I would like to first of all say that this is the tenth blog post I’ve made since being in Spain and I can’t get over how weird that is, and also that we only have three weeks left.
MONDAY: I put all [two] of my jeans in the laundry on Sunday night, but luckily the weather has been really good lately, so I wore a skirt to school. Everyone kept telling me I looked cute/wondering why I was dressed up, so when I went into class I just made a public announcement that I sent my jeans to the laundry and that I WASN’T just trying to be the prettiest girl in the group, haha. After school Emmaleigh and I went to a park close to our house that I always run through and read in the sun until Institute. It was Megan’s birthday so after our Institute lesson we all went to get gelato as a celebration. It was a warm enough night to just hang out in the Plaza de Cervantes after, which I was SO excited about, because that’s basically what I’ve been waiting for since we arrived in Spain.
TUESDAY: I wore shorts! Also, I had to change after school because I was afraid of being too cold. But it was still an exciting day. After school I went to the Bellas Artes museum in Madrid, which I had seen before, but I didn’t ever write my paper on it for our class and I couldn’t remember a thing about it, so I went back and took some notes. After that we walked around Madrid a little but I had homework to do and didn’t want to get too tired, so I went back on the train alone [and once again fell in love with a cute Spaniard] but about three minutes before we got to Alcalá I saw Courtney and Ali, who had gone to a different museum and just happened to be on the same train. As we left the train station we encountered Ben, and I hung out and talked to him until I saw Emmaleigh leaving the train station, so we walked home together.
WEDNESDAY: Lately, running in the morning for me has been really bad, I feel too tired to really try, so I decided to just get up and go to school early and study so I could run after school and then shower before we left early on Thursday for our trip. I got some sources for a nasty research paper we have to write for History of Spain, and caught up on some e-mails, etc. After school I set out for a good afternoon run. Unfortunately, it was BOILING hot and I kept thinking I was about to fall over dead, so my plan wasn’t nearly as successful as I hoped. I went as far as I could, showered, and hoped for better luck next time. Perhaps I’ll go back to the morning. I met Courtney, Kimball and Ben at the train station and we went in search of a place that rents bicycles for free. Ben and Courtney were pretty sure we had to have our passports, but we just went anyway, and it was lucky we did because somehow Ben and Kimball charmed the woman into letting us take the bikes even though we didn’t have our passports like we were supposed to and we didn’t have a photograph of ourselves to make into a pass. We went to Courtney’s house and met her mom and brother, then went to a park with old people workout stuff and talked to a CRAZY old man, and then found some random plains that I had no idea existed and rode around for a while. It was really fun and the weather was SO nice. After that I just packed for our trip and tried to do homework, somewhat unsuccessfully.
THURSDAY: We met TOO early [eight] at the train station and embarked on our journey. After much consideration about this trip, I came to the conclusion that it was solely for the purpose of going on a trip instead of staying in Alcalá, and it was SO cool. The first place we stopped, Burgos, was the ONLY place that we all went to something together. Burgos is basically the home of El Cid, who is basically my Spanish History hero, and we saw his tomb and a document written by him and his chest [cofre, not pecho] in a cathedral and then an awesome statue. After that we went to Pamplona, which is the location of the festival of San Fermin, and the most famous running of the bulls, and the setting of most of The Sun Also Rises. We checked into the hotel [joint beds, no lock on the bathroom door as usual] and set out to see the path of the Encierro, the actual bullring, a statue of Hemingway’s head, and a statue of bulls and men running from them. We also found a bakery with a HUGE line that we brilliantly decided to get into. The chocolate croissants were the BEST ever ever. We got tapas at a bar [so Spanish] and then just hung out at the hotel.
FRIDAY: We decided it was probably necessary to get more chocolate croissants for the road, so we were waiting outside the bakery five minutes before it opened to ensure we didn’t get stuck at the end of a huge line and miss out. We made it back in time to get on the bus and go to a tiny village in the mountains where apparently the battle of Roncevalles/the song of Roland took place. We saw many pilgrims, and enjoyed nature/some leftover snow. We were about 20 km from France and we tried SO hard to convince Professor Brown to let us go, but we did not make it over the border. We did, however, look upon it as we were driving through the Pyrenees. Our next stop was at San Sebastian, where we wisely decided to spend the largest chunk of our day. We got off the bus and Professor Brown told us to meet back at the bus at six and not go into any cathedrals or museums. We heartily agreed. We went down to the beach, where the boys actually swam [no bathing suits for the girls] and we just hung out and got really sandy. There was a plethora of strange looking people [that’s Europe], including a woman who kept not laying far enough away from the tide and got soaked when it kept moving in. We all got on the bus tanner and happier. We drove to Bilbao via some very hilly streets, checked into the hotel, and went out once again. We walked past the river [the most polluted in Spain, but remarkably pretty] and ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant near an Irish man with a French wife who loved that we were American and wanted to talk to us all about the Guggenheim until he found out we were Mormons. After dinner we walked over to the Guggenheim and witnessed some fountains, some bridges, a giant dog, and amazing architecture, all lit up for our viewing pleasure, then went back to the hotel, talked a little, and went to bed.
SATURDAY: One of the most important things of the whole trip happened this day: my entire outfit matched with Jessie. We have the same purple sweater from Gap and the same gray jeans from Old Navy and we both wore white undershirts and looked SO good. We ate the most delicious breakfast so far in Spain, and still had some time to check out Bilbao, since we arrived so late the previous day. We went back to the Guggenheim with the potential of going inside, but instead discovered an insane playground that held our attention [along with the stick game] for the rest of our allotted time. We got back on that unprintable [For Whom the Bell Tolls reference, I’m obsessed with Hemingway lately] bus and went to Guernica/Gernika [Basque language], the city that was completely destroyed by German bombs with Franco’s approval in 1937. The only thing remaining from the pre-bombing days is a tree stump that we faithfully saw and took pictures of. A few more truck stops later, we arrived in Alcalá. We got back to our house, laden down with luggage, and discovered that our keys didn’t work in the outside gate. They had changed them once before and given us the new keys, but did not do so this time. We tried buzzing into our house but no one answered, so we sat outside for about twenty minutes, at which point I decided to try jumping the fence. Unfortunately, my pants could not handle the strain of my legs stretching so much and RIPPED. Directly after that, in a rage, I tried buzzing our house again and this time Paco answered. He let us in and I was semi-furious that I wasted a pants-ripping on a gate that could have been opened for us! Anyway, pretty much directly after we got into our house I wanted to just go out and enjoy the nice weather, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back in, so we just read and looked at our Basque country pictures and pouted [me]. At dinner we got new keys, at least.
SUNDAY: We made it to church without any incidents except for waiting for a really long time for the bus, luckily. Also, I have a cold or allergies or something, but my nose is really running and my head is kind of clouded and unfortunately when that happens the first thing to go is my ability to speak or understand or pronounce Spanish, so church was a little rough today. After church we caught the earlier bus, which is always a blessing, and went home to paella for lunch! All in all, I would say it was a good day.