Summer Vacation Contenders

A girl can dream.

It’s been a few long months of a humbling and thankless part-time job after graduation. Instead of taking some time off, I decided to carry on working to save money before heading off to graduate school in Spain. It’s such a physically demanding job, but the worst part is probably dealing with customers with their nose in the air who think they know everything. Like the clothes in the dressing room that never stop piling up, there seems to be no end to this hellish time period. Fortunately, it’s not the case, as my last day of the dark abyss is coming to an end in less than 20 days.

With the exception of studying abroad last year, I have never had a vacation. Ever. It got worse during college because instead of having the holidays to myself like in middle and high school, I had to work ungodly hours during Christmas and Thanksgivings breaks. I can’t help but think that I deserve a vacation.

While I have the privilege of going to Spain 2 weeks before my master’s classes and teaching job start, I will spend the first few days visiting old friends. At this point it seems more like an obligation than a holiday. But maybe I shouldn’t complain. I’m looking forward to some quiet time in Lleida and attending a racing event. It will be fun.

Yes, it will be fun, but in the back of my mind I know that I will be thinking about how I could find an apartment in Madrid in one week. One week.

If I was lucky enough to secure a place by September, I will have a couple of days for a summer vacation.

I have yet to make a decision. There are so many options; it’s making my head spin. But here we go:

1. Albufeira (Algarve, Portugal)

Portugal has always been on my bucket list. I previously wanted to visit this country during the winter break, but now I’m not sure if I could wait that long. Search the web and you’ll see Portugal popping up as one of the most affordable places to visit. Another plus is that there is a night train from Madrid to Lisbon. As much as I want to spend time in the Portuguese capital, I am searching for some beach fun. Many former fellow study abroad students raved about Lagos. But me being me, I hate to be a trend follower, so I am eyeing this white beach town pictured above.

I have yet to figure out how to get there or if I would be able to haul my fat luggage with me or not. Again, this depends on how fast I can find an apartment in Madrid. The pressure.

2. Ribadesella (Asturias, Spain)

Another gorgeous site and full of history. By history I mean 30,000-something-years-old cave paintings found in the Tito Bustillo cave (which needs to be booked in advance). The city has a quint little ¨beach¨, surrounded by a river. Not sure if I would take a dip in a non-salt water body but it sure looks tempting. There is no direct route from Madrid, but I am sure the trip will be well worth it.

3. A Coruña (Galicia, Spain)

Probably the most easily accessed city on the list, A Coruña could be reached directly from Madrid via on night ¨hotel¨ train. It seems like an authentic city, not exploited by flocks of tourists, that offers great sea food and a view of its Celtic past.

4. Ibiza, Spain

Sigh. Where to begin with this one. Spoiled by tourists (both the rich and famous to the rowdy youngsters), this Balearic Island seems to possess stunning beaches. Its infamous party scene, for me at least, seems superficial, and therefore a turn-off. I might have to come back to this one during the down season…but everything would be shut off by then so what’s the point.

5. Andorra la Vella (Capital of Andorra)

Being a foe of the cold, it would make more sense if I visit this tax haven in the summer rather than in the winter. Although there is no beach (just the ski resorts for the winter), I would be satisfied – very satisfied – with the tax-free shopping zones and a chance to practice my Catalan. And visit some local attractions (especially, ahem, them Brazilians).

Again, there is a small chance for one of these getaways to become a reality. I must execute my moving plans to Madrid with precision, or else this will all just be a summer dream of some poor sales girl.

I’m doing everything in my power to make one out of the five happen. Everything.

~Brisa

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