Saturday, June 18, 2011

Teide Observatory

Last night I spent my first night at the Teide Observatory on the Canary Islands. We are up so high here that you look down on the clouds. It is like another world, you are surrounded by clouds and telescopes. Being at this observatory it is so silent and you can see more stars and planets than any place I have ever been before. Very relaxing when you just stand outside and observe.
Yesterday before we did our night observation we hiked the Teide Volcano, and through the Teide national park. I was exhausted by the time dinner was over at 9 and we were about to observe. I ended up getting altitude sickness last night and falling asleep on the floor of the observatory around 2am. However before I fell asleep I saw the moon rise over a sea of clouds. Observed Saturn and a globular cluster(astronomer lingo)
Tonight we are observing again but so far we have only been able to observe Saturn and take pictures of constellations because of the wind(52 km per hour.) So we are on a short break and I am doing everything I can to stay awake and hope the wind dies down so we can go back to observing... fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Updates

So it has been awhile since I last updated my blog. This is not by choice it is just lack of free time. I am taking a astronomy class during my summer in Madrid and it is a lot of work so between that and traveling… no time for blog updates. So here is a long one.
Last weekend my roommates Gina and Chelsea and I went to Algarve, Portugal for the weekend. I could not have asked for a more relaxing serene place to spend my weekend. We stayed at a hotel that was right around the corner from the beach. The town was small and populated by mainly hotels and what seemed to be vacation villas, however it is not summer in Portugal yet so it was not very lively the weekend we went.
Our first day we spent lying on the beach, and the next we took a boat cruise to see the grottos. The water was abnormally rough and many people including Gina became extremely seasick. I jumped off the boat into the deep ocean that impressed myself since my insane fear of sharks usually keeps me from going out above my hips. The water felt amazing and the grottos were gorgeous.
The next day we got up early spent most of the day on the beach and then took a shuttle to the airport. Our flight was delayed 3 hours and we did not end up getting home until about 2:30 in the morning, leaving us all exhausted for our classes starting just hours later.
The week consisted of more exploring of Madrid, trying new foods and just loving being abroad.
This weekend we went to Barcelona, which is where I am writing this blog post from; well not Barcelona itself but the bus on my way home from there.
I almost didn’t think I was going to make it here however. One of my roommates birthdays was Thursday so we went and celebrated that night, deciding we wanted to just stay up all night until our bus at 6:30 Friday morning so we could sleep the 8 hour bus ride away. However when we all got home we fell asleep and by some “luck” I woke up at 6:20. Leaving all of us 10 minutes to get up grab a cab and make it to campus (a 10 minute cab ride away.) And again by some “luck” we made it. The ride ended up taking about 10 hours and the bus felt 100 degrees every time I woke up from a nap. It was not a pleasant ride.
But Barcelona was worth the ride. It was a beautiful city and I must say I am extremely jealous of there beach literally on the edge of the city. I will say however I do like Madrid much more than Barcelona and I am happy to be going “home.”
Now time for more Madrid exploring and the Canary Islands to do some sky observing next weekend.
Hasta Pronto! -Britt

Monday, May 30, 2011

First weekend

After a long three first days of classes, it was finally Friday! So nice to know that I could sleep later, even though I didn't. Saturday morning I was up at 8, and at school by 9 to meet a group of Suffolk students and faculty for a hike up an old Roman road an hour outside of Madrid. We took a bus a few block from the school to our destination. It took about 2 hours to make it to the first summit of the mountain which was our final destination. It was gorgeous the entire hike not to hot and not to cold, but literally right once I stepped foot on the top it started hailing. The hail lasted about 5 minutes and by this time the temperature had dropped a few degrees and a breeze seemed to pick up. Not exactly the weather I wanted once I reached the summit but the views were beautiful. It reminded me a lot of home.
Sunday I slept until 9 and then Gina, Christie and I headed to the train station to go to Toledo(Toe-le-do... thats how the say it in Spain.) It was a fast train ride with beautiful scenery the entire way. We walked off the train and straight onto a double decker tour bus that took us on a scenic route through the hills of Toledo to the center of the city.
We spent the day wandering through the town and seeing what we could since it was Sunday and many of its famous attractions were closed. We ate an amazing lunch at a restaurant overlooking the countryside, and got in plenty of walking.
I slept very soundly last night after all of this walking and traveling. Now back to school....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 2 & 3

So this post is going to be very short, because I am extremely tried. Adjusting from east coast time to Madrid time has not been easy, and I have had 2 very long days in the high heat. Yesterday was another day or orientation and a city tour of Madrid, and today we began classes. These classes will definitely not be as easy as the classes I took last summer, but I am excited to learn Spanish and Astronomy. In between class I took a tour of Madrid's old castle.

Because I am so exhausted I am just going to post some pictures of what I have done in the past few days.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I made it

So I am officially in Madrid! I landed today around 1 o'clock Madrid time. I was able to fall right asleep on both of my flights and on my second flight I even had an entire row to myself! We were brought straight to the Suffolk "campus" which is a actually just 1 building about a 30 minute metro ride from my apartment. After we were situated with cell phones and contact information they brought us to our residence.
Our apartment is a lot nicer than I expected it would be. Especially after seeing the front door...

This is our living room...

study area...

dining room...


hall to bedrooms...

No pictures of the bedrooms yet because they are messes since we all have yet to unpack and things are scattered everywhere.

After moving into the apartment we went to a safety session and then out with the group to try a bunch of different tapas.

Thats my quick summary of the first day. Time to unpack! and get some sleep!
Adios! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

A year gone by.

Wow! I can honestly not believe a year ago around this time I was beginning my journey to Prague for the summer! And now I find myself in the same position again, about to head to another foreign country to take classes for the beginning of my summer.

This year I find myself traveling to Spain. I cant believe once again only 2 weeks off from school, and I am throwing myself back into it again. Although the last thing I have found myself thinking about packing are school supplies. This year however I will remember to bring notebooks and lots of pens; something which I completely spaced while packing last year.

I can not wait to learn spanish, dance the flamenco and do some much needed relaxing in the sun.

Study abroad round 2: MADRID.