How My Perception of Spain is Changing

Abigail Edgell is a student at Huntington University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Salamanca, Spain.

After being in Salamanca, Spain for a full three months, I definitely do not know everything. However, I am starting to feel familiar with the culture, the history, and the norms. Surprisingly, one of the most productive ways of coming to understand Spain has been going on weekend trips. Going to Mérida, Spain, Florence, Italy, and Lisbon, Portugal has taught me just how different Spain is from other parts of Europe, whether it be a neighboring country, or a country several hours away. There are definite similarities, such as that food is important in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and although the architecture is not necessarily the same, its overseeing presence in each city can not be missed. However, one of the differences I’ve found is that Spaniards really treasures their country’s history, and in order to understand their culture they find it vitally important that you have some sort of grasp on their past.

The interesting thing to me is that when I went to Mérida a few weeks ago, it seemed that there was less of an emphasis on preserving what was a treasured old European city. I got the impression that it was a town that could not afford to keep the incredible historic sites alive. Compared to what we saw on our ISA Excursion to Segovia, the remains felt disappointing to me. That’s not to criticize, but I was genuinely sad at the difference in care between the two cities. It also made me wonder about the rest of Spain, and even the rest of Europe- how many historic sites have just slowly disappeared over time? And is there anything we can do to stop it from happening?

Below are some photos I captured during my adventures to Lisbon, Florence, and Mérida.


The Belem Tower used to be used as a Fortress for Lisbon’s borders. This is a canon they used to look out at the Atlantic.
Looking at the Atlantic ocean from the Belem Tower
The Belem Tower from the coast
Courtyard of the Lisbon Cathedral
Inside details of the Lisbon Cathedral
Main altar of the Lisbon Cathedral
A beautiful outlook in Lisbon, Portugal



Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia


“Madonna with Child”, one of the hundreds you can see in Florence
A famous outlook in Florence Italy by David on the Hill
Same outlook but during sunset
The inside ceiling of the famous and impeccable Duomo
The famous statues outside of the Medici Palace
The road beside the Medici palace in the middle of the day
The Ponte Vecchio is a famous bridge in Florence where you can find restaurants, shops, and tons of artists.
One of the rooms on display at the Uffizi Gallery left exactly as it was when the Medici’s lived there



The famous (and somewhat destroyed) Mérida Aqueduct
Looking up at the Aqueduct
The famous arch in Mérida that has not been maintained well at all
The Puente Romano- a Roman bridge in Mérida
One of the most well preserved sites in Mérida, however I still believe that with more funding and protection from the weather it could be better preserved.
Remains of a palace in Mérida
The remains of the famous Tower Albarra
You can’t even see the tower behind the tall gate with the sign labeling it.


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