As you know, if you read my blog post on Tuesday, I am currently in Spain with the BHS Spanish Exchange. Interestingly, though I grew up in Latin America and split my summers between the US & Europe, I had never before visited Spain. It is absolutely lovely.
It is also a very odd mental space for me to be in since, half the time, I’m not sure where I am– there are so many things here (the language, the architecture, the street layouts) that remind me vividly of South America… and then there are so many other things (being able to drink tap water, calculating “up” to Euros from dollars instead of down, the cleanliness of public places & lack of slums) that remind me that I’m in Europe. It’s quite the clash at times.
However, clash of worlds aside, I am absolutely loving Spain– the vistas, the history, the museums, and the fun of traveling with 19 boisterous teenagers all have me hooked on study abroad trips.
The highlight of the trip so far: El Escorial, the monastery-home of King Phillip II. We got the normal tour and then, since one of the kids happened to be friends with a priest who works there, we were able to get a special behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the building: through the convent, through secret passages in the walls of the Escorial itself, and up onto the top of the dome for some breathtaking views of the surrounding region.