The First of Madrid

First thing was first: move to the original apartment. After we dropped our bags we ate at a cafe next door. Donut, crescent, and espresso 🙂

We decided to follow the list of routes suggested in a book we were given by the information desk at the airport.

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After a long afternoon of napping we finally got up for dinner! Got sidetracked at the football mania store and the KM Zero.

Dinner at La Rosie (or something like that) was amazing! We wondered off of Sol Plaza then find food and happened upon this strip of tapas restaurants. All with a hostess trying to entice customers to come in. One was very nice trying to speak English to say she’s invites us in 🙂 We knew she was just doing her job but seemed genuine so we we’d back to her and she offered us free beer. We got a small round to start off with!

The food was delicious I us and they gave us wrist bands as a promotion for a bar they work with I guess. We called it a night but will be interesting for tomorrow!

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Amsterdam? Check.

Friday, March 13 | Yesterday was the last day in Amsterdam. And I think it was the most touristy yet. But I loved it! The museum plaza with the iAMsterdam. First was the Kirijmuseum. Three plus floors of art from 1100 A.D. to 1950… Almost overwhelming really. We skipped the modern floor because it was already lunch time. I appreciated several of the exhibits but it was just too much to take in in one part of the day! I think that museum requires a whole day just to itself!

After a tourist lunch on the plaza at a hotdog stand, we went to the Van Gogh museum. Absolutely amazing! It was not nearly as dense so it was easier to take in. I saw so many painting that I recognized which makes the experience even more exciting.

Canal tour was next. And the only reason we had all of these activities in the time we did was because of the Holland Pass. Great investment! The canal tour was less architecture than I expected but I don’t know why I expected anything different. It was a good tour and a great excuse to spend an hour off my feet!

And still my feet were sore! A nap at the hotel was in store and then we hit up the Red Light district. Still not my favorite but we experienced many different things than what I would have of course. Pretty shocking to say but not nearly as bad as Bourbon St. The prostitutes aren’t so in your face.

Because of today’s traveling, I went back to the hotel and we ended the evening with a nightcap at the hotel bar with our professor. Nice end to a long day.

Saturday, March 14 | Struggle to get up this morning for real! I guess the Red Light can do that to you… But I enjoyed getting to dip out from the group’s schedule today to sleep and extra half hour and prep for the flight to Madrid. I was able to go to visit the St. Nicholas medieval Catholic church. Absolutely beautiful! We did have to kill some time at the library waging before it opened but that was a nice treat again being in that space.

A very quick bus ride and fly later, we were in Madrid. Took the express bus into the city. Wove our way through the few blocks between the drop off and the Air BnB. The room had been double booked! Thank god the host was extremely helpful and called the company to check on the error. They agreed to refund the night and cover our accommodations elsewhere. So we found ourselves around the corner at a pretty good hostel in the center of tons of good restaurants!

My first Madrid meal: breaded cod covered in baby eel!

It was so good! I wish I hadn’t have been so tired and past hungry because my appetite wouldn’t let my finish it… We quickly made it back to the room and crashed. No internet… We supposedly there was but I guess there had to be one draw back to the new accommodations.

Where did the time go?

So the past few days have been a complete and total blur!

Monday, March 9 | This day we firm toured through SOM and then toured through the central district. It was a good experience but it started to seem , like all the building were each trying really hard to be iconic… not a good holistic city composition.

My favorite experience so far was the Markt Hall.

We visited MVRDV which was illusion shattering to say the least. They firm that designed many of my precedents for projects does not build models, draw constriction documents or print in house. Made it seem more like a design firm and not an architecture firm.

Tuesday, March 10 | Now one thing Rotterdam had going for it self was the art. Great museums! We visited the _____ house before arriving at this Netherlands Architecture Institute.

Then we at at Rotown.

The Kunsthal Rotterdam and Museumpark were so much fun!

Wednesday, March 11 | Rotterdam ended up being my least favorite city so far. The Hague was beautiful yesterday. We saw palaces and much more traditional buildings. It was more of what I remembered Europe being like. It had narrower streets and less people spoke English. Not that Rotterdam didn’t come with culture shock but it was a very American city….

After an amazing tour of the M.C. Esther museum,

We went to lunch at Sumo. And was that an experience! A flat fee for a 6 course meal of anything you’d like on the menu. So any 5 items per dish to your taste. At first we thought we had to keep ordering 5 per round and thought for sure we’d get sick… then we figured that one or two items were ok per round 🙂

Thursday, March 12 | A long evening of rest was in order before the morning trip to Amsterdam. Riding through the city from the train station to our hotel, it was much like I imagined. But really of what a big deal they make of the canals, I th of ought that we would interact with them more on the first day.

We visited the library after Nemo.

The dinner was fantastic at the top of the library.

They a stroll through :/ t the Red Light district…. not that was a culture shock. I’m not sure I will ever understand or agree with that. No pictures to show since they were forbidden!

Then we visited one of the gems that my new friend suggested. Snappers is definitely my favorite far thus far!! Great atmosphere, great drinks, great service! Loved it.

New Day, New Country

After 9 and a half hours of flying today, we landed in Amsterdam. My first look at they beautiful country of The Netherlands! The airport seemed no different than any American airport I’ve been in. Same Starbucks. Same McDonald’s. Same overly prices convenience store with travel sized food and entertainment. But the language? OMG the language. It is so interesting! German is the closest accent I’ve been exposed to but is not quite similar… It flows so much more elegantly. I wish I had been more diligent with my Duo Lingo app!

Getting through customs and grabbing bags wasn’t nearly as cumbersome as I expected. But the train ticket debauchery was really just that. We managed to all make it to Rotterdam and only get briefly separated on the bus to the hotel, which we really didn’t need. Everything is so close! The density is lover than what I expected for a major city but still incredibly comfortable.

We checked into our hotel and then spent a few hours exploring. We tried two new food at Bender and as Affrizen blonde ale. I forgot it was only 11:30 when we ordered 🙂 Great meal before heading to the Euromast to take in the views. Wondered out of the way to try to meet up with a contact from the school and saw a bicyclist eat the pavement! I felt so bad for the guy… but everyone jumped to his rescue pretty quickly.

All in all a good day but I’ve had about enough. We coped out and got Asian for dinner. The Dutch make it so much fresher than American Asian food. Loved my sweet and sour chicken over noodles!

7:30 and I’m shower and in bed. Hope to wake up for a run around the city in the morning. 11 and a half hours of sleep should make up for this 30 hour day.

How I Afford to Travel… And You May Not Like What I’m Going To Say

Great read!

Kate from the States

The honest truth – I never have the money I need to travel, but I buy the ticket anyway. I’ve realized that money comes and goes, but the more I make, the harder it is to part with it and weirdly, the less I have, the easier it becomes to budget.

I don’t do that saving account, checking account, travel account thing either. I am not rational. I am extreme. I want to travel and so I do. There is no in between. While I was working my first career job in public relations, I realized early on that it was going to take me forever to save all the money I would need to see the world. I come from a middle class family, I’m the middle child of five and I live in one of the most expensive places in America – Long Island, New York. I don’t…

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Finally Getting Settled

One of my first adventure after moving from Starkville was a 5K with my mom in downtown Huntsville raising money for Deep Roots of Alabama. Not a bad racing day! Cool and party cloudy. Perfect 🙂

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After weeks of travel, I am finally back in Nashville. The job I started a few weeks ago is everything I could’ve hoped for and more. The coworkers are amazing, the work is fascinating, and the perks are awesome! On a completely unrelated note, I am addicted to coffee again 🙂

Here are a few of my most recent adventures:

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Loving all of my visits to The Dog, Loveless Café, MAFIAoZA’s, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (have the dark chocolate or the goat cheese with cherries)! Cannot wait for Stephen to get here so we can cross even more places off my long list together. Always looking for more things to add. I feel like Nashville is a never ending city of activities, food, and drink. I love it so far!

Between work, I have spent my weekends all over the country. Last weekend was in Arkansas for a beautiful wedding. Before the Sunday wedding we I was able to visit the Fay Jones School of Architecture and the famous Crystal Bridges Museum as well. Both were jaw-dropping. I was even lucky enough to have visited when there was an exhibit about the architect, Moshe Safdie.

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My handsome cousin and his bride tied the knot that Sunday. I have never seen him so grown up. He is the first of the cousins to bring a spouse into the family. And she was delightful! We had a bridal brunch for her the day before at Briar Rose Bakery in Fayetteville. Their famous cinnamon roll was the size of both my fists put together! Definitely, a much see. One thing I had never seen at a wedding before: the bride and groom’s first act as a married couple was not a kiss but spending a moment in prayer together. It was beautiful.

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This past weekend was filled with even more family! I even was able to spend time with my friends and boyfriend, yet it never feels like enough. And what a busy weekend it was: graduations, retirement party, new puppy, another 5K. I miss being part of Huntsville. I hope I can find a life here and not be pulled home every weekend. I am so very glad the next two weekends I have people visiting to keep me here!

Shout out to my cousin’s new puppy! And to one very handsome birthday boy!

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Change is in the Air

If you had told me two years ago that I today I would live in Alexandria and Nashville within a year of each other AND be in a serious relationship, I would’ve laughed. So much has changed and I’m been reflecting more and more since this move started to hit me. A week from moving into my new place. So much is left to finish. With finals the next 3 days, it’s all I can do to not lose concentration. I’m excited. Nervous. My stomach is in knots of anticipation. The house is packed. New hair cut. New contact with old peers. This horizon is getting closer and closer.

I hope to keep up my blog more once I get there. I think even to just jot down what little I explore every day will keep my adventurousness on the surface. I promised myself that Alexandria would be an adventure every day. It was! I want nothing more than to keep that up on my second big adventure. Blogging really keeps me focused on staying out of a routine. I’m naturally drawn to order and schedule… It’s hard for me to step out of my comfort zone sometimes. These opportunities that architecture has given me are the most amazing I may ever have. But I’m almost positive I said that about Alexandria. And I’m still finding more amazing opportunities.

Thank you blogging. For keeping my eyes open to the possibilities architecture is giving me.

Nostalgia

This week marks a month until I move into my new apartment in Nashville. It also means, I am saying goodbye to Starkville for good. Most of my friends have moved on, so my goodbyes to people will be few and far between. But saying goodbye to this house will be a different story.

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I’ve lived here for 4 years. Besides the occasional summer, Christmas break, and that semester in Alexandria. So this was my first home away from home. I hope it will be in good hands. So many memories 🙂

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I am successfully avoiding the famous “Super Bulldog Weekend”… If you have ever lived in a college town, you know what a pain it is to have this influx of people, pickup trucks, and booze… On the way to campus, we can to a stand still because people had parked on both sides of the road making it a one way. And there was two ways of traffic being attempted! After a productive morning at the studio, it is safe to say, I had no qualms about walking home. With the weather this beautiful, I can relax in my backyard and read in peace.

I am going to miss this.