Barcelona with family

I’m sitting here drinking a Mahou (Spanish beer) and thinking…what better time to write about my trip to Barcelona. Barcelona, the most visited city in Spain by tourists. The capital of Cataluña, the birthplace of cava, the home of Gaudí, a meeting place of gothic architecture and modernism. And so many people ask, which city…

Polvoranca: the cursed ghost town outside Madrid

Situated just south of Madrid, between Alcorcón and Leganés, is a small park called Polvoranca that used to be a town. I learned about it when I was looking for a place to take Mitzy to run around. The park has trails, a lake, and open grassy areas. It also has the ruins of the…

Semana Santa in Madrid

Anyone who has taken a Spanish class has probably learned about the famous “Semana Santa” celebrated in Spain. It means holy week, and it’s the week leading up to Easter (so the dates vary from year to year). There are many traditions that are practiced during that week, including special food, events, and for many,…

Exploring Madrid and Toledo

My English friend Chloe came to visit the first week of March. We met a couple years ago at the California Wolf Center, where she did an internship and I was an employee. I enjoy showing visitors around, as it allows me to play tourist and enjoy the things that the city has to offer. It’s…

Animal rehab and American comforts

Life continues to fly by here in Madrid and I’m riding the train wondering if it could stop for a bit, or at least slow down? John Mayer worded it well in his song “Stop This Train” So scared of getting older I’m only good at being young So I play the numbers game To find a…

25+ things about Spain that surprise Americans

Here are 25 (okay, 29) things that surprise Americans when they come to Spain. This list was originally written by lacabezallena.com in Spanish (here). I love the list so much (and can relate to it) that I’ve decided to translate it to English here so that my friends and family back home can appreciate it…

There’s no place like Spain for the holidays

Well, they say that there’s no place like home for the holidays…it’s true, there really is no comparison to being home for Christmas. It’s the time of year to be with your family, practice traditions that you do every year, reminisce the memories of past Christmases, bake some cookies and pie, and watch some super…

Day Trips Near Madrid (Chinchón and Segovia)

Living in a country as interesting and varied as Spain, it would be a shame to stay in one city and never leave to explore. Even if you’re just visiting Madrid, it’s worth a try to make a day trip or two to a nearby town. Just look up towns near Madrid to visit and…

Being the teacher and the student

Two weeks ago I started classes again at the University of Madrid, except this time I’m not learning Spanish (well…directly). It’s a graduate level course about the management of exotic animals in captivity, covering their handling, medicine, and breeding. The course was designed for Spanish-speaking veterinarians, so you can imagine that for me it’s a…

Working in a Spanish hostal

I’m not exactly sure what happened to July, but here we are in August: the month in Spain when everyone goes on vacation at the same time, when Madrid reaches temps in the low 100s, and I wish I were closer to a beach. Also, businesses literally close for the whole month so everyone can…