August 26, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Traditions, Travels in Spain

What a week Kim and I have had! I arrived here in Madrid last Tuesday, followed by Kim on Thursday. I couldn’t have asked for better timing – it’s not easy transitioning back to life here, and having a buddy with me while I get back into the swing of things cheered me up more than I ever could have imagined.

We had quite the itinerary laid out for Kim and she was up for the challenge. The first day Kim arrived she was a real champ – we pretty much headed right out to tour Madrid. We hit up Retiro Park, Puerta de Alcala, The Prado, and even shopping on Serrano – all before heading to drinks, dinner, then drinks again with Jacob. Kim powered through the night without a trace of jet lag.

The next day we returned to Madrid to finish up the site seeing, which included the Palace, Plaza Mayor, Sol, Gran Via and more shopping! We capped off the day with an evening at Jacob’s friend Manu’s house for homemade paella on the BBQ – best paella ever!!!

Saturday we hit the road and headed out to Segovia – Kim’s favorite spot on the trip. On the drive home we swung by La Granja (a palace with beautiful gardens) and made the trip home for a nice dinner in Madrid.

Sunday brought a new excursion for me – Salamanca. The city known for its university, was extra charming and like no other Spanish city I’d visited before. What we especially loved is that we were able to walk the perimeter of the inside and outside of the cathedral – a unique perspective that we’d never had the opportunity to see in the past. We discovered breathtaking views both inside and out (albeit a little frightening for me at times!).

Yesterday brought my favorite event of all – the running of the bulls here in San Sebastian de los Reyes. It happens all week this week (which is especially fortuitous since I have another friend coming on Thursday). We headed out early to reserve our spots to view the run. It didn’t disappoint! While short, it is exhilarating to watch nonetheless. Be sure to visit the movies page to see a clip of the race.

After the running of the bulls, Kim and I made the long trip to and from Toledo. Toledo is always a charming destination – although taking public transportation for virtually the entire expedition was exhausting for sure! In the future I think it should be best left to those with cars. We made up for the journey though by capping off the day, and her trip, with dinner in the caves of a local village – yes caves (they are natural caves used in old times for wine)! Each table had its own little cave, like a cubby hole. It was a unique and distinctly Spanish way to finish off her trip.

Now we have sent Kim off and fortunately I have another guest right around the corner. My friend Robin will be out on Thursday, at which time I will begin the tour of Spain again! Good thing I love this place! More to come next week…

August 20, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Uncategorized

Hi all – I just wanted to post a quick blog to say that I am OK and everyone we know is OK (as far as we know at this point). The number of casualties seems to be rising tremendously, sadly. Above is a picture that I took of the smoke from our bathroom window right after the crash.

Not that I would have been flying to the Canary Islands – it is, however, definitely frightening since I arrived to Madrid at the exact same time yesterday, and my friend Kim will be arriving tomorrow.

A very sad day for Madrid.

August 12, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Trips to the US

So Jen’s wedding weekend has just come to a close, which means it’s about time for me to head back to Spain!!! How time flies!

The wedding was so perfect. It took place in the backyard of my aunt and uncle’s house (Jen’s parents). Nearly the entire family was there which made it an even more special occasion – not only because it was of course great to see everyone, but let’s be honest, the Campbell Clan knows how to have a good time! Cheers!

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the afternoon wedding. Jen looked absolutely gorgeous. Her two little ones, Donovan and Marley, were a little piece of heaven as usual – both remained pleasantly distracted during the entire ceremony. The celebration went late into the night and could have easily carried on into the morning hours if we didn’t have to shut the music down. Good times!

And now I must return to Spain! It has been so incredibly refreshing to spend the last month and a half in the States visiting with all of my friends and family, getting things done, and most importantly, appreciating how fantastic the Bay Area is. As if I didn’t already love SF enough, I know now more than ever that it is truly the best place on Earth. The people, the culture, the landscape, the fresh air, the food, the variety, everything – it can’t be beat. No place on Earth has a better mix of all things wonderful than we do. Don’t get me wrong, Spain is amazing in a million different ways – the country is insanely beautiful, the culture so rich, the history so impressive, I can go on and on – it’s just that the Bay Area has a little bit of everything. My lesson learned that I now pass on to you is please don’t take it for granted!

I will be heading back this coming Monday with lots to look forward to in Spain. Two days after my arrival, my good friend Kim will be arriving for several days. Then, two days later, my other good friend Robin will arrive for another week. Then Jacob and I head to an island near Ibiza for his friend’s 30th birthday. And finally, the vacation is over my friends – I will officially begin working! No more teaching English classes (no way Jose!), I will be jumping back into the world of marketing (thank goodness!) and start making some use of myself again.

So, my adventure is evolving. I am sure I will have plenty more stories upon my return to Madrid, so keep an eye out for my regular blog updates again. I hope to stick to my once a week post for as long as possible. Don’t be strangers – email, call, come visit! I hope to see you all in December….tear :(.

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