Día de Andalucía

Feliz Día de Andalucía!

On this day, February 28th in the year 1980, Andalucía was officially named an autonomous community of Spain.

For this, we must celebrate!

 As is tradition, my school had a party on Friday to celebrate the regional holiday.  The kiddos spent the two weeks prior to this festival learning about all things Andalucía, including a special focus on their own city’s history.  We paid tribute to Pablo Picasso, who was born in Malaga, by recreating his portrait Dos Mujeres Leyendo

At 11 am we all went outside to enjoy a traditional Andalucían breakfast; pan con aceite, or bread with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt or sugar.  This my friends, is the true breakfast of champions.  Really.

After breakfast we had a long recess full of flamenco, photo ops, and fútbol…

Later in the day we gathered to raise the flag of Andalucía and sing the regional anthem, el Himno de Andalucía.

It was, without a doubt, my most enjoyable day of “work” yet.  🙂

Drink, Eat, Repeat. [Belgium]

Unknowingly, I picked the weekend before Valentine’s Day to go to the place that is famous worldwide for their chocolate…Belgium!

Of course, Belgium is famous for other things too….

the beer…

the waffles….

 the fries (omggg the FRIES!)….

Oh yeah, and the EU headquarters is also located there, but clearly my trip was more…uhmm…gastronomically focused, shall we say?

I went with my friends Amy and Joey- we spent Friday night and half of Saturday in Brussels meandering our way through the streets and eating/drinkng everything in sight.  We were pretty impressed but the Grand Place

And shared a laugh at the Mannekin Pis

And I was basically the only one out of the 3 of us that found this to be funny…

Just me?

On Saturday afternoon we took the train to Brugge, a beautifully romantic city in northern Belgium.  There, we stayed at what is perhaps my favorite hostel to date- the Snuffel Backpacker Hostel

The hostel had a ton of character, the cheapest beers in the city (!), friendly staff, and breakfast.  What more could one ask for?

Saturday night in Brugge was spent similarly to Friday night in Brussels.  A lot of walking, exploring, eating and drinking was involved 🙂

On Sunday we actually started acting like better tourists and did some tourist-y things (shocking, I know).

We saw the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which supposedly houses a relic which holds the blood of  Christ.  The relic was was being used for mass that day, so we didn’t actually see it, but I’ll take their word for it…

Next we did De Halve Maan brewery tour.  For 6 euros we got a guided tour of the 150 year old brewery, a spectacular view of the city, and a free beer at the end.  The tour was great and the beer was delicious.  I would definitely consider this a “must-see” if you ever find yourself in Brugge.

Before skipping town we also stopped by the Church of Our Lady which contains Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child.

Overall it was a great weekend trip although I think we were all pretty thankful to come back to what felt like tropcial temperatures after northern Europe’s signature cold, dreary days.

2 weeks of rest and then it’s off to London and Scotland!

One Person’s Trash is…Usually Recyclable

If there was one thing in this world that I wish everyone took just a little bit more seriously, it might be recycling.  If you know me well enough, you are probably laughing right now, but that’s ok because you already know I’m kind of a tree hugger.

Along those lines, if there was one thing that I think Spain has done totally right (not including wine and the siesta),  it just might be their recycling system.

Even when I first arrived here, I couldn’t help but notice the huge recycling bins that lined the streets.  They are color coordinated and labeled, it’s so easy a monkey could do it! 

Here’s an example of what they look like on my street.  The yellow containers are for plastic and envases, which basically includes everything from plastic bags, to aluminum cans, to milk cartons, and water bottles.

The green bubble is for vidrio, or glass.  Think wine bottles, jars, ect…

The blue bins are for papel and carton, aka paper and cardboard.

Some of the bins look like this:

The “bin” part is actually underground and at night huge trucks come and lift the whole thing out of the ground and into the truck…it’s definitely a sight to be seen.

After one has properly recycled everything, the organica bin (above in orange) ends up being everything well….organic.  Ours usually consists of egg shells, banana peels, and coffee grounds. 

But wait, it gets even better.  You’ll also see these babies lining the streets. 

Containers specifically for recycling used vegetable oil, as long as it is in a plastic bottle, of course.

Finally, we have my personal favorite…

Places to recycle used batteries!  It’s so smart, I’m tellin’ ya.

What do you think? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks this is cool!