Viajes al Extranjero

Going Back in Time… Sort of

This past Saturday, I traveled out to Avila with a few friends, which is a small town about an hour and a half west of Madrid. Or at least by slow train it is. One of the defining characteristics of Avila is it still has its medieval walls in tact. This would be a good reason to visit in and of itself, but it also happened to be hosting a medieval celebration this weekend. So we, and a ton of other people, descended upon this small town for day of renaissance fun.

In my youth, I had been to Renaissance Faires in the States, but it was always purely make believe. Our country didn’t exist when these things were happening, so everything was just a recreation. But attending one inside ancient city walls, walking down small twisting alleyways, and watching events unfold with such a backdrop added another element altogether. It was kind of magical. And the costumes they came up with were brilliant.

I won’t bore you with a full run through of the day, but the highlights included a parade of characters, both real and fanciful, that made their way outside the walls to the jousting grounds. We climbed the rocks the wall is built upon and watched the whole thing proceed. Afterwards we wandered around and watched the artisans making and selling their wares. One of the interesting aspects of this city during this time period was that it was home to three religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. And each of those religions had their own section of the city to represent.

Carving chess pieces with hands and feet on a hand lathe

All in all it was a really fun day. Part of it was just randomly coming across different people/groups acting out their parts in random places around the city and listen to them play their music. There was always some sort of appropriate music involved somewhere!

And just because that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend, I went hiking with a different group of friends on Sunday. It was the same hike I did last time I posted. I’ve been to a few others, but this was a really great hike with equally great views. So I wanted to share it with a few others from my program.

It’s been a really busy week in general, so today is the first day of my “vacation”. My Spanish classes just ended and I have no real responsibilities until I start teaching the beginning of October. So today I’m finally taking it easy. I have plans to travel a bit in the next few weeks, but one thing at a time.

Oh! And a number of you have been asking about my new apartment. That’s coming up next! So stay tuned!

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