My classes are going okay. I’m able to understand a lot of what my teachers say (even though it’s in Spanish) because they speak slowly, enunciate, and repeat themselves often. We also review a lot. This means, happily, that I don’t have much homework and have been able to travel and have fun this semester. It also means that I don’t always feel like I’m learning very much, and class can be a bit boring.
However, every once in a while, I’ll learn something super interesting. Here are a few of my favorites…
1. Near a town named Almeria (part of Andalucia, in southern Spain), there is an area that grows almost all of the tomatoes consumed in Europe. In fact, this area grows so many vegetables, that the greenhouses can be seen from space. (Feel free to look for yourself on Google Maps)
2. The “New Cathedral” (La Catedral Nueva, which is connected to La Catedral Vieja) was built beginning in 1513. Why then, on one of the walls, is there this….
No, the builder wasn’t a time traveler. In 1992, some restoration was done to the cathedral and modern figures such as this one were added in empty spots.
3. There is a town in the most western edge of Galicia (a province in northern Spain) called Finisterre. The name was derived from Latin finis terrae, or “fin del tierra” (the end of the land). This is because before Christopher Columbus discovered America, this was thought to be the western-most area before the world/sea ended.
4. In 1492, Queen Isabel of Castilla and Ferdinand of Aragon married. This united their lands and created the country Spain as we know it today – beginning the golden age of Spanish power. Their new coat of arms looked like this:
When Franco won the Civil War and took over in the 1930’s, he chose a coat of arms for Spain that was essentially the same as that of Los Reyes Catolicos.
This is (partially) because Franco wanted to emphasize both unity in Spain, as well as the fact that Spain had a monarchy – while there was no king or queen under his leadership, he always intended for Spain to become one again in the future, instead of a republic.
I am excited for this weekend – it is several of my friends’ birthdays here, so we are going to celebrate on Saturday evening. I am also trying to plan a short day trip for either Saturday or Sunday 🙂