Guest Posts

Food, Cathedrals, and Broken Spanish

June Guest Blogger: Daniela Avilez

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been to Spain. It was a trip that my first high school offered through the art department. It was my first time flying overseas. I remember the gist of the trip vaguely, but a lot of details still stuck to me.

One night, after sight-seeing and visiting museums all day, we were walking toward a restaurant that would be hosting us for our second night of the trip. Much to my delight, when we arrived, we discovered that the name of the restaurant was Daniela! I thought it amusing that it was my name, it was even spelled the same way mine is. I already knew the food the was going to be good, I had even told my friends so. And I was right! The food was amazing and incredible! My favorite dish was the Spanish Omelette, basically a big fluffy omelette filled with sliced potatoes and spices.

Another story I remember is when we were strolling through a park. I believe it was still our first day in Madrid, newly arrived from the plane and very jet lagged. There was a little cafe, and our tour guide brought us over. My friends were both white and couldn’t speak an ounce of Spanish, so they appointed me as their translator. We all decided we wanted coffee so I went up to order for them and when the barista asked (in Spanish) if we wanted milk in our drinks, I turned to them and said, “Quieren con leche?” They only stared at me and one of them shrugged. I turned back to the barista and said yes.

On our third or fourth day, we stayed in the city of Seville. By far, my favorite city in all of Spain. While we were there, we got to see the Cathedral of Seville. It had this huge tower with a bunch of flights (my memory tells me somewhere around 40). I tried taking a picture from each flight because every floor had a window, but my friends wanted to get to the top and I kept slowing them down. At the very top of the tower were these massive bells. I don’t remember if they still used them, but the view from above was great.

Cathedral of Seville with its huge tower. It was exhausting to climb that thing. At the very top, there’s a statue of an angel that actually spins and turns when the wind blows. The name of the angel is Giradio (my rough translation would be “Turning” and some association with God, I can’t recall the exact words in English).

We were still staying in Seville, but the next day we drove out to Cordoba to see the cathedral there. It used to be a mosque when people from the Middle East populated the southern half of Spain. When Christianity took over in Europe, the mosque was repurposed as a cathedral. We went inside and the older side (what used to be the mosque) was just breathtaking. Sure, the medieval Gothic cathedral side was also great, but I favored the original.

Interior of the mosque turned cathedral, Cathedral de Cordoba. These are the famed arches that anyone in Spain (and probably architecture) would recognize. Although the Spanish hated the Moors (term they used for Arabs/Middle Easterners) during medieval times, they sure loved their architecture.

I can’t remember what day this happened, but we eventually drove out to the countryside of Spain, to a little town in the mountains (as our tour guide described) called Alfarnate. It was a gorgeous little country town, so small that all the families that greeted us knew each other. We went with an elderly woman who lived with her children and grandchildren. She made us lentil soup, and while I could converse with her perfectly fine, even offering to help around the kitchen, I couldn’t figure out how to translate “lentil.” Everyone in my group kept making guesses as to what I was trying to tell them in English until someone finally landed on “lentils” and I screamed out “Yes!”

I have many more stories from the trip (I guess I remember more than I realize!). We went to so many other places like Toledo, Granada, and Barcelona. Since it was an art trip, we visited a lot of museums and more cathedrals than the two mentioned (including the famed Sagrada Familia), but for now, this is what I’ve decided to share. It was a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I am really glad I got to share it.

This is what the farm and countryside of Spain looked like. It was just as beautiful as any city to me. I remember one of my friends said that it reminded her of Nevada, but I wouldn’t know since I’ve never been to Nevada.

About the Author: My name is Daniela Avilez. Originally from Lake County, but my family and I moved just before the start of my senior year in high school, the same summer when this trip occurred. I’m currently studying at the College of Lake County as an English Major and I’m actually on my last semester before I transfer out of state in the fall (Wisconsin woohoo!). Mexican by blood, and I’m the second of three children. I’ve got a lot of hobbies like art/drawing (hence the trip), baking, and creative writing. My ultimate goal is to become a successful writer, but I would also like to open up my own bakery someday.

4 thoughts on “Food, Cathedrals, and Broken Spanish”

  1. School trips often have the best memories don’t they! I love that you had the chance to head into the countryside as well as visiting the more famous attractions. 😀

    I’m heading to Spain this summer, to hike in the Pyrenees I am reeeeally looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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