Thursday, May 11, 2017

Getting Down to Business

Yesterday, the first word that comes to my mind is: LUGGAGE. Loading lots of luggage.

We started off the day drinking some hot chocolate and eating some espana torillas for breakfast. Yum. We split up into groups. Spanish speakers went to the archive to work on a research question and French speakers work on plans for later in our internship and loading ALL OF THE LUGGAGE. I need to count but apparently people need A MILLION PIECES of luggage each for 6 weeks. 

Endless loads up and down elevators and stairs. You can tell I am loving this.

So, after the luggage loading we did get to tour that Archive in Bilbao, which was really interesting. Getting to see the in and outs of an archive is pretty fascinating. They always show you thier oldest document, which is usually around the 1100 or 1200's...blows my mind. 

My vegetable soup for lunch

The classic Spain lunch reaction

Then, we drove to Salamanca, which was a four hour drive and then since the other students were on another excursion, I got stuck with the luggage again. I will come home with some major muscles. A huge van in the little streets of Spain is really comical and a wild experience that is for sure. 

The next day, we had our first real life long day in the Salamanca Diocesean Archive and Salamanca Provincial Archive. I was given a research project in the 1630's and found myself overwhelmed. I was holding this 400 year old antique book all in Spanish in my hands...and I just did not know what to do. It was so wild. It was like the book was so fragile you didn't even want to touch it. It was like I was carrying a newborn baby or something with how gentle I had to be with the book. 

Soon enough my mind and eyes adjusted to the Spanish words written small and in faded ink and went to town. I was so happy because in the end I found three new children in the town of Cantalpino, Salamanca, Spain. It was for sure a learning curve but a happy one. I walked out of there with one of those whiplash learning headaches and was happy to walk towards a resturaunt with food. They don't eat lunch here until 2 in the afternoon...and since the archives don't close until 2:30...I am starving by the time we get to eat. 

But all in all, really productive day. After writing reports and entering data, all of us went out into the town in the POURING RAIN. Good thing my momma packed me a handy dandy umbrella. We were sopping wet, but we had to experience Salamanca in all of its goodness. It is a beautiful town. The old town is all cobblestone small roads with the University of Salamanca being one of the first three universities in Europe. No cars are roaming the streets. It's just like walking around in a wonderland of old buildings and archeticture. I didn't take any pictures because of the rain...bummer. We did find a cool frozen yogurt place and despite being freezing cold, treated ourselves to some yummy goodness. Spain makes some good frozen yogurt for the record, which makes up for the lack of taste in other areas. 

Also...what we do after a long day at work.

Wednesday, me and Salamanca really bonded in a good way. It was probably my favorite day of the internship so far. Got up bright and early and headed over to the Salamanca Diocesan Archive in my business casual archive. Pushed my professor in his wheelchair to the archive and almost killed him trying to avoid pot holes in the cobblestone. Then, round 2 in the archives. I sat down, felt organized, felt ready to go. No longer was the feeling as overwhelming or new or scary. 

I found the information so much faster and understood the records so much better. I found three more missing children and proved three different marriages which was exhilarating. I sucessfully had my nerd moment and felt like I had improved. When I left the archive, I was smiling as we walked to eat yet another Menu del Dia lunch here in Spain. 

Next, my professor took us on a tour of the University of Salamanca built in 1215. It made BYU look like chump change. It was wild to see the intricate decoration on the cielings, the walls, the beautiful chapel hall in the school, and the old library was very classic and almost beauty and the beast like. 

Oh I did forget my camera, so this all from my cell phone. Worst day to forget my camera, but what can you do? I just tried to breath it in more so I wouldn't forget it.

Then...wait for it...wait for it...we went to the Cathedral in Salamanca...and its mind blowing. HUGE. TALL. It makes humans look puny inside. The detail and gold accents were so extravagent, right in your face. The Baroque feeling made me feel like they were obsessed with the church. You could feel what a force it would have been in the town at its height. My neck is still sore from looking at the cielings. I really did love taking it all in. My favorite part was the old part of the Cathedral, they call it the "Old Chapel." It was the original structure and it was more simple, but at the end of the nave there was 53 paintings depticting Mary and the story of Christ's church. The blue, orange and green colors were so vibrant, I was shocked. It felt to peaceful sitting in the middle of the scenery and just picturing all of the people who had been there over the years and what they were thinking of in this chapel. I'm sure some were there because it was the thing to do, or out of fear of God, or maybe even just to get some warmth, but I know there was many sincere, kind, pleading prayers also said. 

53 panel picture of Mary the Virgin and Jesus Christ

I'm realizing how fascinated I am by other religions and thier houses of worship. It only became stronger when I decided to go up the towers of the Cathedral. BEST THING I HAVE DONE. I also have an obession with climbing up things, so there you go, My two favorite things in one. My phone died, and I forgot my camera, so I need to get the pictures from my friends, but until then, let me just freak out about this. 

We got to go up and up and up, and come out on different levels each time of the church and see the entire city. The red roofs, the original bridge built by the Romans, and everything inbetween. Just breath taking. We also got to be on the inside of the Cathedral, but up high looking down on everything I had seen before. It's a whole new perspective. It just makes me want to be apart of the building and its presence. Needless to say, the pictures will do more justice to the architecture than my description, but get ready for some greatness.

Salamanca has turned out to be an amazing city, in fact, it really has always been a monumental and important city in Spain since medieveal times. I feel so attached to the family I have researched from this area, as well as the beauty that has fed my soul.

Roman Bridge of Salamanca

As they say, hasta manana!

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