Venga, Vale, Vamos

1
So You Want to be Fluent in Spanish?
2
The Enchanting Winter Ghost Island of Menorca
3
London Calling Once More
4
The New Venga, Vale, Vamos
5
Celebrating Australia: ‘Straya Day and the Lunar New Year
6
Holiday in the Sun: Australia’s Favo(u)rite Travel Destinations
7
Travel Guide: Preparing Your Australian Holiday
8
2013: Yet Another Travel-Filled Year In Review

So You Want to be Fluent in Spanish?

I originally wrote this post for a now defunct website run by DiscoverExcursions. Wanting to give it another life, I’m now sharing it here. Living – or planning to live – abroad in Spain but not sure how to improve your Spanish? These tips will help.

Traveling abroad presents you with an incomparable opportunity to improve – or even perfect – your foreign language abilities. Many of us travelers fall into the easy trap of communicating mostly with English-speakers and only using a language when it’s completely necessary, but it’s never too late to change! Here are a few simple and useful ways to make the most of your time traveling and become fluent in another language. Read More

The Enchanting Winter Ghost Island of Menorca

Menorca in the winter seriously could have been a nightmare.

Last January, after the thrill of booking round-trip flights for €15 plus a big apartment for €12 per night per person started to die down and the awe-inspiring photos of the stunning Mediterranean island became familiar, I realized there was a reason Menorca was so ridiculously cheap in the winter: nothing would be open.

Ghost town

Menorca?

Two-thirds of the island’s residents flee as the summer comes to an end, so the more I researched trip plans, the more problems I realized we’d run into. From public transportation running only every few hours, to airport shuttle services being completely shut down, to there being no discernible place near our lodging to get food, it looked like we were in for some issues. We couldn’t Read More

London Calling Once More

London just couldn’t keep me away last year. With my sister spending a semester there and me only a short hop away, I met up with my dad’s side of the family there, only to join my mom there two weeks later.

Now basically a pro at navigating the Madrid to London flightpath and the London Underground, I arrived on a Thursday night and caught up with my mom and sister in our hotel near my sister’s apartmentnear Bedford Square. Friday, we set out to continue my exploration of London, wandering the streets, all decked out in their Christmas finest, and having lunch in a traditional British pub before returning to the Houses of Parliament for another tour from my VIP/Parliament intern sister.

London, England

London, you’re lovely.

Read More

The New Venga, Vale, Vamos

Welcome to the new and improved Venga, Vale, Vamos! You may notice, first, the new layout, but, even more excitingly, a change of address!

That’s right, my blog is no longer located at kirstiej.com/spain six months after leaving Spain but now has it’s own domain, www.VengaValeVamos.com.

Sydney calls for an address change.

All right, Sydney, I’ll give you that much needed address change.

So update your links, and if you haven’t already, subscribe by entering your email address to the right, like my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.

Look forward to lots more from this blog in the coming months as I continue loving life in Australia!

Celebrating Australia: ‘Straya Day and the Lunar New Year

There are few better ways to get to know a country than celebrating its national holidays, so I’m more than pleased I’ve stuck around long enough to be here for Australia Day and a week later got to celebrate another holiday that has been adopted by Australia, the Lunar New Year.

'Straya Day and Chinese New Year, let's do it.

‘Straya Day and Chinese New Year, let’s do it.

January 26th marked Australia Day, a day that commemorates the British landing in Australia in 1788. Like America’s Fourth of July, it falls in the middle of summer, so it typically means Read More

Holiday in the Sun: Australia’s Favo(u)rite Travel Destinations

Today, HomeAway presents a spiffy infographic that highlights some of Australia’s best travel destinations. I have tons of Australia left to explore, and these locations are definitely on my bucket list!

Australia has developed a reputation for being one of the world’s most alluring countries, and with good reason. From its unusual wildlife – koalas, platypus and kangaroos, just to name a few – to its diverse landscape, there’s truly no destination quite like the Land Down Under. Any visit to Australia will leave a lasting impression, but some experiences should definitely not be passed over. Here are some of the country’s highlights: Read More

Travel Guide: Preparing Your Australian Holiday

Soooo, who wants to visit me? Today’s guest post comes from Ella Rich, who’s here to provide a few tips on how to prepare for a trip to Australia. Hope you find it useful!

Australia is also one of the popular hot-spots for tourists, particularly among backpackers and travelers on a budget. Most travelers arrive in the summer to get relief from the chilling cold of the northern hemisphere from December to February, when it is sunny and warm down under. If you are preparing for an Australian holiday in the near future, then I have some valuable information to share with you.

Plan the places you want to visit beforehand.

The options are plenty: the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, Uluru, wine fields, white sand beaches in Western Australia, beautiful east coast beaches, and lush jungles. Read More

2013: Yet Another Travel-Filled Year In Review

I can’t believe the year has flown by so fast, but it’s time once again for my end-of-year travel recap post (see 2011 and 2012). And I must say that, having visited sixteen countries this year alone (plus loads of cities within each), 2013 may have been the best year for travel yet.

January
Once again, I began the year in California, home from Spain for two weeks to celebrate Christmas with friends and family. I then returned to my beloved Madrid, where I would live for another six months. At the end of January, I took a fabulous trip to the Spanish island of Menorca for just €15 round-trip, which proved absolutely beautiful, particularly because the island was almost empty in the off-season, allowing us to crawl coastal cliffs and explore abandoned buildings with no one around.

Menorca, Spain sunset

We ended the third day in Menorca with one of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed, preceded by a full double rainbow. Perfection.

February
Life continued in Madrid with lots of adventures and outings with friends I now miss. I also got to return to Sevilla for a work trip, rediscovering all of the things that made me fall in love with the city when I lived there the previous year. Read More

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