Tuesday: After class I met up with "The Fellowship" and we started talking about where we want to stay, how we would get there, all those sorts of important details. Well Lindsay and Jenna needed to leave because Lindsay needed to visit the U.S Embassy to get her visa for Bulgaria (where she is serving her mission starting in April). Because she is leaving two weeks after she gets home from Spain she has to figure all of that out here.
Anyways, they left and told us to met them at the train station at 1230...I made us run late because of the planning and we didn't get there till 110. They were already gone at that point so we decided to go into Madrid and try to find them. We knew the general area they would be in and figured it should be that difficult to find the Embassy.
As we sat down on the train a girl sat down near us and, after hearing us talk for a minute, asked if we were American. This is a common occurrence, but her accent was not Spanish. Her name was Sophie and she was a native born Australian whose parents live in Alcala and who had also just returned from a semester in France. Yes, this 18 year old is a tri-lingual high school student...I fail at life. We talked to her the whole way to Atocha and she even shared some Madrid travel secrets with us. Like how to avoid taking the metro at times, and what places to stay away from and what places to visit. After saying goodbye to her we went on our ways towards where we thought the Embassy would be. It was a beautiful day, so we really didn't mind that we were wandering the streets and that no one knew where the Embassy was. After a while we gave up on trying to find the girls and went to SOL. I had been told by multiple people that San Gines was the best place to have Chocolate con Churros. So we went forth to find, and find we did. Seriously. No place will ever beat San Gines!! It was amazing! Then, being the fatties that we are, we went straight to Freddo Freddo, the Gelato Shop. Why yes, the same gelato shop that we visited before. This time the owner was way nice! She talked to us for a long time and told us all about her plans for her shop and what flavors she had, etc. And what makes it even better? She totally remembered who we were! Not our names of course, but she recognized us and even remembered what I had gotten the last time I was there. We've decided that we will be regulars there.
After that we headed on back to Alcala where we decided we needed to visit the supermarket. So off to Carrefour we went! Carrefour is the equivalent of Walmart. Maybe that's why we like it so much...it gives you the tiniest feeling of being home...even though none of the food is the same...and it's all in Spanish. Anyways, guess who we ran into while we were there? Yep, Lindsay and Jenna. The same Lindsay and Jenna we had spent half the day looking for! It was meant to be :) We got what we needed then went and got our favorite candy from our favorite candy shop THEN headed on home. It was honestly just a wonderful, warm, relaxing, adventurous day.
Wednesday: So Chelsey and I have decided that Wednesdays are our designated chill days. Every Wednesday since we've been here we've stayed at home and taken siestas or done homework. This wed. was no different. We even skipped out on playing soccer with people from church. BUT i got all my homework done! so boo yah!
Thursday: This was a marathon day for sure. Lindsay wasn't able to get her visa situation figured out on Tuesday because they weren't open for that sort of thing at the time she went. In order for her to be able to go during the time it was open she would have to miss class. Here it's not that big of a deal since everything is so chill. She didn't want to go alone and asked me to join her, since I can get around better than most others. So that morning I left home and went straight to the train station. We got to the Embassy and inside with no problems. Then the waiting began. It was really only about and hour and a half total, and it honestly went by pretty quickly. But no one could help poor Lindsay. She explained what she needed and why so many times and no one seemed to understand what they were suppose to do. It was so frustrating! I felt so bad, but I just kept telling myself and her that she is going on a mission...the Lord will make it so that things work out, especially since she is trying so hard and is doing what He is asking of her. After that failure of a trip we called the girls and told them to meet us in SOL. We got there a bit earlier than them, so we went to McDonalds and started watching Moulin Rouge on her iPod. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THAT MOVIE!! and luckily so does Lindsay! We literally sang Moulin Rouge songs the rest of the day.
Anyways, once the girls got there we headed to San Gines to cheer Lindsay up and show the other girls just how good it was. They agree. It's the best. Then, since we had told them how awesome the gelato shop had been on Tuesday...we went back to Freddo Freddo! This time she recognized us for sure, especially since I busted in there saying "We're back!". We learned that her name is Janice and we very saddened to hear that she would be leaving till March!! Chelsey and I were actually very distraught when she told us. We were so excited to be regulars to a place and know the owner and now she is leaving us...but don't worry. That just means we will be eating a lot of gelato in March before we leave.
We then went to find this old Egyptian Temple that is somewhere in Madrid, but instead ended up finding a cool little market thingy and a park. Even though it wasn't what we had been looking for, it was still very fun. We got to witness a couple pretty much do the dirty, right next to an old couple. Jenna and I played "James Bond" stalking the other girls in a maze of shubbery. We watched people break dance. And we sang Moulin Rouge at the top of our lungs. Just another day in Paradise. On the way home we stopped at Carrefour again to get some snacks for our first weekend trip. I also made Chels go into Ella Fashion with me to buy a coat since we were told it was going to be chilly....soooo glad that I did.
Friday: Friday we woke up way early and headed on our way toward Avila. We had been told that it was a higher elevation and that it would be colder, but I kinda shoved it aside thinking that I would be fine. When we got there it was freezing! At that point there wasn't any precipitation falling but it was muggy and cloudy and just down right cold. Thank goodness I bought that coat. After about half an hour of being there it started snowing, and all I had on my feet were my Sperrys. Yep that's it. Luckily I have awesome friends! Lindsay had tights and socks on...she took off her socks and offered them to me! I may have looked retarded but hey they matched! and my feet were 10 times more warm then they had been.
After our tour was over in Avila we headed toward Salamanca. We checked into our hotel, which was a lot nicer than I expected and right away started our next tour. We visited the cathedral and the University of Salamanca. I'll probably transfer there, just saying. Salamanca is beautiful and is totally a college town. Provo's got nothing on Salamanca. Our little group was pretty tired so after our tour we grabbed some food, and coke and ice, and went back to the hotel. Chelsey and I somehow ended up with this ginormous room so we had a little dance/eating/hanging out fiesta in our room! It was really fun actually spending time with the girls kinda dorm style. That's the one bad thing about this program, we all live so far away and in most our houses people aren't allowed to come hang out. It was really nice just being down the hall from everyone. We went to bed around 230 or 3 that morning. It was well worth it. OH AND we got to take nice, long, break free showers! I don't think i've ever mentioned this but our showers at home are, in the words of Chelsey, "3 squirts long". You rinse, turn off, add shampoo and body wash, rinse, turn off, add conditioner and shave, rinse and you're done. So being able to just stand in the shower was like heaven for us.
Saturday: We woke up in Salamanca (not like I can say that everyday) and headed home. We stopped in Toro and Tordesillas on the way. Luckily the weather was way nicer than it was on Friday. No snow, just sun. Toro was beautiful! The Spanish seriously know how to build there cities, on top of beautiful cliffs and mountain sides. We got off the bus and Jacqui asked me if I could get us to the cathedral..I couldn't since we didn't have a map but I did get us back to the bus.
We then stopped in Tordesillas. This time with a map Jacqui asked me to lead us to the convent. I successfully got us there without any problem! The convent was beautiful and very interesting. Afterward we were given time to wander around as usual so I led everyone back to the main square. When we got there, there was a four person band of old people dressed in blue. They were playing music for this elderly group of people, a couple of them were dancing. We all joined about 20 feet away to watch and enjoy and...well of course I had to start dancing. I mean come on, you can't just play music around me and expect me to just sit there. Once I started dancing an elderly man in the group called for me to join them...so naturally I did. It will probably go down as one of the highlights of my study abroad experience. After I joined most of the other girls joined as well and for the next 15 minutes we danced and laughed and took pictures with these complete strangers. It was absolutely wonderful. After that we came the rest of the way home.
You'll be happy to hear that Oscar really missed us! I feel bad cause every time he talks to us it seems he gets in trouble...I think Ana Maria thinks he bothers us but he is just too cute to bother anyone.
Sunday: Sunday was just a normal day here in Alcala. The only thing really worth talking about was the fact that our after program travel group "The Fellowship" booked our Paris hotel! We now have everything planned and booked till we get to London.
Monday: Today was suppose to be a very chill day and turned out to be very full. Chels and I were planning on going to a market after class...this market is pretty much the equivalent of D.I. She ended up going by herself. I helped Hilary go to Madrid and visit the doctor. Let me explain. Hilary hasn't been feeling very well and we've already had a couple girls who have been sick enough to visit the doctor so our directors had her make an appointment. I originally wasn't suppose to go with her but the Jenna Miller (her roomie) fainted right before they were suppose to leave. That's when Hil asked me to come...like I mentioned earlier I've become known as the navigator. After that I came home and headed to our Religion class. Chels and I then went to Carrefour and got ourselves stalked up on food for this week. (it's not all junk don't worry).
We are leaving tomorrow morning at 8 am to go to Andalucia, which is the southern region of Spain. We won't be getting back till Saturday evening. It's going to be a long trip and honestly packing for it has been a bit annoying but it is going to be very exciting and hopefully warmer than this past weekend.
I know that I am forgetting things BUT that's all I have for now.
till next time