It seems that Spain is that place that all of us students go to at least once. Like Octoberfest, Springfest, or any other fest, Spain calls us to experience its culture. We go and we party, drink too much, eat tapas, and see the sites. Yet there’s more to Spain than this, and better ways for getting around the cities than one would expect for just a long-weekend visit.
For those of you going with the school to Sevilla, there’s plenty to do if you’re trying to avoid the program and look less like an obnoxious american, if that’s possible. For a well worth it site, go to Alcazar. This 16th century palace is beautifully and delicately designed in the Moorish style, as it was once a Moorish fort. The Patio de las Doncellas, the Baths of Lady María de Padilla, the Gardens of the Alcazar, and the Walls of Alcazar are all worth stopping at to see why this palace is a palace. Walk through the Barrio de Santa Cruz where you’ll find a seemingly endless labyrinth of narrow streets, white houses, small patios, and potted flowers. It tends to be in the shade so if you want to take in some Spanish sun, go walking along the river.
If you want to sit down, find a bar and get some Mojitos (white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint) – Ernest Hemingway’s preferred drink. Something else to enjoy is Sangria which is a wine punch of, you guessed it, wine as well as sweetener, chopped fruit, and a bit of brandy. As far as food goes, try Paella and Gazpacho. Paella is a rice dish which originated in the region of Velencia in Spain and has white rice, beans, some meat, green veggies, and seasoning. Sure, it sounds like most Spanish dishes, but it’s different…it just is. Gazpacho is for sure different as it’s basically tomato soup with raw veggies. Have it only if the weather is warm and sunny as it’s served cold.
Now for the practical stuff that you might not want, but you know you should know it – the language. Here are some words and phrases that, just like in Florence, will get you politeness, directions, and food. We all know hola, adios, and gracias but see you later is hasta luego, please is por favor, and you’re welcome is de nada. When you get lost, remember that where is is donde ésta. If it’s the bathroom you’re looking for, use donde está el baño. To order, use me gustaría as I would like. To pay for whatever is it you just ordered, ask la cuenta, per favor for the check or try using cuanta cuesta esto/a meaning how much does this cost. Shortening it down to what’s the cost, use cuanta cuesta. However, all of this can be avoided easily, as well as any personal embarrassment, by just asking hablas inglés which means do you speak English.
By Jake Sheets
Categories: Life Abroad