Monday musings #8

The cost of living is unbelievably cheap here, it’s fantastic. Not only am I renting a two-story, three-bedroomed apartment for the price of my box room at university, the cost of food, transport, drinks and clothes is also considerably less than in England. It cost me 3 euros to go to the cinema last week, a large popcorn was a mere 2 euros and that was from the cinema itself – no need to smuggle in cheap snacks from home!

In most bars, drinks range from 1 to 2 euros and you can get tapas dishes for just 80 cents. I’ve heard of people paying 12 euros for two iced teas in Paris.. well here you can get three meals for that.

The ultimate Spanish bargain however, has got to be clothes. My favourite shop at home has always been Zara and I’m delighted to announce that here in Zafra we have access to multiple Zara-style shops for half the price. I love Spanish fashion so I really am spoiled for choice. When my first pay check comes through it’s going to be hard not to spend it all at once; I walk past the shops twice a day to get to work and the temptation is becoming unbearable.

So it may be that the money I save on living expenses will be spent on new outfits, but at least I’ll be a well-dressed teacher. After all, fashion is another way to integrate into Spanish culture and isn’t that the aim of the year abroad?


Marché Nocturne

Last night I ventured down the road to the local village, Roquebrune, for the evening market. I love a good market, any country, any time of year. Its always exciting browsing for unique items, tasting food samples and discovering bargains. There’s something special about markets on a warm summers evening too (no sign of hurricane Bertha here). Markets are very common in the Provence region, each town has an evening market and a day market at least once a week. Last night it was the Marché Artisanal – a selection of handmade items from local vendors. There were stalls selling jewellery, soaps, honey, olive oil, lavender bags, pastries and nougat. I’m a sucker for jewellery so I made a small purchase; a nice souvenir to remember my summer. The atmosphere consisted of a live band playing, little children running and stray cats roaming – it was typically French and just about perfect. image image image image

Stationary Dreaming

I am getting really, really, really nervous about flying off to France next week. However, one of the things helping me to get excited (other than writing this blog), has been the thought of filling brand new journals with my thoughts and experiences.

I have always had a stationary obsession, there is just something lovely about pretty notebooks, pens and letter-writing sets. It is no surprise that Paperchase remains one of my all-time favourite shops.
Conveniently, their new summer collections are travel-themed. The prints this season include bright florals, tropical palm trees, as well as vintage-style maps and stamps. As if the amazing stationary wasn’t enough, Paperchase have also started selling travel accessories and bags.

I was lucky enough to receive two travel diaries for my birthday so I decided not to buy anything this time. However, my love for stationary cannot be contained and I thought I’d write this post in appreciation of the beautiful new designs.

Perhaps by the time I head off to Spain in October I’ll be able to justify some new purchases..