Saturday, March 10, 2018

When in SPAIN: Spain Travel Guide


I just got back from my Spring Break trip to SPAIN!
Let me fill you in on my amazing trip to ESPAGNE with the Wake Forest Concert Choir!

So, our travel day started at three in the morning on Sunday the fourth.
Our group of 37 was split up into three flights to Dallas on Sunday after our flight to JFK from CLT got canceled on Friday morning due to a huge snow storm up north. 
Our trip was delayed by two days, but we made up for it in spirit over in Spain.
It took us over 30+ hours to get to Madrid but once we did it was amazing!

We had an overnight flight from Dallas to Madrid. We landed at 8:30 am and were exhausted. We immediately made our way over to Salamanca and checked into our hotel via coach bus.

We went around the corner for tapas and attempted to use our español. I left the español speaking to the professionals (aka my friends that had taken Spanish since the 7th grade) and I just sat back at watched.

Shortly after that we bused our way over to Zamora and sang at the university there.
It was a packed audience and we sounded okay considering we had not slept in over 30 hours.

After we performed, the university treated our very tired and hungry group to tapas and wine to congratulate us on our first performance in Spain.
It was a lot of students on our trip’s first time being able to drink legally!
On the ride from Zamora to Salamanca, a group of us decided it would be funny if we took photos of everyone sleeping and put it in a power point.
I think I was one of the few people who didn’t get their photo taken sleeping on the bus.

Later that evening I proclaimed myself social chair of the trip!
I sent out a "frat social" with details for our first evening in Spain by mimicking a frat social all the sororities get.
That evening I made plans for the whole group to go to a bar with some friends from Wake that are studying abroad in Salamanca! We went to Gatsby’s, Camelot and the Irish Theater where we met many Americans who were studying abroad in the college town of Salamanca.
It was a pretty early night for us because the next morning was going to be another busy day.

The next morning, the group went on a walking tour of the tiny historic city with Wake professors from the Wake study abroad program.
The city is tiny, and we were able to walk it in a couple of hours. We saw the Plaza Mayor which is the central plaza of the city. I learned that all cites in Spain have a Plaza Mayor that people meet in. We also went to the top of the cathedrals and got a bird’s eye view of the city. For a snack, we dined on hot chocolate and churros.
We had a great day despite that it was raining on and off.

I loved Salamanca. It is such a small pretty city.
We ended off the afternoon with more tapas for lunch at the Wake Forest campus in Salamanca with our fellow Wake professors and classmates. 
That evening we had a big concert at University of Salamanca with the University of Salamanca’s choir. We had the biggest audience we have ever had. It was amazing! I really enjoyed it. The best part of the concert was when we did a finale with the concert choir of the university. All the students were really sweet, and it was such a fun experience.

That evening I met up with my KD sister Zoë, who is studying abroad in Salamanca at the Wake campus and she showed me how to party like a Spaniard. We partied until four in the morning at the Irish Theater. 

I got three and a half hours of sleep that night and woke up at 7:30 am to check out of our hotel. But WHEN IN SPAIN! (That became our moto of the whole trip!)

On the way to Madrid, we stopped in Avila where Saint Teresa was born and baptized. The city is so amazing. It is a city surrounded by a HUGE wall. It was so stunning. We had some impromptu performances that day and we went into an old church to sing. We also got the opportunity to perform in Saint Teresa’s house, which is now a church. We videotaped all of our impromptu performances on my camera!

So not only was I social chair but choir photographer of the trip.

After Avila we continued to make our way to Madrid for our last two days in Spain.
Of course, I continued to take pictures of people sleeping.
I refused to fall asleep on the bus despite my lack of sleep because I am an ugly sleeper…

Our motor coach drove through the mountains to get to Madrid. The view was breathtaking.
The Madrid hotel said it was four stars, but I really did not believe that.
The whole chorus was so exhausted that we did not really do much but chill for a bit until dinner. A small group of us went to dinner at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, where we tested out paella and had lots of drinks.

We then walked over to see an authentic flamenco show!
When in SPAIN!!
The dancers were so talented. I couldn’t believe how fast they were moving their feet!
I went to bed super early that evening after the flamenco show, a burger place for a snack and after sending my social for the evening saying we were not having a social gathering.

Our last full day in Spain was JAM PACKED!
We went to the “central” park of the city, two museums where we saw Picasso and traditional paintings and the palace!
We received free admission to the museums with our student ID’s!
I have to say I really enjoyed the museums. I have a way bigger appreciation for art after I took my first-year seminar class last year, which I have talked a lot about in the past. I really enjoy art more because I understand it better from that class.
We dined on an expensive lunch at a trendy restaurant that was attached to one of the museums. I had a poké bowl.

While we were dining in the restaurant that resembled an airplane, for lunch, we got to watch the women's march in the streets from International Women’s Day. It was really amazing to see. It was very inspiring and uplifting.
After lunch we went to the central park where we hunted for a glass castle which had a really cool art exhibit in it.


After not really understanding the art exhibit at the glass palace we rushed over to the royal palace to take pictures in front of it. The palace was really the big thing I wanted to see while in Madrid!
It was fabulous, as most palaces are.

We were running late because we had a meeting at a certain time. So of course, we Ubered back to our hotel. On our Uber ride, our driver asked us why we were in Madrid and we told him that we were part of a chorus. Very unexpectedly, he asked us to sing in the car. It was so funny. It did not sound very good because we were all laughing the whole time, but it was probably one of the funniest moments of the trip.
That evening we took our motor coach to our last concert at a church. We sang after an adult choir sang.

For dinner we went to a market which was very similar to Eatily! I dined on lots of burrata, paella and champagne. When my friend and I went to get our flutes of champagne, the server filled the glasses to the rim because my friend and I were "pretty girls."

After feasting, we then went to a jazz bar which was the size of a sardine can.
After listening to some great jazz music, about 15 of us went to a chill bar called El Mini Bar. My friends and I all sat, bonded and reflected on our trip over a couple of drinks.

Then next morning we woke up pretty early and got ready to leave Madrid.
The security at the airport in Madrid is a joke compared to TSA.
Except for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I got swabbed for bombs at the airport. My hands, my feet and all of my stuff. I know it happens all the time, but I felt like my space was so violated. I have been flying since I was four months old and this was the first time I had ever gotten swabbed.

 But the day got better when I realized that our flight back to the states was empty, so I asked the flight attendant to switch my seat and she put me in the 9th row which had so much leg room my legs could go all the way straight which helped me nap!
We also feasted with really good food on the flight from Madrid to the states. All of my friends stayed back in economy, but they totally should've asked to move their seats because I was living it up in premium economy!

This trip was amazing! I met so many amazing people and now I have all these new friends! I learned a lot about their lives and pasts but also again about myself.
It's interesting to see how people were raised and how that affects the way they act in certain situations.
Yet again I've learned about myself and that I am very short with people and cranky when I am tired.

Overall, it was a trip of a lifetime and I cannot wait for all the rest of my European travels this summer and next fall!

Adiós for now!


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