Saludos desde Valencia!
So far my 3 weeks in Spain and 2 weeks in Valencia has gone by incredibly fast. Landing in Madrid was an experience to say the least, mainly because I had more luggage than I could carry and the airport was so huge I had to take a metro bus to get to a different terminal! But I survived and was so happy when Manuel, one the ISA staff members, greeted me at the airport. After settling into the hotel, jet lag quickly became apparent. Even though our first panoramic tour of Madrid was amazing I found myself uncomfortably tired and after an orientation meeting I was excited to go to sleep.
Our second day in Madrid we saw so much. Walking through the city made me realize I am definitely not in Washington anymore and even though the weather was similar, the architecture and beautiful scenery was not. After a long day of walking and seeing beautiful paintings in the Museo del Prado, I took a much needed nap and woke up just in time to go out and get dinner. A group of us ate dinner in La Plaza Mayor and decided to explore that night life in Madrid…a very long night! And we were leaving at 9am for Toledo the following morning.
Aside from the lack of sleep Toledo was beautiful, just like going back in time and our tour guide was a lot of fun. We saw beautiful churches and cool shops, and after getting back to the hotel everyone was exhausted. The next morning it was off to our final destination, Valencia.
Getting into Valencia all of us had butterflies in our stomachs about meeting our host families, it made it even worse when they called us off the bus one by one. Finally meeting my host family was a relief, they were very nice and I quickly realized that I live super close to the ISA office and my university, which is very nice. The first night I went out with my host sister who is a local and got to see around the neighborhood where I am living. The first week went by fast with getting used to all my classes and professors, checking out the city with other students from the ISA group and working through the language barrier at home. I still have a lot of exploring I want to do throughout this city, this includes dining out more.
One of the first weekends, we had our first excursion to Tarragona. It was such a beautiful sunny day and the site seeing was amazing. Tarragona is a perfect Roman city by the Mediterranean, and I may have found the place where I am going to retire.
As far as bizarre things that I have noticed in Spain so far there have only been a couple: 1) Television is uncensored and makes for some awkward moments if your watching an uncensored program with your family 2) Locals quickly realize you are not from here if you are speaking English and will stare.
Going into my 3rd week in Valencia I am going to explore more and possibly make it down the beach that I have yet to visit.
Until next time!