“My Orca”: February 20-26

28 Feb

And the month of February keeps on rolling by. Work was fine this week.  I actually had a student show up to class in Madrid this week. It was nothing short of a miracle. I was all ready to get settled in and have an hour and a half to delve into the depths of the internet, when a student walked in. Hallelujah! It was great. I enjoy having smaller classes because then class is usually just an interesting conversation on many different topics. We talked about dogs, vacations, and what makes a good life. So yes, we covered quite a range.

The rest of my work week will be summed up for you here:

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What happens when students use too many semicolons incorrectly

So, Mallorca. As my mother will tell you, she remembered the name of the island by thinking “my orca.” When I asked her if this was because she considered me to be a whale, she only laughed. I hope that her refusal to answer is not indicative of an affirmative answer.

It is funny how natural traveling feels these days. When I studied abroad I did so much traveling in a short amount of time that I hated the thought of entering another airport. These days, I stroll onto the plane as if it just a normal activity for me. We landed in Palma de Mallorca a little bit after 11pm on Thursday night and got our first look at the island through the windows of a bus. It felt very dark as we were traveling along that stretch of highway towards the city, because usually I am surrounded by the overbearing light pollution of a city. It felt a little bit like home.

On Friday we did the touristy things in the city of Palma de Mallorca: visiting the cathedral and Bellver Castle, a castle that is situated up a hill. It was supposed to rain, but fortunately we managed to avoid the worst of it. The cathedral was stunning. I’ll be honest, I did not give much thought to the quality of the cathedral on the island. Perhaps I just assumed that people go to the island for reasons other than to go to church. But this place was gorgeous. Not to mention, it includes work by Gaudí (creator of the Sagrada Familia) and Barceló (another famous Spanish artist who I won’t pretend to know something about). I could not get enough of the stained glass windows in the church (as you will see by the pictures).

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Cathedral de Mallorca

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IDK why I loved this window so much

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So gothic. So pretty.

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Cathedral at night

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A gray day in Mallorca

After a visit to the Cathedral, a meandering walk along the port, and a delicious burger and fries, we decided to head to the which is a 13th century circular castle located 3 kilometers west of the city center. It was our hike for the afternoon and a great way to burn off those calories from lunch. I will say that this “hike” was along a mountain road that had no sidewalks. It felt very ~islandy~ to be walking in the road surrounded by greenery.

The castle was pretty spectacular too. It had a moat and all. I will say that my friend, Sally, was probably tempted to push me into the moat after I made her take an excessive amount of pictures of me, but thankfully she withstood that urge. The best part of the castle was the views from the top. We had no idea that we could access the highest level of the building and made sure to ask for permission before heading up a random set of stairs. It was quite a moment to emerge onto the highest level of the castle, see the city from above and hear the wind whistling around you. Simply magical.

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Welcome to my house

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Views from the top on a cloudy day

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Could not resist a pic on 13th century walls (I’m such a tourist, I know)

On Saturday we took a trip to a small town 30 minutes outside of the capital. We spent the day hiking to and through small villages in the mountains. The scenery was spectacular (a common theme this weekend). The hike took us through groves of lemon/olive/orange trees, up stone steps, and through the winding streets of the small villages. Despite the killer inclines at some points, the views were totally worth it.

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Seriously tried to get artsy pics

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No big deal, just a small avalanche on the trail

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Nothing like a little bit of nature

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When life hands you lemons, take a photo of them

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Was tempted to steal some fruit, but Bonnie did not raise a criminal

The hike ended in the town of Soller and then we took a San Francisco streetcar (yes, a legit one that was imported from good old CA) to the Port of Soller. This port and the surrounding ocean provided stunning views. I was blown away (literally and figuratively) by the view off of a cliff looking out into the deep blues of the Mediterranean.

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Port of Soller

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When all you want is a nice pic but the wind just won’t cooperate

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So blue!

And on Sunday, we went to the beach. The capital city had a lovely stretch of beach with a wooden boardwalk area right alongside it. I could not get enough of the sea, the rocks, the sky and the smattering of plants that lined the beach. Honestly, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

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20 bucks to whomever can guess how many attempts it took for me to get a picture that I liked.

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I’m going to be honest; Mallorca was the bomb. I did get a little sunburned though, because 23 year old me still has yet to remember that I should wear sunscreen when I am outside. It was a bit of a rude awakening to return to chilly Madrid with sunburn.

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