This is definitely my month of travel. As two weeks ago I went to London, last weekend I went to Salamanca and this coming weekend I am hitting the ski slopes and visiting the other HC kids in León, Spain. Since, I haven´t yet travelled to León, I will talk about my adventure to Salamanca in this blog…but keep posted for the León blog!
First, let’s start with Thursday. Liz an HC student who is studying in Palma de Mallorca, Spain came to check up on us crusaders in A Coruña. I hadn´t seen Liz since we were all together in Pamplona, so it was so much fun to catch up and compare stories of our adventures in Spain. If I haven´t mentioned already, there are three HC programs in Spain (Coruña, Palma and León) all of which are in very different locations but (somewhat) equally exciting and interesting cities. So while without a doubt, Coruña is the best, if you are considering studying abroad, consider them all!
Ok..back to the travels! Last Friday morning, Kelsey and I woke up before the sun, and hopped on a seven hour bus ride to Salamanca, Spain. This gorgeous city is located in Castile and León the autonomy just east of Galicia. The entire bus ride I was completely fascinated by the drastic change in terrain that lay outside the bus window. Soon after leaving Coruña, we passed waterfalls, rich green hills, rivers and thick fog rising into the sky. However, right before we crossed into Castile and León, the landscape quickly changed to snow-capped mountains and then shortly after the view was flat dry lands. While I had learned about the diverse geography in class, I had no idea there would be this many drastic changes in a seven hour drive.
When we arrived in Salamanca we met up with one of Kelsey´s high school friends who gave us a tour of the entire city. Salamanca is a ¨traditional¨ old Spanish city, with giant and overly impressive cathedrals, tiny and narrow streets, endless rows of tapas bars, and a picturesque roman bridge. Additionally, Salamanca is probably best known for the university…which is actually the oldest in Spain and one of the first in Europe! After two full days of walking from sunrise to sunset through the old and new cathedrals, gorgeous parks, and the historic buildings of the university, we were absolutely exhausted and nearly passed out for the entire bus ride back to A Coruña.
Dato Divertido: Besides my one night stay in Madrid, this was the first time that I spent more than 12 hours in a different autonomy besides Galicia. In Spain, there are 17 different autonomies and 2 cities in Morocco (Ceuta and Melilla) that are all controlled by the Spanish government. Every autonomy has a certain level of self-control, but the majority of the laws are made and enforced by the central/national government. While from the outside, it may appear that the northern, southern, eastern and western regions of Spain are all similar, this is far from true. Every autonomy, province and city for that matter, are extremely different, each with their own rich cultural traditions, languages, dialects, food and festivals!
Kelsey and I in the Plaza Mayor!
Huge, gorgeous plaza!