Showing posts from December, 2013

Gathered Thoughts From a Trip to Italy

Earlier this week, I came back to Spain after spending ten days in its southern European counterpart to the east, the Republic of Italy. I am so grateful to have had both the means and the opportunity to travel around the central part of a country I have dreamed about visiting ever since first studying Latin in 5th grade. I flew into beautiful  Florence  and spent three nights there, making a pitstop in nearby Siena on my way down to Rome. In my four nights in the capital, I hit up  Vatican City,  many ruins, a dozen famous churches, and ancient alleyways. Heading south to Naples, I browsed this city’s significant archaeological museum, ate pizza, and daytripped to Mt. Vesuvius and the Roman ruins of Pompeii. View this post on Instagram Firenze A post shared by Trevor Huxham (@trevorhuxham) on Dec 20, 2013 at 6:23am PST The trip was expensive and exhausting, but experiencing some of the art, architecture, hi

22 Fun Facts About the Galician Language

Read my Galician crash course here to get up to speed in the language. Galician  is a Romance language (i.e., from Latin) spoken by about 3 million people in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia. Although it’s most closely related to Portuguese—which is spoken south of the border—it shares many similarities with Castilian Spanish, including sounds and spelling. A Coruña If you’re planning on spending any time traveling or living in this unique corner of Spain, or walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route that ends here, even a tiny knowledge of Galician will help you get around and navigate menus, maps, etc. If you happen to speak Spanish, you’re already 80% of the way to understanding Galician, and I’m serious! Getting a grasp on the grammatical and phonological differences will turbo boost you up to 90%. To whet your appetite (both literally and linguistically), here’s a little selection from the Galician Wikipedia’s article on empanada , or meat pie: Unha em

Photo Post: Meknes, Morocco’s Forgotten Imperial City

Bab el-Mansour Of the four major cities that have served as capitals in Morocco’s past— Fez , Marrakesh, Meknes, and Rabat— Meknes seems to be the most-overlooked Imperial City for most people coming to visit the country. It’s a mere half-hour train ride from Fez, yet many people pass it over on their way to Casablanca and Marrakesh. Admittedly, there isn’t a lot to see here and the real treat here are the Roman ruins of Volubilis , a half-hour grand taxi  drive outside of town. Even Sufyan, a native meknassi  I met on the train and who kindly guided me toward my hotel, assured me his city isn’t worth visiting and recommended I check out Marrakesh and Essaouira instead. Imperial City I myself would have skipped Meknes had I not wanted to see the Volubilis ruins, which are difficult to get to except as a daytrip from town. Thankfully, in my hotel’s lobby I happened to overhear that a group of three Americans were trying to organize an intercity taxi to visit Volubilis, and

6 Things to Do in Ourense, Spain: Galicia’s Best-Kept Secret

In early November, my apartment-mate and I took a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip to the city of Ourense. Pronounced “oe-oo-REHN-say” [owˈɾɛ], it’s the capital of Galicia’s only province without a coast. However disappointing that may sound to you, it shouldn’t be, because Ourense province is actually one of the most beautiful parts of Spain and even has its own Grand Canyon, the  Cañon do Sil . I had little-to-no expectations about Ourense the capital when I came, but I was very, very impressed by this place that no one (apart from my bilingual coordinator who is from  the province) ever says boo about when talking about Galicia. Medieval Bridge Ourense seems like a city that tourism is just about to uncover, but which is still relatively anonymous. I can expect that the arrival of the AVE (high-speed long distance trains) will bring many visitors from Madrid on weekends, but for now, it’s got very few visitors, so you’ll feel like you have the entire city to yourself. So