Archive | August, 2011

My Mom & Dad’s Song

31 Aug

One of the most important things in my life is definitely my family. Living on the other side of the world has its perks (like traveling), but it also entails a huge sacrifice if you are a very family oriented person like me.

Therefore, whenever I feel homesick (especially during winter), I search some of my parent’s favorite songs or songs that just remind me of my childhood.

It’s been two years already since the last time I went back home. It’s been worth it because I was able to get my master’s and work in Italy, but it’s still a very difficult thing.

So, this song is my absolute favorite:

1) Girl From Ipanema (my dad liked this song because it remind him of my mom)

 

I always feel a little bit closer to home when I listen to this one.

 

 

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Istanbul

29 Aug

Turkey is a country that belongs to two continents: Asia and Europe. I found this to be very intriguing, so I really wanted to see Turkey’s the last european town and its first asian town. Unfortunately, I only had 3 and a half days because my husband was there on a business trip, so I tagged along and decided that it was best to stay in Istanbul and use those 3 days to visit as many places as possible. There were lots of tourists so the waiting time for most mosques and museums was about 30 minutes, plus the streets and restaurants were a bit crowded, so I only managed to see 2 or 3 places a day. But it was enough to blow me away!

Unlike what many people may think, Istanbul is a very modern city while respecting their traditions and religion.The main religion is Islam and there are more than 2,500 mosques in Istanbul alone.

I must confess that when we arrived to our hotel, I was a bit hesitant to about this trip because not many people spoke english, and I was going to have to travel without my husband, for he had to move to a different town (for work related issues). So the language barrier, being by myself, and not knowing what to expect (didn’t do any pre-trip research!) were things that made me a little nervous. But then, I decided that I needed to get out of my room and start exploring, and if I got lost, there were always taxis around that could take me back to the hotel. Besides, I’ve always thought that as long as you behave in a respectful manner, follow the countries rules and walk with confidence (and be careful with your belongings), you’ll probably do well regardless of the place or country.

I must say that all my silly thoughts were proven to be pure ignorance (I accept it!), because not even once did I feel intimidated not in danger. Salesmen were respectful (although they were a little bit pushy, but they did this with everyone). Policemen were very helpful and spoke several languages, just like many vendors. I noticed that in downtown Istanbul, where most tourist hang out, locals spoke several languages (French, English and Spanish for the most part). You can tell locals are eager to receive and treat tourists well, so they make an effort to learn different languages and conduct themselves in a respectful manner.

I strongly encourage people to visit and discover Istanbul. If you keep your eyes and mind wide open, I assure you you’ll fall in love with Istanbul, just as I did.

Have a great day !

Que tengan un excelente día !

Lovely San Sebastian (Spain)

25 Aug

These are a few photos from San Sebastian. I have to admit that before visiting this lovely city, I knew very little about San Sebastian and its history. People call it the Spanish Switzerland because everything is so perfect and clean. You can see different architectural designs in one square, from the  modern and minimalist apartments to the historical and antique buildings that represent the city and its history.

This city is considered to be the richest city in Spain. Wages are much higher than in any other part of the country, therefore the cost of living in this city is also high. Tapas bars, restaurants and hotels are somewhat expensive compared to other Spanish cities (Spain is going through a difficult economic period, so prices are usually very convenient, especially for tourists).

If you have the opportunity to visit San Sebastian you should try their “Jamon Serrano“, which is a Spanish ham that melts as soon as you put in your mouth and it’s so good. Also try the “Solomillo” which is a very juicy meat (you can have an entire portion or just a tapa). San Sebastian also offer great fish dishes (I ate a “Bonito” fish seasoned with garlic, vinegar, olive oil and parsley (mmmmmm.. so, good!). Don’t forget to taste their local wines (Rioja), which are also very good.

In the next days, I’ll upload my San Sebastian Food photos.

Thank you for reading my silly blog and hope you like the pictures 😉

Have a wonderful day!

Que tengan un día muy especial !

 

Eat, Learn, Move

21 Aug

 

Recently I stumbled upon a video that I really liked called “Move“. I later found out that these were a series of three videos commissioned by the travel agency STA Travel (Eat, Learn and Move).

I usually don’t really like stuff that companies promote for their own profit, but whenever they do things the right way, I’m always behind them. I think it’s the way you do things that really makes the difference. I find these videos (specially the move video), to be kind of inspiring. Whatever propels you to move, discover and learn new things deserves some credit, don’t you think?

By the way, I remember an STA Travel agency located within the SDSU (San Diego State University) premisses. They always had good offers for students thinking of traveling/studying abroad. I don’t know if they are still around that area, though. I usually use websites such as OrbitzSkyscanner and Cheapoair to search for my tickets (Milan, Italy – San Diego, USA) Do you know another good site?

Have a great sunday !

Que tengan un excelente domingo !

Croatia (Part II)

18 Aug

Here’s the second round of pictures from Croatia. This time I uploaded more from Hvar, which is a Croatian island. It’s one of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever seen. Not many people know about this island, so although it is pretty difficult to find a place to stay during August, it never feels too crazy or crowded with tourists: it manages to maintain a cozy vibe. Hope you like the photos.

P.S. Remember I told you about the 20sb blog swap I did with Ginny from Ginntastic? Well, you can read my entire experience about traveling to Croatia by bus and ferry on her blog. You can check it by visiting her blog:  http://ginnyissassy.blogspot.com/2011/08/20sb-blog-swap.html

Have a great day!

Blog Swap

17 Aug
Hi everyone!
I recently entered a community for 20 something bloggers who are interested in interacting with other 20 something bloggers. One of the recent activities was called “blog swap”. Each participant was assigned a partner. My partner’s name is Ginny, and we had to write each other a summer related story, either an anecdote or something that made us think of summer. I wrote about my trip to Croatia. Ginny shared one of her childhood stories, and I would like to share it with you. Hope you enjoy it !
Summer is my favorite season.  Summer means trips to the beach, hiking in the mountains, camping, roasting marsh mellows and long days.  As a kid I spent most of my summer in the woods.  I went on family camping trips, stayed in vacation houses in New Hampshire and went to overnight camp.  All of this time spent out doors left a mark or two.  Poison ivy, bug bites, sun burns, twisted ankles, leeches, bee stings – you name it I got it (or it got me).
There is one incident that stands out in my mind more than any other.  Surprisingly it’s not the leeches.  When I was twelve years old I got attacked by wasps.  At the time it was a very traumatic experience.  Now I can tell the story and laugh.  I know, you’re probably wondering how this could be funny.  Trust me, it is.
My mother sent me to overnight camp for 16 days every summer.  I loved it.  The camp was strict but the counselors were awesome and I felt like I really bonded with my shack mates every year.  I was even voted shack leader in 1995 (I think I should add that to my resume).
Walking back from campfire required walking through the woods to get back to your shack.  There were no lights on the paths besides your flashlight.  As we’re walking along I hear one of my shack mates yell out “ow!”.  Then someone else yelled out.  Suddenly I hear the sound of bees and someone shouts out to run.  We all start running and screaming towards the nearest building which is a bathroom.  It is at this point that I get stung for the first time.  A wasp flew up my shorts and started stinging me on my inner thigh.  The wasps are in our clothes, those sneaky wasp bastards.  Now I know they were wasps because they kept stining over and over and would not die!  We start pulling our clothes off to get them out leaving a trail of clothing behind us.  We make it to the bathroom only to realize that the wasps are coming in every time the door opens when someone runs in.  We’re still getting stung in the bathroom.
We decide to make a run for the cabin which is further away from the direction of where the wasps came from.  We start running, most of us with just our undergarments on, to our shack.  There are still some wasps following us but it’s not as bad as the amount in the bathroom.  At this point we’re all crying and attempting to hide from or kill any wasps that have made it into the cabin.  I got stung multiple times from the wasp that flew up my shorts.  One of my shack mates is allergic to bees and although we have an epi pen we still have to get her to the nurse to bring her to the hospital.
Late at night, we’re sitting in the nurses station while she attends to our stings.  A few of us end up throwing up due to a combination nerves and toxins from the stings.  I was one of them.  I remember feeling sick to my stomach and I had the shakes.  The nurse made me stay in the nurses station because I kept getting sick.  Gingerale!  We were not allowed soda at camp.
We all felt much better in the morning.  All the other campers had heard our screams and had no idea what had happened.  We told our survival tale over breakfast while showing off our stings.  My shack mate who had to go to the hospital stayed over night and returned that afternoon.  We were all ok.
I wrote everyone to tell them about the incident.  My mother sent me cookies and told me how scary that must have been.  My grandmother on the hand wrote back “those poor bees don’t have a home!” Not exactly the response I was looking for grandma.
I hope if you’re ever in this situation that you’re wearing nice underwear.  Those wasps really don’t care.

Ginny

Croatia (Part I)

16 Aug

I’m back!

As I told you last week, I spent the last 8 days in Croatia. I must say the Croatia’s beaches are among the cleanest I’ve ever seen, crystal clear waters (no need for goggles!)

Today is my 3-year wedding aniversary, and we’re going out for a nice romantic dinner. I only got an hour to get ready, but before I’d like to share a few photos of Croatia and I promess I’ll upload the rest tomorrow.

Have fun!