Posted by: amabroad | November 22, 2011

I have less than one month left.

I’ve been in Spain for two months, so I have had plenty of time to reflect. Here are some things that I miss about America:

–          Dunkin’ Doughnuts

I have come across two Dunkin’ Doughnuts during my time here, and neither of them carries bagels! A Dunkin’ without bagels?! That is unimaginable in the United States. I also miss hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is completely different here. It’s like drinking melted chocolate, it is super dark and thick. But it isn’t very sweet. I’ve never fully appreciated hot chocolate back home until now.

–          Driving

Man do I miss my car. I don’t mind waking everywhere here, but I miss being able to hop in my car and go anywhere I want.

–          Breakfast

I’m not really a big breakfast type of person. But after two months of eating two pieces of toast and drinking a cup of orange juice for breakfast, I am craving chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, syrup, waffles, home fries, and fruit salad. I can’t wait to go back to America, the land of big breakfast.

–          Water fountains

Water fountains are located everywhere in the U.S., at school, in the mall, in stores, at parks, etc. I have yet to see a water fountain here. They aren’t around because water is expensive. Water isn’t free at restaurants either. Whenever I travel, I make sure to always have a water bottle on hand.

–          Ovaltine 

 I drink ovaltine at least once day back home. I have not had ovaltine in two months because it’s not sold in Spain! In my opinion, cholcate milk does not taste as good here. Cola Cao and Nesquik are the main chocolate milk brands here and they simply do not compare.

Hasta luego,

A.

 

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Posted by: amabroad | November 21, 2011

Sundays in Salamanca

 I found out where everyone goes on Sundays. Normally on Sundays, Salamanca is like a ghost town. Sunday is the day of rest. The streets are empty and no one is out. I’ve recently discovered that everyone goes to the flea market on Sundays! When my host mom asked me if I wanted to go to the mercado (market) with her this weekend, I assumed that she meant the grocery store. But instead of taking me to the grocery, she took me to this huge open lot in a part of the city that I have never been to before.

There were people everywhere. It was difficult to walk without bumping into someone. Flea markets are serious business in Spain. They sell everything imaginable, from knives and mops to shoes and costumes. Stores are closed on Sundays here, so that’s why the flea market is open. If I can’t find any souvenirs from my final two trips, I’m definitely going to go back!

Hasta luego,

A.

Posted by: amabroad | November 18, 2011

Granada & The Alhambra

Grenada is a fun Spanish city that has Jewish and Arabic influences. I really liked that it was not full of tourists, so I was able to get a real sense of how Granada operates. The first night I was there, I went to a flamenco show! I had never seen flamenco before, so I didn’t know what to expect. My impression of flamenco is that it seems to be a very serious dance with a lot of stomping and dramatic flourishes. After the show, I went with some friends to get Chinese tapas. It felt like the best thing ever at the time, because I have had a severe craving for Chinese food since I arrived in Spain. The Chinese food here in Salamanca is hit or miss, but the Chinese tapas in Granada were excellent. I had spring rolls, shrimp, and noodles. (:

The next day I went to the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a Moorish fortress and palace that was built in the fourteenth century. It was also used as the palace for Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, after the Reconquista in the sixteenth century. The Alhambra was built on a hill that overlooks Granada. The view, buildings, and gardens are beautiful. It is a popular tourist attraction because of its Islamic architecture, gardens, and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 Hasta luego,

A.

Posted by: amabroad | November 14, 2011

Granada, Spain

I went to Granada last weekend and visited the Real Capilla de Granada Critpa y Museo de los Reyes Catolicas. That’s the cathedral where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are buried. They funded Christopher Columbus’ voyage over five hundred years ago. They’re caskets are underneath the church and there is a tiny stairway where I was able to walk down and see the caskets. The caskets are fairly standard, nothing spectacular. They looked to be made of a heavy metal and were laid next to each other. There is an enormous white marble statue on top of where they are buried. In the statue they are lying down next to each other. The statue is remarkable once you learn about it. Queen Isabella’s head weighs more than King Ferdinand’s; it’s obvious because her head sinks deeper into the pillow than his does. That means that she had more intelligence. Also, there is a lion resting at her feet, which means that she had all the power.

Queen Isabella’s crown was also on display. I was a little unsatisfied by her crown. I was expecting this elaborate golden crown covered in jewels and it was nothing like that. Her crown looked like sterling silver and was crudely made. I wish I could have taken pictures but photography was not allowed!

Hasta luego,

A.

Posted by: amabroad | November 10, 2011

Walking Through History

Francisco Franco was the ruler of Spain from 1939 to 1975. After his death, his icons were ordered to be removed by the government. But because his name and symbol have been inscribed on many of the buildings, they are hard to remove and can still be seen today. Yesterday in class I learned that a building that I walk past almost every day was the headquarters of his government for a few months. I took a closer look at the building today, and sure enough on the side there is the inscription “Caudillo Franco” (Leader Franco). There are marks and paint where people have thrown things at it, but it still can be seen. Franco’s eagle was also built into the wall on the top of the building where I go to school. During his reign, Franco’s eagle was put onto the Spanish flag with the message “Una Grande Libre” (One Big Free). His eagle is right on top of my school. I never noticed the eagle until today. The eagle would be expensive and structurally complicated to remove. It’s really amazing learning about Franco’s period and seeing direct relics from it. It feels like I’m walking through history.

Hasta luego,

A.

Posted by: amabroad | November 10, 2011

Here’s a little known fact about Europe:

McFlurry’s from McDonald’s are so much better in Europe than they are in the United States. They are unbelievably delicious here. Back home a McFlurry consists of just ice cream and some sort of candy or cookie. Here in Spain, McFlurry’s have ice cream, candy, and a topping blended together! The candy is either Chips Ahoy, Kit Kat, Peanut M&Ms, or Oreo and the topping is either caramel, white chocolate, or milk chocolate. Imagine ice cream, a cookie, and chocolate sauce mixed together; so good. Yesterday I had a McFlurry that was made up of vanilla ice cream, white chocolate sauce, and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies. It was the sweetest thing I’ve had since I have been in Spain. The chocolate was nice and sweet, the cookie give it a nice bite, and the ice cream held it together. Normally, I don’t eat fast food that often. But ever since I’ve been here all of the international kids I’ve talked to have mentioned how much better the McFlurry’s are here. After the fifth person had finished insisting that McFlurry’s are amazing here, I figured I would try one. It turns out, they were all right. McFlurry’s are incredible in Europe. I can’t wait to get another one!

Hasta luego,

A.

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