First I would like to apologize that I have not been updating my blog for the past two weeks, but I do have a legitimate excuse. Two weeks ago the internet socket in my computer “burned” and I was unable to connect to the internet. My host mom and I went to the computer store and left my computer there for what I thought would be a few days, but turned out to be two weeks! Needless to say, I missed my computer and connection to my friends and family back home greatly, but finally got my computer back today! I must say that after this, I will never complain when it takes ITS at Holy Cross 24 hours to fix a computer! I apologize that this post is a little lengthy but think of it as a double post as I was unable to write on last week! Besides my lack of a computer these past two weeks have been amazing…
On Wednesday, September 29th, there was a national strike around all of Europe, but it was most dramatic in Spain. The strike was against the government cutting certain budgets, and passing laws that would make it easier for workers to be laid off. On Tuesday, I didn’t think much of the strike, perhaps some stores will be closed and maybe a few people will hold some signs, but nothing major. I was wrong. On Wednesday morning, as soon as I left my apartment I saw thousands of people marching up my street! They were all dressed in red and carried banners and balloons. The march lasted until 2 PM and then the rest of the day was pretty quiet, but of course nothing was open. The next day, I was watching the news and apparently Coruña’s strike was fairly tame. For example, in Madrid and Barcelona people lit buses on fire as a protest and there were many arrests. Being interested in politics myself, witnessing the strike fascinated me and made me realize that this is one of the experiences during my year, that I will never forget. As my 90 year old host aunt says, “this day will go down in history!”
That Sunday, October 3rd, my friend Kelsey and I completed a 15 mile hike through the Galician countryside. When we signed up for the event, we thought, “Lets see the Galician countryside when the weather is still nice!” Well we did see the countryside, but the weather was terrible (and I am from Chicago…). We encountered rain, hurricane force winds, sleet, hail and very cold temperatures. Furthermore, in comparison with the other 30 people on the trip, Kelsey and I were completely unprepared. Everyone had intense rain pants, hiking boots, and multiple layers of coats and fleeces, while Kelsey and I were in capri’s and shorts and a rain coat. Aside from the horrible weather, the countryside was gorgeous. We walked through small towns, mountains, fields and forests that I would never have had the opportunity to see, if it were not for this excursion. So while the weather was horrendous, I do not whatsoever regret completing this 15 mile hike.
This past Thursday, two other HC students were invited by their entire Spanish literature class to dinner. Since I wanted to meet some Spaniards, I of course, invited myself. Thinking it would be just a few people, I was completely shocked when I arrived and found myself sitting at a table with 30 other Spaniards ! However, it turned out to be quite a fun night, I was able to practice (and communicate!) in Spainish and eat a lot of good food!
This past weekend Kelsey and I took advantage of our 3 day weekend and went to Vigo, Spain. Vigo is another city in Galicia and is located on a river that connects to the Atlantic Ocean. On Saturday we walked all over Vigo, explored an old fort, museums, statues, the river front, and witnessed a large sailing race. Then on Sunday, we went to Las Islas Cies. These islands are just off the coast of Vigo and are absolutely gorgeous. The islands were once the sight of many cruel pirate attacks and currently the only development on the islands is a campground facility with bathrooms and a restaurant. On the Islands we hiked for over four hours, climbing the forested mountains, sticking our feet in the water, looking out to the vast open ocean and taking numerous pictures.
Yesterday, I went to “Finnesterre” or translated “The End of the Earth.” Finnesterre is a long peninsula on the Galician coast line that juts out into the Atlantic, appearing as though it is the end of the earth. Several hundred years ago, when people believed that the world was flat; people would gaze from this strip of land and wonder where in the ocean our planet dropped off into space.
Dato Divertido: People in Galicia eat a lot of fish. Growing up, I hated fish. The only way I would eat it was if it was deep fried and drenched in ketchup. My dad, being a fisherman in a previous life, was always very disappointed. However, after coming to Coruña I officially love fish, as the fish here is so excellent and fresh! For the past two weeks, almost every day for lunch we have had some sort of fish (fish cake, shell fish, fish soup, white fish, fish pasta and many more variations of fish). While I have yet to try the famous pulpo gallego (octopus)…it is definitely next on my list!