It is August 27, 10:30 PM (3:30 PM in Houston) as I write this, aka my second full day in Spain. I have passed by Ávila, been to Salamanca, Cartuja de Miraflores, and now, Burgos. There is nothing more I can say other than I have fallen in love with this country. Its people, its food, its traditions… everything is beautiful and amazing.
Getting here was quite terrible: I slept at most three hours and once in the Madrid airport, I had to walk endless halls and go through different escalators to get to my suitcases and finally, the PRESHCO Equipo. We got to Madrid at around 9:30 AM (Spain time, which was 2:30 AM CST, aka regular sleep time). From the arrival time to meeting the Equipo, it was around an hour. Sadly, we had to wait more hours in the airport because the group flight was delayed four hours. We were all exhausted and we just wanted to sleep. Once the group flight arrived, we headed to Salamanca. I took a nap in the bus, as did everyone else. That first night in Salamanca, we had a great dinner, as well as a group of traditional singers and dancers as a surprise. After dinner, some of us decided to explore the town of Salamanca and went to Plaza Mayor, where we had our first Sangría. We had great conversations, got to know each other, and struggles to divide the tab at the end since none of had change. Day one, done.
Day two consisted of a guided tour of the Old and New Cathedrals, the first university of Spain, and Plaza Mayor. I had previously taken a class on the culture and history of Spain, but seeing it all in person was a whole other level. I had Tapas and more Sangría. Later at night, I had Tinto de Verano for the first time. Everything was great. I also had Paella de mariscos from El caracol blanco (if you ever go to Salamanca and want some great paella, go there). The chef even let us go inside his kitchen and see how he made it. Also, the prices for foods and drinks here is great! After dinner, we headed to Plaza Mayor, where I had that Tinto de Verano. We saw someone playing the drums and people from the crowd dancing. Day two, done.
Day three consisted of travel and exploring. We left beautiful Salamanca and visited Cartuja de Miraflores on our way to Burgos. The monastery was beyond admirable and mesmerizing. The architecture, the details, and seeing where the Catholic King and Queen were buried was something I honestly did not expect. After an hour there, we headed to Burgos. I didn’t think it could get better than Salamanca, but boy was I wrong. Our hotel is near the Cathedral and needless to say, it is a beautiful town and area. Although we struggled to carry our luggage to the hotel, it was all worth it. We had lunch and in the hour or so that we were in the hotel, we witnessed around four different weddings, all with different traditions. After lunch we went to tour the Cathedral and I was amazed at the detail with what it was made. Then, some of us went to explore around Burgos and discovered the beauty the city has, walking through plazas and parks. Day three, done.
I never understood why people said they fell in love with Spain when they visited. I always figured it would be a nice country with old traditions. The truth is, now that I am here, I can see why they fell in love with it. The country is rich in history. The culture has old and new traditions. Every city is different. It’s my third day here, second full day, and I am already in love with Spain. I cannot wait to see what other cities are like, and what I learn and take in during my stay here.