Ashley in Madrid

Ashley is a junior majoring in Spanish and psychology in Dedman College and an SMU Distinguished Scholar. During 2011-12 she is participating in SMU-in-Spain. She is eager to improve her Spanish, to get to know other students in the program and to explore Madrid and the rest of Europe.

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Touring Segovia and random observations

In the palace gardens

Last Friday our group took a trip to Segovia, which is a little more than an hour north of Madrid. On our way there, we played some charades on the bus, which was more than entertaining.

The first thing we saw there was El Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso, a palace where the royal family still sometimes stays. The palace gardens were absolutely beautiful.

Next we headed to Segovia’s aqueducts, which were constructed almost 2,000 years ago by the Romans, and they still work today!

After that we checked out a couple churches and had our lunch break. During lunch we sampled some authentic Segovian desserts – ponche segoviano (yum) and leche frita (not yum). We accidentally ordered a ton of the leche frita, which was unfortunate since we weren’t its biggest fans. But we had some fun convincing the rest of our group to try it, and we managed to get rid of almost all of it that way.

View from the top of the castle

After lunch we went to the Alcázar de Segovia, a castle. We toured inside and then climbed approximately 1 million steps up a teensy, narrow tower to reach the top. After catching our breath, we enjoyed the wonderful views of Segovia.

After that we headed back to Madrid. Overall, I liked Segovia. It was very beautiful.

With regard to the “study” aspect of study abroad, I had my first presentation in one of my classes this week. It went well, pretty uneventful. School is starting to pick up, though! And my art history class went to the Prado today, which was great, of course.

And to conclude, some random observations:

  • I have realized that I don’t like asking for directions. Why? I don’t know. But I prefer to wander around aimlessly, frustrated and lost, rather than asking for help. Stupid but true.
  • I went to Dia the other day in search of some basic groceries, including peanut butter and ziploc bags, neither of which they sell there! What?! I knew that peanut butter would be expensive, but I didn’t know that they actually wouldn’t sell it some places. I thought this was interesting because in America, I could find both peanut butter and ziploc bags anywhere, like at a gas station, and here they’re not at the grocery store!
  • I now have a Club Dia card, which is the same concept as a CVS Rewards card. This makes me feel very legit, like I belong here and grocery shop here enough to benefit from a rewards card. Which I guess I do.
  • Spanish people have a thing about being barefoot in the house, so we wear slippers or flip-flops all the time. This really makes me appreciate being able to be barefoot for a few minutes whenever Carmen’s not home. Back in the States, when I had the option, I didn’t even really like being barefoot that much! But now, when I get the chance, it’s a nice feeling. Another thing which I have randomly started to enjoy more since coming to Spain is tomatoes. I’ve always liked them but now I adore them. I don’t know why.
  • I typed on a Spanish keyboard today! That was interesting, because they have keys for the letters with different accents and such. I accidentally kept pressing the “ç” key instead of enter.
  • All yogurt here (that I have encountered so far) is white, no matter the flavor! I didn’t even realize that we dye our yogurt at home, which obviously we do, until I opened up a strawberry yogurt here and, while it tastes like strawberries, it looks like vanilla!

That’s all for now. Barcelona this weekend!!! So. Excited.

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