Greetings from Madrid

Happy 2016 from Madrid, Spain!

It’s been way too long. Like way way WAY too long. I’ve told myself time and again I would get back into blogging, but something always seems to come up. By “something,” I mean Netflix. Let’s be real though. You couldn’t honestly expect me to be blogging while the rest of the world was watching Making a Murderer?! Peer pressure! I was essentially forced to binge!

I digress.

Seriously, no more excuses. It’s pretty sad I haven’t posted since March of last year. It’s especially sad because I have loads of exciting things going on that I want to share!

So, I’m back.

In 2016, you will witness the return of the Backpacking Brunette. My tentative plan is to post every Wednesday. I need to fill you in on life in Spain, and I want to get back to sharing my adventures.

Yay! I’m so excited to get started. I’ve got this major surge of energy (even though I’m battling a head cold), and I feel like I could tell you everything about everything right this second. However, it’s better to pace myself. Blogging is a marathon. Not a sprint. All in good time and whatnot.

As always, thank you for reading. I’ll leave you with a travel quote I find particularly inspiring. Enjoy.

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Everything I’ve been up to

This post has been a looooong time coming.

Yesterday, I was looking back through the blog, and I realized I haven’t posted regularly since November. That’s like a two-month hiatus! Shame on me.

Hopefully, you’ve missed me (don’t tell me if you haven’t). My apologies if you’ve been unable to sleep at night because you were worried I fell off the face of the earth. Have no fear, I’m alive and well. Today, I’m going to catch you up to speed on what the hell I’ve been up to. 

Last you heard, I was making the most out of my final weeks in Spain. Despite my desire to extend my stay, I realized I wasn’t in a financial position to do so. On November 17, I said goodbye to Madrid–a city I now regard as my second home–and returned to the United States.

Exploring Toledo my last weekend in Spain.
Exploring Toledo my last weekend in Spain.

My first month home was a crazy blur of reconnecting with family and friends while adjusting to life back in the States. I definitely missed Spain (and still do), but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t great to be with my loved ones. I hadn’t seen my dad or boyfriend in three months!

After the holidays, I made the move from Michigan to Indianapolis. It’s my first time living in a city, and I’m excited to be sharing this experience with my boyfriend. We’ve been exercising our traveler spirits as we explore all this city has to offer. I’ve been especially taken by Indy’s restaurant scene which if I had to describe in one word that one word would be YUM.

Celebrating New Year's Eve  in Indianapolis with my boyfriend,
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Indianapolis with my boyfriend,

Indy is great. The Midwest is great. The United States is great. But, I miss Europe. I miss Spain. It’s no secret that I want to go back and soon. I mean come on, I fall asleep every night thinking about jamón. I have to go back!

jamon and tomato
NOM NOM NOM.

I do have plans to return to Spain in the–dare I say near–future, but I’d rather wait until those plans are a little more concrete before I put them up here for all the internet to behold. I promise to provide more details as soon as possible. Hang on, dear readers. 

In the meantime, I might not be abroad, but I will continue posting on the Backpacking Brunette. I have lots I still want to tell you about Spain and being an au pair. And hey, why’ll I’m at it I’ll fill you in on some fun things to do in Indianapolis. Additionally, I’m toying with the idea of writing a series on how to plan a European backpacking trip. If you have any post ideas for topics you’d like to read about, please feel free and let me know!

Whew. Thanks for reading all that. It feels good to all be on the same page now. I’m excited to move forward and create more informative (and fun) content for you in 2015!

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for italki’s New Year’s Language Challenge yet, get on that! The challenge officially begins January 15. The best New Year’s resolution any serious traveler could make is to learn a new language.

 

 

 

My weekend in Salamanca

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So, all of a sudden, Spain decided it was time for winter. Yeah, I’m not a happy camper. The cold is always tough to deal with, but it’s even tougher when there’s no adjustment period. It was 75 degrees here like two days ago…what the heck happened?!

In loving memory of all the warm, beautiful weekends I had in Spain in this fall, I thought I’d do a little throwback with today’s post. I never shared my weekend in Salamanca with you! This post has just been sitting in my drafts. Oops.

Two weekends ago, I went to Salamanca with my friend, Ellie. We met a couple weeks ago at a party and hit it off. I’ve met a lot of fun and interesting people since moving to Madrid, but she’s the first person I’ve really clicked with.

When we arrived on Saturday morning, we met up with her college pal, Heather, and Heather’s Spanish friend, Laura. The whole group got along well, which was good since we shared a room at the Sweet Home Salamanca hostel.

Just over 24 hours was the perfect amount of time to see Salamanca, located in the Castilla and Leon region of Spain. It’s about three hours by bus from Madrid. Laura, who now lives in Valladolid, Spain, along with Heather, studied fine arts at the University of Salamanca and called the city “home” for six years. So, we had our own personal tour guide for the weekend!

 

Salamanca predominantly serves as a college town, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to see. In addition to having the oldest university in Spain, which was founded in 1134, Salamanca has gorgeous architecture, colorful gardens and a vibrant nightlife.

church salamanca

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Sightseeing always works up an appetite in me, and when I’m traveling, I usually end up spending quite a bit of money on food. Not in Salamanca though! Many bars give patrons a free tapa with their drink, and it’s not the baby bowl of olives or tiny tostada that you find elsewhere in Spain. In Salamanca, our free tapas were significant in size and ranged from paella to pulpo (octopus). It was easy to make a meal out of bar hopping.

With so many young people living in Salamanca due to the university, the city has a fun nightlife scene. After going to a few different spots for tapas and wine, we made our way to one of the city’s club.

Entry was free, and we got a complimentary glass of champagne for getting there before 2 a.m. With Spanish music blasting, we danced for a couple of hours before calling it a night around 4 a.m. The time changed while we were in the club, which allowed for an extra hour of partying.

Sunday’s highlights included a leisurely breakfast in a plaza near the city center as well as a delicious date and bacon empanada before catching the bus.

breakfast
Breakfast in Salamanca with Ellie.

Have you ever been to Salamanca? When you visit a new city, what’s more important to you–sightseeing by day or partying all night?