Monday, July 11th:
Today we planned out our San Sebastian trip, woohoo! The train was $74.50 and the hostel was $14.50 per person. Not too shabby. I was so excited, I was told this was the most beautiful city in Spain and we are also doing surf lessons, something I have always wanted to learn. Nothing spectacular happened today, just hanging out and chatting! I tried the “gym” that my host mom showed me today. It was an outdoor area, almost looking like a park, but there was exercise equipment. I’m not too sure how to explain it, there was no squat rack or bench press or treadmill, just weird little machines to use. Look at my photos. Running felt good, I really miss it because I feel so much happier and better about myself. I definitely need to continue that while I’m here so I don’t gain too much weight from all of the carbo-loaded yet delicious meals I’m getting.
Tuesday, July 12th:
During my Children’s Literature class, we got to adventure out into the city to the location where the story that we were reading, Lazarillo de Tormes, had taken place. HOW COOL! We also tried Hornazo, a Spanish meat pie stuffed with pork loin, spicy chorizo sausage, it was so yummy!
This was an “Alyssa, you are taking classes and actually have work to do, so you should probably get to it” day. I had an essay due the next day and boy I was stressing. I still didn’t feel confident with my Spanish skills, but I went to office hours and got help. She helped me re-gain my confidence, and my friends and I hammered out our papers! I really am enjoying my classes, there is so much I am learning about the history and culture of this amazing place.
Side note: I keep having the worst cravings for just a iced chai or caramel latte and it is killing me. The only thing I can get is this mini-sized iced coffee (probably normal to Spain, but minuscule in comparison to the super sized coffees we get in America) with milk. I definitely need to adjust. Starbucks, where art thou?
Wednesday, July 13th:
Today, my churro virginity had been taken, and it was glorious. After classes, we went to Valor Chocolateria and split churros. If you have never had them, you need to stop reading my awful blog and go find some right now.
After, I went for a run. It felt..normal. I miss running and it was really exciting to just get lost on the streets of the city by myself for awhile. But oh lucky me, when I came back, the water was shut off because they were doing construction with the pipes. This happened yesterday morning too, but it wasn’t that big of a deal because I left for the day. Sitting there for a few hours until it eventually came back on was NO BUENO.
Dinner was nice. Much of the time Isabel’s twin granddaughters will come over. I said before that they hated me, but I have been making progress! If I talk to them and ask them questions they will nod their heads….progress! In no time we will be playing all sorts of fun games together (probably not but, you know, a girl can dream.)
KARAOKE NIGHT! We all went out and danced and sang, just like last week. It was a blast! We even got our program advisor to come out, which was so fun because she’s great! And God bless Hot Bartender Danny.
Thursday, July 14th:
After classes and the necessary siesta, Becca and I wandered around for a little while. We went to the bus station because on Saturday we would be traveling to Bejar to go hiking. I was so excited! And I was also proud of us for finding our way there and figuring out what bus we needed to take and what time. Maybe I can make it in the Spanish world after all.
During the evening was a nice dinner date at El Corrillo. The food was amazing. And it was so funny, as we were the only ones in a restaurant, because it is abnormal to eat as early as 8:30 PM (which I still have not gotten used to.) Walking around the city at night is magical. Words and pictures will never explain its beauty.
Friday, July 15th:
Classes, but no siesta today Instead a few of us went out and got churros (Yes, for the second time in a week…no shame.) After walking around and checking out this strange 6 floor shopping/market building, El Corte Ingles, I went home and relaxed. I really needed to catch up on sleep. As much as I love the buzz of everything going on, I definitely needed some alone time (AKA also to update this blog because I keep forgetting about it…oops..)
Saturday, July 16th:
Bejar! We took a bus to Bejar, roughly a 1.5 hour drive. We had a day planned full of hiking! We asked for directions and then began our trek. It was a work out for sure but it was amazing. The view the entire way up was so pretty with the mountains and the little cities on the sides. We took a trail that led us to Pena de la cruz, a cross that overlooked all of Bejar. After taking a million pictures, we sat and ate lunch, feeling on top of the world (literally. It was a feeling of pure happiness, which as we all now does always come around that often. It just sneaks up on you and then you feel like this is exactly where you should be, at peace with everything even for just a moment. We listened to music and talked until we had to head back. We got back and had enough time for some tapas and icecream. The way back was fun, we all shared crazy stories (@Jalen) and hung out. What an amazing day!
Sunday, July 17th:
Today was our excursion to El Escorial, a castle/palace near Madrid. It was so beautiful! I just imagined the family living there and what it would be like the entire time. The tour guide told us all about the history of the rooms we went in. The castle had an amazing library with a ton of super old books and a cathedral. There were even rooms with the bones of the royal families that lived there in coffin-like things. It sounds morbid but it was really cool. Towards the end of the tour everyone got pretty hangry. But after eating, we walked out into the gardens, and they were so beautiful. They were my favorite part of the excursion. The bushes were all cut into cool, crisp patterns, and they overlooked the mountains and city. After we went to Ávila and our guide showed us a few cathedrals and we walked around the city. I do not understand how every place in Spain can be so magnificent and beautiful but it keeps happening!
We also met a few friends on the bus too. Raury, from the Netherlands, and Charley and David from New Zealand. They taught us about their country and we invited them to come out with us sometime. Although I haven’t befriended any locals, I really appreciated being able to meet people from all over the world, sharing the same experience as me and learning more about other cultures and lifestyles.
To learn more about the (Language and Culture in Salamanca) program, please visit: M-Compass