I have officially been in Europe (Spain mainly) for 20 days, meaning that my trip is over half over. Where does the time go? I feel like it’s been forever since I left but at the same time it feels as though I haven’t been here for that long. Time always passes so quickly when I’m traveling and sometimes I really don´t appreciate it because it means my trip is over before I know it. Even so, to travel is to live and I am loving my life right now!
After visiting friends in Barcelona and Paris, I finally settled down in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a small town outside of Madrid and located in the center of Spain on May 24. I wish I could describe to you how beautiful it is here and how much I love it. These few pictures will have to suffice, but it’s even more beautiful in person. I’m studying at María Cristina, which is located right next to the monastery of San Lorenzo. All of our rooms, located on the second floor, face into a square in the middle, which holds a beautiful garden and fountain. This is a picture of the amazing, gorgeous, wonderful view from my room. Every morning while I get ready for class I open up the window and let the cool air rush in as I look out on the garden. It´s always one of those moments where I feel like I´m exactly where I´m supposed to be. I have my own room and bathroom, which is really nice as well because after a couple weeks of the floor, hostel beds, and a couch, some privacy is wonderful. In the actual building itself, our classes, el comedor (dining hall), and other amenities like laundry are located on the first floor.
Some days here are busier than others. Those busy days tend to be filled with buses, sightseeing in another town, and 13 mile days, full of lots of laughter (and more often than not, wine). Here’s a picture from an outing we took to Segovia, in front of the ancient Roman aqueduct. We’ve also visited Madrid multiple times, Toledo, and this weekend we’re going to Cuenca and back to Madrid (for more shopping, wining, and dining of course).
On the slower days when we don’t have a trip out of town planned, I wake up for breakfast at 8:30, then have class from 9-11 and 12-2, spending the break in the middle sitting in the garden, drawing, working on homework, walking into town, and talking with my friends as we sit in the sun (see some of mentioned friends in this picture and the first picture. PS Hi Landry).
I’m taking Art and Museums and Conversation here; both classes are taught entirely in Spanish by teachers who speak nearly no English. They’re incredibly interesting and I can already feel my Spanish improving the more that I speak. The teachers are great as well; they´re both so sweet, understanding, and helpful, especially when we make mistakes. We’re not supposed to speak any English while we’re talking to anyone here, but of course when you put 55 Alabama students together, that doesn’t always happen.
I really do love it here. It may be the people or the weather or the fact that I don’t have a care in the world for these couple weeks, but it’s amazing to be here in Spain, fully in the culture and the city and the life. I have found it so, so easy to love all the little details here. The slang that I´ve learned (some more appropriate than others), the way that the sun somehow feels different here, the meals and the way that the locals talk to me and I actually understand. God has blessed me so much! Although adapting to a 9pm dinner may be a little weird, everything about this country and this town makes up for it. Te amo, España!
Stay tuned for my next update. Xoxo