Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SNOW IN SALAMANCA...and my last 2 days here :(

I woke up this morning after literally getting 3 hours of sleep to go to my very last day of classes and stepped out of my building to see the sidewalk covered with snow. It was more of a light covering, but snow none the less. I should say that the Plaza and streets looked so pretty snow covered but since I don't have my good boots and my feet were soaked by the time I got to class my initial reaction was "ughh snow".

this isn't from today, but it kinda looked like this with a little bit more snow

Well tonight is my last night going out in Salamanca and I'm going to spend all day tomorrow packing. I can't believe I'm leaving in 2 days. I'm so excited to get home but at the same time I'm going to miss everyone here and I don't want to leave. Friday morning we leave for Madrid and spend the day there and then Saturday morning I hop on the plane for home! Craziness. See you all very very soon!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adventures in a socialized health care system

I have insurance in Spain through the university which is nice in times like these when I have throat infections (grr), but I was a little skeptical about how things would go with Spain's healthcare system. I had been to the pharmacy once before for something and was shocked that medicines like allergy medicines that can cost over $20 at home are about 3 euros here. But today I had to go to the doctor and I expected that I would have to wait forever to see the doctor. I went in around 12 and they told me that they had consultations at 6 and they took my name. Perfect. I went back at 6 to a full waiting room and figured I'd be sitting there for hours. In fact, I only sat for an hour which I've most certainly done in doctor's offices in the states. I got called in to the doctor's office, he took one look at me and said yes indeed that's a throat infection and wrote me a perscription. I walked right down to the pharmacy, they filled it in 2 seconds (only 9 euros for a z-pac, and you don't need insurance for medicine at pharmacies). So all in all, I'm a fan. Just thought I'd give all the Americans some insightful information.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dublin...and my last week abroad!!

Due to a lovely double Spanish holiday we had this past monday and tuesday off so 2 friends and I went to Dublin for 4 days. I expected it to be super cold and rainy but it was actually about the same temperature as Salamanca and we only had rain for a little bit on one day. We stayed in a hostel right in the heart of the Temple Bar area which was awesome, but obviously noisy at night. The hostel was great though, and really cheap!

Outside the real Temple Bar down the street from our hostel

The first day it was just me and Sabra because Bridget was arriving later that night. After waking up at 4:30 to start our travels we decided to just spend our first day walking around and seeing a few sights. We started by wandering around Temple Bar which is just a really fun area in general. Then we went to Trinity College and tried our hardest to blend in with the students---difficult to do without that sweet Irish accent. We spent some time walking through St. Stephen's green before a security man with a bell made us leave at 4pm (it was after dark haha). Then we headed towards Christ Church Cathedral just to see it from the outside, did some window shopping, found the cheapest restaurants in town due to our very very low budgets, and then had some fish and chips for dinner from Leo Burdock's (yum!). We went to bed early, which is easy to do considering the sun goes down at about

Outside Trinity College

St. Stephen's Green

Saturday was our big touristy day. We went inside Christ Church Cathedral which was awesome. They had a really cool museum set up in the basement which included a cat and mouse that had been mummified inside an organ (cool). Then we headed towards St. Patrick's Cathedral but just took pictures from the outside because we heard Christ Church was way cooler anyway. Then we headed through St. Stephen's green one more time because it was just so pretty before we went on our tour of the Guinness Storehouse. The Storehouse was really cool but required us to walk a bit through the ghetto of Dublin. It was complete with 6 floors of explanations about the machinery, the formula, transportation, testing of the brew of the day (beer #1), pouring your own pint (beer #2), and a complementary pint at the top (beer #3) where you get to sit in the giant room with a 360 view of the city. Basically it's just a ploy to get you tipsy enough to buy a lot of stuff in the gift shop, and a good ploy at that. Afterwards we had dinner with some friends who were also in Dublin that weekend and went out for some good 'ole Irish drinking...too bad pints are like 6-8 euros a piece so i had maybe 3 drinks haha.

Mummified cat and mouse in Christ Church

Sabra finishing her complimentary pint at the Guiness Storehouse

Sunday was more relaxed. We we shopping a bit for gifts for friends in many of the millions of tourist shops and then headed to Kilmainham jail for a tour. It's an old jail that old held criminals for a short time. The rest of the time it was used for holding all the rebels during the uprising against Britian. It was pretty terrible to see the cells because they were super tiny and they held men, women, and children. There was no glass on the windows and we were there when there was glass on the windows and it was still freezing. Because of over crowding they usually had more than 7 people in a cell and some people were just held in the hallways. And during the famine people were committing crimes just to get put in jail so that they could have some food. We also saw where they used to do public and private hangings and where they shot the leaders of the last uprising before Ireland became independent.

Courtyard of the jail where executions took place

Monday we had our flight at 5 so we spent the morning looking in shops and wandering around and enjoyed one last round of fish and chips. Then we got on a bus to the airport at 2 to begin our 12 straight hours of travel time between bus to the airport, waiting for our flight, 2 hours on the plane, taking the metro to the bus station, waiting for our bus, and our 3 hour bus back to Salamanca. It was exhausting to say the least and now we are all sick. Yay for sinus infections during finals. BUT besides the sick part Ireland was amazing and I definitely want to go back!