In like a lion, out like a lamb. I know this generally is how we describe the month of March, but it seems like a pretty accurate description of our travels in January.
We kicked off the New Year in Helsinki, Finland, watching the World Junior Hockey Championships (you can read about our World Juniors experience here), exploring the city, and experiencing what locals call the darkness. We spent New Years day wandering throughout the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress (click here for a full recap). I had visited the Fortress once before, in the summer of 2012, and visiting it in winter was a completely different, but absolutely wonderful experience. I’m so glad we spent what few hours of daylight we had on the islands.
From Helsinki, we boarded the Viking Line ferry and arrived in Tallinn in the midst of a snowstorm. We braved the blowing snow and -15C temperatures and experienced the infamous KGB Museum, explored the historic old town, sipped on Vana Tallinn, and enjoyed a bizarre but delicious dinner of crispy pigs ear with garlic, pickles with honey and sour cream, and one of the most delicious goulashes we’ve ever eaten. When in Tallinn!
For me, Tallinn was definitely the highlight of our New Years trip. Despite being cold (the same cold that we were trying to escape by moving to Madrid) it was stunning; the weather, the architecture, I was blown away. It was definitely a little city with a whole lot of charm!
Our last trip of the month was a day trip to Segovia. It was a trip we’d talked about taking for a while, and when we heard that Renfe was having a sale (less than €20 round trip per person) we jumped on it. We spent a beautiful, but cold day sightseeing, exploring the old town and marveling at the architectural wonder that is the Aqueduct (read my Travel Diary: Segovia for full details).
The rest of the month was spent focusing on Madrid: exploring neighbourhoods and really trying to get to know our new city. It was low-key, but pretty awesome.
- Helsinki, Finland
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Brussels Airport (via layover)
- Segovia, Spain
Distance Travelled: 3,185km
- My Goals for 2016
- Travel Diary: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
- Three Ways to Explore a New City and Not Get Lost [Plus A GIVEAWAY]
Top Instagram Posts
Much like January, February will be spent close to home. We’re hoping to make a couple of day trips throughout the month – we’re throwing around the possibility of Cuenca – but we’ve also been keeping an eye on an amazing deal for a weekend in Mallorca. Nothing’s booked; we’re just playing it by ear and seeing how the month plays out.
Also in the realm of possibilities is a trip to Amsterdam. One of my best friends and I have been talking for years about travelling together and this year might be the year. It would be pretty fitting given that we’re both having milestone birthdays this month, so really, there’s no better time!
I’m also looking forward to continuing to explore more of Madrid. I’ve started taking afternoon walks and am really enjoying getting out and seeing new and different parts of the city. It’s really amazing what you stumble upon when you’re completely lost.
After taking an unexpected month off from Spanish classes, I’m getting back at it tonight. The class schedule and cost are much more conducive to my life- and blogging-style, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into the classroom. I spent most of the month practicing with Duolingo, but there’s only so much talking at a computer a person can do.
I also plan on making it a regular habit practice my language skills at one of the many intercambios offered throughout the city. Mid-way through the month, I met up with a few girls from the Madrid: Girl Gone International Facebook group and we all went to an intercambio together. It was really nice to get to know more expats in the city, and really great to not have to test the intercambio waters alone (what can I say, I was nervous!). Although I spoke no more than a handful of Spanish (most of the attendees wanted to work on their English), I had a really great time talking to new and different people, and I’m really keen to make it a regular part of my Spanish practice.
Tell me, what does February have in store for you?
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