When you imagine a visit to Madrid, you may picture yourself strolling through its cobblestone lanes, sipping wine over a plate of tapas, studying the masterpieces of Dalí and Goya, or admiring the city’s stately architecture. If natural beauty is your cup of tea, you’re likely to turn to remote regions rather than a major urban area, but, when it comes to Madrid, you don’t have to go far.
Madrid looking like this? Believe it! Parque Natural de Peñalara
While the capital’s man-made delights are certain to impress, Madrid is also a fantastic city for nature escapes: hiking trails, scenic views, peaceful parks, and adventure opportunities abound in the city and its surrounding areas. Here are just a few of Madrid’s best natural destinations.
I’m back with a new installment in my Travel Talk interview series! This time, I spoke to Hilary Leslie of Oregonian Overseas, who is currently in her second year of teaching English in Madrid, Spain as an auxiliar de conversación (language and culture assistant). I participated in the same program from 2011 to 2013, so I was curious to hear about her experiences and travel plans.
Hilary visiting Acadia National Park, Maine
I’ve declared it already: 2016 was the best year ever. Since 2011, I’ve summarized my travel-filled years (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), but no year has ever come close to 2016 in terms of the amount of travel I’ve been able to fit in. Brace yourselves: this may be a long one!
Swinging though the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador’s Cuyabeno Reserve in October
It’s been quiet on the Venga, Vale, Vamos front, and I’m sure that most of you have been on the edge of your seats just dying to know where your favorite travel blogger (that’s me, right? shh, play along) has been and what she’s been planning. Never fear, I’m here to tell all!
Cartagena, Colombia this week
When you imagine a century-old travel guidebook about Spain, you’d expect a cornucopia of picturesque descriptions of the scenery and fascinating explanations of bygone customs. After all, isn’t a travel guide supposed to feature the unmissable highlights a destination has to offer? But in the 1913 Baedeker guide to Spain and Portugal, you’ll find everything but that.
The loveliest of lovely, España…or is it?
When a friend referred me to a link he had stumbled upon, the full text of this early twentieth century travel guidebook, I stopped everything I was doing to read it, drooling at the thought of a romantically nostalgic perspective on a country I love so deeply… Only to find it was definitely not what I expected.
Studying abroad in Spain, it’s hard not to fall in love with the country. Just as I did, hundreds of students who left their hearts in Spain during college return post-graduation to work as English teaching assistants, thanks to the auxiliares de conversación (or North American Language and Culture Assistants) program. Being back in amazing España is a dream come true, but how does life as an English teacher compare to the study abroad life? If you’re returning to Spain as an auxiliar de conversación, here are a few differences and similarities to expect.
With my first graders in my first year as an auxiliar
With most of my life still stretching out ahead of me, I have to say that I’m thrilled with how much travel I’ve been able to accomplish so far. However, the world is massive, and the more I see, the more I want to see. Fortunately, I’ll be taking off on a huge trip in just over a month, which will allow me to tour many of the destinations I’ve been dreaming of for years – the current plan could have me seeing over 25 new countries by the end of the year!
Oh the amazing things I’ve seen so far! Ollantaytambo, Peru in 2011
While there are plenty of ideas that I’m actively working toward or that should be easy enough to accomplish within the next few years, here are a few of my more grandiose travel dreams that I fantasize about experiencing at least once in my life.
Madrid is a city that deserves to be experienced slowly over a long period of time. After living there for two years, I consider it my favorite city in the world, and with good reason. But what if you only have 24 hours to spend in the Spanish capital? No te preocupes, there’s still a world to discover in just one day.
Madrid’s Almudena cathedral
Whether it’s your first trip there, you’re revisiting and want to make sure you hit all of the hotspots, or you’re a local who wants to appreciate what makes Madrid so great, this itinerary will take you by Madrid’s most iconic sights and give you a taste of what makes the city so unbelievably magical.