el 19 de junio
I swear I fall in love with Toledo more and more with each passing day. There are always new streets to be explored, new shops to look in, new adventures to participate in….It’s almost as if this city never sleeps. Even more so, it’s so peaceful. It’s so quiet and calm, despite the constant flow of events within the walls of the city. The people are so pleasant that it makes “Minnesota nice” pale in comparison. Everything about this city is wonderful.
First, a little recap of everything that has happened to me within the past few days. Yesterday, I had my first introduction to linguistics class and I absolutely loved you. The course works to help us understand the importance of language in culture, the science of language and how we learn to use the language. The professor is actually a professor from the U, which makes it easier to understand him as he is not a native Spanish speaker. It’s a smaller class, with only seven students, but they are all actively engaged in class and a few of them are quite the comedians, so it makes the hour and fifteen minutes fly by. I have a little bit of homework to finish before Monday, but it’s not too bad…yet.
In terms of exploring Toledo, I would say I’ve done quite a bit of that. Yesterday, Drew and I went for a little walk to explore the beauty outside of the walls of Toledo, but we got a little turned around. We ended up lost in this maze of a city, on the opposite side of where La fundación is. We walked alongside the river and it was one of the most beautiful walks I’ve ever taken. During our adventure, we stumbled upon a stray cat (there are quite a few around here) that was clearly not faring well. Drew wanted to carry it with us and try to save it, but I was terrified of the fact that it could be carrying diseases or bite one of us, so I urged him to leave it. I know, I’m a cold hearted wench. No, it killed me to leave it laying there, but the potential consequences just didn’t outweigh the benefits. However, I am convinced that it is following me because I saw it on a hike later that day with my roommate, quite a decent mileage away from where I first saw it. After Drew and I managed to get back to la fundación, I had the second part of my class and then I went on a hike with my roommate, Lydia. We hiked quite a bit, and I loved every minute of it! It was so nice to leave my phone at home and truly feel at peace and connected with nature. Something about hiking is just so calming. I’m not sure if it was the beautiful scenery, or the physical exertion it requires, but I absolutely love it. We made it back with enough time to shower, get ready, eat dinner, and then join our friends for a night out at Dragos (a bar) to watch the Spain and Chile game.
The night out was so much fun! A huge group of people showed up at Dragos, and we stayed there watching El Mundial (World Cup), praying that Spain would come through with a win against Chile. Alas, they didn’t, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time. We went to O’Briens (Irish pub) and then found ourselves back at Dragos. I love the bartenders here, they are so much fun and they love having conversations with us (good use of my Spanish speaking abilities, am I right?). We eventually decided to hoof it home, but we got a little lost on the way. With the help of a few very nice Toledo-ans, we were able to get home without a hitch. We got back around 2 AM and then we hit the hay in preparation for our early wake-up call at 9 AM today.
Today was quite eventful in the morning, with a guided tour of Toledo and a visit to La Piedra, a huge rock wall, so that we could get a look at Toledo as a whole. Boy was it gorgeous! The tour was actually one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. It allowed us to learn more about the history of Toledo, random details and allowed us to see the city in full swing for the parade for Corpus Christi, the most important festival in Toledo. The streets were filled with people, making it even harder to navigate the narrow paths but it made for great people watching. The path of the parade procession was lined with flowers, chandeliers and other decorations that added even more beauty to the city. We learned a lot about the history of Toledo and why the streets were designed to be long and narrow. Take, for example, that Toledo began as a city completely inhabited by Muslims. They designed the streets to be long and narrow so that the sun would not reach the street and continuously make it hot. Also, Toledo is the religious capital of the entirety of Spain, hence the huge deal about the festivities for the week of celebrating the body of Christ, or Corpus Christi. Another interesting fact is about the canvas canopies that line some streets of Toledo. Our guide told us that it was the path taken by the parade and priests as to protect the body of Christ, seeing as it is one of the most sacred things in Catholicism. I found this to be very interesting, along with just about every other detail of Toledo.
After our tour, we went to La Piedra and took some panoramic shots of Toledo. It was one of the prettiest sites I have seen and I’m glad I had the ability to capture that moment. We then came back to la fundación to have lunch and ever since then the time has been ours to use in whichever manner we see fit. Obviously, due to my long night and morning, I decided to use this time to shower, relax and pack for Madrid!
I can’t even begin to explain my excitement for my weekend excursion to Madrid that begins tomorrow! I have to remind myself that this is actually real life. It all seems so surreal and I can’t wait to continue to explore more of Spain and make more lifelong memories with some of the coolest people I’ve met in my two years of college!
I won’t be able to update until late Sunday or Monday, but I will make sure to update then!
A concert at “La Plaza del Ayuntamiento”
My roommate, Lydia, and I
Drew and I at the start of our nature walk
The river that forms a natural protection barrier around Toledo
Another shot of the river during our walk. Drew claims tilted camera angles are “artsty”.
Drew and the infamous stray cat.
Myself, Lydia, Drew, and Kadi before the Spain game.
Chupitas en fuego (fire shots)
A few of the girls from the trip I’ve gotten close to.
La Catedral with decorations for the festival.
For all those back home who thought I was travelling to Toledo, Ohio for the summer.
A door that is very common in Toledo. They are so high because when nobles came to visit, they would arrive on horses and then would enter into the house still on the horse. Once inside, they would dismount and the horse would be tied to a wall inside.
This picture is in the beginning of the post, but it’s my shot of Toledo from La Piedra.
Last photo of the post! Pretty much self explanatory.
Besos y abrazos a todos!