Friday, July 5, 2013

Aldaba Residencia Universitaria, Calle Monroy, Salamanca, Spain

This blog wouldn't be complete without a post about our "home" for the past 2 weeks: Aldaba @ Monroy. There are two locations for Aldaba here in Salamanca, both owned and operated by the same ladies, and we hear good reports from the teachers staying in Aldaba Rector as well.  Our experience here has been excellent and we would recommend this lodging option to anyone.  The rooms each have a private bath.  They have single and double rooms.  No smoking is allowed in the building.  Internet is available in every room, and WiFi is available in the dining room.  The photo above is of the main entrance, and if you look closely, you'll see we are adjacent to a Carrefour, which is a convenient place to pick up necessities, and it accepts foreign credit cards.  We actually have stayed in 2 rooms here, since when we arrived the larger room was still occupied.  Below are some photos that were taken in both rooms, as well as a single room.
The foyer just inside the entrance is cozy and clean.  The door is locked at all times and we feel very safe here.
This is the room (on the main floor, just off the dining room) we were in the first few days.  It is a very nice room and opens to the balcony.
This room is on the 3rd floor, a bit larger and more suited for two people.
Some of the double rooms have bunk beds. 
Ben, doing homework. 
This dear lady is a wonderful cook (and also a kind and patient Spanish teacher for me :). The homemade meals are satisfying and offer a variety of examples of traditional foods.  Lunch is served from 1:30 - 2:45.  Dinner is served from 8:30 - 9:15.  Breakfast is self serve and available around 7:30 in the morning.  Breakfast in Spain is fairly light--coffee and a small muffin or croissant, but then they eat a "2nd breakfast" around 10:45 in the morning at one of the many cafes.
This is the dining area and the terrace pictured below, is adjacent to the dining room.

The 2 rooms on the main floor (where the dining room is) open onto this balcony.

The staff here is very friendly and they have patiently allowed me to practice my Spanish. This is one of the ladies who does some of the cooking and also cleans the rooms and common areas.  I snapped this photo in the 3rd floor sitting area. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mester Academy, Salamanca, Spain

I've not mentioned too much about Ben's classes.  Yes, we've had a great time visiting various sites and meeting folks, but the original reason we came to Spain was so Ben could take some classes at Mester, a Spanish language school here in Salamanca.  He has really enjoyed the classes about technology, culture and language.  Additionally, he's met some great teachers from all over the U.S. as well as other countries.  They are working on a group project for class and spend a pretty high percentage of time talking about teaching strategies and experiences when they are not in class.  For more details, you'll need to ask Ben, of course, but I thought I'd post a few photos.
III Congreso Internacional del Espanol was last week, and the Mester group attended various presentations, including one by Dr. Blake and Gabriel. 
   And, as you know from other posts, the group has had several out of class cultural experiences as well!  The ruta de tapas (above) and cooking demonstration (below) are 2 examples.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Churros con chocolate @ Valor, Salamanca, Spain...

Certainly photos of antique buildings should be balanced with something more palatable. :)
We were advised by many wise persons that the best churros con chocolate could be found at the Valor shop.  Churros are like fresh doughnuts.  They are dunked in melted dark chocolate.  They are exceptionally delicious.   They are not low calorie.  We'll stick with carrots when we return to KY :).

Ben, doing his best to pretend he's happy. 

University of Salamanca and surrounding area...

The University of Salamanca, founded in the 1100's, is the 3rd oldest continuously operating university in Europe.  We had a brief tour of some of the historic buildings and a few other nearby public spaces.

Door to a classroom.
An old lecture hall. I will never complain about uncomfortable seats :).
The library.

 This old sequoia is in a plaza inside the university.
 The ceilings are worthy of a photo.

We also climbed up a tower of an old cathedral.  Actually, it is the "new" cathedral, as the original one, which is adjacent to the new one, was damaged by an earthquake in 1755.  Anyhow, the bonus of climbing the tower was a view of the city and surrounding countryside. 


Those who know me well will be impressed that I can coexist with the multitude of pigeons that inhabit this city. :) They are Everywhere.

Signs of Interpreters! (LSE-Spanish and ASL-English)

The sign for "interpreter" in LSE has 3 parts, shown here right to left.
This evening, Ben and I had a great visit with these two professional Sign Language Interpreters.  I met them at the school (center) I mentioned in an earlier post.  I had the awesome opportunity to observe both of them interpreting in the classroom.  Suffice it to say, I'm very impressed by their professionalism, skills and their rapport with clients and colleagues. 

Signs of Teixeiras in Miranda do Douro, Portugal...

When I learned that one stop on our weekend excursions was in Portugal, I was very excited because my Uncle Jorge Teixeira is originally from Portugal.  Immediately we found a place of business with the Teixeira name near the door :).  The small city of Miranda do Douro is just across the river from Spain, and our bus arrived during siesta time.  The streets were quiet as we wandered around the older part of the city, discovering the old city wall and city gate.  When the shops opened, we went into a store selling linens (Portugal's cotton products are quite popular) and the store owner was very friendly.  Ben has learned a bit of Portuguese and she kindly let him practice speaking a bit.  Below are the snapshots we took.  It was 96 degrees while we ate our picnic lunch under the shade trees near this fountain.
 Clearly, lavender is not allergic to heat and drought! We found this beautiful patch on a hill overlooking the river. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A nod to the stereotype...

Before we left for Spain, our friend, Edward, cautioned us to not get trampled by the bulls. :)  Por supuesto, people often equate Spain with its tradition of bullfighting.  I'm not overly interested in sports, especially this one, but we did join two of the professors/guides from Mester, Carlos and Belen, in a tour of the local museum.  For more info on the museum:  I should say that both Carlos and Belen are very knowledgeable and excellent guides.
 This cape is not light.
 A display of brands from the bull farms.
The clothing of the matadors can be quite ornate,
with real gold used for the embroidery.