We arrived in Spain a little more than a week ago, and already I dread the thought of leaving! Madrid is alive and there is always something interesting to do or see. I live near the Alonso Martinez metro stop in a very well-to-do neighborhood.
The Spanish would call it pijo, which means preppy or snobby. My neighborhood has countless shops and restaurants, and people come and go all day long. The stores are having rebajos right now, which means after-Christmas sales. I live in a nice apartment with a very doting senora named Carmen. She makes us an amazing dinner every night and gives us the freedom to come and go as we please. Carmen speaks no English, so when we are at home we always have to speak Spanish.
When we first arrived in Spain, we had an orientation in Toledo. It is a very beautiful city with an interesting religious history. The architecture and the culture of the town derive from Catholic, Jewish and Muslim heritages. These three groups cohabitated peacefully in Toledo for several decades.
We visited religious sites and the famous painting “El entierro del conde de Orgaz” by El Greco. We also had orientation classes at the Fundacion campus in Toledo, but mostly the weekend was for our group to get to know each other and explore the city. We are a very small group, only 13 students.
A few days after Toledo, we visited Segovia. Segovia has an incredible palace called La Granja, which was modeled after Versailles and is the oldest and most well preserved Roman aqueduct in all of Europe. The visits to Toledo and Segovia correspond with our Spanish civilization class, and we have several throughout the semester. I am really excited for these organized trips because we will get to see a lot of Spain. Our teacher and tour guide, Miriam, is so nice – as well as the rest of the profesores at the Fundacion.
I look forward to continuing these experiences, as this adventure is just beginning!