The week started with paella cooking classes where we sampled two types of paella and a paella-esque rice. The first was paella Valenciano, which is a paella from Valencia. It consists of various vegies, rice, chicken, and rabbit. It was quite exciting to have my first taste of rabbit, and I find that it's actually quite good. The second was a black rice paella, which is made black by mixing in the ink of a squid. The last rice one was a little soupy and made from a fishy broth with a broth made from tomato and pepper. The best hands down was the Valenciano, but it was all fantastic. I later learned that initially paella was not made with rice, and it was added later because it was a filler and also gave it a nice texture. The dish also was not initially called paella, but it since it is cooked in a skillet that has a name very similar to paella, people began to call it by the name of the skillet in which it is cooked. (I will hunt down pictures and post some as soon as I can)
Thursday I (along with all the other American students) was asked to do some filming for a commercial for the Institute of Cervantes. The Institute of Cervantes is a nonprofit organization which overlooks the learning of the Spanish language in pretty much every country in the world... I learned this AFTER I agreed to get filmed. We were taken to their building and up to the 5th executive level floor which few are allowed to see. We found out we had to read from a teleprompter and the stories were totally bogus. I apparently started my own enterprise of computers and had statistics on the number of Hispanic enterprises in the United States. After stumbling over the easiest words and embarrassing myself multiple times we were done. We then got a tour of the basement which had a giant safe we got to enter. The building was once a bank that later became the building for the Institute of Cervantes and now the safes are timecapsules for Spanish poets and artists. It was all very cool. The commercial will be on their online television channel, so you can all view it, I just need to find out when it will air.
This weekend I spent my time in the country house of a friend. There were 9 of us, but we all managed to fit alright and had a good time. It seems like every town has a castle AND a cathedral, Sigüenza was no exception. After dealing with train issues (there is currently a strike and a large unemployment issue) we got there and it was beautiful, a nice change from Madrid. The only real issue was that it was cold there and I had to wear the same coats I wear in Worcester during winter. Anyway here are some pics!
¡Besos y abrazos!
The arch to a church near the house. This church had some bodies buried underneath it and there was a spot covered with glass where you could look in at the bones... it was gross.
The Cathedral which had bullet holes in various parts from when Franco's army was fighting the Nationalists way back when.
The arch to the entrance.
The pretty courtyard of the Cathedral.
Notice anything odd? Like the tree inside the building? All that was left of the building was the outside, it was kinda neat.
The castle, which was converted by the Paradores into a hotel. The Paradores take historical buildings, purchase them, and then convert them into hotels.
The fabulous view from the castle.
The castle parking lot...
A street picture.