Every year I set myself the challenge of reading fifty-two books in a year and although I’m nowhere near close to achieving that, every year I do edge a little closer. This year, I have read thirty-six books and I was very much on track until I decided to move to another country and then life got in the way. However, thirty-six is still a good number and this year (as I have now finished my degree) I’ve had a lot more freedom to read books I actually want to read, which is something that hasn’t been a possibility since I started studying English Literature properly at fifteen. To anyone who knows me, they know I love books and rarely go anywhere without one in my bag. My personal library grows substantially every year and is one of the few material things I truly treasure – although I’d like to think I’m not stingy when lending my books to others. So, now I have sufficiently gushed about my love of reading here are some of the highlights of my 2016 in books, enjoy!
One of the main reasons we headed to Munich out of all the places we could have visited in Germany was because of its proximity to the Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle is credited as the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle and is hidden away in the Bavarian hills. Despite its grand appearance, the castle itself isn’t as old as you would expect as construction only started in 1869 with the purpose of becoming a retreat for Ludwig II of Bavaria and an homage to Wagner.
Christmas time is upon us and when I’m in Liverpool that means buying a tree, drinking Glühwein and visiting the German christmas markets. This year, I’m experiencing the real deal and spending this weekend in Munich!
Currently, I am sat in my bunk bed in Wombats hostel after a slow start to the morning and some Christmas shopping. We arrived on Friday morning, after waking up at 4.30am to get to the airport (ugh) but the early start did mean we got to see a spectacular sunrise. We were promised a view of Mont Blanc by the pilot but I think the entire plane of passengers was asleep by then. I’ve never been to Germany and now that I’ve been here for a couple of days I can’t believe I didn’t come sooner. As we walked through the airport we saw stall upon stall of delicious looking food and then a Christmas market right outside the exit to give us our first taste of what this weekend would be like. Despite not speaking much German we managed to find the train station and buy our tickets with ease and then we were off to the city centre.
Calling my week simply hectic would be an understatement for sure. This week I taught my first intensive class and my first business class, which involved spending 6 hours a day in an office with only one person for five days and to top it off I had to commute for an hour outside the city meaning my alarm was set for 5.45am every morning. At this juncture, I would like to point out that spending this much time with one person as a TEFL teacher is unlikely but this student needed to improve their English quickly. As well as this intensive class, I still had my regular evening classes that last between 1-1.5 hours every evening meaning that I would spend all my free time each day getting ready for those and then not get home until about 8. But enough about this, what I really want to talk about is the cosy brunch place we visited yesterday afternoon; Milk.
I’ve been living in El Raval for a couple of weeks now and one thing that is perfectly clear about this area of the city is that it is overflowing with character. It is a place where works of art can be found around every corner and on every street there is a trendy concept store or a restaurant stuffed into a little nook (check out El Pachuco). With this in mind, I did some research on unique bars that were in walking distance from my apartment and as much as I wanted to visit the secret bar that can be accessed through the owners wardrobe, it isn’t guaranteed to be open every night. Then I came across El Bosc de Les Fades and after flicking through some photos of the place and seeing that there were trees inside the bar (albeit fake trees) I was immediately excited to see it for myself.
This Sunday will mark my 8th week of living in Barcelona and ironically, I will be flying from Liverpool to Barcelona once again on that day as this week I am going home for 4 days for my graduation ceremony (and my Dad’s birthday I suppose). As I was unable to publish anything this weekend – owing to the lack of internet in my apartment – I have ventured out in search of wifi to write this post for anyone who is thinking about moving to Barcelona or Catalonia. Here are the 6 things I have learnt since I moved to Barcelona:
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of Barcelona is just a little too much after a stressful week of looking for jobs and flats. Add this to the fact that I live on a main road and listen to the traffic throughout the night, it’s enough to drive anyone into escaping the city for a day. This weekend myself and the usual gang took the hour train ride out of the city to peaceful seaside town of Tarragona for a wander around its Roman ruins, a look at one of the biggest churches in Spain and to get a few photos of the Monument a los Castellers.