The final ‘puente’ weekend was coming up at the start of May and I was headed to Segovia! If you don’t know already, ‘puente’ is the Spanish word for ‘bridge’, but in this case, it simply means a long weekend. This weekend, I had five days off work from Friday to Tuesday. Woo!
I organised to meet up with my friend Naomi, who lives in Gijón, Asturias. Gijón is on the north coast of Spain and there wasn’t really a feasible way for either one of us to visit each other’s homes. We decided to split the difference and meet half way. Neither of us had been to Segovia yet, a famous small city north of Madrid – so the decision was made. I was especially excited because Segovia has a palace that was one of the influences in the creation of the Disney castle and I really wanted to see it, because DISNEY. Need I say more.
Unfortunately, our deadline for university work was on the Tuesday of the long weekend, so if we wanted to go Segovia we were going to have to impose an early deadline. For the (our) greater good, we decided to sacrifice Friday to finish our work. All my friends in Úbeda left on Friday, leaving me alone at home to work. This was perfect, until the evening when I had finished wanted to celebrate. No matter, I still made it work with hummus, crisps, a G&T and Netflix. The best kind of celebration if you ask me.
Finally, Saturday arrived and the journey began. Despite the solid rain throughout most of the weekend, we managed to do a lot. Highlights of the weekend were:
- Eating the cuchinillo (roast suckling pig), which is a traditional Segovian dish. A lot of people get freaked out by it, because it’s an entire pig, but it was sooo tasty! No regrets there.
- Visiting the Alcazar de Segovia. This is the Disney palace I mentioned earlier. We didn’t go inside in the end, but we climbed the tower which was even better in my opinion, since we got to see an amazing view of the city and cathedral.
- Seeing the famous Aqueduct. It’s not in use anymore, but it’s a cool landmark to take pictures with.
- Accidentally stumbling upon an outdoor concert in a random neighbourhood. We were walking through the residential area after dinner, before heading back to the Airbnb (I admit that I was ready to go to bed), when we suddenly heard music. The best decision we made was to follow the music. It’s safe to say we ended up staying out for a while.
Segovia was a blast, but it wasn’t long before I was off to visit Laura in Strasbourg, France! Surprisingly, the journey went off without a hitch. The only difficulty I had was having to contact Laura once I landed at the airport. My phone wasn’t working, and I needed to tell her what time my train would arrive in Strasbourg so she could pick me up. Challenge accepted. With my extremely rusty French, I asked a woman if I could use her phone to contact Laura. I tried calling first, which didn’t work so I sent a text and hoped for the best that Laura received it. I can safely say that the conversation with the French woman did not make me feel any better about my French skills. Luckily though, the woman understood me, the text was sent, Laura received it and was there with Katie to pick me up from the station! Challenge completed.
British Council placements in France finish at the end of April, so Katie and I were visiting Laura at the end of her time in Strasbourg. This meant that there were a lot of goodbye events, parties and gatherings going on – it was going to be a busy few days!
Highlights of my visit to Strasbourg:
- A gathering at Laura’s flat the night I arrived. Yup, Katie and Laura picked me up from the station and we walked back to her flat where the party had already started! I was thrown straight into the deep end meeting new people, but it was a great night and all of Laura’s friends are so nice so it wasn’t hard!
- Exploring Strasbourg – this included a walk to the park (it has a zoo, which made the walk worthwhile), a walk around Petite France, the cute picturesque part of the city, and a venture into the cathedral tower.
- Another night out with all Laura’s friends. Strasbourg larger and more international than Úbeda, so it was refreshing to go to a club where I could understand and sing along to most of the music. It really makes a difference to the clubbing experience, ya know.
- It turns out that it takes 20 minutes to get to Germany on the train, so we popped over for cake! No biggie.
- Having a drink in a secret Yup, it’s hidden behind th- wait, I can’t tell you. It’s a secret bar, remember.
- Basically, ALL the food we ate – Homemade dishes included fajitas, French onion soup and Alsatian cheese spaetzle (an interesting type of pasta). The food we ate out were Nutella crêpes (when in France) and tarte flambée, a typical Alsatian dish which is similar to pizza and so delicious!
The first two weeks of May were busy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I had the opportunity see two new cities, eat food from the area, and even better, catch up with my friends who I don’t get to see all too often! It’d be great to have a rest after all that travelling, but the as it’s my last month in Spain, it’s only going to get busier in the next few weeks.
Watch this space x