Digging Deeper Into Spanish Baroque Architecture

Although I wrote the narrative, Spanish Lessons, the story is completely fiction, but the setting of the story holds true. The story is set in Salamanca, Spain, and I really did attend summer Spanish classes there in 1986, when I attended the University of Salamanca and I coped with a Spanish family for about four months. It was such a wonderful experience and there is so much history, art, culture and architecture in the city that it is one you ought to NOT miss when you see Spain. Once you remain in Madrid, the capital city, it is only about 200 km west of the capital city, situated in the region of Castille and Leon. You can easily drive an automobile there or take the train, which has to do with a three hour trip. As soon as in the city, you are in one of the oldest and most distinguished university cities in all of Europe.

Learning to dance flamenco was interesting for me. Every gesture means something as well as the positioning of fingers have a definition. I learned to snap my Spanish fan the right way and to use it and my eyes to entice the males in the audience. Flamenco has a great deal of music and dance activities that initially derived from the gypsies, who still stay in Salamanca today. Gitanos, as the gypsies are employed Spain, are still discriminated against, and live in the worst parts of the city, down near the old walls of the city and the Puente Romano, the old Roman bridge, which I will certainly get to in a bit. Of course, I was in heaven having singing and dancing lessons as part of my Spanish lessons, and they were the most fun classes I took that summer. Even today, Spanish and Latina music is my favorite type of music to dance to.

How Could You Know…

Flamenco music can be enjoyed in normal Malaga night life. The sea side promenade is home to numerous clubs and bars that play live music. You can rest on the balconies and enjoy the music and night life. The La Malaguenta area is a fashionable area for modern-day night life.

The University of Salamanca was established in 1218 and is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest university in all of Europe. It has a population of around 30,000 students today, and offers a very diverse, multicultural student body as many international students study there each year. The universitiy’s greatest contribution is to the teaching of the Spanish language and only Castillan Spanish is taught there. The university and tourist make up the entire economy of the city.

These rights, developed all over Europe ultimately, were started at the University of Salamanca. I know, it is a contradiction since of the way they treat the gypsies in their city. The Spanish view the gypsies as outsiders and not Spanish in any way. Spain has integrated the gypsy culture in their music and dancing; a contradiction in terms.

Studying in Salamanca was a really fun experience, due to the fact that the teachers took us on expeditions (field journeys) every weekend. We saw and visited the cities of Leonand Valladolidand found out the history, architecture and art of those cities. We also invested a weekend in the mountains in a small town called Alberca, where the pigs, goats and cows ran freely around the town and surrounding areas. In 1986, this was a town still living by 19th century requirements, and numerous homes had no water, electrical energy or bathrooms with toilets. Individuals were still making use of ‘back residences.’ The people were so friendly and the professionals beyond belief. It was such fun to participate in a completely Spanish university and to be immersed in the Spanish life and culture.

And, because of the large student population in the city, Salamanca has a successful night life. Today, there are numerous nightclubs and discos (yes, still popular in Europe) available to the wee hours of the night. Right here students gather to consume, dance and speak with their friends and the residents. Throughout the summer it is not unusual for lots of youths keeping up all night, not going back to home and bed up until five or six o’clock in the morning. In the Spanish culture, the night meal is not eaten till ten or eleven o’clock p.m. and after that the night life begins, literally at midnight! It is difficullt to live this life when taking classes in the summer, so my nights were early nights; I was usually in bed by one or two o’clock a.m. I was younger then and might keep those hours. Today, I ‘d never ever make it.

If you have an opportunity to see Salamanca or study there. Doing this. When I would take students to Spain in the summer, I would always attempt to choose a trip that went to Salamanca. And, among my students followed in my footsteps by studying at the University of Salamanca for a term during her college years. Today, she has a degree in Spanish and International Relations, however is currently working and living in Italy. She has also found out Italian along the way. I am so proud and pleased for her. International study certainly opens lots of doors for students and I highly suggest it.

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