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Thursday, September 01, 2005 (read 227 times)
5 Crazy Days in Salamancaby Christophe
Let me start out by introducing myself. My name is Christophe - for now I will spare you my collection of nicknames, most are not suitable for publication anyway. Well, I am 24 years young, born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. At the moment I am studying Spanish in Salamanca meanwhile pretending to be a writer. If you think I am crazy, wait till you meet my classmates, but I'll get to them later.
I spent six months in Brazil last year (doing an exchange program) and that's where my travel addiction resurfaced. I once again postponed getting into the rat race known as working life and decided to head to Salamanca to learn Spanish. With the intention of backpacking through South-America later on. So much to see, so little time... But in the meantime I am absolutely loving Spain! I have spent the "summer" in Belgium and although it was great to see my family and friends again I was glad to pack my bags once more. Just two months in Belgium made me feel like a cartoon character with a perpetual rain cloud hanging over my head. Salamanca has definitely cured that, I haven't seen a cloud since arriving.
When I left for Spain I was a little afraid that after six months in Brazil, Salamanca would be somewhat of an anticlimax, especially blogwise. Of course the culture shock wasn't quite as big as in Recife but the cosmopolitic character of Salamanca more than makes up for that. 50000 Spanish students plus 5000 students from all over the world in a tiny city makes for an enthralling atmosphere. I've been here for three days and already I have met the most extraordinary assortment of people.
Let me introduce you to some of my schoolmates: Elisabeth is a Sicilian girl who studies peacekeeping politics. She has found her nemesis in Tomer, an easygoing Israeli guy taking some time off after finishing his military service and before pursuing a career in the flourishing Israeli arms industry. Somehow they get along great (It sounds even more unbelievable now that I am writing this down). Then there is Freddy, a retired engineer from Belgium. Apart from learning Spanish he always is on the prowl for antiques and books about medieval music. Add a Brazilian singing poet / cyclist and two partygirls from Amsterdam and you have yourself a genuine melting pot. I haven't been bored for a minute. If you don't find your liking in Salamanca it's probably best you stayed home.
Even though today is Thursday (and I arrived last Sunday) I can already say that the nightlife is pretty awesome. On Monday we had a delicious welcoming dinner at don Quijote and after that we went to check out the local bars. That wasn't at all disappointing, considering it was a Monday night in August (most students only arrive in September). Tuesday was for recuperating - hey I am not 18 anymore - and Wednesday there was a Brazilian party. Now, as you probably know, the Brazilians aren't renowned for their organisational skills but they do know how to throw a party. Lets just say that the part of the night I still remember was a lot of fun. I'll go over to their place later today to fill in the gaps...
Hope I sparked your interest, dear readers, and make sure to check back soon. Salamanca has got some great stuff in store for us. I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the national aerobic championships next week. And for you weird people who don't like aerobics there is also a Juanes concert coming up. I'll keep you posted!