Medina Azahara. It’s such a beautiful name. Legend goes that Abderraman III who ordered the construction of this town named it after his favorite concubine, to whom his heart truly belonged. After being proclaimed Caliph, he decided to build a separate city from the ground up to demonstrate his power and glory. Typical.
La caña. It’s small, quick to drink, and super affordable at only 1.50-2 euros per caña. While it’s not necessarily the best beer in the world (think cheap, industrial, watered down beer), it reflects a culture that appreciates the art of socializing over drinks, and not drinking with the sole aim of getting drunk.
I’ve never been one for talking. I’m not sure if that has to do with being a writer and being very particular about the words, both written and spoken, that I use, but I never feel especially compelled to contribute to a group conversation unless my words have some weight to them and my ideas have something of value to add to the topic at hand. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying listening, however. I enjoy learning about other people’s ideas and characters as they share.
For some reason, I’m not big on writing posts unless there’s some sort of message or lesson I learned behind it. However, I’ve realized that once in a while it’s okay, and also that perhaps some of my readers are curious about what life is like in Gijon, Asturias.
To be honest when I first laid eyes on Gijon, I was not at all pleased, and thought about living in Oviedo instead. It didn’t help that my first experience with Gijon was the busy and noisy Avenida de la Constitucion and I was running everywhere without a map to handle my NIE paperwork. However, after a tour of the prettier parts of the city, and seeing the beach I luckily decided to stick to Gijon.
So the last time I wrote about my new home for this past year, Linares, Jaen, it wasn’t necessarily the most…positive post. Screw it. It wasn’t positive at all. I was really quite unhappy. I came in with certain images of what living in Spain would be like, and it turned out to be not at all what I thought. I also started out loving the small size of my town, then grew to despise it.
However, as my time here draws to a close, and I prepare for my brief stint at home before moving to the complete opposite end of Spain for the next school year, I can’t help but think about what I will miss about Linares, and what I do appreciate about having been placed here of all the different places I could have been placed. Fact of the matter is that I will definitely miss some things, as much as I complain that Linares isn’t that great.
It’s been raining for a week straight down here in the “sunny” Andalucia region of Spain. I was never a person whose mood was easily swayed by the weather but after six days straight of gray upon gray upon gray, and with no travel plans for the second weekend in a row, something had to change. How lucky I am that soon after the start of this year I have met someone that I have a great connection with and whose sense and need of adventure is akin to mine. So after mulling it over and poring over weather maps to see which way that bloody stormy front was headed, we decided to head back to Cordoba for the second time this past weekend to chase the sun.
After studying a monument or a work of art for semesters and semesters and only seeing what it looks like in pictures, to finally see it and experience it in person is flooring. You read and read about it and imagine what it will be like but when you actually see it to scale, it takes your breath away and leaves you in a state of wonder.
Walking into La Mezquita was like this. I have seen so many pictures of the beautiful architecture and the detailed artwork but to see it with my own eyes was an incredible experience. The tranquility and awe of the place was almost visceral.