This blog post has undoubtedly been long over due, and I can’t use the excuse that I have been majorly overwhelmed with University work because the truth is, I still feel like I am on holiday. As I am writing this, I am sat on my balcony in a summer dress and sunglasses bathing in 27-degree heat, which is something I can most definitely get used to in March. We have had pure sunshine hitting our soils reaching up to 35 degrees and now are expecting more days of warmth barely dipping below 20.
Life has been pretty relaxed so far, with trips taking me back to Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga. Barcelona was incredible as I am sure I don’t need to tell you all about the talented work of the famous Gaudi throughout the city. The calm beach confronted with the hustle and bustle of the main city continues to amaze me as I envy afternoon swims or sunbathing sessions between and after work. As well as the patriotic and passionate Catalonians spreading their flags over balcony sides, windows and in any manner they can.
Overlooking the beach of Barcelona
Fresh anchovies with tomato, garlic and olive oil! Topped off with a beer
I wanted to talk more about Málaga as a city, because it seems completely over looked as a fly-in destination to venture off to more remote sections along the Spanish coastline. I must admit I’ve had my fair share of flights in and out of Málaga without the desire to really give it some more attention. So when the opportunity came up to spend a weekend with my Mum and Grandma there… it was not one I could miss! We enjoyed a weekend of exploring, too much wine and for me personally, a lot of unexpected Spanish speaking practise thanks to my official tour guide of the weekend role, and now I have come back to Córdoba with a strong attachment to Málaga. The central Atarazanas fresh food market serves up quick, cheap and deliciously rich tapas in the many bustling bars perked next to the market stalls.
We had our own private villa for the weekend that over looked the wonderful bay where you could lose yourself gazing down at the various ships, yachts and boats going in and out of the harbour. This was probably my favourite spot of Málaga as I have always loved being by the sea so maybe I am slightly biased, but the harbour is just so tranquil. Granted, it is a bit of a tourist trap but then I would say most of Málaga is heading that way anyway. On Sunday, as everywhere usually shut for church and precious family time, the pop up market along the beachfront promenade provided for a chilled morning stroll to the city centre. With the sun glaring down on us, mum and I sat down with our feet dangling down over the harbour side between the moored up boats and passed away the hours with our laughter and chatter as fast as the waves were lapping beneath us. Later that eve we celebrated Grandma’s 70th (and belated hen do) with cocktails on the rooftop over looking the famous Citadel followed by a variety of unknown tapas dishes selected by the chef and brought to us by surprise. It was exquisitely Spanish as I tried to impress my family by mumbling away to the waitress in my acquired andalucían accent, which worked a treat as the best part of speaking a foreign language means whatever you say and no matter how incorrect it may be, you will always be faced with overly impressed gleaming faces.
The day after I returned from Málaga, we were off to Sierra Nevada, the White Mountain tips sitting just above Granada in the sunny south of Spain. I found it incredible the geographical diversity you could encounter in a matter of hours apart. The sierra was just about holding onto a sprinkle of snow, with skiers and snowboarders making the most of the slush. However for us, we had to return our hired sledge after half hour because we seriously struggled to find any ‘sledge-able’ snow. Although our attention was soon turned by the chair lifts to take us up higher, which a few of my friends hadn’t experienced before and I have to say it was pure comedy gold to watch their expressions as we slowly escalated over the town on a chairlift that seemed to be hanging on to its last life.
At this point, University really did seem non-existent as our main worries were spending too much time in the sun and burning our noses, however how are we to blame with a ton of public holidays and the recent student strikes. The never-ending holiday continued with a heat wave of 28-degree weather, which meant endless days sipping cava on the roof over looking the main square of Tendillas, enjoying great company.
The day had then come for Chris to arrive! Another 6 weeks apart are becoming horrifically normal; nonetheless the excitement of dressing up and rushing to the train station still seems to make my heart skip a beat! An amazing weekend fooling around and discovering more of Córdoba together. We found a local tapas bar where we received a free tapas dish with every drink we ordered! I decided to take the girls there, and the free tapas that rolled out of the kitchen were so mouth watering that we kept questioning ourselves if it was indeed free. Chris and I managed to fill ourselves up every day and night with great tapas and cheap drinks in little bars scattered around the small streets of Córdoba. We also decided to fit in take-away pizza from my favourite local down the road, once we had bitterly agreed on what toppings would be acceptable, and listened to Spanish Reggaeton, despite Chris’s disapproval that you could even class it as music. We played a classic game of beer pong with 2 litres of Amstel for 3€. TOP TIP: everything we bought for beer pong was found in a local Chino. Chinos are shops that sell even the most expected and random items which are run by Chinese and are open all hours including Sundays, a strange but wonderful concept we now cannot seem to live without.
The following weekend my future housemate Kayleigh came to stay, which eased the goodbye to Chris. The weather stayed put in the early 30’s all weekend so we had our fair dose of Spanish Vitamin D with 0,25€ San Miguel’s, jugs of Sangria, Tapas, flamenco rhythms and hours of exploring Córdoba again. It is so refreshing to see your own city through someone else’s eyes, as you seem to overlook the hidden beauties you fell in love with at the beginning. Kayleigh and I were in Spanish class together in our first year of University, and now we find ourselves meeting up in my new home, dancing to the over-played but equally loved Despacito and ordering Spanish tapas that we used to see pictures of in our activity sheets 2 years ago. As we danced to a mixture of Daddy Yankee and Shakira, it was so refreshing to see such a mix of families, couples and elderly all out together.
This time round seems completely different to last term. I am surrounded with a completely new group of people, but we are all filling our time in newly discovered locals, relaxing in the park and soaking up the sunshine with the occasional bit of university work here and there. As I listen to Ed Sheeran’s bubbly Barcelona, I look back on the 7 months worth of memories I have made here and the life that I have created for myself all on my own. Life can lead you in so many directions and paths, and I cannot quite bring myself to believe I have 12 weeks left of this dream world I am living in.