Adrienne Prillaman is a student at University of North Texas and an an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures blogger corresponding with a high school student leadership class in Keller, Texas. Adrienne is studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain on an ISA Fall 4 program.
While the fact I was surrounded by so much history was not as evident in the big city of Madrid (except in the museums), it was impossible to miss in Toledo, El Escorial, and my new home: Salamanca, Spain. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t despise Madrid – there was a lot of interesting things to see in the museums and neat places around the city- but I’ve seen plenty of big cities. I was ready to get into a smaller, more intimate atmosphere. Madrid was okay, Toledo and El Escorial were better, but Salamanca… I couldn’t have picked a better place to live for these 3 months.
In Madrid, we went to the Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofía – our first glimpse at the real works of art that were created many years ago in areas much closer to where we were now than in our homes in the U.S. Seeing the creations of El Greco, Goya, and Velázquez at the Prado, and Dalí and Picasso at the Reina Sofía was certainly something I had aspired to do. I preferred the Prado, since I am not really much of a modern art fan, and that’s what was displayed at the Reina Sofía. However, there was an interesting large work of art in front of the Reina Sofía that we thought prompted a photo, and we decided to call it “The White Bacon.”
Of course we also visited the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, as any Plaza Mayor is a must see, and had lunch there. However, I felt overall that most of Madrid was not exactly my cup of tea, and was eager to venture on.
Toledo, our next stop, was breathtaking. It’s impossible not to feel the history all around you in Toledo. The overlook of the city is spectacular, and we enjoyed just strolling through the old city. Still, Toledo didn’t feel quite like home should; especially since I wasn’t particular fond of the fact that to get between certain parts of Toledo, a taxi was necessary.
We took one final stop on the way to Salamanca – El Escorial. Also a beautiful and very ancient looking city, but still not quite home. After this short stop, we departed for our final destination. Meg (my roommate) and I met our host family (in my biased opinion the best host family of all), and finally were able to unpack! The next day we were able to see the Plaza Mayor of our new home in Salamanca.
I couldn’t be happier that of all these cities, this is the one I chose.
More to come soon!