Last spring we made a little compilation of things we did or saw that didn’t warrant their own blog posts. We’ve been busy since school got out and it feels strange to write so many small, different posts. We’ll summarize what we’ve been up to.
Our contracts ended almost a month before school officially ended for the students. This was for the best, we were teaching the last chapter of the book, anyway. The students spend the last month messing around so why bother paying us to help facilitate that?
My last day was a lot like the first day – chaotic and a little frustrating. My coteacher didn’t show up until the last 10 minutes of class. But I’m smarter than when I started so I just put on a movie. Ha!
I have tons of photos of my students but can’t legally show them. So here’s my school on my way out.
Bye school! It’s been real.
The day after school ended my mom flew in and we toured Andalusia for about 15 whirlwind days. We had never actually spent time in Malaga except for a few jet-lagged hours when we first landed in Spain. We explored the Alcazar, the overlook (pictured), and the museum.
Then we went to Ronda, famous for its bullring and amazing bridge (pictured).
We went back to Gibraltar. It’s too fun of a place to miss if you’re going to tour around Andalusia.
We then went to Cordoba – Chris has been when he helped a study abroad group – but I had never gone. It has many famous things that I’m glad I didn’t miss:
The Mezquita – half church, half Moorish mosque. The red and white striped arches are world famous.
The Roman bridge, which, besides being old and pretty, was in Game of Thrones.
And the “Alcazar of the Christian Kings” (that’s the whole name). Which had a very nice garden.
Then back to Granada and back to the Alhambra! Another thing that cannot be missed and it was worth going to again. When we had been there before the garden hadn’t bloomed (also it was a rainy day). So this time we saw it with actual flowers and a clearer light.
We got brave and went to the eye doctor to get me new contacts a few months ago. This is a big deal because we usually don’t do necessary things until it’s overly necessary. No one wants to do chores but it can be especially difficult in a foreign language. But the staff were patient so I got new contacts and a new prescription that went up .50 vision points (I don’t know what the unit of measurement is).
They gave me a super duper coupon to get new glasses to go with my new contacts but again overly-necessary (don’t need em’ yet!) so Chris got new glasses!
He needs them more than I do, you can’t tell but there’s been a scratch in the lower left lens since before the wedding.
For perspective here are the old glasses.
The new ones are round.
And they have a magical magnetic (clip on) sun-glass attachment. Perfect for Spain’s 320 days of sunshine per year.
3 (Miserable) Visits to Jaen
Busy, busy, I know! The big thing is that we HATE JAEN with every fiber of our … you know the drill. We hate Jaen.
In the words of CS Lewis “When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” So we thought “Let’s pretend we like Jaen, maybe we’ll actually start liking it.”
Visit #1 – got shouted at and in a HUGE argument with the office. Yes, we did go out for a drink afterward. But not before we went to the Museum of Jaen.
They had this toy they found from back when the area was under Moorish control.
It has the perfect face.
Visit #2: We got stranded here thanks to the bus (we HATE the bus) so we killed some time and saw the Cathedral (full name: “Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral”).
The whole road is probably the prettiest part of Jaen. As for the cathedral? Yeah, closed. Because Jaen. Not because of siesta.
We woke up before sunrise to catch the bus – we actually wanted to spend the day in Jaen to give it (yet another) try. We walked about 45 minutes uphill to the castle.
We met about 4 horses and this donkey on the way up.
We got to the top and… annnnnddd… If you guessed that it was randomly closed, you’re correct! The only guy who can do tours (in Spanish OR English) was sick or late, it wasn’t clear. They told us to look around the summit and wait to see if he was going to make it.
We had a great view of that same cathedral.
Then we went out for a 15 dollar coffee and water in the Parador. “Paradors” are castle-hotels. In this case they actually tore a bunch of Jaen’s original castle down to re-build the castle-hotel but it’s very pretty. If not expensive.
Most of the lights were meant to look like torches and there were tapestries everywhere.
We checked back with the castle-proper – the guy never showed up. So we explored Jaen more, got a drink (obviously) and then scooted on home. Jaen is officially dead to us, I think. It’s probably not worth the 10 dollar bus fare every time to get nothing done.
Finding Human Bones
We debated putting this in the blog because it’s strange and morbid. But it’s something we did so here it is:
Every time you see a bone, there is probably a small part you that thinks “wouldn’t it be weird if these were human bones”. But 99% of the time it’s a deer bone or something right?
Well we for sure found human bones.
The big clue was that we were behind a cemetery. It’s on a hill with a road leading around it. You can see it in this picture, the big wall is the cemetery wall with a little slope and a road on the outside of it.
And that road is not an abandoned road. Loads of farmers/bikers/hikers/horseback riders are frequenting it. They could see the bones as well as we could – if they were human wouldn’t the good Catholics of Spain report it and have them reburied??!
We were looking at some bones that were obviously animal, but then when we spotted one that looked really human – an ulna (lower arm). Then we started seeing loads of ribs, (which again could be animal). We found vertebrae, a couple small bones that were very obviously hand/fingers. Then a (couple?) skull fragment(s).
That sealed the deal. A lifetime of finding animal bones (and the proximity to the animal bones on the hill) had created so much doubt that these were human. So we put some pictures online which you can see here if you would like to ask a different website that identifies strange things. They confirmed they were human. This means that the cemetery is essentially leaking but no one seems to care.
We’re certainly curious – how long ago had they been buried? Our city goes back to prehistoric days/Romans/Moors/Christians. It could’ve been anyone.
Reading some tips online makes it seem that in really old cities they sometimes don’t care (it’s a losing battle with medieval cities to keep all the bones underground). So as strange as it is, we’re letting it go.
Visas and Staying Legally
In the post about getting shouted at – we said we were applying for a prorroga to stay over the summer legally. We got certified mail from Mallorca billing us for it. Paid it and a few days ago we got a very, very long letter saying we’re good to go!
We just need to get a background check from the “local Justice Department.” We can get this from either Jaen or Granada (vague, I know). So we’ll be going to Jaen (nooooo!!!!!!) to try. It’s either go to Jaen or go to Granada, and as much as we hate Jaen it would be faster than 3+ hours to Granada.
Moving to Mallorca
Since Mallorca is an island, the easiest way to get there is to fly. But we weren’t sure where we should fly from. Madrid, Malaga, and Granada all offer flights to Mallorca.
- Granada is the closest airport to us. But it’s a tiny airport. Bus tickets would cost €23 while the flight would cost €150. (€173)
- Malaga is the best, biggest airport in our area. It has more flight options but bus tickets would cost €45 and the flight would be €175. (€220)
- Madrid is 5+ hours away. A train ticket there would cost €70 but flights would cost €73. (€143)
Madrid, stupidly, would be the cheapest by 30 Euros. But we’re just not in the mood to navigate a huge airport like Madrid. Granada is a teeny tiny little airport and the next cheapest so we picked Granada.
In mid-September we’ll be leaving our home in Martos, go to Jaen (probably flip it off on our way out), take a bus to Granada and arrive in Mallorca at around 2pm. This will be the easiest and fastest move we’ve ever done. Even easier than any move to college. Unless, of course, Jaen gets it’s final revenge and all the buses catch fire spontaneously or something, there are no guarantees with that city.
We’ve taken at least three cool hikes this summer, but they aren’t exactly deserving of their own posts. So sometime really soon we’ll post those for you guys!