After being in Salamanca, Spain for a full three months, I definitely do not know everything. However, I am starting to feel familiar with the culture, the history, and the norms. Surprisingly, one of the most productive ways of coming to understand Spain has been going on weekend trips. Going to Mérida, Spain, Florence, Italy, and Lisbon, Portugal has taught me just how different Spain is from other parts of Europe, whether it be a neighboring country, or a country several hours away. There are definite similarities, such as that food is important in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and although the architecture is not necessarily the same, its overseeing presence in each city can not be missed. However, one of the differences I’ve found is that Spaniards really treasures their country’s history, and in order to understand their culture they find it vitally important that you have some sort of grasp on their past.
The interesting thing to me is that when I went to Mérida a few weeks ago, it seemed that there was less of an emphasis on preserving what was a treasured old European city. I got the impression that it was a town that could not afford to keep the incredible historic sites alive. Compared to what we saw on our ISA Excursion to Segovia, the remains felt disappointing to me. That’s not to criticize, but I was genuinely sad at the difference in care between the two cities. It also made me wonder about the rest of Spain, and even the rest of Europe- how many historic sites have just slowly disappeared over time? And is there anything we can do to stop it from happening?
Below are some photos I captured during my adventures to Lisbon, Florence, and Mérida.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.