Monday, November 10, 2008


November 7-9: Bing Trip to Leon, Spain

Mr. and Mrs. Bing donate a great deal of money to Stanford every year, usually enough to pay for a special trip for each Stanford Overseas Studies Program all over the world. (To put things into perpective, the Bings have their own wing of the Green Library, appropriately named the Bing Wing.) Our Bing trip was to Leon, Spain.

Thank you, Mrs. Bing!! Hostal de San Marcos was baller. It used to be a monestary and a hospital primarily visited by pilgrims traveling on the Camino del Santiago.

The Catedral de Leon is especially famous for its beautiful stained glass windows, many of which are being restored.

The Royal Symbol of Leon

View from the Balcony

Un Angelito

Friends! Estelle, Anh, and I

Plaza in front of the Cathedral at Night

Dinner at La Cueva (The Cave) Restaurant

Amazing Breakfast at Hostal de San Marcos

Courtyard in Hotal de San Marcos

Nikki, Stacie, and I at the Monastario de San Miguel de Escalada

El Monastario

We arrived at about 10:00 in the morning, and there was a beautiful fog over the land. It reminded me of San Francisco.

Amazing spider webs drenched in dew and sunlight in the fields near the monestary...

Monastario Cisterciense de Santa Maria
A convent we visited where I bought two boxes of galletas, delicous cookies the nuns make and are reknowned for.

After the monestary and convent, we hiked on the side of a mountain. We walked for about an hour and saw so many beautiful sights.

Russel, Brian, Enoch (in the background), and I enjoying the spectacular view.

I adore this photo of blue sky, green earth, snowy mountains, and the calm river.

A view from the bus driving further outside of Leon after lunch. I fell asleep for about an hour and when I woke up, we were at the top of a mountain range covered in SNOW! I was seriously SO EXCITED. We all jumped off the bus and proceeded to have a 30 minute snow ball fight, during which Santy (the Stanford in Madrid Program Director) dropped a HUGE snow glacier on me.

Hi, my name is Mary, and I'm FREEZING and WET!

Some of us took another little hike into the snow cover mountains. I was wearing my Nike tennis shoes and jeans and knew I was going to be soaked afterwards, but I really could not pass the opportunity up. :-)

Snowy Self Portrait

Breathtaking view from the top! Pictures really do not do the view justice! How I missed my loved ones at this moment...

During our decent, Alycia (a young administrator for the Stanford in Madrid Progarm) threw a big snowball at me and ran down the mountain. Of course, I could not let this slide. After chasing her down, I tackled her Dumb and Dumber style. [Viewer discretion is advised: start at 35 seconds to avoid questionable material. :-) ] Afterwards a bunch of us ambushed Santy with a hail of snowballs.

I also made a new friend!

El Rastro, the Flea Market in Leon

Autumn afternoon in Leon near the river...

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weekend in Madrid

October 31 - November 2: Madrid

I stayed in Madrid the weekend of Halloween. It was fairly uneventful... I grabbed a coffee with friends Brian and Russell on the 31st and attended All Saints Day Mass the following day.

I also visited Palacio Real, which was really beautiful, but I could not take any pictures inside [changes to English accent] as they were stictly prohibited. :-(

After being here for 5 weeks, I decided that might be a good time to take some pictures of the area where I live. This here is a little sidewalk I take to get to the Metro.

The famous Cuatro Torres (Four Towers) in the nothern part of the city reside down the street from my apartment. When any other Stanford student sees the Four Towers, they know that they're lost. I on the other hand, know that I'm home.

The front of my apartment building.


In other big news, I bought boots! I'm not sure that I have the legs for them, but you're only young once (which is what I tell myself when I start to feel buyer's remorse).

Finally! Pictures of my wonderful host family! Isabel, my host mom, myself, and Irene, my host sister (23).

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mary Elizabeth Barcelona

October 24-26: Barcelona!

Posted by Picasa