Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hola Espana!

After being reunited with Libby, we headed for downtown Sevilla on el autobus! I'm glad I slept on both my flights, because we started our adventures right away. The first place we went was the Plaza de Espana. It was the perfect place to start! I don't actually know what the building was for, but it looks beautifully Spanish. The building is incredibly decorated with tiles, stone carvings, statues, etc. It was incredible! Then we walked around the gardens that are attached to the Plaza... also beautiful! The weather was so fantastic compared to drizzly Ireland, so it was funny that they were all complaining about it being a dreary weekend. I thought it was still Sunny Sevilla!
After the Plaza, we walked to downtown Sevilla. Note: walking places is going to become a reoccurring theme throughout the weekend. I thought we walk a lot in Ireland. Not true. They walk a ton in Spain! So we headed downtown and Libby pointed out major landmarks and historical sites. In her classes, they are studying Spanish history and art (in Spanish!) so the whole weekend I had my own personal tour guide! I loved it! So we wandered around for awhile, but then decided to get some tappas (snacks). They don't eat dinner until 9:30 in Spain, so they usually eat tappas around 5 or 6 to hold them over. We wanted to find some really legit, hole in the wall kinda place, but didn't know where to look. We found all the super touristy areas, but those are expensive and I really wanted something authentic. So we wandered down some side streets and came across this place that seemed okay. At that point, we were tired and hungry so we decided to try it. We found out they weren't serving Libby's favorite kind of tappas, so we got this shrimp salad stuff that you put on bread. Not going to lie, we were both a little skeptical. But it was fantastic! We were both really surprised. Then these two guys randomly wandered in and started playing Spanish music and drumming. And then people started flamenco dancing! It was so random, but so perfect! It was exactly the Spanish experience we wanted. We couldn't have planned it better.
After tappas, we walked around some more and then headed to Libby's senora's house. In her program they stay with host families so they can work on their Spanish. In greeting the family, I quickly learned besitos. (A spanish greeting where you kiss the person on each cheek. Well, at least you kiss the air beside each cheek.) It was awkard at first, but I got over that fast and went along with this cultural experience. Her senora made us a huge fantastic dinner. In that culture, it's not polite to leave food on your plate, so we ate it all, but it was hard! There was so much- fish, vegetables, kiwi, orange, bread, salami, and cheese!
After dinner, we changed and headed out to experience some Spanish night life. Apparently, the party doesn't start until 11 or 12 each night. I wanted to see something cultural, so we headed to this little place where they played live music and had flamenco dancing! It was so interesting! And we ran into some people from Libby's program. So I got to meet them and hear about some of their experiences. It was crazy to listen to them talk. They all switched between Spanish and English at will depending on how much they knew. It was crazy to listen to. Something interesting though, the longer I was there, the more I realized I had learned in my 2 years of Spanish class in high school. I could follow along with most of the conversations; I just wasn't able to answer any questions. It was a weird sensation, being able to understand, but not having the vocabulary to respond. I'm just glad Libby was there to help me out when I got stuck. After the show, we headed towards home, but stopped and ate some churros and chocolate! I love Spanish food.
We got back in at 2am. By that time, we were both exhausted. But I found it funny when the senora asked us the next morning why we had gotten back so early! There are Italians staying in the apartment next to us and they didn't get back until 5am! Crazy! That is one part of Spanish culture I could not keep up with.

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