This last week in Spain was without a doubt my favorite. The entire reason that I wanted to visit this country was to be immersed in the culture of my ancestors and to visit my very own motherland. By visiting Galicia this last week, I can say with full confidence that this goal of mine has been fulfilled, and I already can’t wait to return.
A Coruña, Galicia very quickly became my favorite Spanish city, although this might include some very obvious bias. Allow me to explain: my grandmother’s maiden name was Gallegos, the last name given to those who left Galicia, as their native language is Gallego, a language that comes across as a hybrid of Portuguese and Spanish. As a Hispano-American, I’ve been lucky enough to always know where part of my family comes from, Galicia, all thanks to my grandmother’s maiden name.
Despite this bias, I am positive that I would’ve loved A Coruña either way for a couple of key reasons. There were essentially no tourists there besides, well, me. In fact, they didn’t even have a gift shop like every other city I’ve visited in Spain. Thanks to this I was able to feel completely immersed in the culture and was able to challenge my Spanish speaking even more by using it to find common ground with Gallego speakers.
To top it off, the people in A Coruña seemed to have their own distinct culture, much like those in Cataluña. They have their own language, their own ways of preparing seafood, a deep history, and a beautiful land of not just mountains, but beaches as well. Never in this entire experience was I able to feel as connected to this land as I did during my time in Galicia.
After a very relaxing and in some ways spiritual time in A Coruña, it was time to return to Madrid for a week of finals and essays. However, that didn’t stop us from crossing off everything left on our Spain bucket lists. Los Viajeros were able to unite this final week to revisit some of our favorite spots, including a 1€taco shop, the Reina Sofia, el Palacio de Cristal, and Puerto del Sol.
Our host mom made us all our favorite dishes, first Pescado frito (fried fish) for Mason, and then Judías blancas con chorizo(white beans with chorizo) for David and me. As if Spain wanted to send us off itself, on our way to the Airport, a musical performer walked into the Metro Car we were in and started playing Spanish music. An overwhelming sadness swept through me as I realized that I’m not sure when exactly I’m going to be able to return.
Yet, I’m hopeful because I know as soon as I am able to, no matter what it takes, I will be back. I may not exactly be fluent yet in Spanish, but I’m indefinitely better than I was before. I can talk to Spanish speakers with confidence now and find common ground without as much word fumbling as before. I can order food without a second thought in Spanish. I can now speak with a much better flow and have a more expansive vocabulary.
My comprehension has reached levels I never thought it could. I have an even greater bucket list of places I want to visit in the Iberian Peninsula, such as Malaga, Valencia, Bilbao, Virgo, Segovia, Covadonga, and even the country of Portugal. For that reason, I will be back. This isn’t a goodbye to Spain; this is simply a see you later. I know I usually end these things with lists of advice and things I learned, but this time is different, as it is my final blog before my Post-Departure video. Below is a list of things that summarize my experience. It goes without saying that no amount of text and pictures can do this place justice, but here goes:
- · Seis semanas
- · Dos compañeros de casa
- · Seis ciudades
- · Seis comunidades autónomas
- · Tres viajes en tren
- Dos viajes en autobús
- · Dos viajes en avión
- · Innumerables viajes en metro
- · Cinco exámenes
- · Seis ensayos
- · Muy poco descanso
- · Una banda de nuevos amigos
- · Tres playas
- · Un recuerdo que me durará toda la vida.
I hope you enjoyed following my journals, as I surely enjoyed writing them. Until next time! Chao.