Friday, October 19, 2012

ahh, back to oatmeal

My day has been unusually productive and happy =) except for this bocadillo vegetal I bought. Biggest waste of 3.80 ever. It had white asparagus and mayonese, which I hate. These were not listed on the menu. Extrememly ticked now that I'm eating oatmeal when I have a big hike this weekend.

I'm going to Picos de Mampodre. I signed up through the PE department and all 28 of us leave 6:30 tomorrow morning. We're staying overnight in a hostal somewhere around there, south of Santander up north.

I'm expecting it to just be me and Spanish students attending the USAL!!!

After class, I got two small yet delicious tapas for 1.80 euro, siesta-ed for about two hours then hit the town. I met with a freind from York, England. He's meeting his son in the Canary islands next week so this was his last weekend to explore a bit and such. We made a bunch of stops and we went to parts of town I still hadn't even heard of! I probably would not have ever made it there without him.

(I finished my glass of oatmeal; I'm still hungry.)

Powershopping was next on my list. I bought a pair of silver earrings made here in Salamanca for 6.50 euro and I reached my goal of finding a plain black headband. ??? Which was a lot more difficult to find than you'd expect. No jokes. I worked for that .60 cents. And in the process, I found a bunch of stellar shops I've been meaning to look at. Including a retro vintage store and a tienda that has hand-made Spanish bags! eek!

I went to my normal stores to make sure the things I want didn't sell. hehehe. You know if I had my way, my wardrobe would be fairly gaudy...

Almost 22:00, I'm still hungry, I haven't showered, I don't have everything packed, I haven't showered, I have to wake up at 5:30,  ug.  All in the name of travel.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Athens, Madrid, Salamanca

I walk through the Plaza Mayor everyday.  Between my second and third classes of the day, I enjoy the buzz of locals, tourists.

On this overcast morning, I walked through to find a group of students chanting together accompanied by the sounds of whistles, drums, and news reporters. I didn't really see this at first, I just heard it. It took me awhile to walk to the other side of the Plaza since construction has been going on for the upcoming annual antique book fair.

It was a young crowd of university students with cardboard signs with slogans like "Education isn't an expenditure, it's an investment". The back half of the Plaza was just teeming.

The window was left open during my next class. I wish I could have seen what was happening in the Plaza Mayor. They sounded like they were right under our window. The whistles and drums faded; their voices were the highlight of the moment. For maybe 30 minutes strong they didn't let up. The only thing the prof said about it was "Well, the people on the streets seem to be happy today."

By the time class ended, the Plaza Mayor was empty. Everyone must have gone back to class.

While Rajoy is in Bucharest today, I hope he knows his disapproval rating is getting much higher and the average age much lower.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vigo, Galicia, Espana

I just came back from a three day weekend with two friends and already I'm writing out a list of things I need for my hiking excursion this upcoming weekend.

Vigo is quite the whole-in-the-wall. We saw very few tourists and a lot of the city. Not only did we see the city, hiked up to its castro (hilltop fortress), and find the bar with the best overall experience I've ever had at that hour, we made our way to Las Islas Cies (SEE-es). (Wow, I sound like a Las Vegas tour book).

We took the earliest ferry there and returned on the latest one possible. We started the morning off with a solid hike to an observation area, which wasn't as stunning and secluded as the hike up. That took us part way down the mountain over some golden-moss covered boulders where we dined on our lunch. Overlooking nearby archipelago and rolling waves, we ate our picnic of cheese and tomato on a baguette with peaches for dessert. It was the best combination of bread, cheese, and tomato I've had.

After lunch hours took us to a beach, la Playa Rodas (rated number one beach in the world...). It was quite stunning, but too cold for me to rate as the number one anywhere. That's right, in mid October, we swam in the northern Atlantic. (My friends are Canadian by the way).

It was a gorgeous view from the water. I even ended up picking up a particularly large shell straight from underneath me, which I'm sending home to my mum. But even that didn't compare to the Bulgarian side of the Black Sea in June. Sorry, Spain.

The clouds moved in toward the end of our stay. We sat inside and wrote postcards home.

After getting back to our hostel near the Marina, we took a two hour nap and went out for our last seafood dinner. There was only one thing that interested me on the menu: Risotto alla Fruta del Mari. Risotto with seafood. Of course, I couldn't help but to think of my dear Lugano or that I can't find a box of risotto in any grocery store in Spain...

What I miss most about Vigo was not the food or its surrounding island. I miss "El Rincon, de las artistas". We (the bartender from Uruguay, the owner from Argentina, and me) are still in contact (a whole two days later!). I showed up the first night after Caroline and Alycia went to bed. There was a three person troupe playing some kind of retro Flamenco. I tried three types of Orujo (a type of grape made into licor): tostado, blanco, y crema. I've learned; always order crema de orujo. It's sweeter than the kind I bought in Salamanca and has a spike. Not a kick, but a spike. The other two are just too strong for me. I want to enjoy my alcohol, not gulp it down. (Also, don't go for the licor de cafe. No caffeine, but it's just not very Spanish). After I finished my three shots, the Argentinian owner poured me a glass of Crema de Orujo, on the house. The Spaniards had just finished playing, the Argentian owner started playing tango guitar, and I had my favorite Spanish drink. It was lively and I was talking to people (no one asked where I was from!!). I don't think I could have been happier. Live, local music makes it or breaks it.

Three days later, I posted a total of 569 photos within five albums.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another bright and sunny week

Although I was awake until midnight cooking a butternut squash, it turned out quite tasty. Unfortunately, it's already gone (a breakfast, lunch, and dinner later). Peach sautee with honey again for dessert. yes.

I walked to El Corte Ingles last night, which turned out to be the worst department store I've experienced. Ever. Good thing I was equipt with a batido con zumo de naranja y melocoton (smoothie with orange juice and peaches).

I'm on a peach streak.

At Flamenco class earlier I learned a new step, which I'm proud of. It's called "contra el tacon" (against the heel). It was deceivingly easy, then the instructor had us do it in double time. arg.

I've studied all my subjects tonight, wrote my two postcards to my cousins, and have started packing for my three day weekend in Vigo, Galicia!!!!

Thursday afternoon after class I'm going with Caroline, my roomie, and Alycia, two wonderful Canadians. We have Friday off for Columbus Day/ El Virgin de Pilar. Lovely, eh?

And here I am, getting ready to go to a salsa bar after a dinner of a scrambled egg with herbabuena y rooibos tea.

To be continued...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Salmantino Nightlife...

Did everyone skip the clubs and just go to sleep early last night? After all that disappointment and build up from this week, I can say that I've had better nights in Lugano and even Frankfurt. I had read so much about Salamanca before coming and so much of it included the "nightlife". It is a quite peaceful town, though overflowing with student life. Spain could very well be the Las Vegas of Europe, but only to a certain extent. (I can't imaging this quiet continent wanting to do half the things I've only heard about in Vegas).

 The good part, though, was that everything was within walking distance. No bus, taxi, or train necessary.

As my friend Alyssa and I headed out the door and onto the main road, we were bombarded with water balloons. That's right, as we were walking, some kid was throwing water balloons from an eight story apartment.

Then we had a 17-year old Irish kid buy us drinks.


Shouldn't he have been in bed?

All I wanted to do was dance, maybe find a decent salsa bar hot spot. I'm just going to have to try another night.

Or just save my energy on studying and traveling.

Next weekend is a three day weekend. I'm thinking Galicia!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

First week of classes, Salamanca style.

First week of classes???? Success!! Here is my schedule:

-Gramatica (dos horas)
-La Historia de Espana (un hora)
- El mundo arabe en el mundo espanol (un hora)
-Destrezas Escritas (un hora)

I attend classes from 9:00 until 14:20, without any breaks. I have a 10 minute passing period to get through the Plaza Mayor to my next building (which I can never find). With as much traveling as I do, you'd think I wouldn't be quite this directionally challenged...

I've been eating out for lunch everyday, though I have a kitchen. Grocery shopping has been tough because of the siesta hours from 14:00 til 16:30. The only things I have in the pantry are oatmeal, budget spanish chocolate, a huge jar of honey from Caceres, extra virgin olive oil from somewhere in this country, and licor de orujo (pressed from a Spanish grape and herbs, very strong, somewhat like Irish Bailey's).

More updates to come.