Madrid has been cooling down quite a bit lately. Over the past week, it has dropped roughly 15 degrees Celsius. This has been a welcome change, because it is now about the same temperature as it seemed Michigan was all summer. My week of classes went pretty well, even though we just got into real work. I added a really cool history class on Spain between 1500 and 1800. The professor has made it easy to get adjusted to the class, since I joined a week after it started. I feel like I'm getting a whole new perspective on the things that I'm seeing, because I'm learning about right where I'm living and the cities I'm visiting.
The other highlight of the week was Bible study on Wednesday. I am blessed with the opportunity to lead the small group that's going to end up being around 7 or 8 people. I'm excited to see how God will continue to build this community while I'm in Madrid.
Today, I woke up early, grabbed a train, and headed to Segovia. The small town has a heavy Roman influence, made clear by the city's most recognizable feature, an aqueduct carving its way through the city that greeted me upon my arrival. The size of it left me speechless. From there, I continued to walk and explore the city. Since Segovia itself is not that large, I stumbled upon la plaza mayor fairly quickly. It was a quiet, open area with a lot of food shops all around it. The plaza was comfortable and quaint, but was overshadowed by the beautiful Cathedral that stood next to it. There was so much beauty on the outside, I couldn't wait to see the intricacy and detail on the inside. For the first time, I saw stained glass throughout the Cathedral. It was very well lit and the statues and paintings were a lot different from what I had seen previously in Toledo. You were also allowed to take pictures in this one, so I had a pretty good time not having to be sneaky about it. There was a doorway that led to a garden behind, where I went and met a nice old Spanish lady. The conversation started like any other I've had with locals, asking me where I'm from, why I'm here, if I like Spain or not, but we ended up talking a little longer than normal. I was able to talk to her about what I liked about the Cathedral, why I liked it, and what it means to me as a Christian. I went away from the conversation feeling really good about communicating everything I did in Spanish, because some of my classes had kind of shot my confidence. After my Cathedral experience, I headed to find Alcazar, the castle in Segovia, which Walt Disney modeled Cinderella's Castle after. The castle was pretty awesome and had a lot of history. The views from the windows were spectacular as well. The lady I had talked to at the Cathedral told me there would be a nice "vista panoramica" and she was right! I had a beautiful view of the entire city, and could see for miles and miles in every direction. I exited the castle after soaking everything in and headed to get a bite to eat. I went to a hole in the wall place and grabbed a bocadillo with chorizo, not exactly Segovia's most famous dish, but it was good. The meal that is advertised everywhere is a whole suckling pig that you cut with plates. How this works, I have no idea, but I would love to try it sometime. Apparently, when you're done cutting it, you throw the plate on the floor and break it. Pretty cool, huh? I did a little more exploring after eating, sent some postcards, walked the length of the aqueduct, met some fellow students, and got rained on. I then headed home and relaxed the rest of the day. Tomorrow, I'm planning on going to Reina Sofia to see some of Picasso's work, and then exploring some more. Sunday, the school has a trip to Sierra de Madrid, a mountain range on the outskirts of the city. I'm really looking forward to the rest of my weekend!