ESPAÑA: Update 2

Climbing the Basilica with Landry

Sadly, another week has come and gone and I’m seven days closer to going back to the states. The more time I spend here the more I fall in love with it and while I’m so excited to go home and start my internship, the thought of leaving San Lorenzo and all of my friends makes me so sad!

This week has been filled with plenty of  awesome things. We’ve been to Madrid a couple times, mainly to shop, walk around, and drink our favorite Spanish drink: tinto de verano, which is a mix of red wine and lemon soda. We’ve played volleyball on the sports courts at the school, eaten ice cream in the pueblo, and taken a nap almost everyday. When in Spain, am I right? Some of the more exciting parts were climbing to the top (and I mean outside, on the dome, climbing a sketchy ladder) of the Basilica of the monastery in San Lorenzo which can be see in the first picture, being thoroughly creepy out at the Valle de los Caídos (where Francisco Franco is buried), and seeing the cool and eclectic cathedral in Cuenca.

Cuenca CathedralThis picture is of the stained glass in the Cuenca cathedral; the original class was replaced with modern glass designed by Cuenca residents in the 20th century. The entire cathedral was a mix of gothic, baroque, and modern styles of architecture and art, which made for a very interesting site to visit. This gorgeous stained glass lit up the interior arches of the cathedral in the most beautiful way. Nothing compared to the Sagrada Familia of course, but this was designed by citizens instead of Gaudi, which was pretty awesome in itself.
Climbing the Basilica

Climbing the dome of the basilica was one of those things that in hindsight, I can’t believe I did. Here at RCU María Cristina, I take Art and Museums, a class taught by Javier who affectionately called Javi. He’s fairly notorious for getting lost, taking us into places that we’re not sure we should be in by pushing on random doors, and taking pictures everywhere, especially when they aren’t allowed. During class, we climbed up some stairs to access the pedestrian base and while Javi was on one side, we climbed the actual dome of the basilica on other. I am not entirely sure if you can tell how steep this was, but after this set of stairs there was a vertical ladder that took you to the very top. Looking at the little people along the round edge of the basilica is a good way to tell that it really was very steep!

Valle de Los CaidosThe Valle de los Caídos was interesting but definitely a little weird. The huge church is built into the side of a mountain and is built entirely out of cold stone. The materials on top of the fact that a dictator is buried there gives a completely creepy feeling to the whole place, even rounded out with statues of the angel of death and about 3,000 people buried within the walls and floor. From where Franco is buried you can see a (literal) light at the end of the tunnel, where a beautiful view of Madrid can be seen from outside. This is where the picture is from (can you tell that I spend a lot of time with Landry…?) It’s rumored that Franco wanted to be able to watch over Madrid forever… So creepy. The outside is complete with a giant cross that dominates the landscape and can be seen from way down in the valley. My program director described it as seeing the tomb of Dracula, and that’s kind of what it felt like. The thought that some people still get married there was incredibly bizarre to me.

This morning we went into Madrid to visit El Rastro market. What an experience that was! There are hundreds of stalls filled with everything you could ever imagine. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world; we ended up ditching it to go shopping at some mainstream stores instead. Oops!

I’m loving Spain more than I can describe. Round 2 next year? Let´s makes it happen. Thanks for stopping by! XOXO

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