Just a three-hour flight south of Santiago is the town of Punta Arenas, the regional capital of the Chilean Antarctic. At 8309 miles from my native Tunbridge Wells, it’s safe to say I’ve never been this far away from home.
Punta Arenas is one of three cities in the world, along with Ushuaia in Argentina and Puerto Williams in Chile, to brand itself as the “southernmost city” to boost its tourist appeal. Whilst not technically as southern as the other two, it’s the largest of the settlements and is where my adventure in Patagonia began.
Racking up the air miles
I stepped onto my 15-hour flight to Santiago de Chile feeling reasonably confident with my Spanish. Never mind nine years of studying it at school and university, I had five months of experience of living in Spain under my belt. Although I’d been warned by a few Latin Americans I’d met in Salamanca that Chilean Spanish was notorious for being one of the hardest- if not THE hardest- to grasp out of the entire Spanish-speaking world, I naively thought to myself, how different could it be? Continue reading
As my time in Salamanca comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the blissful highs and hilariously tragic lows of my first semester abroad in Spain. Exams, losing just a few of my personal belongings, frustration at Spanish bureaucracy, language barriers and homesickness aside, the innumerable highlights by far outweigh the lows. Since there were so many memories to choose from, I decided to pick moments and trips I hadn’t mentioned in previous posts! Continue reading
The run-up to Christmas has been somewhat different this year. Needless to say there are no mince pies in sight, no Costa Coffee Christmas drinks to fuss over and no Cadbury chocolate advent calendars on sale. Christmas in Spain is, in general, quite different to in the UK as the festivities start a lot later, and the sun is still shining relentlessly…
Not a cloud in sight
Squinting in Segovia
Until a few weeks ago on a weekend getaway to Lisbon, I naively believed that Portugal and Spain were pretty similar. After all, two countries that were united for centuries must have a lot in common, right? Continue reading
After a few weeks embracing the Erasmus life, it’s time to tackle five stereotypes of the Spanish culture in search of the quintessential Hispanic lifestyle…
- The siesta = REALITY
Before moving to Salamanca, I was under the impression that the siesta was a thing of the past, or at least reserved for lazy summer days. Within moments of my arrival, I realised I would drastically have to adjust my body clock to fit in with the Spaniards. Not only do the vast majority of shops (and all university offices- helpful!) close between 2pm and 5pm but the academic timetable also revolves around the siesta. This means I have scarcely any classes in the afternoon. What’s the catch? Lectures starting at 7pm three times a week… The fact that nights out here start at 11pm at the VERY earliest and can end at 7.30am also makes the need for siestas a lot more understandable. Continue reading
Only a few days have passed since I first set foot on the cobbled streets of Salamanca and I’ve already fallen in love with la ciudad dorada. The city has a lively student vibe and a friendly cosmopolitan atmosphere thanks to all the Erasmus students. With nine thousand international students from all over the world and a host of events happening all the time, there’s yet to be a dull moment! Continue reading