A Little Road Trip. And some thoughts about learning Spanish…

Today we took a little drive. I think I mentioned that C’s aunt and uncle went out of town yesterday…well, they got there and his aunt realized she forgot her purse. Turns out it would have cost more than 100 Euro to overnight it to her (FYI, the exchange rate is around $1.40!), and they were only less than two hours away. We decided for that much, we could actually take the purse to her and feed five of us a pretty decent lunch while we were there.

So this morning we picked up Aida and her daughter Andrea, and set off to Briviesca. Briviesca is a small town in the region of Castile y Leon, south of Cantabria. Let’s consult the map:

Including one stop for coffee, I think it barely took us two hours to get there. We met his aunt, handed over the goods, and then set off to walk around town. It’s a nice little town, apparently many people are drawn there to see several historic buildings and churches (although I’ll admit it seemed rather hotel heavy for what they had to offer…I mean, it was a nice town to spend some time and have lunch?). We took a little drive to see a nearby church and also to stop at a fountain, where it’s said that you can drink from the fountain and be granted wishes/miracles (and sure, I gave it a shot…we’ll see!). Afterwards, we had a really delish lunch…I actually tried quail for the first time (there might have been partridge too…) – pickled! I really liked both, although some people might find it strange that I actually had a little heart and lungs on my plate. 🙂 Whatevs, right?

After lunch and a little walk around, we were back in the car and headed to Burgos, a much bigger town, which has a really beautiful large 13th Century cathedral which we walked through. I added a few pictures below. We’re back home tonight, it is absolutely TEAMING outside.

On another note, I think that I’ve decided to take some Spanish classes. You know, learning another language is nothing if not a process. At least I’ve got a semester here to build on and I have managed to retain something of a base to work with. I can read and write it fairly well, minus the occasional need for a word or a phrase or a verb tense. But good heavens, speaking it is a different thing, when you can’t see the word that is being spoken and you can’t take the time to write the words you are using to respond. There are moments when I’m talking to one or maybe two other people, that I spit out a few full sentences (wine helps too, by the way) and even think, gosh, I might understand about 99% of what is going on here. And in those cases, even if I don’t say a word, I’m generally following along with the conversation. But add a few people to the mix (for example, in a bar or any other group situation…even at lunch every day), where I can’t really hear every word or when someone assumes I understand perfectly and is speaking at the speed of light? Or in random moments when I’m not totally focused and paying 100% attention, or just with certain people who speak less clearly…good God, they could be speaking Chinese and I’d never know the difference. I know learning other languages comes easily to some people, but for me, sometimes it’s enough to make my head feel like it’s going to explode. Or like I need a nap. Or both. I know it takes time…and I also am aware of the more I focus on it and feel frustrated by it, the less I speak. I am nearly certain that some people here think I’m mute (go figure, right?) because I get all choked up or nervous or whatever it is and can’t even spit out the simplest things. It’s like every time I speak, I need time to prepare to speak. If that makes any sense. SO. Before I tear out all my hair, I need to build up my confidence and practice more and think about it less, and I think taking some classes is a good place to start. Open to any other recommendations. 🙂

More tomorrow. And here are some pics.

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