Beach, Bikes, Birthdays, Baths, and BBQ's

>> June 28, 2010

Well the summer heat finally arrived here in Sevilla and it looks like it is here to stay for awhile. We have a week and a half more with the students and then soon after we will be headed to the U.S. ourselves. It has been really great so far and we have been having lots of adventures.

Beginning on a sad note, we had to say goodbye once again to our good friends Gui and Leah. They (hopefully) are thinking about coming back to Sevilla one more time while we are here next year. We also hope to visit them in Brazil as well. Some adventures just aren't as fun without them. We rented a car and headed to one of southern Spain's top beaches, Zahara de los Atunes.
After the great day at the beach we invited them over to our apartment where our Turkish couchsurfer, who is a food and travel writer and also an amazing cook, made us some amazing Turkish food. We had a great time eating together on our rooftop.

An organization was making a gigantic pan of paella down the street to raise money for an orphanage in Haiti. Sarah and I found it after following the scent from our apartment.

We were going to share a plate but they gave us two anyways. It was delicious and we had a bunch left over to bring home.

We have also been enjoying some of the new bike paths along the river. We are getting a little attached to our bikes and now we want to fly them home with us. They have been really useful in exploring the city.

Tough guy bike pose

There was a free circus in the Alameda so we checked it out with our pastor and his family. The basis was two policewomen trying to secure the area for some politician to come and speak. There were some awkward parts but otherwise it was pretty entertaining.

Picture of the city from our rooftop.

We were invited by friends to a choir concert at a conservatory nearby. The choir was celebrating their 25th anniversary and this was the last night where all of the past members were invited to sing along with the present members. They sang in a beautiful patio in the middle of the conservatory.

After the concert everyone was surprised when a catering service started to bring out trays of food from the back. When people realized what was going on they got a little excited and the waiters wouldn't make it 5 feet before being mobbed and cleaned out. One waiter, especially tired of being attacked by one woman, surrendered an entire tray of appetizers to her just so she would get out of his way. Regardless of the mob we were able to have our fill of drinks, yummy hors d'oeuvres and gazpacho till we couldn't take any more.

We the pleasure of hosting some friends from Costa Rica, German and Lilliana, for a week. Sarah met them when she was studying in Costa Rica in 2003. Lilliana is the sister of Martín, who is the worship leader at Sunrise Community Church in Tulare and was part of our wedding. They treated us to lots of amazing food during their stay. In this picture we are eating some tapas in the famous Barrio Santa Cruz.

German, who is an amazing cook, also managed to make some great meals in our tiny kitchen.

The took us out to dinner on our last night together for Sarah's birthday. Our first stop was another restaurant in Barrio Santa Cruz where we enjoyed a pitcher of yummy Sangria.

Then we showed them one of our favorite restaurants in the Alameda called La Madraza. They gave Sarah a funny singing birthday card. We had a lot of fun with them and hope to see them in Costa Rica soon!

The staff at Acento threw a little birthday party for Sarah. They bought her a nice shirt for summer and also pitched in for our visit to the Arab baths.

For Sarah's birthday I had made reservations at the Baños Arabes (arab baths) for a hour and a half spent in the baths and a 30 minute massage. We also got to drink some really good tea.
You can check out the baths online here. Obviously we weren't worried about taking pictures while we were there. But needless to say it was amazing. Thanks to all who pitched in!

Later that day we had everyone over for a birthday BBQ. We are beginning to be famous for our "American style" BBQ's. We blew a few Spanish minds when we put pineapple on their burgers.
In this picture you can see Sarah in her pretty new birthday dress.

We had a lot of fun decorating the roof with lanterns. Otherwise it gets pretty dark at night. Thanks Ikea!

We were also celebrating our friend Kike's (Kee-kay) birthday.

For the last picture I will leave you with none other than one of Tom Cruise. He and Cameron Diaz were in town promoting their new movie Knight and Day, which was partly filmed in Sevilla. We went with the students to the cathedral where they were re-enacting some of the action scenes for the press. We are excited to watch the movie to see where we can recognize the city.

19 days until we are back in California!


'Ich bin ein Berliner!'

>> June 16, 2010

It's about time Sarah and I write about our latest adventure to Berlin! We had been wanting to visit for awhile so we could visit my brother's girlfriend, Kira, while she was studying there. We finally found cheap enough flights through Ryanair (including a night sleeping on the ground of the London-Stanstead airport.)
Kira was nice enough to pick us up at the airport and took us to a wonderful breakfast cafe. We missed big breakfasts after only eating toast in Sevilla.
After the hearty meal we were ready for a tour.

Lego Giraffe! My favorite part is the girl looking at Sarah,
almost like she knew she was messing up the picture.

The weather was a little gloomy the first couple days.
It was way colder than what we were used to.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was very intense.
There were no markings or writings but it still spoke so much.

This is one of the archives where Kira does a lot of her research.

Site of a massive book burning

Sarah needed a rest in front of the cathedral.

Museum Island behind us. We were beginning to realize that we had a lot to see!

The Spree river running behind the cathedral

For lunch Kira took us to a phenomenal burrito place that totally fulfilled our Chipotle craving. I was able to get habanero salsa on it, which also took care of my hot food craving. Sooo good.

Later that night, after we had a nice siesta at Kira's apartment, we continued our magical food journey to a famous hamburger joint called The Bird. We met Kira's friends from Las Vegas that were staying with her for a few weeks and also met some other Fulbright students who had become friends of Kira. Their burgers were amazing but I went with the patty melt because it had been too long since my last.

The public transportation was really great. We figured it out how to get around pretty fast.

After dinner we found our couchsurfers home in a different part of the city. They were a really nice couple named Andrea and Birk and had two cute cats.
They had an extra room for us which was huge.
The next day included a lot of rain, so we managed not to take any pictures. We met Kira at another great food place that served great pastas. That night we watch Iron Man 2 at the Imax.

The next day we began exploring on our own while Kira worked on research.

Everyone was enjoying the little bits of sun that shined through.

This kid got nailed by a stream of water right after this picture. It was almost like the fountain knew what it was doing. In the background it seemed like they were filming some sort of music video around the other fountain.

Someone scored some big points by carving a heart in the grass.

We went inside the Berlin Cathedral, which really isn't a cathedral. It's called the Berliner Dom and is actually a protestant church. The inside was very beautiful and very different than the cathedrals we had seen in Spain. We got a chance to hear the organist practice a little while we were inside.

Then we headed to the top to get some good views of the city.
It was pretty windy up there but it was beautiful.

Here's a good shot of the television tower.

Next we headed over to the Pergamon Museum. We only had time for one museum on the island so we picked the one that is most popular.

The sun was out so we took some time laying in the grass. This gave Sarah enough energy for a good jumping picture to make up for the last one.

Our couchsurfing hosts directed us on a short walk from their house to the East Side Gallery. Its a section of the Berlin wall that has been preserved to be used as a canvas for 100's of artists around the world.

They get updated or redone all the time.

My favorite was the Pink Floyd section.

Our last amazing food treat from Kira was some amazing kebabs at a little stand on the side of the road. They were by far the best kebabs we have ever had. At this point we had to say goodbye to Kira as we were leaving early the next morning. We were so glad to have been able to see her while she was on our side of the ocean.

With a recommendation from Profesora Ana Llamazares at Acento,
we headed to the Jewish Museum. I loved the design of the structure and it was one of the most interesting and interactive museums I have ever been in. To enter into the building, you have to enter the building next door and take an underground stairway.

Mmmmmm... kosher gummi bears.

Not exactly sure what the meaning of this was.

But who doesn't appreciate a good mustache

There were lots of somber parts as well.

Lot of powerful stories

After the museum we headed to the market to buy some food supplies to make dinner for our gracious couchsurfing hosts on our last night together. We decided on our gourmet mac and cheese recipe. They seemed like they really liked it.

In the morning we were off to London. We decided on the way home we would spend one night in London in a hostal and enjoy the city for a day. I enjoyed using the big lens for my camera to see the people riding the London Eye.

Sarah loves Big Ben


The next day we had to return to the British Museum because when we were there with the Africa team we had very little time to see everything. Most of all we wanted to see the Rosetta Stone, which we had completely missed last time.

We spent the last part of our time in London enjoying the atmosphere at the Convent Garden market. Their was a street performer whose bit was to escape from a straitjacket. After we saw him painfully pop his shoulder out so he could escape, we thought he deserved a couple pounds.
We will post more about our summer in Sevilla soon.


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