Carnaval Vacation: Galicia & Sevilla

Well, now that our next break is almost upon us, I guess I should get around to posting about the last break! We had a week off for Carnaval, so of course we took advantage! Although apparently, Andorra has some pretty fun Carnaval celebrations, so we missed out on some of the fun here.

The second half of the week was the Mid-Year Conference in Sevilla, so we had the first half to travel wherever we wanted. After living in Andalucia for a year (and visiting again over fall break), I didn’t feel a huge urge to spend the extra time there, and neither did Lauren, so the two of us decided to check out a part of Spain we didn’t know – Galicia.

Galicia fascinates me because it’s one of the regions of Spain where there’s a co-official minority language, Gallego. Gallego sounds and looks like Spanish mixed with Portuguese, but of course it is its very own language (just like Catalan!). We ended up deciding to go to Santiago de Compostela, which is a very famous city in Spain because it’s the endpoint of the famous Camino de Santiago (St. James’s Way).

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The Cathedral.

 

Santiago is actually not a very big city, despite its big fame. You can walk around most of the Old Town in just a few hours. Which is what Lauren and I did, and it’s very cute! Unfortunately, Galicia is kind of like the Pacific Northwest in the US – super. freaking. rainy. So although we saw the big sights – the Cathedral being #1 – I don’t have a lot of great pictures because the rain kind of ruined them all.

Also, the thing I was most excited about was the Museo do Pobo Galego – the Museum of the Galician People. But remember how I have the worst luck with museums? Well… This one was closed. We specifically checked the hours and everything, and then got there to see a sign taped to the door – it was closed to maintenance or something. THE WORST LUCK. That was our last day, too, so I was pretty bummed.

Other than that, the most notable thing we did in Santiago was eat, honestly. We found an American snack food store and loaded up on foods you can’t find in Andorra, and then stuffed ourselves. It was glorious. We also ate Galicia’s most famous dish, which is octopus. I LOVE octopus, and Galicia didn’t disappoint on that front. So delicious.

So while our time in Galicia wasn’t the most eventful or touristic, it was actually pretty relaxing, which is supposed to be the idea of vacation anyway!

We flew from Galicia to Sevilla to meet up with the Mid-Year Seminar, arriving a bit late but managing to only miss lunch! It was so nice to see all our friends from Fulbright Spain again! I guess it’s not as exciting for all of them to be gathered together, since most of them live in Madrid anyway, but for the Andorra crew it’s pretty exciting to have our social circle expanded like that for a few days. (To put it into perspective, there are like 90 Fulbrighters in Spain. There are 5 of us in Andorra.)

Seminar kicked off with some presentations, and then the first evening featured a talent show. My fellow grantees are so talented, and funny, and awesome! It was great. Lauren did a stand-up comedy routine and talked about Andorra, which was fun.

I don’t remember the exact order of events at mid-year, but they included: research/project presentations (people are doing such cool stuff!), discussion groups, a cocktail party, a tour of the cathedral and the alcazar (seen them both twice already, but still pretty), some fancy lunches, and just generally hanging out with cool people. Sevilla is beautiful, and although the weather was not the usual perfection you’d expect there, it was much nicer than Galicia! One night we even went to a super cool flamenco show that a Fulbrighter who lives in Sevilla (he’s researching music, actually) found for us.

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The three days FLEW by, and I was pretty sad for it to be over. There’s no end of the year reception or anything, so we don’t have another chance to see everyone in one place again. So even though it was the mid-year seminar, it felt kind of like a goodbye! The good news is, some of the Spain Fulbrighters and all of the Andorra crew are going to Fulbright Germany next week, so we will see each other there!

Since then, things have been good! I’m off to teach a class, but we have 2 weeks of vacation after this week, so my next update will probably be after that!

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