Laura in Spain

Laura is a sophomore majoring in political science and Spanish in Dedman College. In Spring 2009, she will be taking courses toward her Spanish major in Spain at the Fundacion Jose Ortega y Gasset, while being immersed in Spanish culture.

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Toledo and the Three Cultures

l-Toledo_Pic.jpg I have been in Spain for exactly two weeks and have absolutely loved every minute of it! We have made two class trips with the Fundacion – Toledo and Segovia; both of which are rich in Spanish history.

Our first experience in Spain was a trip and orientation in Toledo. We arrived on Thursday, January 8, where we met students from two other universities who will also be studying abroad this semester. The director and various professors held several sessions about our new life in Spain. They also gave us a lot of free time, in which my friends and I took advantage and explored Toledo!

l-Toledo-Museum-of-Torture-weapons-sm.jpg We walked around the narrow streets and got lost a couple thousand times. We came across a Spanish Inquisition weapon’s museum. It was interesting and gruesome at the same time. As we exited the exhibition, a Spanish passer-by told us that we shouldn’t have gone in there because it was a horrible sight. In my opinion we need to know all the history so that we may not repeat it.

Lunch was a Spanish lentil soup (similar to my mom’s Mexican lenteja soup) with pork, salad, and a glass of water. As I was having my meal, the director, Maria, taught us that the number one rule in Spain is that you never place your bread on the same plate as your main course. We all had to move it onto the table. There is so much to learn about living in Spain!

l-Toledo-Cathedral-at-night-sm.jpgThat afternoon, we took a trip to the Cathedral, which was by far my favorite place during the entire trip. It is an amazing structure where you can vividly see the reason behind Toledo’s nickname: a ciudad de las Tres Culturas. We were able to note the Gothic structures built in the 13th century, as well as some mosque-like structures that the church has decided to keep as a part of history.

One of the Cathedral’s treasures is the custodia, which is used for a processional walk that is done once a year around Toledo, and it weighs over 850 pounds. Most importantly, it was made from the first gold brought back to Spain from the Americas! I was not able to get a picture, but encourage everyone to look it up because it is an intricate and amazing figure.

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