outside the city limits (madrid).

Homemade Sangria Bucket

One great thing about living in Karlsruhe, Germany over a spot like Munich or Berlin is that I feel like I really get to see what life in Germany is really like. There are plenty of internationals here, but none compared to these bigger cities. As fast as I found my English-speaking groups here, I would find them twenty times faster and waves of Americans in one of the larger cities. It would be so easy to fall into a group with a familiar accent, enjoy the sights and cultural events together, and not look back. However, living here, 80 percent of my friends speak German fluently, I live with Germans, I date a German, I eat homemade German meals by Germans, etc.

When you travel, particularly when time is limited, opportunities to get outside the main city center just do not present themselves. With so many sights packed within walking distance, it’s easy to fall into the normal tourist routine of each city. Luckily for me in Madrid, Dani provided a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of life in Spain outside Madrid. A friend of hers hosted a goodbye party at a family member’s home about 20 miles outside Madrid. The home was an iconic Spanish stucco mansion with a clay tile roof that homes all over the US, particularly California, imitate. The house also defined prime party house: huge, huge yard, swimming pool, and NOTHING inside to break (the house had been robbed of everything, including the flooring). During the day, everyone gathered outside and drank homemade sangria (cue the Jerry Jeff Walker) and barbecued. At night everyone moved indoors, lit up the fire places and played some EXCELLENTE Spanish techno jams. It was such a treat to party with a ton of Spaniards on their true home turf.

Homes are an obsession of mine. I love making new friends and getting to see their house or apartment. Living spaces say so much about a person: decorations, tidyness, art, photographs, which items they put their money into within the space, etc. So, seeing homes in another culture is always a special treat and a great learning opportunity. I also had this opportunity in Istanbul! Seeing some local culture outside the city  limits is such a unique experience.

Have you ventured outside the city limits of any major tourist cities?

  • http://cocalores.blogspot.com Anja

    Having someone invite you into their home is definitely a great opportunity of learning more about them, but also about their culture. Having a peek into someone’s home on their blog cannot be compared to actually seeing the place. And it’s so much better to be able to stay for a day or two, and live life like the locals =)

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      It makes SUCH a difference and is also why I really need to try Couchsurfing in the future!

  • http://www.sparklesandshoes.com Kelly

    It looks like you had a great time, nice photos!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  • http://reddyorknot.blogspot.com Sam @ Reddy Or Knot

    Just read a couple of your posts and your about me and am obsessed with your cool life! Can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Yayyy so glad you found my blog, love new blog friends!

  • http://sunshineandsiestas.com Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    I once wrote a post on what NOT to expect at a Spanish barbecue. They’re locas!

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      I found your what TO expect post, and sounds pretty spot on with my experience :)

  • http://browniediaries.blogspot.com Kaity

    hold on, you’re dating a German? have you mentioned this before??

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      I don’t think so 😉 maybe I’ve alluded to it, but that’s it… He’ll stay out of the blog spotlight for now

  • http://confuzzledom.wordpress.com/ bevchen

    Haha… I know exactly what you mean about Karlsruhe!

  • Adrienne

    Wow!! I’m so jealous! What an awesome experience!! Found ya on “I Wore Yoga Pants”

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Thanks for stoppin by Adrienne! It was pretty great!

  • http://gravatar.com/helenesula Helene in Between

    that looks like a blast. my favorite was the picture when y’all are poring alcohol into the plastic container!

  • http://astoryofustogether.blogger.mx Kristen Schnelle

    Looks like fun! Love the last photo. I get what you’re saying about being surrounded by locals. We do not hang out with any expats. All of our friends are Mexican and in the long run, they are the ones who have been able to help us the most. But mostly, we just love how warm and welcoming the Mexican people are. Everyone is family.

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      Germans aren’t so known for being “warm” or “welcoming”, but I’ve found their other qualities super fab. And the Spanish definitely were so warm and welcoming!

  • http://landofcandycanes.blogspot.com Katrin

    So true! I love seeing the apartments of others. They tell you so much about that person!

  • http://sarainlepetitvillage.blogspot.com/ Sara Louise

    Jerry Jeff Walker. And now I’m homesick.

    • http://ifsandsandbutts.com ifs ands & butts

      I’ve been listening to him on pretty much repeat since I writing this post reminded me of him.