So long 2013! You’ve been good to me. I might not have quite fulfilled every ambition I set out to achieve at the beginning of the year, but definitely most of them. I’ve seen much more of Spain, started writing editorials and publishing in Spanish, started a new blog and had more work published on other sites. I’ve also met and connected with several other bloggers who’ve given me some fantastic advice and ideas – Molly of piccavey.com for one, and Marianne of East Of Malaga another (who actually gave me the idea for this blog post).
So, without any further ado, let’s get to it.
Last January I was lucky enough to spend my New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh for the annual Hogmanay celebrations. Although it wasn’t my first time in the Scottish capital, it was – needless to say – a wonderful place to see out 2012, and a great opportunity to test out my new camera. Hogmanay, I’ll be back.
I was also published on Gapyear.com, with a piece about my time in Canada’s Rocky Mountains in 2009.
The Sierra Nevada
Cadiz Carnaval 2013
February was particularly memorable on account of the deluges of snow upon which the Sierra Nevada was bestowed. It snowed heavily several times, which made for perfect conditions and the best I’ve ever skied in Spain.
I also had my Step by Step Guide to Cadiz Carnaval published with The Olive Press. Take a look at it here!
A very happy me in Ronda, Andalucía
Timer selfie, Plaza de Torros, Ronda
Slaves to the rave at Dragon Fest, Santa Fe
In March I traveled to Ronda for the weekend which was, ironically, cut short by the same snow that I had been so thankful for in the Sierra Nevada just days before. Didn’t matter though; two days were enough and Ronda is beautiful in any kind of weather…
I also attended the annual Dragon Festival held in Santa Fe to celebrate the Spring Equinox. My review was published with Clash Magazine.
I’ll level with you: I can’t stand Semana Santa, so when April comes around I hit the road, and this year I headed north to escape the Andalucían crowds. My journey took me to Bilbao, San Sebastian and Pamplona. All three cities were individually fantastic and really opened my eyes to a completely different way of Spanish life.
I also had the best experience I’ve had in Granada so far: the epic Piste 2 Playa day trip, which ultimately led to the decision to stay yet another year!
M83 at SOS 4.8 Festival, Murcia – just 2 hours away by car
Piscina, La Caleta Camping, Las Negras
La Bodeguiya Bar, Las Negras
May kicked off with one of the festivals of the year – SOS 4.8 in Murcia. I saw several of my favourite bands and DJs, including M83, Justice and The XX. Once again, I reviewed the weekend for Clash Magazine. Read it here.
I also went on the best beach trip of my Spanish stint thus far, to the tiny pueblo of Las Negras in Cabo de Gata, Almería. The town is as sleepy and charming as they come, and the beaches have actual SAND!
Celebrating San Juan
Lanjarón’s legendary water fight
June provided me with the most fun I’ve ever had inside one hour: Lanjarón’s enormous and legendary water fight. It occurs on the night of San Juan, as does a plethora of other festivities in most other Spanish towns and cities – particularly along Spain’s south coast.
I also worked for a national British newspaper for two weeks in London. It was useful in the sense that it made me reailse that I never want to work for a national British newspaper.
Catte Street, Oxford
View from el balcón de Europa, Nerja, Andalucía
July was a busy month, though not especially so for blogging. Instead, I was tied up with work I am actually paid to do: teaching English to foreign folk. Usually these summer schools seem like never-ending nightmares, but this year I worked for The University of Oxford who – thankfully – pay well and do not deprive you of a social life.
I did, however, find time for a fleeting visit to Nerja, a gorgeous beach town just east of Malaga. Read my feature with The Olive Press here.
Head of The River pub, Oxford
Still busy with teaching in Oxford, it wasn’t until the end of August that I had time to travel. However, I did have a lot of free time in the evenings, which spurred me on to get my brand new part-time travel blog up and running. Watch out for official launch coming soon!
Perhaps my biggest victory – other than surviving two months of teaching intensive Business English to squealing Japanese teenagers – was creating and publishing my very first post in Spanish.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube, Belgrade
Me in Pest, overlooking Buda
September has been my best month for two years running now. This year and last year I kicked it off with back-to-back music festivals in Croatia (review here). Somehow, I managed not to end myself in the process and came out well enough to continue traveling through Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary. Needless to say, good times were had. You can read about them on my new blog.
In October and back in Granada, the hunt for a new apartment proved more difficult than first thought. Eventually, I was able to find the perfect place just a stone’s throw away from the Alhambra. And now – for the first time ever since moving to Spain – I am completely happy with where I live and who I live with. No nasty kitchens, no miserable housemates. Only took three years.
Other than that, not much happened.
November was far more interesting. I went to Sevilla for the annual ACIEA conference, where I instagramed the place to death and finally got to see El Parasol. I also saw the Alhambra dressed in autumn colours – something I’ve wanted to do since moving to Granada. I had my first piece (another review) published in Spanish, which you can read here, and I was named among the top ten expat in Spain bloggers by Which Offshore.
Clouds over Las Alpujarras (Source: Ramiro Ramirez FlickrCC)
Ordinarily I have myself a little holiday at the beginning of December, but this year I stayed closer to home and took a long day trip to the mountain villages of Las Alpujarras in the Granada province of Spain. There’ll be a post on that soon. I’ve also reached elementary level French, so there’s one goal more or less reached for my fourth year in Spain.
I also started collaborating on a couple of new projects, neither of which have been launched just yet but should be soon! Now here’s to further and greater success in 2014! Feliz año nuevo!