Saturday, April 9, 2011

A few more mini excursions and my last weekend in Caceres!

I thought I would take some time and blog about this past week and weekend because starting Thursday… I’m going to be traveling nonstop! 

Also, as a sidenote, if you’ve been viewing my pictures on my Flickr account, I’ve exceeded my “200 limit” so only the most recent 200 pictures will be shown from now on… unless I want to pay extra… and I don’t think that’s going to happen.

My very adventurous host mom
Last weekend, Claire and I went to Miajadas (Lola’s pueblo) for the second time. Our host brother and a couple of his friends came to pick us up last Saturday afternoon and we spent the first couple of hours enjoying tapas outside in the beautiful weather with Lola and her friends and family. Then Lola, Claire, and I went to the countryside to pick asparagus and some other plant I forgot the name of. It was funny to see how excited Lola got every time she spotted some asparagus (especially the tall ones) and to see her climb the stoned walls and barbed wire fences. She had more energy than Claire and I did put together! We went back into town to have dinner with her family and then Claire and I went out for a little while with our host sister, Maria.  We stayed the night in Miajadas, woke up the next day, had lunch, and headed back to Caceres in the afternoon. 

My new little lizard friend at the National Park!
The next day (Monday), classes were canceled to take a field trip to Monfrague National Park, about an hour outside of Caceres. This national park has the largest colony of black vultures in the world! And apparently, Monfrague is home to the Iberian lynx, red, roe and fallow deer, wild cats, wild boar and otters (which we saw none of.) We spent most of our energy climbing a VERY steep mountain which also included quite a few stairs. I don’t think there was one person who wasn’t drenched in sweat after that climb. The views from the top were incredible though, and made up for all that hard work. (They usually do.) We took a hiking trail down the other side of the mountain, stopping every once in a while to do some “bird watching/listening” The views from this day at Monfrague reminded me so much of Colorado! :)

On Wednesday, we took our final group excursion of the semester to Salamanca, Spain. The main thing we toured was The University of Salamanca, which is the oldest university in Spain. We ate lunch and had some tapas in the Plaza Mayor (which apparently is where the movie, “Vantage Point” was filmed?) We also toured the cathedral, spent some time in the park, did some shopping, and returned back to Caceres just in time for dinner. 
My director, Toni, and I with our new hats in the Salamanca Plaza!

On Thursday during my one hour break from class, a couple friends and I went to play the piano like we have been doing for the past few Thursdays. I gave one of my friends a link to free downloadable piano music and she picked a few songs for me to play and for them to sing along. One of the songs was “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas. Little did I know that people can hear the piano down the whole hallway, so we had a few intruders, including a guy who apparently had been listening to us the whole time. He came in the room (with a guitar case strapped around his back) and said he really enjoyed when we played “Colors of the Wind” and asked if we could sing to it since we had the “right accent.” We didn’t get to talk to him for very long because I think he had to go to class, but I would have given anything to hear him play that Spanish guitar of his! 

Thursday evening, a lot of my friends left for Barcelona, Spain. (The city I that want to see the most in all of Spain.) I decided not to go since I’m going with my mom, Paige, and Kaicer in June. So it’s just been Lola and me around the house lately. Yesterday, I spent most of the day at my favorite park here in Caceres with one of my friends. It was a ridiculous 90 degrees out! Then we did some window shopping at the mall, I came back for dinner with Lola, and we watched some Denzel Washington movie in Spanish. I also found out that Lola is obsessed with Denzel Washington. I think she mentioned how much she likes him 20 different times throughout the movie.

Today, everyone who stayed in Caceres this weekend (5 other girls) and I went to the Ferreira here in town. The Ferreira is kind of like a festival for tapas. I had the most delicious tapas today since I’ve been in Spain! We had to buy tickets and each tapa required a certain number of tickets. I tried some fried chicken thing, a delicious mini hamburger, a chocolate dessert from my favorite bakery, and a chocolate-covered goat cheese ball with green raisins? Sounds weird, I know… and frankly, it was. I would probably never eat it again. After the Ferreira, a friend and I went to the park again and now I’m here writing. Tonight, we’re thinking about going to a Karaoke bar? I don’t know if that’s actually going to happen, but I’ll let you all know if I end up singing Karaoke! Since I have a very beautiful voice and all. 

Tomorrow I’m planning on going to church and then doing homework all afternoon. Then I have 4 days to finish planning my Semana Santa trip to London and Paris!!!! Our plane leaves for London on Thursday evening, we take the CHUNNEL (!) to Paris on Monday, the 18th, I return to Caceres on the 21st, then just Claire and I are taking a “roommate only trip” to Faro, Portugal until the 24th. Can you say exhausted?! So I probably won’t be blogging much until after my Semana Santa travels. I will try and squeeze another blog post in before my Godparents come on the 27th because then we are leaving for Portugal again that following weekend!

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