Travel challenge trip 4: Portugal and Spain

“For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort” – Aldous Huxley

Going to Porto for Easter has been on my to do list for the past five years, but other trips and plans have always deferred it, so when setting my travel challenge I knew Portugal and specifically Porto were going to be visited.

I conveniently forgot that I booked a 7am flight, so had to get up at 3:30am in order to get to the airport on time. In typical me style I ended up with lots of plans the day before, so by the time I had sorted everything, packed, dyed my hair pink and hosted a dinner party I barely managed three hours sleep before I was up and running again. Coffee, adrenaline and the warm sun that greeted me in Porto powered me through my first day. I ended up walking for hours and seeing so many  sites without feeling like I was rushing or flagging. Continue reading “Travel challenge trip 4: Portugal and Spain”

My language learning journey and preparing for DELE Spanish A2 exam

My language journey

I have been learning Spanish on and off for about three years, but with serious intention for the past year and a half. The moment that changed everything for me was when I was travelling through Brazil last year and had to use basic Spanish structures with substituted Portuguese words in order to get around and communicate as English usage in South America isn’t as wide spread as Europe. I remember having to get two back to back taxis in a rush to make it to the airport in time for a flight at the end of my trip and having broken, but full Portuguese conversations explaining my intentions then talking about myself and what I had done in Brazil. Essentially I had learned by comprehensible input  and after this positive experience of using language in a practical way I became hooked on learning Spanish, the feeling of speaking in a non-native language and have people understand you is truly addictive and seeing how your fluency develops with effort and dedication feels simply amazing. Benny Lewis the famous polyglot who runs Fluent in Three Months has always preached this philosophy, but nerves and embarrassment always prevented me from speaking. Getting over the hurdle of feeling confident to speak in Spanish was very tough for me. I had tried intercambios (group language exchanges) a couple of times and for me personally they were not productive. I discovered I learn best with someone one to one who I feel comfortable and relaxed with. Continue reading “My language learning journey and preparing for DELE Spanish A2 exam”