With this week now ending, time is passing by rather quickly. This past week has been busy with classes, exams, cultural classes and short trips to Malaga and Ronda.
This Monday night my fellow Vegemites (that is our team name) and I regrouped for another night of trivia at Hannigans & Sons. I am pleased to announce that rather than losing and placing ninth last time, we came fourth! Although we did not win anything, we were very proud to represent Australia for this victory. With this much improvement who knows what next week's trivia will bring!
On Tuesday we had our second last culture class with Maríangeles. We met at the Plaza de Isabel la Católica ready to explore the beautiful Granada Cathedral and the Royal Chapel of Granada – two very important buildings in the city of Granada. We first went to the Royal Chapel of Granada. The Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction of the Royal Chapel of Granada in 1504 as a place of burial for their bodies. It was quite incredible to see the tombs of the royal monarchs. I am in constant awe of the abundance of history that is constantly surrounding us in Granada. After we saw the Royal Chapel, we then walked to the Cathedral, which was very close by. The Granada Cathedral has many chapels of different ages and styles. Whilst the chapels were indeed very beautiful, it was the ceiling of the Cathedral which I could not take my eyes off. It was a masterpiece.
Unlike other times throughout the year, our Intensive Spanish classes have been split into three weeks and one week. For this reason, we have had three weeks in one Spanish level, and then after our exams this week we will move up to the next level for a week. Usually throughout the year, there are four weeks of classes in one level. Looking back over these past three weeks it is quite incredible to see how my Spanish has improved.
Given that this week was the final week of our three weeks of Spanish classes, we ended the week with an exam. Our exams were split into three parts – Grammar, Writing and Oral. We had our written exam altogether in the classroom, and then we had our orals in pairs with our teacher Carmen. I was incredibly nervous for the oral component of my exam, however it turned out as most things do, that it was not that bad. Nevertheless, I was very happy when it was all over.
Going to Malaga and Ronda for the weekend was a perfect way to end this busy week. I was so excited to be heading back to Malaga again, and eager to visit Ronda, as I had heard so many good things about it. After we all finished class on Friday, we caught the bus in the afternoon for Malaga.
When we arrived in Malaga it was during siesta time. Luckily our hostel was on the same road as many bars and restaurants, so we got a drink, ate some free tapas and waited for reception to open. Finally reception opened and we were able to check in and have a rest before going out for tapas. Little did we know what was waiting for us in the future. On the walk to where we were going to eat that night it began to drizzle, that drizzle turned into rain, and by the time we were seated it was bucketing down. We were henceforth trapped in the same bar for most of the night until we were brave enough to face the rain. In spite of the torrential rain we had a really fun night- I even managed to eat some avocado which I have not had in months. I am a Melbourne girl, and if anyone knows us Melbourne folk we love our smashed avo (avocado mixed with feta and a bit of lemon on toast – it’s the breakfast of champions, and something I actually find myself eating all of the time).
On Saturday we woke early to catch the bus to Ronda. Usually the bus trip is meant to only be 2 hours, but we accidentally bought tickets to the 3 hour bus which stopped a lot along the way! It was okay though, it was a perfect way to catch up on much needed sleep. Ronda is famous for its beautiful views, spectacular escarpments and for the El Tajo gorge. It is also known as the birthplace of modern bullfighting. When we first arrived we went into the Plaza de Toros (Bullring). The bullring is remarkable. One thing the Spaniards can do is design beautiful buildings and structures. Whilst I was in awe of the beautiful building I did feel conflicted in supporting the notion of bullfighting by simply being there. We then went to the famous Puente Nuevo. The Puente Nuevo, which directly translates to New Bridge, is the newest and largest of three bridges that divide the city of Ronda and span the 120-metre-deep chasm that carries the Guadalevin River. The bridge was absolutely incredible. All in all in was a really fun day out, Ronda was a beautiful city.
I decided to stay on in Malaga with some other friends while the rest of our group went back to Granada. It was wonderful to experience Malaga at night. In the main streets there are beautiful fairy lights and the most wonderful atmosphere, My friends and I met people from all over the world and our hostel was having their one year anniversary for opening, so there was free chocolate cake and sangria for all.
It is so easy to travel around Spain by bus and explore all the beautiful places that surround Granada. I am having the most amazing time, and know that come next week it is going to be incredibly hard to leave this wonderful place.