holding the tomb represent the kingdoms of Spain but Granada was still Islamic territory at this time so one of them (I think Aragon) is stabbing it! So much hatred! Granada is represented as a pomegranate because in Spanish that’s what it means!
Next we climbed to the bell tower to see the city and it was like 30 or so stories or ramps and when we got up there is was so windy and rain was pelting us in the face! And there were so many people who wouldn’t let us see through the lookout areas L you had to push and shove! Rude! It would have been worth it if it wasn’t pouring at the time. Sad day. I got some pictures but rain drops ruined them!
After we got back to the hotel we had free time and we just went shopping and got lost…typical touristy things!
The next day we went to Plaza de España! And it stopped raining! It was so beautiful!
There were boats you could rent, a nice park with bikes, definitely a relaxing atmosphere (just watch out for the gypsies – DON’T take their “gifts”).
I recommend this place if you ever go to Sevilla! You could spend all day here really. It’s HUGE!
Overall it’s just a great city if you love history and you love great architecture and nature. You have it all in one!

Here's the video log (youtube didn't like the songs I choose but I couldn't have the heart to change them because I love them all so much, and the singer is from Sevilla...how perfect!)
http://s1161.photobucket.com/albums/q516/SaraRosenbauer1/?action=view¤t=Sevilla.mp4

Friday, April 27, 2012


Trip to Cordoba!
2 weeks ago I went on a trip with my program, CEA, to Cordoba and Sevilla! I had a lot of fun and was really excited to go since I heard a lot of cool things about both cities and everyone told me I would love it. Also, in two of my classes (Art History in Spain and Islamic Culture is Spain) we learned a lot of Cordoba and Sevilla! We arrived in Cordoba and only stayed for a few hours, which is totally the perfect amount of time if you want to see everything there quickly, to be honest! The first glimpse of Cordoba was probably my favorite the whole trip! 
 It just looks like you are walking across a moat into a castle, when really it’s just the city of Cordoba. Funny thing happened, we were walking to the city and two girls were being attacked by a duck! Haha! The duck wanted their food or something, and would not let them have their backpacks back. Sure we felt bad for the girls but it was kind of amusing, the fact that the duck was so viciously protecting their backpacks for food. :P Anyway.. We went for a tour around the city before we went into the Mosque/Cathedral and it really reminded me of Granada! It is a small city and the streets are like the same and just the overall feel made it feel like we were still home. 
  The people’s houses were gorgeous! It’s hard to believe you are standing in what once was the capital and largest city of an Islamic caliphate back when Spain was known as al-Andalus! After visiting a few sights we went to the Great Mosque of Cordoba! In art history we learned so much about the Mosque, that to actually go into it and see what we were talking about in real life is a once in a life time experience. I could see how big it actually is and see the fact that right in the middle of the mosque, catholics destroyed part of it to make a cathedral.
  So if you are into history and all that read up on the Islamic empire in Spain and Cordoba and then go to Cordoba!!!! And be amazed!!!!!! But first watch this video log :P

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hola todos!!!

Today I'm going to talk about Semana Santa in Spain! Just for a little lesson! So sit back and enjoy...

Semana Santa is the week before Easter and is celebrated heavily in Spain, and in other countries as well, so I was very excited to be able to experience this part of the culture while being here in Spain. I was able to go to a procession (it's like a parade) and luckily it wasn't cancelled! No rain this time!

There are some terms you may need to learn before you see pictures, so you aren't surprised like most people when they first see what some of the people are wearing.

During the procession there are usually two floats, one carrying Jesus Christ and one carrying Mary. The one that I went to had one float and it had both Jesus and Mary. Mary was holding Jesus.
Underneath the float are men carrying it on their shoulders, at least 30 people, and they can carry it for the whole procession which can be many miles. They have to practice a lot!

Las cofradias are the religious brotherhoods, each organizing their own procession. Some of the brothers wear Nazarenos/Penitentes which come as shock to most Americans, since their clothing (called 'Capirote') resembles the Ku Klux Klan. 
They wear these to show their sacrifice and to rid of their sins, no one knows who is underneath. 
The women show their sacrifices by wearing high heels the whole procession or going bare footed. Their dress is called a mantilla. 
 It was very nice to be able to experience this side of the culture of Spain and I hope you enjoy my video log which gives a lot more insight as to what happens during the procession!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Trip to Madrid!!!!!


So we get up really early to catch a bus from Barcelona to Madrid and it was my first thunder storm experience in Spain. The thunder was so loud, and the rain was just pouring harder than ever. So we like ran to the metro and to the bus station. The bus ride was 8 hours long so I planned to sleep most of the trip. Too bad the guy I was sitting next to got up like once an hour to go to the bathroom…or whatever he was doing…so annoying. I was so crabby!
But once we got to Madrid and got to our hostel there was more chaos. I booked my room separately than the people I traveled with since I joined in later. Turns out the accidentally booked the wrong dates! Good thing the people at the hostel were nice and let them stay and didn’t charge them extra. It was pretty awesome though because I got my room and it was just for 2 people..I paid for a 10 person room.
AND the bed was a full sized bed! I got sooooo lucky! It was an amazing hostel, so if you ever go to Madrid stay at International Youth Hostel La Posada de Huertas! But we all got settled in a took showers and ate so we were all feeling less crabby and ready for more adventures!
Our first stop was Puerta del Sol! Which is one of the main plazas in Madrid..Again there was a lot of people but I thought it was less crowded than Barcelona…at least during the time we went. It was still raining so that could have been another factor. We just walked around all night looking at all of the pretty landmarks and buildings. My favorite building was the Banco de España!

The next day we decided to go on the free walking tour that the hostel offers us, again, it was drizzling, but it didn’t phase us! We were kind of annoyed because the tour was supposed to start at 1130 but it was late (just like everything else Spanish! Haha) and started at 1230. Standing in the cold rainy weather for an hour is not fun! But out tour guy was AMAZING! She was so funny, her English was great and not to mention she was beautiful, from Columbia, they are all gorgeous there. But BAD NEWS! My camera ran out of batteries because I forgot to charge it the night before!!!!!! So sad! I didn’t get to take any pictures or videos of Madrid!!!!!! It worked only for two seconds when I tried taking pictures.
We left the tour early because we were starving and we went to a Mexican restaurant which also wasn’t bad. They had the best peach juice ever, I’d go back just for that..lol! We also tried going to the Prada Museum which they wouldn’t let us in because they were closing in 30 minutes. Another sad day, but I can still prove I was there!

Depressing :( Okay this blog entry seems to depict Madrid as a bad place but it’s really not! It’s amazing, trust me, everything bad that has happened was my fault of course, the camera, the not looking up times, and it doesn’t rain there all the time obviously! So no worries I still enjoyed myself!!!!!
On our last day of the trip (and the coldest!!!!!!! I’m talking in the 30s here, people, with rain and wind!) we went to Park Retiro and rode on the boats!!!! Do it if you ever go there!!! It was hilarious because Morgan was singing in Italian the whole time..it took our minds off the coldness!

I didn’t post many pictures but I made a video log!!!!! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Barcelona

So for my week off of classes I decided to go to Barcelona and Madrid with 6 other girls! I’ll do two separate blog entries for Barcelona and Madrid. We took a plane to Barcelona from Granada and we were so nervous because we looked up the weather and it was supposed to rain ALL week all over Spain! But we weren’t going to let the weather ruin our time!

Parc Güell

We got to Barcelona with no problems and we went to Parc Güell which is a really giant park with buildings by Gaudi. His architecture is all over Barcelona and very easy to pick out, it almost reminds me of a fairytale. We took escalators to the top of the park because it was a long way up!
We weren’t the only lazy ones! Haha But once we got there it was an amazing view of Barcelona!
And of course the weather was beautiful! We were so lucky! It was hot! I even got a little sun burn! It was really nice to see everything starting to bloom! The park was really great and it was soo big I doubt we saw everything, but there was so much more to do!

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia was our next stop! Which is a large church designed by Gaudi. It is completely beautiful and gorgeous even though it isn’t even finished yet. It blows my mind to what else they can possibly do with this already beautiful building.
It was 11 euros to get inside the church with a student ID, without its 14 euros. The inside is bigger than one can even imagine. I wasn’t expecting to walk into something so giant.
The details are so intricate. I mean, if you don’t want to pay the 11 euros to get into the church, don’t worry, it’s just as amazing to stand and walk around it! It is still worth the visit! I met Dara there! You all remember Dara right? Australian girl..Belgium? Yeah of course, well she brought another person who I know through the website we have together named Nicolas! We call him Nikara just so we can be Dara, Sara and Nikara haha. He was awesome, too!

Random ‘Bits’

Barcelona was kind of scary at night, so I’m glad I had friends to be with. I was approached at least 7 times asking if I wanted to buy drugs or beer from sketchy people, I know this probably happens often but it hasn’t really happened to me ever. So be careful if you are going to go there!
The next day it was pouring outside in the morning! So it was hard to do things outside until later in the day! We just walked around and we inside a market and a church.

Montjuïc

Then Dara, Nikara and I decided we wanted to go off on our own..big groups really aren’t our thing. So we got some lunch and went up to Castell Montjuïc in a cable car! It was so much fun! It was raining a little bit by this time but it cleared up and it was like we were the only ones there! We walked in and around the castle.
And when we were done we walked down the mountain to see the different things we would have missed if we would have took the cable car again. Then we ended up running into this lovely building:
Called the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya it was one of my favorite buildings I’ve ever seen. I do wish that the Magic fountain would have been turned on during our stay. I would have loved to see it :( Oh well, maybe next time!

The beach?

After ice cream at an amazing ice cream place, we wanted to head down to the beach. But we never found it  apparently we were really close and didn’t walk far enough to the beach. Which I guess was okay since we ran into a mall that is floating! And it had an awesome mirror on the ceiling!
After walking and looking for this “beach” we gave up and went back to get dinner because I had to leave early the next morning and depart from my two wonderful friends  It was a sad departure but they made it feel special after we decided to sing and dance through the streets with Eurovision songs. Nicolas is an amazing singer and so entertaining. It’s going to be okay because I know I will see them one more time before I leave back home! In May I’ll be going back to Belgium I just loved it so much!
See you next time in Madrid! Cheers!
Here's the video log!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Belgium in One Day


So in the beginning of March, I traveled to the small country of Belgium! I’ll explain why I went there specifically. In 2007 I discovered something called the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. I joined a forum and chatted with some other fans of it from all over the world, until the website basically died. Then me and a girl whom I didn’t know from Australia named Dara made our own forum in August of 2008. We got to know each other really well and the forum turned into a website called junioreurosong.net and we made so many new friends from EVERYWHERE, no lie. We tried to make something work to meet each other but it was just too expensive for her to get to the USA or me to get to Australia. Oddly in 2011 we were both thinking about studying abroad in Europe..umm hello? Perfect opportunity! She picked Belgium and I picked Spain! And the rest is history…

So on Friday I went to Malaga, Spain to catch my flight to Chaleroi, Belgium. I went with Stacie and Max because they are awesome and didn’t make me go by myself! Haha. And I got there super early, like always. And boarding took forever but we finally got going, the flight was like 2 hours and 30 minutes. It was kind of weird because my ears popped and they hurt sooooo bad. I also didn’t like the fact that on the plane you got to just pick any random seat, I like the assigned seats better. But when we landed Dara was waiting for me to pick me up! It was so exciting and she was really tall!!!

We stayed in a little hotel thing the first night which was interesting to say the least. But the start of our adventure was in the morning when we were going to Leuven to shower and get ready for a day around Belgium. We missed the first train by like, 2 minutes. So we ate some breakfast and waited an hour for the next one. AND it was so weird that I had to pay 50 cents to use the bathroom! Why?! Shouldn’t bathrooms be free of use? Haha, it was like this in Morocco, too. Ugh! But anyway, we eventually got there and she gave me a little tiny tour of that city since it’s where she lives. We went out and bought some snacks and CDs!!!

We decided to go to Gent and when we got up to the platform for the train, we touched it and it left…so we missed another train! Haha! But we did get on the next one which wasn’t too bad. We arrived in Gent and it is a really pretty city! There were Cathedrals, amazing artwork/sculptures, and they had a castle! 
Someone told us to go to it so we started to make our way towards the castle, while stopping for chocolate on the way. I mean, I was in Belgium, I had to try their chocolate even though I’m not a huge fan of it! It was amazing, let me tell you! But expensive!!
Anyway, we made it to the castle and right when we were about to walk inside the lady shakes her head at us and tells us they are closing! Yeah right! I swear it was like 3 or 4 PM! And a Saturday! We felt ripped off! But from the outside it was still amazing.
Before leaving Gent we stopped for some Belgian fries. Of course they were good; too, I love any type of fries! But here’s our next problem (haha) we had to run to catch our train to Brussels, which was our next adventure! And we thought we made it until we realized we were on the wrong train! LOL! So this train took ages to get to Brussels, but the funny thing is that I got to see all of Belgium in one day from being on this train. I swear it took us everywhere. I didn’t mind that much; we were just worried that the waffle shops were going to close in Brussels before we made it in time.

But we did get there! And the waffle shops were open! It was our first stop; I got a waffle with white chocolate and bananas! Sooo yummy! And so filling! I couldn’t even finish it! 
We went to the big plaza in Brussels and sat around and ate our waffles and watched people, took pictures. We asked a man to take our picture and he was so hilarious, acting as if he was a professional. It was funny. Then we met a group of people from Argentina, I think, and they were giving away free hugs (which I took advantage of!) Then we walked around the city center and bought tons of flags! Note to self: do not go into a store that sells flags if you are a flag collector, you will go nuts and spend way too much money.
We made the mistake of going down a small street with tons of restaurants. The first owner stopped us and the conversation went kind of like this:
Him: Hello ladies! You hungry? We have anything you want here! Very cheap! Look! Come look! You like beer?
Us: No
Him: FREE BEER! I will give you free beer!
Us: We are just looking, not hungry thanks though!
Him: Free beer! Come on!
Then we kept walking and every place was the same thing, there was at least 4 of them haha. We were laughing hysterically by the last guy.
We bought more chocolate and flags and decided it was time to try some Belgian beer. We hate beer! But we had to! We found a bar was and it was really expensive! Ugh, Brussels. But we ended up ordering strawberry beer..it was good! I was surprised! So if you ever go to Belgium try chocolate, waffles, fries and beer and you will not be disappointed, I know I wasn’t!
We went back to Leuven then, ordered a pizza and crashed since I had to catch a flight early. But Belgium was amazing and the people were soooo nice and you can see it in one day! It’s so possible! And of course I enjoyed the presence of the girl that I wanted to meet for the past 4 years. Thanks Dara for a great time!See you soon!

Video Log!