Semana Santa 2016: By The Riverside of Porto…

As you may or may not know, this past Holy Week I decided to go to Portugal…In all honesty, Portugal never really did enrapture me before–after all, I just thought it was  essentially like Spain, except Lusophone…However, as I came to learn after visiting, it has its own delights…

I spent the first 2-3 days in the country in the city of Porto, the 2nd-largest city in the country…It’s known for many things: francesinhas (a sort of grilled meat sandwich covered in melted cheese), the numerous bodegas along the river Duoro (after all, it is the origin of port wine), and the spectacular views of the city one can find along said river at sunset…

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Winter Break 2015: Venturing Venice…

It’s been a LOOOOOOONG time comin’, but I’m finally getting around to recapping the amazing international adventures I was blessed to have last year!!

For Christmas Break last year, I was away for 16 days: I spent the first 2 days in Munich, and spent the other fortnight of vacay time in Italy, which had been my *dream* European destination since I was a little girl…While I had stopped in many places during my time in Italia, there was one place that struck me like no other with its beauty, magic, and sheer elegance: Venice…

Alas, I was only in the city for around 7 hours on an independent day trip (thank you, Viator!), but I was so taken by this arrestingly lovely place, that I am determined to return there–hopefully this upcoming year, I can!!…

And now for some scenery porn!!

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Still Breathing, 2.0: A Mid-Year Recap…

Surpriiiiiiiise–I’m actually still alive!!…But, I actually have a good excuse for being M.I.A.: Between weeks of suffering with no Wi-Fi in my house, over 2 weeks of Christmas vacation, and just living life in general, I haven’t really paid much thought into updating this thing…But, don’t worry–I’ll try to fill you in on what’s been going on in my life these past several months…

Turning 23 In Style

On November 21, I went to a party that celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Las Morenas De España, the lifestyle/travel blog dedicated to black women living, working, and/or traveling in Spain (and for which I wrote a few articles)…Coincidentally, when the clock stuck midnight, I officially marked 23 years of life on this Earth–and, even though the party was not held in my honor, it was really sweet having all the other girls singing Stevie Wonder’s rendition of “Happy Birthday” to me…Not to mention, we SLAYED with that all-white theme (#BlackGirlMagic)!!…

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Livin’ La Vida Madrileña: Monthly Recap #1.5…

Once again, I seem to have broken my promises of actually writing consistently–but, I actually have a legit excuse for the radio silence: Since arriving to the Spanish capital this past 15th of September, I’ve been in this flux, trying to get my ducks in a row–you know, piso (apartment) hunting, getting registered at my current address, and getting oriented and settled in at my new workplace!!…I’ve been crazy-busy these past some-odd weeks, so I’ll try my best to recap what exactly has been going on in my little sphere!!…

La Casa:

Upon arriving here, my first main priority was finding an apartment–imperative, because I needed a place with a landlord that offered a contract, something that is required to become empadronada (registered with the city), which in turn is required to get your T.I.E. (Foreigner’s I.D. Card)…I wanted somewhere where a Cercanías (commuter train) station was easily accessible, 450€/less (bills included), and with central heating and WIFI already installed (or about-to-be-installed by the landlord)…

This year, from what I understand, the competition in The Great Piso Hunt was particularly intense, what with more Spaniards moving to the Capital to find employment, more auxiliares than ever, and an influx of refugees from Syria and Lebanon…But praise God, I found my room in only 4 days (some people are still searching for a place to live), and I live in Puerta de Toledo, an area that’s fairly central (it’s just one Metro stop below vibrant La Latina, the city’s oldest neighborhood), has central heating and WIFI, is 12-15 minutes from a Cercanías station (which makes my commute that much easier), is around 50-60€ cheaper from my maximum price point, AND a fairly austere (but ultimately fair) landlord who gave me a contract and who doesn’t overstep any boundaries…

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A Subir: The Marvelous Moncayo Mountain…

Over the course of my 9.5 month stay in Zaragoza, I had gone on a grand total of 2 hiking excursions, and while the first was completely terrible, the second definitely set the bar really high for me as far as nature-based trips go!!…

It all took place on a Saturday, a few weeks before I left Zaragoza: Some people from the church I attended there invited me to come along on their day trip to Tarazona, a city that lies to the South of ZGZ Province, and I–always eager to see new places–happily accompanied them!!…The plan was to spend a few hours hiking in El Moncayo, the mountain that lies beside the city and the highest peak within the Sistema Ibérico mountain range (and Spain’s 10th-highest peak)…Afterwards, we were supposed to see Tarazona and have Bible study–unfortunately, we started our hike fairly later in the day, so we didn’t have much time to see the city…But not to worry–there was plenty of visual splendor on the mountainside for us to take in!!…

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Seeing Relics At Borja’s Museo De La Colegiata…

O.K., so, to be honest there isn’t really that much to see in Borja–however, if you go spastic over glittering altarpieces, intricately-woven tapestries, and brightly-polished crucifixes, then the Museo de la Colegiata just may tickle your fancy!…

Inaugurated in 2003, the museum’s purpose is to celebrate the cultural and artistic patrimony of the Colegiata de la Santa María, Borja’s most important religious building, which dates back to at least 1120…

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El Ecce Homo: The Most Jacked-Up Portrait Of Christ You’ll Ever See…

YIKES–it’s been basically a month of radio silence on my part!!…My apologies, friends, but I’ve got about a month to go before my auxiliar experience in Zaragoza is done for this year, and lately I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired–but, then again, that’s probably due to a mix of the feelings of physical fatigue and general aimlessness I’ve been having lately…

But, enough ranting–I need to talk about the little excursion I made to Borja during Semana Santa, which is a pueblo of around 5,000 about an hour south of ZGZ…I had the opportunity to visit this place with a group of people from the church that I attend (because, hey–all expenses-paid for 50€), and even though it’s not the most spectactuar place I’ve ever been to, it was a fairly nice place to walk around…

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Sledding The Slopes Of Candanchú…

For some time, one of my goals has been to visit the Pyrenees: I love mountains, and I wanted to see first hand those stunning landscapes that I had only seen in pictures…Well, one week before vacation was over, some people from church told me they were going sledding in Candanchú, a ski resort in Huesca Province that’s only a few kilometers from the French border…They asked me if I wanted to come, and because I’m always down for taking a trip, I readily accepted!!

Oh, and should I mention that it was my first time sledding???…Like, ever…At first I was a little hesitant, but once someone went down with me a couple of times, I realized that it’s actually not THAT bad!!…

Now, I didn’t actually get to take pictures of the actual festivities–but I got quite a few of those beautiful snow-capped mountains!!…

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Renovating Splendor: La Catedral De Albarracín…

O.K.–so back to the Christmas vacay recaps!!…

Today, I take you back to the town of Albarracín, which is renowned as one of Spain’s most beautiful towns…Because I only had the late afternoon/evening there, I only had time to go to the Catedral there (well, I mean, not that there’s that much to see in Albarracín)–but that definitely did not leave me disappointed!!…

I visited the Catedral on a little tour hosted by the Fundación de Santa María, an organization that uses the profits from the various guided visits that they offer in order to preserve, protect, and promote (yay, alliteration!!) the town’s cultural and artistic heritage…Part of those funds go toward the the Catedral: At some point in the 20th century, someone discovered frescoes underneath the gray paint that had come to cover the walls, and since then there has been a painstaking effort to completely uncover and restore them–I’m so glad my 2.50€ is going towards such an awesome cause!!…

Completed in 1600, the Catedral is a shining example of late-Renaissance splendor, something that is apparent despite all the obvious visual reminders of the restoration in process…

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Magic: Albarracín At Twilight…

O.K., so as I’ve pointed out before, I’ve decided to take a little break on my post series–after all, I need to find a lot more inspiring locales and amazing tapas before I can write about them and truly do them justice!!…So, for now, let me continue to captivate you all with more photos from my Christmas Break excursion, :-)…

This week, I take you to the steeply-inclined, cobblestone streets of Albarracín, the village in Teruel province that’s often cited as one of, if not the, most beautiful villages in Spain…During the day, it’s fairly obvious as to why it carries that reputation: As you walk down the steep, ambling pathways of this compact, mountainside pueblo, multiple varieties of pink and orange are emitted with a faint, warm glow from the rustic, Medieval-style buildings–something that somehow intensifies with the steady passage into dusk…

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The Alleyways of Teruel…

O.K., so I’ve decided to take a little break from my “Zesty Zaragoza” series–after all, I have quite a bit of recaps to get through from my winter trips!!…

As indicated in my previous monthly recap, I had the privilege of visiting Teruel, a small city of around 35,000, and the capital of the province of the same name…

I came to Teruel because, as a huge admirer of mudéjar architecture–that is, the unique style of architecture inspired by the artistic flair of Moorish Spain…However, while ambling through the streets of this tiny town on that Sunday afternoon, my little smartphone just couldn’t get enough of the little callejones (alleyways), 🙂

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2014: A Year Of Travel In Review (via Instagram!)…

O.K., so, as all my faithful readers know by now, 2014 has been a big year for me, what with me moving to Spain and all!!…

However, my adventurings this year have not only taken me to Zaragoza (my current homebase), but to a variety of interesting destinations…So, to cap it all off, here’s an overview of all of my travels this year via Instagram–which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things, EVA (thank God I got a smartphone this year)!!…

Choirland–This past March, I enjoyed the last Spring Break of my undergraduate career in the Republic of Oireland (properly pronounced as written), on a tour with my fellow classmates choir nerds

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If I Could Turn Back Time: My Top 5 Do-Over Destinations…

Taking a page from Kirstie from Venga, Vale, Vamos, I’ve decided to list the cities that I have the most ganas to visit all-over again–in no particular order, mind you!!…It’s somewhat difficult to narrow it down to just 5, but here I go, anyways!!…

1) London, England

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While so many other girls have fallen head-over-heels in love with Paris, I’ve been carrying a flame for Londontown ever since I had the pleasure of living and studying there for a month last summer…I mean, what’s there NOT to fall in love with (besides the crowds in summer)???…When I return, I’m DEFINITELY going to hit up more museums and visit more markets!!… Continue reading