Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hotel Amanda Country Home

Last year, I had an ongoing joke with my girlfriends about my apartment. Because it was in a good location and my best friends' apartments were farther away, they often stayed the night and eventually we just called my apartment - Hotel Amanda. Seeing as I am staying at Joseba's this week, I figured I should name my 'apartment for the month' something similar, so I have deemed it Hotel Amanda Country Home.
As you read about Orio in the earlier blog, this is the city that Joseba's house is near (about 5 minutes with the bike). However, he lives more in the country. In fact, he lives on a farm in a caserio, which basically means farmhouse. A family lives in the top floor and he has the 1st floor to
himself (no worries - its not like they have stairs in his apartment or anything, it's two houses). Since he is gone this week, it seems quite big to have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment to myself but I have always
wanted to live alone and I guess these past few days I am getting a taste of the solo-living life.

Hotel Amanda Country Home (or Joseba Resort as he likes to call it) is very relaxing when I compare it to living in the Old Part of San Sebastian.
There, you step out of the house and BOOM - there could be a street party or a bunch of loud tourists passing or a street performer playing

their heart out. Here, I wake up and open the windows to the sound of birds chirping, ducks passing in the river that runs next to the house and of course a crooning rooster although I wake up much later that the sun rises. In the city I usually have a coffee at a busy cafe with a friend whereas here I make it and drink it while doing my puzzle or reading the news. As you can, just starting the morning shows that Hotel Amanda and Hotel Amanda Country Home are worlds apart.

To pass the time, I have been watching movies, writing blogs, reading in
Spanish and getting accustomed to the Spanish siesta. These are my indoor activities, but I make sure to enjoy the great outdoors while I am here too. Bike rides have become almost an everyday activity, jogging (not an everday activity yet hahah) and on a clear night I like to gaze up at the stars because living in a city always makes you appreciate seeing the stars when you can. Because it's in the country,

it's not rare to be riding my bike down the road and pass cows, sheep, goats and chickens (some who roam the road). Nor does it surprise me to see tan wrinkly men who look as if they've spent all summer outside hoeing their gardens. If they are close enough to greet, I always say Aupa, which is the Basque way to say hi or greetings. (It's pronounced oh-pa). Or depending on the time of day I might throw in some more advanced Basque words like Good Morning (egunon) or Good afternoon (arratsaldeon) - but only if I am feeling daring!

I can already see that I am turning into a 'country bumpkin' because

when a car passes or I see someone coming down the road, I watch them intently until they pass because it is honestly possibly the most exciting thing that could happen out here sometimes. There IS a bread factory across the small river, so if I am up early enough in the morning, that provides a lot of activity to watch.

It is so tranquil out here, that I sometimes find myself a bit bored with nothing to do. I am always on the edge of complaining that I

have nothing to do, when I remind myself that once classes start I
will be longing for 'doing nothing' so as weird as it is to be completely unproductive, I am trying to appreciate it.

Joseba comes back from his vacation in two days, so my country life will become much more exciting, but since I have lots of time on my hands, I wanted to share a little bit with you guys about how I've been spending the last few days and share some of my favorite pictures I have taken on bikes rides of the gorgeous Basque countryside.


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