Since the first time we went to the cathedral we got kicked out my roommate Kate and I decided to go back during one of our free afternoons. It was so beautiful. You can tell how much religion means to the Spaniards and how much it affects their history. It’s good to see the differences from the two religions especially because the rest of my family is catholic. The cathedral in Santander is very unique. The original burned down in a huge fire that burned half of Santander. There are still parts of the original cathedral part of the new one. If anyone is ever in Santander this is one of the places you definitely want to visit.
My roommates, Kate and Hannah, and I got very lucky to be living with Manuela. She is the sweetest person I have ever met in my life. The first day we were with her she was so excited to show us all of her pictures and to show off her apartment. It took a few days but we got used to her food and once we did we realized how amazing it is. Every night after dinner we always sit with Manuela and listen to her stories about life or watch the World Cup with her. We even got to meet her kids and grandchildren. Manuela is always very patient with us and loves hearing all of our stories from the United States. I couldn’t be happier living with Manuela. She is always so excited to tell us about all the other students that have stayed with her and show all the presents they brought her from the United States. Not to mention the view from her apartment is spectacular. It’s going to be sad leaving Manuela but I definitely am going to keep in touch with her and hopefully will get to visit her again.
What’s better than spending your Saturdays in little Spanish towns? First we went to the historic town of Santillana Del Mar. Santillana Del Mar is exactly what you would think when someone tells you that you are going to an old European town. It has cobblestone streets, beautiful old buildings, and souvenir shops everywhere you go. We were put in groups and given old pictures of the town. We had to find the places in the picture and take another picture with half of the old picture and half of the actual place now. Of course all of my pictures turned out terrible but the ones that actually worked turned out really cool. After Santillana Del Mar we went to Comillas. When we got there we had 3 hours to explore the city ourselves. We then met up and went to El Capricho De Gaudí. It was such an amazing experience.
We finally got to meet all the summer 2 people Monday before school started. It was very weird. Everyone stayed in their little groups until we finally started introducing ourselves. We all said the usual stuff our names, what grade we are going into, where we are from, what Spanish we are in then we all split up again so summer 2 could take the placement exams and the monthers got to watch the Simpsons with Pedro in Spanish. Later that day we all met at the Ayuntamiento and gave tours of Santander. Overall everyone got along very well.
Saying goodbye to the summer 1 people was very sad and weird because I will probably never see any of them ever again. We all started this out together and now we have to welcome new people. Our small group of monthers all went to Bilbao with the one and only Beatriz. The 10 of us all piled onto a bus and drove to the Guggenheim. We spent several hours there and all I can say is that modern art is very weird and I don’t understand it at all. After the Guggenheim we all decided to get lunch at a Mexican restaurant because whats the point of getting Spanish food in Spain. After lunch Beatriz wanted to show us some of the touristy spots of Bilbao but since it was pouring rain we all decided to go to the mall instead. Overall it was a pretty good day but also sad because we had to say goodbye to Beatriz because she was leaving us for the San Sebastián group.
After driving 2 hours along windy roads from Santander we finally arrived to Los Picos de Europa. We all took cable cars to the top and hiked our way down. The view from the top was outstanding. On our way down we saw many cows, horses, and goats roaming freely along the mountains. Hiking Los Picos de Europa was a very different experience from what I’m used to in Canada but it was still amazing. It was a very successful first excursion
Sorry for not posting in so long my homestay doesn’t have wifi. Anyway Spain is the most amazing country I have ever been to. If there wasn’t an economic crisis I would definitely live in Santander. The first few days flew by. We toured Madrid, Segovia, then finally drove to Santander. Madrid was beautiful but I liked Segovia more. The castles and architecture are all so amazing. Out of the 3 cities we have been to so far Santander is the best. The beach, the shopping, and the people are fantastic.