Visiting the Cathedral of Burgos

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Catedral de Burgos / Burgos Cathedral

Last autumn, on our way to Asturias, we stopped in Burgos to see the cathedral. Of all Spain’s cathedrals, Burgos’ is the one I just had to see. I’d heard so much about it: from friends, family, and acquaintances. And let me tell you—it did not disappoint. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

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Traveling through Ibiza by Motorbike

As a tourist, what’s the best city to visit in Spain? Many will say Madrid or Barcelona, those being the biggest cities, while others might mention pueblos that they visited in the past, perhaps located in Asturias or Galicia. But all the party animals will say definitely Ibiza.

And it’s true, Ibiza is the party capital of Spain, but maybe you don’t enjoy crowded places, or perhaps you’d like to visit different parts of the island.

If you enjoy riding a motorbike, there are lots of different things you can see. There are several routes you can take with your motorbike to enjoy Ibiza’s wonders, from its beaches to its villages and forests located in the interior of the island. You can check some of them in the Official Tourism Site of Ibiza.

What if you don’t have your own bike or can’t bring yours to the island? No problem, because you can rent a bike on the island, and for a pretty good price as well!

So, where can you go with your bike? Here are some recommendations from the islanders.

La Cala Benirras (The Benirras Cove)

Located 9 kilometers from San Joan, this cove has some of the most amazing views in Ibiza, but you must have a vehicle, since there’s no public transport available in the area. If you like the sun, you can lay out on the beautiful sandy beach. You’ll find craft vendors, music, and chiringuitos here, but the best way is to traverse the cliffs surrounding the cove and visit the pueblo San Miguel.

La Cala d’Hort (The Orchard Cove)

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Who doesn’t like a beautiful sunset? You can’t miss La Cala d’Hort. Most islanders consider this cove the best spot to see sun set in all of Ibiza. With the giant rocks Es Vedra and Es Vedranell, two rocks surfacing from the sea in front of the cove, it’s an image worthy of a postcard as the sun sets on the distant horizon. After darkness falls, you can drive to the nearby village San José to have dinner before retiring for the night.

Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera

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If you’d like to get away from the crowds of the beaches and the cities, this town is the perfect spot to do so. Located in the geographical center of the island, it’s one of the iconic villages of Ibiza, due to its unique Ibizan ambiance (though calm and peaceful—no party vibe). With its white houses and pleasant streets, those who like quiet and calm will feel quite at home.

Have you ever traveled by motorbike anywhere? What’s your favorite spot in Ibiza?

Barriers

Sometimes I’m the only one who doesn’t get the joke. Some days I smile, reassuring everyone that I’m not on the outside. Some days I even laugh a little. At other times I just keep my face blank … After all, is there any shame in not getting it? I can’t decide.

I speak fluently, even rapidly. My brother, upon hearing my conversation with my mother-in-law, rolls his eyes and tells me to slow down. I don’t. But when I’m here, I can never speak fast enough. Every error stays in my mind, reminding me that what I thought about myself was wrong. Is wrong. Most do not correct me, but some take it upon themselves—without my permission—to remind me of my errors. When I speak, the words tumble out, seemingly unstoppable in their urgency. I say things I know are wrong in the heat of the moment, just to keep the words flowing, just so my listener doesn’t have to wait five seconds. I can’t bear to make them impatient. I find it insufferable when they correct me, tell me agua is feminine.

“I know,” I mutter to myself. “Why don’t you correct me on something that I actually don’t understand?” But on the outside I am silent.

During the fall semester of my senior year at Indiana University, I met some students from Hong Kong, who were spending a semester in Bloomington, Indiana, of all places. We had so many memories together: dinners in their high-rise apartment building filled with foreign students, watching The Nut Cracker at the IU Auditorium, Thanksgiving in my hometown. When I remember their halting English, I wince to think I should have ever been patronizing to them. It is quite astonishing to recall their level of fluency and willingness to travel to the frigid Midwest, a region not known for diversity or even good weather. Yet there they went, and thus we all made lifelong friends from across the world. I can only hope to have been gracious and welcoming to them, to have never made them feel like they were on the outside looking in. Perhaps that was impossible. I must have tried, though. Can one ever truly feel like a native when the language is foreign? I can’t say. It hasn’t been my experience.

In high school, a schoolmate made a joke about someone’s mother’s broken English. I didn’t laugh, certainly not, but neither did I say anything, and I certainly could not understand what my classmate felt at hearing her mother held up as an object of ridicule. Even now, after five years as the foreigner in the crowd, I only have the smallest grasp on what that feels like—to be somewhere, to be the perpetual outsider. A small language barrier is still a barrier.

Most of my peers will never feel like outsiders. They will always live in a place where their first language is the language, and if they do travel, English is and probably will be the lingua franca, at least for the foreseeable future. To speak English is to have the world in your hands, to know that wherever you go, all you have to do is walk up to the counter and say, “English, please?”

Spanish Old Wives’ Tales (And Their Veracity)

I’m on a bit of a blogging break, ever since my laptop decided to go belly up on me without any prior warning. The audacity of it all! Really, we shared so much: that time when I vacuumed a key up and had to search desperately in the bag for the L, when I thought it would explode from overwork and lack of proper heating (silly me, I take the term “laptop” quite seriously), and endless amounts of blog writing, commenting, and recipe searching. RIP, dearest one.

The other day I read an article about Spanish mother sayings and the truth behind them. I was gleefully happy to read that some of my most-hated sayings have no basis in reality. I do hate being told that walking around barefoot will suddenly cause the air around me to create a virus and shove it into my nasal cavities, but I realize and will happily admit that it’s not you, it’s me. Nonetheless, I have adopted the timeworn Spanish custom of wearing slippers absolutely everywhere. Nowadays you couldn’t pry mine off my callused, blistered runner’s feet. Here are some of my favorite tidbits from the article.

Dry your hair well before going to bed or you’ll get a cold.

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