For the first three Saturdays of the program, there are planned excursions for the students and we were invited to join in. The first Saturday we headed to Aibarracin & Teruel.
Our first stop was Aibarracin, this town has been around since the period of Muslim domination in the Iberian Peninsula. This post has a great description of the history. It was in ruins after the Spanish civil war, and today it is a heavily-restored version of the village it was half a millennium ago. We had a guided tour that was in Spanish but we got some translation from the institute team. K did great on the ride. The head of the institute was able to borrow a car seat from his sister, and it had Mickey Mouse. She was so excited to ride on a bus in a Mickey seat! Thankfully Dustin was able to “rock” her to sleep in the carrier during the tour so she got a brief nap.
After the tour we had a little bit of time to each lunch and ate at Rincon del Chorro. This restaurant was the best food we have had in Spain that has been Spanish style. The restaurant is beautiful on the inside too! Dustin and I had the Sopas Tostadas (potato soup with bacon), Albondiguitas de Ternasco con salsa de Almendras, (a greek meatball with almond sauce) and an Ensalada de Jamón de Pato, Frutos Secos, Manzana caramelizada y frutos (salad with apples, ham peanuts, and duck) to share. Ashley and K split the a kids chicken meal ha! Overall a great experience, wish I didn’t have to eat it so fast to make the bus!
After lunch, the bus departed for Teruel. This city is has only about 35,000 people, very harsh winters and hot summers. It refer to as the “town of mudéjar” (Moorish-influenced architecture) due to numerous buildings designed in this style. One of the famous ones we saw was the Mudéjar Tower of El Salvador (14th century). All of them are comprised in the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It is the only provincial capital in Spain that isn’t connected by Rail to Madrid.
One of the other sights we saw and toured as the San Pedro, a notable mudéjar church (16th century). Here houses the mummified bodies of Isabel de Segura (a wealthy woman) and Diego de Marcilla (a poor man who battled at Crusades to earn some money with the intention to return to get married with Isabel) whose love ended tragically. This story is known as los amantes de Teruel. It’s similar to the Romeo and Juliet story. (source WIKI)
During the tour some of our students were asked by the tour guide to role play the story. We got back to Valencia close to 8pm and it was crazy windy! So we took the bus home and arrived to find a band in our Courtyard. We thought it was going to be hard to get K to sleep because she was dancing in the living room in just a diaper to the music. Thankfully she got to sleep much quicker than expected.
On Sunday we went to the beach. It takes us about 30 minutes to get there, we have to walk about 10 minutes to the Tram (above ground Metro). We got a late start since K and Ashley slept in due to our adventure on Saturday. K still hates walking or sitting in the sand, she is ok with sitting on a towel or cushion to play in the sand. This is in improvement from last fall. We’ll take it, it’s funny though how far she’ll go to reach things around her! We enjoyed a couple of hours of sun before we needed to get back for nap time. Thankfully we did come back for K’s nap because she slept 3 hours!
After that we took a walk to a park we saw earlier in the day in the “river” and then had dinner at a really cool festival called Palo Market Feast. They had all kinds of food trucks and it was awesome! I had some gluten free tacos with guacamole, Ashley had a bagel with bacon, cheese, and some type of hot sauce, Dustin had a Mexican Fajita, and Kenley had her first ever pork hot dog. Everything is pork here! She was super hungry so I let her eat the bun. Bad idea because now she wants to try any bread that is around. 🙂 Thankfully when we go back home that won’t be as much of an issue since we don’t have it at home.
They had a live band, and all kinds of art, and different booths set up selling items. It reminded me of something that could have been in Yellow Springs. They even had an old double decker bus turned food truck. That is something you don’t often see in the US! It was a great week, we are excited to see what week #2 brings!