Monday, January 25, 2010


El fin de Semana de 22-24 de enero:

So my first big trip of the semester took place this past weekend. Me and 8 other supah cool american folks montaron un autobus earlllly Friday morning and headed off to the beautiful, historical city of Salamanca, about 2 ½ hours N.W. of Madrid.
So once we got to Salamanca (about 11:30am), we headed on over to our Hostel (se llama Youth Hostel Salamanca). This was my first time to stay in a hostel, and I must say it was pretty nice… & only 13Euros a night… not bad! There were 10 people to one room, and since we had 9 people we just got the room all to ourselves, which was awesome... halllahh woopitywoooo! bonus: there were bunk beds. just like summer camp! haha
After we got settled into the hostel & ate our sack lunches (mmm gracias Primi!), we set off to explore the city.

We stumbled upon (well I mean how could ya miss it?) the magnificent Convento de San Esteban, and marveled at its beauty for probably 20 minutes. You can see why!

Our next destination was Los Catedrales de Salamanca:

(check out da background. oh wassup grande catedral?)

I took these pictures in "La Cueva", which was near the cathedrals

1 John 1:5 “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

There are 2 Cathedrals of Salamanca, built at different times, but joined together. One is called Catedral Viejo (old) & the other Catedral Nueva (new) [the names are so original.. i know.].

This was one of the entrances to Catedral Viejo

One of the entrances to Catedral Nueva:

We got to walk around the towers of the Cathedrals (so many awesome spiral staircases... If I had to be a staircase for the rest of my life, I'd chose to be a spiral one. Or an escalator. But probably a spiral.), and see into the 2 Cathedrals from the surrounding balconies.

This was the best picture I could get of Caterdal Viejo.. there was no flash allowed and it was so big! Oh pooperscoop.

On the roof of one of the towers! Hello there beautiful Cathedral!

View of Salamanca from the roof. So beautiful.

Little bity doorways on the roof!

These are pictures of Catedral Nueva:
By the way, those columns are about 8 or 9 ft in diameter! HUGE!! And it's about 4 stories tall!

It was about 3:00 by this time, which is prime time for some good eatin in Spain. So after the tour we found this awesome lil bar/cafe place in La Plaza Mayor & ordered some wine and tapas (free appetizers) & chilled for a bit.. wooh!

Then more exploring of the city....
We found the famous Astronaut that had been added to one of the walls of the cathedral in the '90s when they were renovating it.. hahaha!

Psalm 90:17 "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us"

It's so pretty!

Cathedral at night!

Then we had a lil bit of fun shopping at H&M, & walked around a bit more. We somehow stumbled upon a grocery store & bought wine & microwaveable pizzas for dinner (there was a lil kitchen area in our hostel), then headed back to the hostel for quite a feast. Haha :)

To Janna Clare: Arrubba!

Wine... in juice boxes... only .95euros

Now Salamanca is not only famous for their beautiful history, but also for their exciting "night life". Night life is an understatement though... it seriously is a night world! When people in Spain go out dancing (woooh discotecas!) or to the bars, they don't leave their house until 1am, then they don't come back until 6am. It's crazy.
So after our dinner, we all took a lil nap, got ready, and then went out! When in Spain, do like the Spainards do, right? Right. There were probably more people on the streets and in the restaurantes/bars/cafes/discotecas at 2am than there were that whole afternoon. So we just hopped around all night, & I danced the night away.... danced so much.. that I briefly lost my glasses on the floor of one of the discotecas (who wears glasses out anyways? Oh yeah, ME. I'm an old lady.), and when I got to them they were supah doopah scratched up. Blast it. I'm an idiot. But it's okay. I have an extra pair of glasses... and contacts... still an idiot though.

The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and hit the town again for more exploration!

Plaza Mayor de Salamanca

They love frogs (ranas) in Salamanca! lil galletas ranitas

bridge. awesome.

un puente grande (big briiidge!)

american gal, light pole, bridge, cathedral

Then that night me, the other katie, sarah, and rachel went to Mass in La Iglesia de Purisma. It was absolutely beautiful. We would've gone to the Cathedrals for mass, but the only time offered was at 11am Sunday morning, and we would already be on our bus by that time (booo!). After mass, this man came up to us and asked if we knew the history of the church.. of course we said no (duh, we're just silly american gals now), & he continued to tell us the history of the church (in spanish of course.. and he kindly talked very slow for us, i liked this old man). The huge paintings behind the altar were all painted in Italy, and the church was built around them (they couldn't fit them in i'm guessing???). Also, the people who funded the building of the church (some sort of royalty, can remember though..) lived in the palace across the street from la iglesia. When they died they were buried under the church! crazyyyyyyy.

La Iglesia de La Purisisima, Salamanca
After mass, we met up with the rest of the group & went and got some delicious pizzaaaaaaaa (with pineapples! just like hideaway. mmm. except not at all actually haha). Then about 11:45pm we headed back to our hostel. We were tiiiiiiiiiiiiiired (probably due to the lack of sleep the night before!), and I was ready for some shleeeep!

The next morning Lauren, Richard, and I walked to the University of Salamanca and found the hidden frog. They say if you spot it you'll have good luck for a year!! 2010. You're gonna be a good one.

Can you find it.....???
Hint: It's on the right column.. on one of the skullzzz!

Ah yes there it is! on da skullz head! hello good luck.
Then we met the others at the bus station and headed back to good ole Alcala.
Twas a lovely weekend.
Hasta Luego,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicas de All Ages & Backgrounds...

Today Primi had one of her friends over for lunch (La Comida.. the big ole meal!). She was also a very bubbly woman, and the whole meal (about an hour & 1/2 when you include the fruit & coffee served at the end) they chitty chatted like any best friends would. I understood most of what they were saying (haha overstatement. more like I understood every other sentence... but i could get the just of the convos), and most of it was about their families, work, ............. and men. That's right. Men. It was just really funny to me that women that not only are 40 years older than me, but also grew up on the total opposite side of the world, talk about the same things me and my friends talk about. Usually the topics are about funny things that have happened to us at school or work, some stuff about our families, but our conversations almost always end up discussing the opposite sex. Either that they suck or they don't... just depends on the day haha!

It was just so funny because Primi saw me laughing at their comical conversation and said, "Cuándo mujeres son juntas, siempre hablarán sobre hombres! Es la verdad??" ("When girls are together, they'll always talk about boys! Am I right?") hahaha! it was hilarious.

Then later today, Primi and I went to Corte Ingles, a realllllly big store with EVERYTHING you could ever want. There are 4 floors! There's food, a department store, furniture, kitchen appliances and furniture, and all sorts of decorating stuff, etc etc etc... im tellin ya this place is huge. i got lost. and couldn't find her for a while. it was scary. hahaha...

but anyways, So we went to the grocery store part of Corte Ingles so I could show her what kind of food I like and dislike. She LOVE pork... and anything you can make from it.... and I don't eat pork... or any other sort of meat for that matter (except pesca... fish.), so she wanted to see what i'd like even though I've told her a million times that I'd really eat anything because I want to taste all different kinds of Spanish food! Oh well.

>interjection: this grocery store was selling bottles of wine for less than 2 Euros. Chickah yeah. Daz crazy.<

So we finished shopping for food, and she said she'd run to the car and put the groceries up while I looked around. We were going to meet up in about 20 minutes. I quickly became enthralled with the millions of sales that were going on (50%, 60%, even 80% off! wooh! bargain shopping. love it.). I wandered into the shoe section, which was really nice.. they had Nine West and other fancy name brand shoes that I've heard of in the U.S., but I left the shoe area pretty quickly when I realized that even when the boots were 60% off they were still $70. haha nope. Then I went upstairs and looked at all the clothes and accessories and other supah dooopah girly shtuff, even bought myself a lil shirt (only 10 Euros. That's what's up people.).

Well an hour went by with no sign of Primi...... which was okay because of course I was extremely distracted with all the new shiney things to be found in this store. When we finally found each other, we both had "accidentally" bought things for ourselves and had big Corte Ingles sacks in our hands. Hahhaaha...

So in conclusion, even though we may be from totally different places, brought up totally differently, and are far from the same age, women all have certain things in common. We long to be loved and wanted, we cherish friendships and put loads of trust in them, we love our families (no matter how far away or close they are, or if they are scattered all over the world and no longer unified, or if they are broken and no longer really a family), and obviously girls like to shop (not necessarily BUY. Window shopping is a type of shopping too ya know. and personally my favorite)... hahaha :)

Other observations from this week:

1. I love walking to class in the mornings. It takes me about 25 minutes, but I enjoy every minute of it. There are always people out walking their dogs (many which have awesome lil doggy sweaters on. Hahaha... Zorro would be so jealous), hustling and bustling along to work, accompanying their children to school, etc.... It's people watching at it's finest. Also everyone speaks spanish.. so i'll catch lil bits and pieces of people's conversations as I'm walking by... haha

2. Spanish art rocks.

3. I should really take advantage of the midafternoon siesta time and take a lil snoozer now and then. I'm always so tired at night (as in 9:00pm), and they don't even eat dinner til 9:30!

4. The Lord is guiding me along each day and protecting me... & I wish everyone knew about that awesome Love.

I'm going to visit Salamanca with my friends tomorrow! wooh! I'll be there til Sunday!

woopity woop woop,
Katie Mallory :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh Hey There Cowboy...

My life is so random...

So Sunday morning I experienced my first Spanish Mass with Lauren & Spencer at la iglesia Santa María. We thought it started at noon, but actually it started at 11:30am, so we were pretty late… and very confused… mainly because it was all in Spanish haha, but we’re used to that kind of confusion now. I just have to listen very closely. Communion was very different; not everyone went up to receive the body (there was no blood?) of Christ… only if they had confessed their sins prior to Mass. It was strange. But afterwards we found the priest (el cura) and talked to him (in Spanish… very very slowly. haha) about Mass times, certain traditions of the church, other churches we can attend, daily mass schedules, and other things. We all got a little book to follow along with during Mass (in Spanish of course... always learning!).

After Mass, we walked around Plaza Cervantes, mainly Calle Mayor. There were tons of street vendors! They were selling all sorts of nifty little scarves, rings, necklaces, and much more. Then me and Lauren found our favorite store. It is very hippy-like, just our style.
While Lauren & me liked all the clothes & jewelry, Spencer couldn't keep his eyes off of the Vespa accessories

Plaza Cervantes on Calle Mayor

We wandered around the street a lil more, and then all of a sudden everyone started backing out of the street onto the sidewalks and looking down the street as if they were expecting something to happen… and something did happen! There was a parade of animals! All sorts! Horses, burros, rabbits, dogs… apparently it was el día San Antón, patron saint of animals, and the animals and their owners were in a procession towards the church for a special blessing! We were so lucky that we got to see it all!

Then while I was walking back to Primi’s house for lunch (her daughter’s family was coming over for a big almuerzo), I happened to stumble upon about 8 people (about 8 men & 2 women) riding their horses through an alley near plaza cervantes. One of the hombres asked where I was going (I had a map in my hand… duh.) and asked if I wanted a lift. Of course I said “no no no, está bien senor.” But the whole group insisted that I come along with them, so they hoisted me up onto his horse (very awkwardly of course, I’m no caballera) and took me through the streets of Alcalá by horse to the street near Primi’s house! It was so funny! I couldn’t believe I was actually riding a horse (bareback by the way) through the old cobblestone streets of a beautiful Spanish city. So cool! The guys kept laughing (they may or may not have been a lil bit borracho... aka drunk) & saying "tienes pelo como oro!" which means "you have gold hair!!" hahaha there aren't many blondes here..

they insisted that i wear one of their hats in the picture...

homeboy on the right might have had one too many cervezas!

Anyways, nothing too crazy has happened since then. The internet in Primi's house works (woot woot!) so that's great news! And we've all planned a trip to Salamanca for this weekend which I'm really pumped about!