Caitlin's email from Oct. 16 to Nov. 2


Okay y' was questionable for a moment there, but I have made it back to Madrid, safe and sound! We hadn't planned on coming back until tomorrow, but we were tired of travel, and saw all that we wanted to in Cordoba, and ready to sleep in our own beds, have privacy, and three square meals a day. So, we canceled the hostel reservation yesterday, and arrived here in Madrid at 7pm.

So.... vacation was sooooo much fun!!! My favorite city was Sevilla (don't you dare call it Seville, that's just messed up dudes), it had great weather, super cool tourist sites, nice hostels, pretty streets, and did I mention great weather?? I will get some pictures to you guys soon, but I have to get them from Sam's computer to mine...okay? Can you be patient??

So....starting from where I left off in my last Sevilla for the second time...we actually didn't just crash that night, but decided to go out...why you may ask...well...boys of there really any other answer? I mean as soon as we walked into the hostel there were just hotties wandering around we just had to go out to the bars with them...I mean they were roommates with Sam and Jess! we spent the night wandering the streets of Sevilla with three Chicago kids...and some other rando who was leading the way...we walked forever to find a dance club, only to arrive and see that it was closed....and then for a long wander back to the hostel with interesting conversation in between. In reality it was the most random night of my life (an example would be that the dude I was talking too was named both Craig and Dan (apparently because he eats lots of danimal yogurts???) it sooooo reminded me of Justin/Bobby on the hills because now we just call him Craig-Dan). SO I guess this led to several strange/awkward run-ins with the Chicago kids the next day....cause we just spent all night hanging our with them....but we really didn't know them...and it was just plain awkward

So, after that night, we slept in and had a relaxing day until we took the bus to Granada (again, we were supposed to take the train....but things just didn't work out in our say the least). We just sat on the roof of the hostel and chatted with other hotties and ate baguettes and peanut butter (great convo starter right there...there is so no pb in europe...and everyone is jealous)...I EVEN GOT TAN!!!! Yeah, the roof deck was pretty sweet....and totally random, some girls we knew from the Barcelona LSA walked onto the roof while we were sitting there!! It was the weirdest thing ever....we were like are they from Dartmouth??? Omg cory??? Haha.....oh was strange!

So, we got to Granada safe and sound...and met up with Andres and Diana...YAH!!!!!!! Also, we were greeted with the most bitterly cold weather ever....people were wearing parkas....we were so not prepared for that, especially after sun bathing on the roof in Sevilla a few hours before!!!

So, we checked into our little granny run pension, sooooo different from the hostels we had been staying in...It was quite, internet-less, and filled with old people! It was okay was an interesting change of pace. After we dropped our stuff...we went to Doner Kebap for Turkish food!!! YUM!!! It was absolutely delicious!! I LOVED IT! And the 40 degree weather we went across the street to the ice cream stand to get some ice cream cones. The woman looked at us like we were crazy jumping up and down and shivering and ordering ice cream...but it was SOOO GOOD!! I got Ferrero Roche flavored ice god was that delicious. In fact this food combination was so good that we repeated the exact same thing the next day, but during the day when it was warm enough to sit out on the terrace for lunch and actually enjoy the ice cream!

SO....on Thursday morning we went to the Alhambra...and I was actually super surprised that I remembered pretty much the whole entire thing from when I went three years ago. It was super cool though, as always, and we spent 4 hours there wandering through the palaces and gardens and taking a gagillion is such a fabulous view of the city from up on the hill...Granada is really beautiful to look at...truly. After this, and lunch, we wandered through the little pedestrian shopping streets and looked at all the cool stuff for sale. Granada has a massive Arabic influence so it has way cooler stuff to way it.

After a nice little siesta we wet up with Andres and Diana again (they stayed in a different hostel) at a overlook over to the Alhambra at sunset...BEAUTIFUL!! There were tons of people there, mainly lovers, and even some gypsies singing and playing some flamenco. Although, at pretty much all other junctures in our travels we go as far out of our way to avoid gypsies as possible because they try and aggressively sell you rosemary, read your fortune, and steal from you...they kinda freak me out some times, but the flamenco is totally coo.. Oh, also a lot of gypsies live in caves in actual holes in the hillside...they're...different...

Anyway...we got some super cool pictures of the Alhambra, and then we headed back down the hill to the section of town where all the tea/hookah places are...we picked out with good seats and ambiance and went in for our tea...I love how cute these little places are with their little stools and itty bitty tables, and Moroccan music playing....its just COOL!! It was so chill, and relaxing and fun and it was just a good day over all because we had some fresh blood in the group now that we were with Diana and Andres.

So, after this we really felt like we had done the whole Granada thing, we felt no need to see another palace or another church (definitely sick of churches!!!)...So we left Granada this morning on the 9am bus and went to Cordoba. Cordoba is famous for the massively huge mezquita which is really cool....but other than that the city was a lot like Sevilla, we weren't incredibly thrilled, clearly we were tired of traveling and site seeing. We did think the mezquita was super cool inside, but come on, we only spent 15 minutes inside, and it cost almost as much as the Alhambra...not really sure if it worth 8 euros to go into a place for 1 minutes and be able to see everything there is to see and enjoy it for all that it was okay though, we just went out for a nice long and relaxed lunch and got on the train back to Madrid.

SO, overall vacation was a success...but it was actually stressful, mainly because none of the three of us took the role of leader so there was a lot of "someone should do this" "yeah someone should" (we all look at each other for at least 5 minutes.....) and then EVENTUALLY someone steps up to the plate to ask for directions or to grab the waiters attention, or to check the train was a little pathetic....I don't think any of us were used to having the power or responsibility of traveling on our lonesome.

I have also decided that I will never return to Jerez...but I would love to return to Sevilla, and I could spend a lot of time there...with the nice weather, beautiful city, and lots to do...Granada was beautiful, but there wasn't much to was easily all fit into one day. Still would love to see Ronda, even though that didn't quite work out this time...

OH....also....southern Spain seems like a total ecological disaster...I mean, where are all the REAL trees and wildlife?? All we saw for miles and miles and miles were olive trees....seriously horizon to I said, they love their olive oil...truly...I do too...but DAMN, that's a lot of olives!! I am in Madrid now, in the apartment, but my family is on vacation too and they wont be home until tomorrow I guess I have to fend for myself...but I will say I am a little intimidated by cooking in their kitchen...I don't think I can handle it...I think I will stick with cereal and fruit and whatever else I can scavenge and doesn't require preparation...

So...that's about all I go for now....pretty sweet right?? I KNOW! OK! EMAIL ME BACK SUCKERS....I HAVENT TALKED TO YOU KIDDIES IN FOREVER!!!

Love ya,

ps...I will now sign all my emails x because they use "x" for "ch" in their texts and emails and chats and stuff...and I think that is super cool, and as u should know, my initials are "CH" so......"X"...sweet right?? I know...I love being a dork!!!

Pps...was this the longest best email ever or what? totally was: and I am massively bored and lonely now without the chicas!

Alhambra in Savilla

Alhambra at Night

Granada Foliage

Alhambra Gardens


You will not believe the number of screw ups and errors that were jam packed into today...on our way to and in Jerez (famous for two things: horses and sherry (the wine, not the person silly!))!

1. Sketchy, but not sketchy 4th roommates cell rings, I'm like damn, its early, I grab my watch and oh, look its 6:40, and we were supposed to get up at 6 to catch a 7am bus! "Sam...what time is it?"...yup...its 6:40...confirmed

2. After managing to get all our stuff together, packed, dressed, and checked out of the hostel, we ran desperately around the plaza to read every single bus stop thingy to find the bus we needed to take to get to the train station. Finally we get there, and wait for several minutes with a few other people. A bus pulls up, but it says 37...not 32 like we want...but we ask...and the driver is yes yes, this is 32....okay, whatever you say dude. We get on...we have no idea what stop to get off at, thank god for a nice lady who told us not to get off when we wanted to, because it was totally one stop too soon.

3. So, we're chillin in the train station, we already have our tickets, so we just have to wait for the big sign to tell us which platform our train is leaving from...and waiting...and waiting....still doesn't we figure we will go out to where we think it is...there is a train there...and it says the right thing on it...but none of the screens say that's where it is...being as super intelligent as we are...we watch our train pull away, and as it does, the screen confirms....indeed...that was the correct platform....seriously?? So....we go to customer service, and they are like, no what are you talking about, it said where it was...yah....sure it did...anyway....we had to wait in the station for another hour for the next train.

4. We arrive in Jerez with our baggage, expecting to put it in the lockers Rick Steves' (the guide book we are using) said there were in the lockers....they are closed, so we have to lug our bags around with us all day....awesome.

5. We get in a taxi and ask it to take us to La Escuela del Arte Ecuestre... the driver has no idea what we are talking about....we say...horses??? oh....he says and says "ecuela ecuetre" because stupid people in Andalucía don't say their s's...nor do they understand them!!

6. We arrive at the horsey place and get tickets fine, but then we have to go through "security" with all our bags...and of course...Sam's bag didn't fit through the x-ray machine...sweet...they didn't really care though...I really don't understand the point of any of the security that we go through...because making the metal detector go off means just keep right on walking....I feel SO safe!!

Okay, some of the day was actually enjoyable...the horses were AMAZING! They were soooooo beautiful, and the show was really cool! It was like drill team times 10 and with fancy horses, and fancy riders....ROYAL horses! They were soooo well trained, it was cool, they had riding, horses in hand, and carts...pretty sweet. Then...we schlepped our luggage around the corner to the Sandeman Sherry bodega!!!!!! Here we went on a sweet tour of the bodega...learned all about sherry...and had a wine tasting at the end. By the way....sherry, really way better here than that nasty sweet stuff back in the US of A. We tried don fino (dry sherry, very much like white wine), dry don (a medium sherry), armada (a cream sherry), a 3 yr brandy, and a 20 yr sherry....pretty much only the don fino....everything else was damn nasty....sickly sweet and syrupy....uch....sam and jess made me finish the brandy though...they insisted that I would be letting Dartmouth down if I didn't down still gives me the shivers to think of that grossness. Anyway...we also had some really yummy tapas here that totally fit into our budget!! YAH!!! Oh, and our tour guide was totally dressed like zorro...hehe...but apparently....not zorro...but the symbol of Sandeman brand...she was funny. Oh, and Jess was totally drunk after the tasting...what an Asian light weight...

7. More mishaps when we go out onto the streets to hail a cab. No one wants to pick us up though...finally...after changing locations three times, a cabbie stops...he asks us if we called for a cab...yeah.....of course we did....Jess and Sam totally didn't pick up on this...but I played along...yeah we called a cab, but it didn't come yet....yah....he took us!!!

8. So we get to the bus station, buy our ticket, and proceed to wait in the station for 3 hours....and then we miss our bus...the last bus to, I have no idea. We again were watching the screen for the number, and again, it did not show up, but this time we went and asked the drivers...but they said they were not going to Ronda...but the guy inside insisted that was the bus to Ronda...and we watched it pull away....AGAIN!

So, okay, we recovered quickly...decided that Ronda would have to be scraped, and we need to take a train back to Sevilla. because pretty much you can't get anywhere else but there by train...and we now hate buses (actually, I totally already hated buses...) So we called a few a reservation (I am sleeping with randos, and sam and jess are in a coed with 6 boys!). We feel sooooo much better to be back in Sevilla, where we are familiar with our surroundings!!!

So, that was today's adventure....aren't you jealous??? I know you was quite exciting, let me tell you!

I really love Sevilla though, its a really nice city, but we have already seen all the cool stuff we wanted to the giant cathedral, the sweet ass multi-media flamenco museum...and Plaza de españa (totally sketch, we actually thought we could have a picnic there at night, and after some rando dude started running towards us...we left...freaky). So yeah, tomorrow we are off to Granada after a relaxing recovery from today's stress.

I suppose we are going to go listen to some flamenco music...maybe that will improve our day a little....

Love ya all kiddies....I am having quite the adventure, but really, I am ready to be back in Madrid....I like it there...and its comfy and homey this is the last night with ya dudes....and I will tell you more when I am back in Madrid!!!!! Also....send me postcards...(i am so serious!) I want to here from you...and I will only send you one if you send me one! SO THERE)


Hey I'm on vaca, and we have feree wifi...yah! I am in Sevilla right now, got here Saturday night, and we are here until early Tuesday morning. We have wandered through a lot of the city, and I REALLY like it here! Obviously, the great weather adds to this impression!

My favorite thing we have seen so far is the Alcazar, which is a cool palace with sweet gardens!! We had a little impromptu photo shoot, of course, and some rando was taking pictures of us...from a far, then he awk came right up to us and took pictures...we were like....uh....AWKWARD!! i will get some photos to you eventually....but I just don't have time for u right now! JUST KIDDING! I am sure you are super excited that I took time out of my day to write you a little update.

By the way, I am totally still sick, and it is sucking really bad, I am sooo exhausted like allll day....its really hard.

Also, side note, Jess and I are on a 10 euro a day meal plan....which is pretty awesome, today we dined on our freee breakfast, ice cream and an all you can eat buffet!!! Yeah, pretty sweet, I know...but we are quite determined to stick to our budget...freakish I know. Sam thinks we are going to starve...but come on, we can eat food from the grocery store, and then just go to a restaurant once a day, it will be fine.

Oh, minor freak out yesterday by Jess, when the ATM ate her debit card...she is lucky though, because she has another account and card she can use....if this happened to me, I am pretty sure my world would end...maybe!

So, we are in a pretty sweet hostel, we are in a quad with one other rando and we have our own bathroom! It is pretty clean and it has a sweet roof terrace and kitchen we can use!! Also, the free wifi is a major benefit! Oh, and its clean...gotta love that!

Today we also took a stroll through "la judería" or the Jewish barrio, its cute. The streets are sooo narrow, but it is a really turisty area, all the stores sell the same lame By the way, we have learned that any time we are looking for something we cant find it, but once we do it is everywhere....this happened for an ATM, a bread store, a restaurant, and a grocery store.

okay, well super...I'm excited to be in warm weather, yah.....BYE!


Hey kids!!! I am doing much better...and I even left the house last night!! YAH!!! I am leaving tomorrow for vacation though, and I am not bringing my computer, so sadly, you all will have to do without my updates for a week!!! Don't worry though, I will fill you in when I get back!! I miss you all, but I am rushing off now to go get some INDIAN FOOD!!!!!!!! YUM! Then a date with Carlos, and then I am meeting up with some kids from teh LSA because they are in Madrid for a few days!

Also, I gave you all the wrong wonder I haven't gotten any packages!!!

Alcalá 177 4o D
28009 Madrid

is my REAL address (and incase u cant see the symbol nex to the 4, its like a degree aka, little circle)


Friday we went to was pretty. was very similar to Toledo...and I liked Toledo better. The cathedrals here were pretty, and it was a good way to start studying for our art history midterm next week, but it wasn't worth more than a day trip, so I am glad I decided not to stay over night. We also saw Spain's oldest university...not very interesting to look at...and we had to go in like 5 different rooms where famous people in history either took classes or were was a little lame. We got back to Madrid at 7:30ish...and I just rested until it was time to go out.

I learned something very interesting...the giant black bulls on the side of the highways that have become a symbol of Spain were originally billboards for cognac, but the country liked them sooo much that they just took the lettering off and left the weird!!! But very cool...Spaniards are say the least!

Jess and I met up at midnight on Friday...and then met with Andres and Diana near the club Cats...we got there ridiculously early...but it was okay...We were dancing for a while...and then Carlos's friends found us, and then Carlos himself showed...YAH! It was a great night, and we stayed out until the metro opened again...5 hours in the club is a pretty long time!

So, bad news...I am sick again...I haven't really left my room in two days...I am stuffed up, and my throat hurts and I am perpetually tired. Why oh why do I have the worst luck when it comes to this stuff? I am ALWAYS sick during exams...sooo is really making it difficult to study when I can't really function...I don't want to be sick in Spain!!!!!! AH!


Dudes...take here is infinitely more fun! Went out with Carlos again...we DROVE somewhere (El Pardo...about 30 minutes outside Madrid)...that was enough excitement for me!!! Haha...I haven't been in a car since I got here....and it is sooooo different from walking or taking the metro everywhere!! We went to this park outside the reminded me SO much of Vermont and the leaves were all pretty and changing colors! We walked on the paths for a little over an hour. I loved felt so amazingly silent after the massive crowds...I was instantly happier!!! We had a big surprise in the middle though....a GIANT wild BOAR ran across the path right next to us....I thought it was hilarious and weird....but Carlos was like dude...there could die!! was soooo big it was pony sized...swear to god! Anyway...that just amped up the excitement! Okay, now we get to the part where you guys need to take notes: after we parked his car near his apartment in Madrid...he took me ALL THE WAY HOME! Like he walked me to the metro...wanted me to use his metro pass (like damn...they really want to pay for everything...but I was like I have an abono dude!) then he walked me all the way to my door....this probably all took a little less than an hour!!!! I was massively impressed...massively...

So yeah, you all could learn a thing or two!

So....yeah I absolutely LOVE the Spanish tortilla that my host mom is to die for...I could eat it for every meal...I don't know how/why it is so fabulous but it is! Um.....YUM!!!! I am really excited right now by the way! I tried to explain "hyper" to Carlos...but there just isn't a good word for we are going with crazy/happy for now haha.

Okay....well I need to sleep now I have to seriously wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for our excursion...not really pleased about that one at all.


Yesterday after conversation class, we went to our professor's English class to go meet some was cool and awkward...but we made plans to meet up again this weekend, so that should be pretty sweet. week we have all our I am sooo not prepared for that! I feel like we haven't really learned anything yet...AH! I don't know, it is going to be realllly hard just studying from broken notes and trying to share notes with everyone to figure out what the hell our History prof was trying to say to us.

Went to the police station today...yeah pretty pointless as expected. Our TA went with me to help me give my statement; I signed it...and got a copy...I feel vindicated already...haha. The only thing I got out of going to the police was that he told me to watch out for the Moroccans...they are sketchy dudes apparently...interesting...

Well, I went to put some money on my phone...but the women tried several times and said it wasn't working. As I was walking down the street two minutes later, I got a text saying my account had been credited 40 euro...but I hadn't paid for anything...humm...Karma? So, I guess I got back more than I lost as far as the phone goes.

So...that's all for now! Hope you are enjoying know me, getting robbed won't bring me down!