Aly Rudy, Alaina Dedo and I in front of the university.
Feliz marzo! I hope it’s getting warmer in Wisconsin, I know it was cold and snowy all February. It has actually snowed quite a bit in Valladolid this past month. We were told it never snowed here but it’s probably snowed at least five times, although it’s always short periods on time and small amounts that never accumulate, so I won’t complain.
Aly and I with tapas in Salamanca.
This last week I spent a lot of time in Salamanca, a city about an hour and a half away from Valladolid. Salamanca is a great city and is well known not only in Spain but internationally as well. It has a large university that bring in many exchange students. They city has a feel of a big college town in the United States, but with a lot of rich history as well. I have fallen in love with Salamanca wholeheartedly. I would love to spend an extended period of time there, I think going to school there would be amazing.
Anyways, on Feb. 22 there was a Bob Marley Music festival in Salamanca. One of my friends heard about it so we sort of last minute planned a trip to the city just for the night. It was so much fun to be to just drop everything and catch a cheap bus to an incredible city and jam out to some reggae music all night long. It was so much fun to experience the night life of another city and there are so many students in the city it was like being back home. It was heart warming in some sort of way. On the bus ride home the next morning I was so happy and felt so relaxed. Seeing live music, immersing myself in Spanish culture, and enjoying the night with friends is exactly what I needed.
In plaza mayor in Salamanca
Lucky for me, our school took an excursion today to Salamanca, so I was able to see it again and get some more historical background on the city. We visited all the key landmarks and buildings in the city including the cathedral, the university, and the plaza mayor. I love our class excursions and learning more about Spain in an environment outside of a classroom. I really like seeing the university building, it’s so beautiful and decorated with sculptures all around the front door. There’s a little story about a hidden frog on the building and if you find if you will have good luck. I found it! I was so proud of myself and hopefully this means my exams will go well. Haha. I also liked going to the Garden of Melibea and Callisto. It’s based around the well known Spanish story of Melibea and Callisto, who are two lovers that end up dying for each other (basically Spanish version of Romeo and Juliet).
Alaina in the garden of Melibea and Callisto.
There’s a garden in Salamanca were couples go and it’s romanic, filled with poem graffiti and all around beautiful scenery. We had several hours of free time and my friends and I walked around, shopped, and enjoyed the food and drink that Salamanca has to offer. Many bars and cafes offered a drink and a tapa (little appetizer/snack) for only 1.80euros. I had tortilla española, toasted bread with goat cheese, and many more. We probably stopped for tapas four or five times throughout the day while we shopped and roamed the city. I bought a pin with the Salamanca crest and put in on my backpack. My backpack is covered with patches of the countries I visit and pins of the cities I see. I can’t wait to see what it looks like after my spring break! I was also happy to buy a Spanish flag for only 3.50euros. I just hung it on the wall above my bed so that wall would have something on it besides a Catholic cross. Haha.
Aly with street art in the city.
Being surrounded by religion is just a given while you’re in Spain. At first I was a little nervous because I have never formally practiced a religion and I was afraid that my host mom or other Spaniards would think that is strange or make me uncomfortable. However, I have realized that Spaniards for the most part are very tolerant of the other view and religions. It makes me happy to see people with such strong beliefs not make a big out of the difference they have with others. I feel that here everyone will like you for your positives attributes and not judge so harshly on the negatives, while in the United States I feel it is often the other way around. I realize that I am very fortunate to be from the United States and I have a great life, but being here I can’t help but wish the United States and it’s people would change some of their ideas and views on certain things.
I am very much looking forward to the next couple of months of my stay. I’m almost halfway done and it’s already gone by so fast and I know it’s going to go even faster now. The next two weeks I have exams which are basically like midterms. Then I leave for spring break for almost two weeks. Once I get back to Valladolid I will be gone almost every weekend on a class excursion or a personal trip around Europe. I am beyond excited. So stay tuned for some good stories and adventures!
Alexia Szabo, a junior majoring in accounting, Spanish and international studies at UW-Stevens Point, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Spain.