By now I’ve completed my first full week in Spain (this was supposed to go up on Wednesday but it took me 3 days to finish so I added the events of a few more days.) and it has been a blast though a blur, to say the least. I’ve been to 3 cities and visited enough things that I could come home now having learned and seen A LOT.
I flew in Madrid after a long but smooth trip. I spent the first two nights of the trip in Madrid and visited the Prado Museum (traditional and classic art) and the Reina Sofia Museum (Modern Art) where I got to see some masterpieces like Las Meninas and La Guernica. We also walked through the city exploring churches, plazas and enjoying tapas and sangria.
After Madrid, we rode a bus to the former capital of Spain, Toledo. It’s a fascinating old and hilly city that has great mountain views and churches that feature lots of works by the artists Goya and El Greco.
My roommate and I arrived in our new neighborhood, Triana, on Saturday to meet our señora. Juliana. She’s friendly, warm and an excellent cook. She’s offered me the perfect amount of support and space since I’ve been in her home. The apartment is in a beautiful building, in a quaint local neighborhood and I love watching the neighbors come and go. In my classes, I’ve studied the financial crisis in Spain and I remember learning that the family unit here is undergoing a major change. People aren’t getting married as young or maybe at all but I don’t think Sevilla is in trouble. There are babies in prams, young kids on practice bikes, pregnant women and little dogs everywhere. I particularly enjoy seeing the people who have matching pairs of dogs and the young niñas pushing their own dolls in prams. The concept and makeup of families in Spain maybe have shifted but the Spanish family is still intact.
During this week, I’ve been exploring, making friends, trying new foods and drinks and adjusting to a more Spanish way of life. I visited the Cathedral, La Plaza de España and the Alcazar, eaten tapas, drank a little cava and a lot of sangria. I ate paella, tortilla and lots of Tostada. I’ve also attended class.
As fun and exciting as this week has been, it hasn’t been easy. I miss my family. I miss my bed. I miss air conditioning. Because, it’s hot in Sevilla. It’s beautiful but hot. So far my major issues stem from the intense heat. Those of you who are also from South Carolina might scoff. It’s hot at home, I know, but there I don’t spend that much time outside when it’s hot and humid. I go from the house to the car and back again. Here, I walked 45 minutes to class at 8 am, turn around at 2:30 for lunch everyday and again anytime I want to see any of my friends or the major attractions of the city that are located across the Guadalquivir river. The Sevillanos walk everywhere. They have public transport but it’s not that wide spread so even taking a bus or metro requires at least 10 mins of walking from my apartment and then again once you get off. To paraphrase the book of Matthew, “my soul is willing but my [feet] are so weak”. I was betrayed by my well worn Chacos and ended up with terrible blisters right away. By now, they’ve healed and when I wear the right shoes, I’m power-walking my way through this amazing city.
The first few days have been so much fun and so challenging and I’m excited to spend the next few months here exploring Spain and Europe.
I’d appreciate some love from home so if anyone who wants to send me mail you can do so here.
Attn: Hannah Woodson
Calle Brasil 3
41013 Sevilla Spain