Tuesday, June 17, 2008

¡Viva España!

I returned from my trip to Spain last night. After nearly 24 hours of traveling, I'm sure you can imagine how happy I was to get in my bed. Our travel company booked the most ridiculous return flights for us. The tour bus picked us up at our hotel at 4:15 am. We then flew from Madrid to Frankfurt, had a 2 hour lay over, flew from Frankfurt to Chicago, had a 3 hour lay over, then flew from Chicago to Houston. Rough travel schedule aside, it was a wonderful trip.

We could not have hand-picked a better group of students to travel with. They all went into the experience with an open-mind, wanting to soak it all in. They were well-behaved, but incredibly funny and fun. We started in Madrid, where we did some sight-seeing, visited The Prado and Reina Sofía Museums, and went to a Flamenco Show. Then, we drove to Salamanca, where we spent seven days. The kids stayed with host families and went to Spanish school in the mornings. We spent the afternoons seeing sights like the Old and New Cathedrals, University of Salamanca, Casa de las Conchas, and San Esteban Monastery.

In the evenings, Jennifer (my friend/ fellow teacher) and I enjoyed typical Spanish dinners with our tour guide, Julie and Rebecca and Christine, the teachers from the Chicago group that we were combined with. After dinner, we spent time in the Plaza Mayor. The city was hosting its 4th Annual Music and Culture Festival, so there were concerts in the Plaza every night. We got to see Rufus Wainwright (love him!) one night and Gilberto Gil another night. On our first day, the kids asked what we would be doing that night while they had their first, awkward dinner with their new families. We cheekily said we would be hanging out at the library. Well, we actually did! As part of the music festival, they had a really cool lighting and sound set up with different European DJ's and a full bar set inside of the Casa de las Conchas, an incredible building from the 15th century which now houses the city's library, so yes, we did hang out at the library.

We also visited the walled, medieval city of Avila, the Roman Aqueduct and fairy-tale Alcazar castle in Segovia, The Escorial, and the Valley of the Fallen before returning to Madrid on our last night.

I can honestly say that I've never missed my husband more than I did on this trip. It was the longest we have ever been apart. It was hard seeing all of these wonderful places that I knew he would love knowing that he was more than an ocean away. I absolutely loved Spain and can't wait to go back, though next time, it will be with Fabian.

Click on "View All Images" to see enlarged, individual versions of each picture in the slide show.


bandelle said...

The architecture is absolutely stunning and the Egyptian Temple looked incredible in the evening shot. Glad you arrived home safely. Fabian must have missed you too!

Sherri B said...

I am so jealous. Spain is definitely on my list of places to go one day. I was invited to go to Portugal in December/Jan of '08, so I am excited about that. The farthest I will be traveling this summer is to Galveston for a week. Woo hoo!

Sheri said...

Oh, it looks like such a great time. I have never really looked into Spain to travel to, but I am now very intrigued.