The first week in Sevilla flew by in a flash and with a distinct rhythm. I would get up, have breakfast at home and then walk to school around 9:15am (though I still haven’t quite adjusted to the late day break after 8am in Southern Spain – it constantly throws me off). School hours were from 9:30am till 2:30pm. The classes moved quickly and everyday I was faced with fresh deluge of Spanish vocabulary, verbs and grammar. I was glad I had carried my Vox English/Spanish dictionary with me, as recommended by the Amerispan website, as it became an invaluable resource for me.
Break time, from 11:15-11:45, called for a standard café con leche and a tostada at the Bar Candelaria across the street from the Spanish school. It had became the staple venue for meeting other Spanish students, exchanging experiences and making plans. After school, I would usually go back to my apartment (homestay), preferring to eat lunch there (my landlady usually prepared the food in the morning and gave me the choice of either eating in the morning or at night). It took me only a few days to adjust to the Spanish eating hours; Lunch between 2-3:30PM and dinner sometime between 10PM-12AM (mid meal snacks or ‘Merienda” certainly helped me stay alive in between the main meals). My landlady found out that I really appreciated her food, and was cooking up quite a storm of Spanish dishes from Paella to Codfish with tomato (Bacalao con Tomate) and it became a culinary journey every day. We would invariably chat (she would talk and I would nod furiously) over lunch.
After lunch, I would typically rest for a while and then it would typically be city touring time for me and trying to orient myself in the highly confusing old town. I identified the major sights which I put in the “not to miss” category, namely the famous Real Alcazar, The Cathedral and La Giralda, but preferred to wait for a clear day in order to get the most out of my visit (it had been quite rainy through the early part of the week). Apart from the big landmarks, the old town of Seville was also scattered with many other churches and monuments influenced by Judaism, Islam and Christianity, which showed it’s rich history. It was a veritable delight walking through the hemmed in, narrow, cobblestoned streets of Seville and stumbling into an Catholic old church or a Moorish influenced park or a grand Casa (home) built by a combination of Christian, Moorish and Jewish architecture. It was truly amazing and I went shutter crazy.
In the late evening, there would be usually be some plan or the other to meet with other classmates and visit the quintessential Spanish hangout – a Tapas Bar or Cerveceria, of which there were so many and of such variety, that it actually became difficult to decide where to go each night . However no matter where we went, the food was varied and amazing, the beer and wine was cheap, the conversations flowed freely and invariably I would not be back home before 1AM – that too because I realized that I might oversleep if I stayed out too late (that luxury was reserved for the weekend only).
Click for more information on AmeriSpan’s Spanish programs in Spain.