Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Oh Boy! Casino Time at Murcia!

Hello all,

It has been more than two weeks since I've been to Murcia and let me tell you all that it has been a great experience so far. Ketyra and I have been exploring the city by ourselves so far, but we had only gone around the Plaza Circular because it is near by our apartment. Fortunately, we had the chance to see the city more because of Irene. Irene is a local student that's involved in the buddy program. The buddy program is meant to pair an international student with a local to ask questions about the university and the city. I met up with Irene close to La Merced and from there we walked to Plaza Santo Domingo. I really like the Plaza because it was beautiful and it had a lot of shops and restaurants. Irene and her friend Maria Angeles took us to a casino first. I would like to clarify that it is not a casino were people bet money and either win or lose money. It's called casino because it is were the wealthy people go to relax and play at the pool table. The name of the place is Real Casino de Murcia, and it has an Arabic Patio which is really pretty.

This is me standing in from the entrance of the casino/Arabic Patio. The picture on the right is a closer look to the Arabic Patio (I know it's fancy!). 

The great thing about it was that they gave us a discount to go in and see the casino!! (I mean we all did looked good, so I wasn't surprised at all). The casino also has a restaurant which is kind of expensive for a college student, but it won't hurt to go there and eat some fancy food with some fancy dress (and yes I just want to go because I want to dress fancy for once, is that a crime?) Anyways, the pictures below is a selfie of me (I know I need to practice my selfie pictures) and the casino's library. If I remember correctly Harry Potter's library was inspired by this library, or the other way around, or they both had the same creator. The tour guy was telling us the story behind it, but I clearly wasn't paying attention because I was trying to take a selfie. But, I did hear him say something about Harry Potter. 
While we were on exploring the casino we saw something that appeared to be a photo shoot. A girl was wearing a lot of make up and fancy dresses and there were a bunch of lights and cameras and a lot of pictures. It was probably a modeling agency or some before prom pictures (then I realized that Spain doesn't have prom so lets take that possibility out of the table).

Me feeling like a princess! This is one of the rooms in the Casino and I think it was the ballroom for the rich folks back in the day. 

A lot of the rooms in the Casino were very beautiful and it had a lot of art, culture, and tradition of Murcia. This was definitely the place where the rich people get together because the rooms were bigger than my house. The casino is really fancy and it is worth visiting because it's beautiful and it has a lot of the rich culture in Murcia. It was a great experience, and stay tune for my next blog that's coming soon!!!. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Finally at Alicante Now Let's Go to Murcia!!!

Hello again,

It was January 7th when we arrived to Alicante at 1:30 p.m.Who knew traveling could be so exhausting? Although it was fun, exhausting, and scary (the airport almost lost my luggage in London!) I was able to get some sleep and enjoy the ride. I would like to mention that our flight departed 20 minutes late, thus arriving 20 minutes late as well. That kind of sucked because we missed the bus at 1:15 p.m. from Alicante to Murcia, Spain. However, the airplane was pretty nice and they served wine on the plane. My first time ever drinking wine on a plane! It was also exciting because we didn't have to show ID or anything, so thank you Great Britain!! Anyways, we finally arrived to our destination around 1:30 p.m. and I had a lot of problems trying to connect to the internet in Alicante Airport. I was very frustrated because my friend Alicia who was an exchange student at Millikin University lives in Murcia and was going to pick Ketyra and I from the bus station in Murcia. I really needed the internet because I had to let Alicia know when we'll be taking the bus so she can be at the bus station when we arrived. After several tries I was finally able to connect to the Wi-Fi. I was so happy that I texted Alicia the time we were leaving Alicante and I called my dad to let him know that I was okay and that I had arrived to Alicante safely. My dad freaks out about things that involve me traveling alone to an unknown country and city, plus he saw the movie "Taken" and that just made things worse. 

The picture below is of me waiting for the bus at Alicante, I tried to get the landscape but my arms are too short! Plus, it was really windy and I was afraid my phone would've flown away. 

Here you go! I knew I took a picture of the surrounding of Alicante. Although, you can't see it very well it is gorgeous. There are a lot of mountains and villages, completely different from Chicago. 

The bus from Alicante to Murcia is so cheap!!! It was only 5.22 euros, and it was very simple to get there. I was very happy about that and I was even happier when I arrived to see Alicia and her twin sister waiting for us at the bus station. Ketyra and I had a lot of stuff, so it was a miracle that we had the chance to fit everything in Alicia's car. Alicia dropped us off close to where our apartment was, but we weren't sure where our apartment was. We walked for so long and we couldn't find it anywhere. Alicia's sister gave me her phone so I could call the landlord, and his sister tried to describe where our apartment was but no luck. Later on, we asked some people around the area and they showed us where. I saw our landlord and his sister waiting for us outside the building. The building looked very nice from the outside and the elevators were extremely small that only 4 people max can fit. The landlord showed us the rooms there were a lot of things that needed to be fixed, for example there was no hot water, the couch was missing couch cushions, the washer was broken, etc. Although it sound pretty bad it was still a nice apartment for its price, plus it was in the center of Murcia so it's easier for us to get to places. In addition, our landlord is a very nice guy compared to other landlords that I have heard of. Also, if we have a question or concern he addresses it as fast as he can. 

I also love the view from my apartment! It looks beautiful in the morning, evening, and at night. The weather is amazing! It's not too cold not to hot, just perfect for me. There are a lot of restaurants, shops, and many things to do in Murcia. I will keep updating as much as I can when I get accustomed to Murcia and I will definitely take lots of pictures. 

I also wanted to mention that orientation was pretty fun! There's an international organization called Erasmus Student Network, and they basically help plan trips for all the international students in the University of Murcia. I am very excited about that and I cannot wait to travel all over Spain! 

My Travel Experience into Alicante Airport.

Hello All,

My name is Jocelyn Hernandez and I am currently studying abroad in Murcia Spain. First of all, the travel from U.S. to Spain was pretty long and tiring. It was very tiring because my bags were very heavy. I had packed a lot of stuff, but I had to make sure that my bags were less than 50 pounds otherwise I would have had to pay a very expensive fee. I went with my friend Ketyra and we met at the airport. I really liked the airplane service because they offered a variety of food. I had a cheese omelet, potatoes, apple juice, and other snacks. Later, I had a sandwich for lunch and some water. I fell asleep for a few hours and then I woke up when the pilot mentioned that we had arrived to London. The airport in London was very nice and spacious. I thought London was going to be cold like Chicago but it was actually pretty warm. My mom made me wear a jacket because she though London was going to be cold and now I kind of regret that decision, because that means less space in my suitcase when I come back home. Furthermore, Ketyra and I had to wait at the airport to get our bags because they forgot them inside their cargo. (I thought they had lost our luggage and I was about to go into panic mode, because I had a dream about something like this happening and I just knew that my dream was a bad omen). Thankfully, it was all a miscommunication or bad organization but we received our luggage on time.We then took a bus in order for us to get into another connecting flight in London. I would like to mention that the bus in London is quite expensive, because we paid 25 pounds to get us from Heathrow Airport to Gatwick Airport. 

That's Ketyra and I waiting for the bus. (Yes, we took a selfie). Ketyra was such a doll for taking such a good picture of me, although I looked like a zombie because I was very tired. 

The bus ride to the other London airport took about an hour and a half. We had to stay in Gatwick Airport for at least 7-8 hours, because we arrived at Gatwick around 1:15 a.m. and our flight to Alicante wasn't until 9:40 a.m. It was boring, but we made he most of it by going to a cafe, and exploring the airport.  

The picture above is the Cafe we went to. It was very cute and we had really good breakfast there, it's called Costa so you should definitely try it out! When it's 9:40 a.m. I should be departing to Alicante and going into Murcia, so make sure you keep reading my little adventures to find out more about Murcia, Spain and my traveling experience. See you then!