FINALLY!! I have been working on this post 5EVER!! I had to dig in my mind and remember back to my time in Spain which (if you know my memory) is really hard. I wrote this from a point of view that seemed like I was still there, since I started this post while I was in Spain. I know, I procrastinate! I’m so sorry guys. So without furthur explanation and apologies here is my Spain week two recap! Enjoy 🙂 P.S. Be looking out for week three! But, it may take a while to rake my memories way of way back when, so be patient. 🙂
Spain is getting better and better every day. I have been learning a lot about the history and the places around Toledo and Madrid this past week. I have been growing and learning a lot and also reflecting as my time in Spain is coming to an end. It almost feels like I have been here for a month rather than two weeks. This past week Marta and I have had many adventures. I was able to fill my tourist desires and we were able to travel a little to different parts of Spain!
June 23rd & June 24th
June 23rd was a very relaxed day with lots of sleeping and eating. Marta and I basically hung out at her flat all day. That night we went out to the old city and sat on a bench right by the beautiful Toledo Cathedral. Marta and I talked about memories, her time in the USA, and many other things that were so good to finally talk about. I am so thankful for our sisterhood friendship that gets me through many things. That night we packed for our weekend getaway to Segovia and Avila, Spain! June 24th was such a fun day beginning with getting up pretty early to leave for our weekend trip. We planned on going to Segovia and Avila. Both are small towns in Spain in different provinces. Segovia had an aqueduct (a bridge that carried water across the town) from the Roman times as well as a summer palace that the queen and king used to use. Saturday we left and traveled to Madrid first. We stayed in Madrid until about 2 or 3. Monica, who is Marta´s sister is actually going to Oklahoma next year and she went to Madrid for a meeting about the American culture to prepare for the USA! I went to the meeting the last hour and it was pretty interesting to see the difference in cultures! On our way out of Madrid, we were able to go to Marta´s grandparent´s house and have lunch with most of her family! I met her uncle and aunt, another uncle, and two of her cousins along with her sweet grandparents. They were so welcoming and kind to me, and it felt like I was a part of the family! I am so so happy that I met her family and finally was able to talk with them. Her grandparents were so kind and hospitable. After leaving her grandparent´s house we headed to our first stop: Segovia! We stayed in a very cute hotel and we explored the town! We first went to the center of town where the aqueduct sat and it was amazing. I still can´t believe that it is still standing there after centuries. We walked around the town for a few hours and explored the beautiful streets in Segovia. We had dinner at the hotel and ended the night early!
June 25 was probably one of my favorite days this week (although, I have a lot of fave days this week). We attended mass in a beautiful Cathedral that was so detailed and intricate. Then, we went to one of my favorite places in Spain: the summer palace. We started by walking the gardens and seeing the many fountains that surrounded the palace. We watched a fountain show that was so breathtaking! It sprayed out to the crowd and I got a little wet, but I didn´t mind at all. We walked through the gardens a little more, saw more fountains, and finally entered into the summer palace. Oh. My. Gosh. I don´t even have words to describe the beauty, serenity, and value that was portrayed in this palace. I was not allowed to take pictures, but it was probably better because I was able to just sit and enjoy the palace more. Every room had a painting on the ceiling with gold plated designs all around. Each room was so different than the last and wonderful in its own way. The chandeliers gave a fairy tale effect and the orignal desks and chairs showed the history of Spain´s royalty. After leaving the palace (that I was very hesitant and sad to leave) we headed to Avila, Spain! We had coffee and cake there while meeting again with Marta´s uncle and aunt. I also met Marta´s uncle´s parents and we were able to talk with them as well! I am so glad for the sweet time we had together. After Avila, we headed back to Toledo and crashed after getting home. 🙂 June 26th started with filling my tourist desires! Starting off, Marta finally took me to the one and only, Toledo Cathedral (Catedral de Toledo). This was breathtaking. It surpassed every other Cathedral that I have and probably will ever see. It was so huge and intricate with many details and so so much history. We listened to audio guides and took in the breathtaking Cathedral. I can’t even imagine attending mass at the Cathedral in Toledo! It was wonderful. Next, we visited the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. This was also beautiful and so historical. It has a garden in the center with orange trees that were so beautoful! We also had audio guides showing us the history and stories behind the monastery. This was a great experience to see this and see the history in Toledo’s three cultures (Islamic, Jewish, Catholic). After the monastery, we walked to Santa Maria la Blanca which is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe! This was so great to see yet another culture that is in Toledo. That is what I loved most in Toledo: the three religious cultures that are all over the old city! It was so amazing to see the religions intertwined in Toledo. The next day was another relaxing day! We spent the day at the pool, while taking many many pictures. Rodrigo (Marta’s little brother) was just so cute! So, naturally, I had to take a lot of pictures with him :). We also went to a spot where all of Toledo is seen. It was a little restaurant where the sun set and it was literally so perfect. The sun set over the city of Toledo and it ended an amazing day. I will always remember this beautiful place. Thank you so much God for letting me experience this.
Summer Palace & Fountains
June 28th was another day in Madrid! I loved Madrid so much! It is such a big city with so much to see and do. We started the day early and traveled to Madrid by bus and got there in the morning. First, we went into the Royal Palace of Madrid where the king and queen have different meetings and fancy king and queen things (my best explanation) there. This was another unforgettable palace. My favorite thing about palaces is the difference and unique take on each room. Each room has a different story and history to it. Every room has different paintings on the ceiling and different colors. Some rooms could be every summer color, while the next room is dark hues of plum and royal blue. The palaces were one of my favorite things on my trip to Spain. The Almudena Cathedral sits right across from the Royal Palace and it was breathtaking (I’m running out of adjectives to describe the beauty in Spain). Unfortunately, it was closed, but I got some great pictures outside of the Cathedral and admired it from a distance. After the palace, Marta, Monica, and I met with Belene. Belene is one of Marta’s awesome cousins that lives in Madrid and I’m so glad we were able to meet up with her! We had lunch in a nearby park when all of a sudden I became a pigeon whisperer. I was eating my sandwich and a pigeon flew by me onto the ground looking for scraps. I felt kind of bad for him, so naturally I threw a little chunk of my bread to him. Well, that was a mistake. The minute it dropped to the ground thousands (okay, maybe not thousands) of pigeons flocked to the measly piece of bread. Literally, there were about thirty or fourty pigeons surrounding us by the time we were almost done eating. I kept throwing bread because it was really fun and I could feel the city vibe with the pigeons around me. The moral of the story: I am now the idol of all–well, most–pigeons in Madrid. Following the pigeon fiasco, we went shopping! My heart swelled with joy at the shopping in Madrid. We went near Gran Via, which is what most tourists see in pictures of Madrid. We walked down the street of Gran Via and went inside many Spanish shops. It was a successful day of shopping and so much fun to see more of Madrid. There were SO many people guys. It was a bit overwhelming for my Wyoming heart. Nonetheless, it was so cool to see different people and even many different languages and tourists that were in Madrid. We headed home that evening and, once again, crashed after watching some TV. The next day–drumroll please!!!–I went zip lining!!! The zip line in Toledo is actually the longest urban zip line in Europe and it grazes over the river in Toledo and goes right by the San Martin Bridge! This was a really really fun experience that was also, surprisingly, scary. I was so ready to do it the whole week and when we actually got to the day I almost backed out. Marta had to reassure me that I wasn’t going to fall to my death. Let me tell you, it was SUPER SCARY, but rewarding :). Guys, I had no idea how scared I could get! I love roller coasters and all things adventure, but when it came to this my heart pounded in my chest like the world was ending (okay, maybe not that bad). Even with all my fears, I conquered it! It was really fun and beautiful. I felt so free and like I was a bird flying over the river! It was a moment I will remember forever. Next, Marta and I spent an hour or two having a mini photoshoot (one of our favorite things to do) down by the river. It was so beautiful and I am so thankful for Marta’s mad photography skills. The rest of the day we chilled at her house and relaxed around Toledo!
These pictures above are of me zip lining! Marta got some at the very end. 🙂
Yay! And there is the second week of Spain! Again, I’m so sorry for this long awaited post! I have been really busy and haven’t had the time to think back to my time in Spain! It was incredible and don’t worry . . . more Spain posts are coming! Let me know if you would like to see or hear about anything specific. I can’t wait to tell you more about my travels and remember to my time in Spain. Love you guys! Have a great week.