Mi Busqueda para Espana y Yo

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Day 4: El Escorial y Salamanca

Today was sooo interesting!!! We left Toledo really early and got on the bus for an hour and a half to go to San Lorenzo El Escorial. El Escorial holds the tombs of all the kings of Spain during the 16th Century and onward. It was also the summer castle for King Phillip and I learned today that the Philippines was named after King Phillip when he conquered it. I don't know how I feel that he conquered us but it's nice to see pictures of the early Philippines island on royal palace walls and murals and be part of the Spanish history that I saw. The tour guide's name was Ferdinand and he reminded me of my old professor for Spanish History, Dr. Felkel.
El EScorial was beautiful, I didn't really know a lot about it except that at the top of a hill in Spain there's a very large cross and it's to signify Spain's release from the dictator Franco. The place is actually half a monastery, half a palace. These days it's used for a church where there's service every hour on Sundays. There's monks and nuns everywhere. And now it's used as a Boarding School (Internado). It's crazy, it costs 1400 euros just to live there and only 2 monks teach them! The entire time, two monks but they do have the tour guides to help them two but it's crazy..I wouldn't want you to send me to that boarding school Mom lol.
You would love El Escorial's library. The tour guide said that it is the 2nd most important and significant library in the world for Catholics, second only to the Vatican's library because of the manuscripts it holds, it's not one of the biggest but the type of books they have in their are 2nd most important to Catholics. They have special manuscripts about the Quran, St Augustin, and the Gregorian chant. The tour guide was telling us that some books were banned during the Inquisition that are in that library because they weren't "Catholic" enoughd uring the Inquisition but they're back now. One of the things they showed us was this palm reading book that was banned. He took my hand (he was really into talking to me, I think it's because I was philippino) and told me that your left palm holds your future and your left palm holds your present and when you die your supposed to put your palms together to signify the unity of your future and the present. The mural on the ceiling showed all the sciences including the ones that were banned during the inquisition like astronomy. I wish we could have taken pictures of the mural because it looked like Da Vinci painted it. It was drawn by an italian painter all by himself and it only took him 7 months even though it's ginormous because he's ambidextrous so when one hand got tired, he'd use the other one. Only DaVinci was ambidextrous and could paint at the same time!!! We went to the church but there was a mass going on so we could only see it for a little bit..I prayed and did the Lords Prayer while they were doing the sacrament..it was done in either spanish or latin and the mass was beautiful, the choir could actually sing like how they're supposed to. We went through the palace part where the guy asked us if we've seen Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets and we said yes and he said no I have the Chamber of Secrets and took us to a part of this little hallway that had a little dome around it and he told us for one person to stand on one corner and another person to stand on another corner and someone whisper, just whisper and the other person could hear it if they cupped their hands around the corner and I COULD DEFINITELY hear it. It was so crazy, a whisper could be heard from far away..chamber of secrets! Then he told us to stand at the middle of that hallway and scream a little so I said Adios and you could hear your echo in your ear but no one else could. The tour guide said the acoustics from the dome of that part of the hallway are perfect and it's true..it was really crazy. We saw the tombs and the rotting rooms (where the kings and royal family) rot before they're put in these italian marble caskets. The staircase and the room where the tombs are literally look like the scene from New Moon where they're going down to see the Volturi..I'm going to play that part of the movie when I want to reminisce now.
After El Escorial, we had lunch..we had a Spanish lunch (2 plates and a desert). I had red wine, paella seafood, and caldereta con cordero (caldereta with lamb) and the paella was good but the caldereta was not like Mommy's, they serve it with french fries and the lamb was alll fat. I was going to get lechon (roasted pig paul if u don't know) with rice but I didn't but it's like our lechon in the Philippines and it was served with white rice and the sauce looked like Mang Tomas (my favorite sauce growing up) but it's okay I stepped out of the box and ordered something different!
After that we went on the bus for a 2 hour ride..I took my Siesta (Spain's national nap time) on the bus and when I woke up I saw Salamanca on top of the hill. We stopped at the university and 2 minutes later our HOST MOM came in a taxi to take us to our place!!! On the bus I was so nervous I thought I was going to puke! She came out of the taxi...first of all she has at least a size D boobs, long blonde highlighted and straightened hair..she was wearing leggings, heels, and a white dress that barely covered her boobs. Her lips look like they had work..she has a 30 year old and a 21 yr old daughter but she doesn't look that old so I'm guessing that since she works at a plastic surgery center, she's used her work haha. She said she was 50 but she doesn't look like it at all. She loves wine because my room mate Emily forgot to get her a present from home so she bought her a wine filter at the airport and she said i love it, i love wine and she showed us her wine dresser but she said it's a little empty right n ow because she finished it all already haha. She loved all my presents! She said her favorite is chocolate mints and she can't find it really here so she ate it as soon as she could and said she loved them (me encanta). She's also used the kitchen mat already and she loved the pens and cups. Her daughters don't live here we don't think, not even the 21 year old because during the house tour she showed us their room and it was empty except for the bed so I think they're both moved out but she said her oldest daughter (the 30 yr old) lives very close. She came by like an hour ago to sleep on the couch with the dog because she says she loves the dog. Oh man, the dog is precious! I don't know what type of dog it is but his name is Drosie and he's 3 yrs old and he's a pretty small dog but he's got not a lot of hair, it's a golden color..his fur is like a pitbull's fur and he's lean and muscular like a pitbull but his face is sooo cute and so sad-looking, it's like a pug's face but bigger and a lot cuter. He barks like A SPANIARD!!! And he only responds in Spanish because my room mate tried to say come but he doesn't know English..he barely barks and is a perfect dog! We are only 30 seconds away from everything!! We have the closest house to everything and we have internet unlike the other people in houses so we got lucky. She is only 2 minutes walking from all the shops like Zara and Mango and the souvenir shops!! We areonly 2 minutes from Plaza Mayor which is where they shot Vantage Point! It's crazy everyone just hangs out in the middle of this outdoor plaza, sits on the ground in the middle and there's outdoor seats for restaurants all lining up the plaza..there's a hotel above the restaurants lining the plaza and a big clock tower that is the meeting place for everyone! I'll have to put pictures up of this place, it's great to look at..it's got a golden glow to the building from the limestone. We got some lemonade and just sat there after dinner (our house mom made what she called empanada but it was just a big quiche pie with spinach and cheese and a salad)..we met some new people our age today on the plaza!!! we went there after dinner to meet with our group to talk about the dorms and everyone's families..when we met them there 4 girls and 2 boys there. 1 girl was from russia and didn't speak any spanish and barely english and i tried to say hi to her but she didn't really say anything to anyone, it was her 1st day and hshe didn't know any languages so i could understand. she came with this one fat, tall portuguese guy who chain smokes like crazy and was pretty arrogant telling us where to go and blah blah even though he's from portugal and has only been in spain for a week. the 3 other girls and other guy came from AIFS (another company like ISA) and they're studying at the University too. One guy from our group (Cameron) knew one of the girls, Rachel (who's literally as tall as me which I thought we could bond over but she had a little bit of Napolean Complex and was a little standoffish but she said she was tired) and her friends from her program Kati, ERin, and Alex (Rachel and katie are from Phillyy and Erin's from BOston and Alex who looks 8 feet tall I dont know where he's from). They have been in Salamanca for a month now so they showed us around a little bit. They showed us some bars like Chupiteria (shots) and the Irish Rover and another one called Gatsby and in Gatsby..there's a pool..there's a pool inside a bar! Irish Rover I guess is all Americans that go there so I don't really want to go there and they said Chupiteria and other smaller bars like Gatsby are mixed with locals and students and are very cheap (no bar tipping in Spain..no tipping at all in Spain!) So that wasnice..they also showed me where all the shopping is! I found Universidad de Salamanca tshirs and sweaters..WHAT COLOR DO YOU GUYS WANT????
I am soo exhausted but after seeing Salamanca, I definitely made the right choice on the city. It glows!!! Literally glows, they call it the Golden City. The LImestone on all the buildings makes everything glow, they have nice shops but not in a big city..it's a college town but with history and culture..and the University is the oldest in Spain, 3rd oldest in Europe, and the town has more historic Cathedrals than houses!!!!
My house mom talks sooo fast, it's hard to keep up and then I get nervous and forget my words but hopefully this will get better. Emily said I've been carrying conversations with her. Her apartment isn't small at all..I will take pictures and show you!! And it's very modern!
Tomorrow, we take our PLACEMENT TEST!!! Rodrigo, our ISA director, told me he thinks I could place advanced so I hope I do! I'm nervous..it's not a test..they'll change it if they need to so I get the right credits but it's interesting to see what they think I"m capable of or what my level is. After that, our director is taking us on a little historic tour of the city so I'm very excited then we have a meeting at 5 to see our class schedule! I will let you know what it is as soon as possible! After that, the new friends we made..Rachel, Erin, and Katie said they would take us out for a little bit so we'll see!
ps. I skyped with Paul today!! Made me very very happy! Now mom and tim are next!


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