As you can see from the title of this blog post, I’M IN SPAIN! We arrived at the airport at around 8:00am, and immediately got off the plane and regrouped. We managed to find our baggage carousel after taking the train to the baggage claim area, and made our way outside to meet up with Kathy. The bus was an amazing red “bug bus”, and was really comfortable inside. Bus driver Luis was really nice and helpful, and Kathy was our tour guide for the 3-hour trip to the Fundación Tormes, an eco-site for sustainability an hour and a half away from the center of Salamanca. We actually saw the cross of the Basílica de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos from far off, but luckily my camera had 20x zoom so I was able to take a quick (and non-blurred!) picture.
The first thing we did was claim beds, and there were 3 rooms on each side of the building (with four bunk beds to a room). I claimed the bottom bunk of the first bed on the right in room 2 – Kathy assigned girls to the left of the building, which was funny because we discovered that the bathrooms were on opposite sides!
After settling in we all went outside to enjoy the sun. Kathy introduced us to the two keepers of the Fundación, Marina and Victor. Then a group of us decided to spend our time taking a tour of the place. We passed by the river, a beautiful meadow where we pranced around and played the name game, and ended up back at the Fundación.
Our first meal at the Fundación was lunch, typically eaten between 1-2 in the afternoon. We were extremely hungry because our breakfast on the plane consisted of a bun with ham and cheese, but apparently lunch in Spain is light, with dinner being the heaviest meal of the day. For lunch we had some yummy Spanish tortilla with toasted bread, cheese and cold cuts.
After lunch a few of us decided to make the 20 minute walk to town to find wi-fi. Apparently there is only 1 bar in town, so Michael, Mike, Hannah and I sat down and had a glass of sangria at 3 in the afternoon while checking our emails and Facebook. The rest of the night was spent relaxing in the sun, with only a few brave souls venturing back to the bar – the rest of us crashed right after our 8:30pm dinner (at approximately 9pm!), which was a yummy vegetable soup and grilled chicken.
The second (and last) day at the Fundación started early – 8:30am early to be precise! Breakfast in Spain is the lightest meal of the day, which is extremely different from the American heavy-style breakfast. We had biscuits and small slices of toast to go with unsalted butter or jam, and juice, hot chocolate (Nesquik!) or coffee.
After breakfast many of us decided to go back and nap before our 11:00am orientation with Kathy. Our first orientation was basically a “get-to-know-you” type game, where we sat in two circles facing each other. The bigger circle would then shift one right to meet the next person. We were taught how to introduce ourselves and when to kiss each other on the cheek. For our 2pm lunch we had paella and fish – I ended up getting served a vegetable paella, which I shared with the two vegans in my class. After lunch we had the 2nd part of our orientation, which was basically us looking at a map to try and find our home stay. I spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun before a yummy dinner of cold pasta. I chose green beens instead of the tortilla this time.
After dinner we went to the bar to celebrate Michael’s 21st birthday (which is actually on May 26th). We had 3 different cakes and 4 bottles of champagne, after which people ordered their own drinks – sangrias, gin & tonics, and crema de arrujo’s were quite popular. We made it back by 1am, which is when the gates of the Fundación were closed.