Valentina Saldarriaga ’20 recounts a busy first day touring the Castilla y Léon region, meeting with a local shoe maker, and a Real Madrid soccer match.
Today was a whirlwind of a day for us. We landed in Madrid at around 10:30 a.m., following a 6-hour flight. After gathering our bearings, we left Madrid and made our way to the department/region of Castilla y Léon, where we visited the town of Tordesillas. There we walked around and witnessed the beautiful Spanish architecture and learned about the history of the town, including bull running and fighting events, and how recent protests and legislation against these traditions – outside of Tordesillas – has prohibited them from occurring.
After our walk through the town we went to lunch and experienced a typical Spanish Sunday lunch, where they have first course and second course meals, which is a bit different than appetizers and main dishes. Our actual appetizer was jamón, a dry-cured ham, which is typical in Spain.
We then met with a family of local shoemakers. One of them took us on a “Teresa” tour of Tordesillas and we learned about many things connecting Teresa of Avila, the focal point of our trip, to Tordesillas. We found out that Teresa’s relatives – on her father’s side – were actually from the town and that Teresa had spent time there. We also learned about the Carmelitas Descalzas (Discalced Carmelite) convent that Teresa founded. It was in this setting that those Sisters committed to the order, weren’t really focused on external and material concerns, and they only wore sandals or were barefoot, hence the descalza part of the name.
The shoe making family were kind enough to make us sandals similar to the ones the Sisters wore day to day. At the shoemaker’s workshop we learned that they are the fifth generation of their families to be making shoes. While we were in their workshop we were able to finish stringing our sandals and we had a lot of fun. After that we had a bit of a break and then we went to a La Liga game in Valladolid, a nearby city and the capital of Castilla y Léon, where we watched Real Valladolid play Real Madrid. As a big soccer fan, I can say that I had a lot of fun during the game as it was an experience I’ve never had before. Day One of our trip was great – we can’t wait to see what’s next!