Woah. It’s been awhile since I gave an update, but I have a fairly good excuse. But first let me tak…no. Let me start back from when I left Torremolinos on July 2.
The night before we left Torremolinos, I had a sore throat so I didn’t go out anywhere because I figured I should rest. We went to Sevilla and stayed there for one night. Our hotel was so nice. A luxury suite compared to Hotel Natali in Torremolinos. One of the most interesting things was how the power in the room was operated. There was a little card slot by the door, and once you put your card in, the electricity turned on. I thought it was a brilliant idea. It surely would save them a lot of money and it helps the environment. Oh! And there was wifi in our rooms!
- The electricity card slot.
Sevilla is a beautiful city. We visited this amazing place, Plaza de España, and then explored the streets. I had some delicious calamari at a quaint little restaurant. I wish we had more time there to be honest. I didn’t go out again in Sevilla because my throat still hurt.
- Plaza de España
- favourite lunch!
The next day, we headed to Madrid. On the way, we stopped in Cordova. We went inside of a mosque while there, but then inside of the mosque there was a cathedral. It was beautiful. I was amazed at the architecture and all the art, as usual. We had lunch at a small restaurant that we found at the end of a very tiny street. It was adorable.
- cutest restaurant
The place that we are staying at in Madrid is actually a dormitory at a university. We each have our own room and bathroom. I never realized how much I like my personal space until this trip. There is no AC in the room, which wouldn’t a problem, except there isn’t a fan either. The first few nights it was cool so a fan wasn’t necessary, but then it got very hot and it was absolutely necessary to get a fan.
I’m taking two classes here in Madrid, Spanish-American Culture & Civilization and Spanish Literature. I don’t mind the culture class, but I hate the literature class with a passion. Originally I was in another class, but it was taught in English and I’m not here to speak English so I switched. I regret that decision every day. But oh well. Nothing I can do now.
Saturday morning I woke up without a voice. I never lost my voice before so it was quite an odd feeling. We went to Segovia that day. In Segovia, the Romans had built aqueducts and they were truly spectacular to see. They didn’t use any cement or anything to hold the stones together. I don’t fully understand how that is possible, but it’s been standing for many, many years so they knew what they were doing! I also saw the castle that Cinderella’s castle was based off of. There was a moat surrounding it, and in the old days, they used to keep bears in the moat! Crazy!
- Do you see the resemblance to Cinderella’s castle?
- Clare, Meredith, and I with the Roman aqueduct in the backgroud.
Saturday night, I went to a nightclub. It is one of the most popular ones in Madrid, Kapital. There were 7 floors with different styles of music and bars and lounges. It was pretty cool.
- Meghan and I at Kapital.
Going out that night probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but I’m supposed to be young and foolish, right? The next day I still didn’t have a voice and wasn’t feeling too hot. And it wasn’t a hangover! I stayed home and tried to rest and get well. Tuesday came and I felt awful. I asked my advisor to take me to the doctor. Three hours later, he told me that if I wanted to see a doctor today, then we had to go to the hospital and go through the emergency. I was that bad, I said yes. I left class early and we headed to the hospital. We waited for almost two hours before seeing someone because the insurance was giving problems. The doctor was very nice. She asked me what my symptoms were and I attempted to describe them in Spanish. She sent me for an X-ray. I’ve never had an X-ray before! It was an odd experience, partly because the woman only spoke Spanish and I don’t know medical terms so we had to use many hand gestures. I got the results and it turned out to be a sinus infection and phlegm in my lungs. She prescribed 4 medicines, which I purchased from the pharmacy. I never imagined I would spend my afternoon in a Spanish hospital, but I survived!
- hey look! it’s me!
The week was very uneventful and relaxed as I tried to get better. I visited two small museums with my culture class. They were alright, but I didn’t feel good so that didn’t help.
My dad has a cousin, Pauline, who moved to Madrid last year with her family. On Friday, I met her for the first time when she came and picked me up from the school. That weekend her church was having a retreat and she invited me to go with her. She told me the accommodations would be basic, but that was an understatement. The building looked like a horse stable. One long building with many rooms. Each room had 3 bunk beds and the bathroom was down the hall. There was no AC or fan. The whole place had a very funny smell and was not very clean. The bathrooms were the worst. I’ll be honest, I didn’t take a shower for the whole time I was there because the showers were gross and the water smelled awful. I wiped down with some wet wipes and convinced myself that I was clean. There were an abnormal amount of flies as well, and that just made the whole situation even worse. Other than horrible living conditions, the weekend was wonderful. Pauline and her family are so nice and kind. Pauline shared our family history with me, and it was truly special to hear. The church family was really great as well. They welcomed me into their community. They had a husband and wife from Mexico speaking that weekend. All of the services were in Spanish, but I was able to understand most nearly all of it. I was actually really proud of myself. I also got to speak a lot of Spanish that weekend. The message was amazing. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a fantastic weekend overall, and I’m so happy that God placed those people in my life.
I went to the Royal Palace after I was feeling better. It was huge and gorgeous! The king and queen no longer live there, but it is still fully decorated and used for special events. All of the rooms are so carefully and purposely organized. Almost every room has a chandelier! The dining room has a large table that fits up to 145 people, but the chairs are super tiny! If Thomas was to sit in one of the chairs, his knees would be higher than his bum. But it would be perfect for me! Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside.
- my next home, the Royal Palace.
On Friday afternoon, I had a follow up appointment with a doctor. I explained my symptoms to her, again in broken Spanish, and she examined me. She had this long tube thing in her hand, but it didn’t click in my mind what she was planning to do with it. She put it in my nose first but it wasn’t going in so she tried my throat. I almost puked on her so obviously she couldn’t do that either. She told me to breathe through my mouth and then used this apparatus to help her open my nose a little, and then she shoved the tube all the way up my NOSE! It hurt sooo bad. I wasn’t prepared for that. It was awful. I cried. Just writing about it makes me want to cry and puke. Not a nice experience. On the bright side, she said I am good just a little dried out from the antibiotics so she prescribed another vitamin to help build back my system.
Friday night, Briana and I headed out to Plaza Mayor. The city changes at night. There were so many people selling stuff on the streets, but I think it’s illegal because they had everything on a blanket with a rope tied to the corners as if to be able to pick it up quickly and go. We passed by the oldest restaurant in the world, and then we ventured over to San Miguel Market. It was like a little square shopping center that sold food and drinks. You could just hop from place to place eating and drinking. They had all types of foods and drinks. I really loved it there. I ordered a mojito and 2 biscuits with raw salmon…yum!
- Mojito and salmon..que rico!
Today, we went to Toledo. The town is well fortified so we had to go over a few bridges and through a gate or two to get in but there was a spectacular view once we got out. We took a walking tour of the city. Our tour guide knew a whole bunch of things about the city and all the places that we went. My favourite fun fact was in the cathedral. She told us that the 4 straight walls represent the earth and the round ceiling represents God’s omnipotent power and unending love, and the two together represent God’s promise to us here on earth.
- Hello Toledo!
Tomorrow, we head to the Escorial. This is our last week in Madrid. It has really flown by, but I’m excited for Paris and then to go home and see everyone!