Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 3: Valladolid - what a day!

After a night of mostly not-sleep, we were up by 5:45 and all out the door by 6:45am. We metro-ed to the bus station, and set out for Valladolid.

But first some background as to why the we took a day trip there:
This past summer (and the summer before), my grandma, aunt and uncle, and cousin each hosted a girl from Valladolid for a month during the summer, through a program called "American Experience"*.  The woman who runs this program is Krissa.  Krissa was a WHS graduate as well, and went on to graduate from UW-Eau Claire with a double major in Spanish and Linguistics.  During the spring semester of her sophomore year in college, she studied abroad in Valladolid (just like you, Rachel!).  Long story short, after returning to Valladolid to teach English, she dated - and is now married to - a Spaniard she had been friends with during her semester studying abroad.  

Krissa has lived in Valladolid for 7 or 9 years now (my memory is failing me right now...) and has two children.  I met Krissa and her family at the American Experience banquet this past summer, which I attended with my grandma and cousins.

Krissa has been so welcoming, and said if I ever wanted to visit Valladolid, name the day and she'll show me around.  When I found out grandma and mother would be here for a week, we planned to visit Valladolid for a day.

And back to yesterday.  10:15am our bus pulls into the bus station.  We easily find Krissa, who is pushing around little Marco in his stroller.  We leave the bus station and start walking through the city's main park, Campo Grande, known for its ducks and peacocks.

I'm looking to my left, staring at some ducks or something, when I hear my name being called - by a voice I hadn't heard since April.  If I recall correctly, I think mother said "Rebecca - look!"  I look straight ahead.... and there's Michael A!  For those of you who don't know him, Michael is my very good friend from high school, and last April he left the US for his 2-year mission trip in Spain.  He's been living in Salamanca, but with the strict rules of the mission, we can't plan to meet up at all, and he can only e-mail family, thus contact has been slim.  In the past four months, many-a-times I have pictured running into him in Madrid (where they come to get their mail every month or so) but never did I expect to run into him in Valladolid.

It was a brief encounter, as he and Elder Spiers were supposed to be in a meeting when we ran into them, but had enough time to snap a photo:

That run-in made the whole trip to Valladolid worth it for me, but the day continued to be a wonderful trip.  We then ate a late breakfast at the top floor of Corte Ingles, with a great view of Valladolid.

And then Krissa took us around town:

Plaza Mayor

Real Monasterio de San Benito

Meat market

Cow's stomach 

Iglesia de San Pablo

House of Cervantes

We had lunch with Celia, the girl who stayed with my grandmother for a month this summer.  It was great to see her again, and the meal was delicious - lamb.

Celia and grandma

After lunch, we met up with one of the girls my aunt and uncle had hosted, Paloma; her mother, also named Paloma; and Consuela, the mother of the girl my cousin hosted.  Krissa left at that point, understandably, as her mother was in town visiting from the US, and she had two young kids at home.  The two mothers didn't speak a lick of English, just as my mother and grandma don't speak any Spanish.  Thus it was on Paloma and I to be the translators.

We had after-lunch coffee together at a nearby cafe.  Translating worked just fine, and we had some great conversation that afternoon.  The mothers were both so nice and welcoming - I give them credit for agreeing to spend the afternoon with us (they didn't know I spoke Spanish, and thus had been a bit nervous about the language barrier).

Paloma, Paloma, grandma

After-lunch coffee

After coffee, we walked around town some more.  Our hosts for the afternoon had to leave around 7, so we had a bit of time for some window shopping before heading back to the bus station.

Our bus left Valladolid at 9pm, returning to Madrid a bit after 11, and back to my apartment by midnight.

*If anyone living near the Madison area is interested in hosting a young-teen this summer, or would like more information on the program, leave a comment with your e-mail and I can get you in touch with Krissa.

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