1 year in Spain – The highlights (with photos and videos)
Wow, what a year it’s been. 12 months ago I arrived in Spain, not knowing any of the language, any of the people and any of the techniques I would need to do my new job. Now, I feel extremely confident teaching, have made many, many wonderful friends, both Spanish and Scottish (oddly) and I still barely speak the language. But that’s just me being British.
Zaragoza is a wonderful city. In many ways it’s like a large town, it’s not diverse, it’s pretty religious and on a Sunday you can’t really do anything. However, when I move on (whenever that is), I know I’ll look back with fond memories.
Here are my highlights of the past year:
Fiesta del Pilar
In October there is a week of festivities cumulating with the ‘offering’ where people from Spanish-speaking countries all over the world descend onto Zaragoza’s streets, taking flowers as an offering to a giant, flowery pyramid outside the Pilar basilica. Impressive and smells very nice.
It will be taking place again at the beginning of next month so check back for photos from this year.
Christmas in Spain
Spending Christmas in Spain was a fantastic experience. In the UK, the shops start selling Christmas crap from the end of August whereas in Spain, you don´t get a whiff of the holiday season until the first of December. Being concentrated over a month, it feels a lot more special and everyone gets into the spirit of things.
This year, I´m hoping to go somewhere traditional such as Switzerland, Austria or Germany.
Skiing in Andorra
I couldn’t get the time off work to go anywhere over Christmas so I spent New Year in Andorra. It´s only a 4-hour drive away and the change of scenery as you pass through the desert, thick forests and then the Pyrenees is breathtaking.
Salou and Portaventura
My first image of Salou is of a tattoo-ridden, bald-headed, British thug with an Iron Maiden t-shirt walking out of the hotel we were staying at. After that, it could only get better and it did slightly. Salou is great for one thing – home comforts. I bought myself a huge, British supply bag filled with Dr Pepper, prawn cocktail crisps and Piccalilli only to leave it on the bed of the hotel room when I left. Bugger.
Why did I go there? To Portaventura of course. Easily the best theme park I’ve ever been to. It was previously owned by Universal and it’s pretty obvious when you go there. The place is gigantic – each themed area (Western, Polynesia, Mexico etc.) is about the size of Alton Towers and just walking from one side to the other can take a good hour. They’ve also opened the fastest and tallest hyper-coaster in the whole of Europe. I happened to go on the opening day and Dave dragged me into the never-ending queue which went down surprisingly fast.
Spanish Grand Prix in Catalunya
This was my first Grand Prix and I absolutely loved it. As a British F1 fan, I cherished the opportunity to go to a Grand Prix other than Silverstone. It was an incredible race and Maldonado stole the race from Alonso, much to the dismay of the tens of thousands of Alonso fans surrounding me. I did crack a smile.
If you have the chance to go, do it. It’s a wonderful track and in 2014 it’ll be held in Valencia so unless you go next year, you’ll have to wait until 2015.
Spain winning the Euro cup
We saw Spain win the European Championship in a large ampitheatre crammed with Spanish fans. The atmosphere was something I doubt I’ll ever witness again (unless they win the World Cup in 2014). It makes a change to support a team that actually wins.
The video is of the moment the final whistle went and Spain were crowned European champions:
It has been an incredible year and now I’ve signed a new contract keeping me in Spain I’ll be able to keep you all updated (on a much more regular basis).
Feel free to leave comments with suggestions or questions.