Last weekend, I traveled to Salamanca and Ávila for a day trip! Since my friend Angie and I went through Be Madrid, a community of study abroad students, we were able to meet many students studying here from many different countries. During the day I was able to meet students from Ecuador, France, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. It was nice to hear travel advice from students who had been in Spain longer than I have!
We began our tour through the city of Ávila, a World Heritage Site, due to the great wall around the city. It is the largest illuminated monument in the world, but unfortunately I did not get to see it at night! I climbed part of the wall that is accessible to pedestrians and we also walked around the wall to see the various entrances. We passed by the Cathedral of Ávila, which was not very symmetrical due to the fact that they ran out of money to complete it. It seems like medieval times relied on a budget similar to that of a college student. There were also some restoration efforts done to the wall that were not done correctly and are easily visible to even a tourist’s eye.
After eating many tapas and sipping some cool tinto de verano (this amazing mix of wine and soda), we were back on the bus to make our way to Salamanca. Our walking tour through the city took us on a historic adventure. The University of Salamanca first started in 1218 and has an enormous amount of historic buildings. It was crazy to see students casually coming in and out of one of the oldest buildings in Salamanca, which is now a library for students of the university. After the walking tour, we decided to go up the 300+ steps to see the views from the tops of the old cathedral of Salamanca. It was definitely worth it, but a steep hike! Some of the stairs are so narrow that they require stoplights so that no tourist gets injured!
While on this amazing day trip, I often admired that in Spain historic features get mixed with the modernity of the capital city and modern universities. For example, the building where I work looks very historic in the tiny lobby. There is an elevator that looks like it has been there from the 1920-1930s (which I still am a little scared to use). Once you step into the SCOPEN offices, there are white walls, clean lines, and employees on their laptops. It seems like many people in Spain take this amazing mix for granted, but I am always in awe of how the blend is so seamless.
In the business world, we are always so concentrated on propelling ourselves into the future. Innovation is at the forefront of every industry and we are constantly searching for the next big product or service offering. The interesting point I have found this week is that innovation and modernity does not need to sacrifice history and respect for the past. Even though the ancient elevator’s bumps can sometimes scare me, I think it should definitely stay in the building! Part of innovation is learning how to incorporate pieces of the past into useful tools of the future. This realization is interesting to me as I enter the marketing industry—sometimes good ole’ television ad may work for some target markets.
This weekend I spontaneously planned a trip to Barcelona. To accommodate my friend Angie’s work schedule and my own work schedule, we are taking an overnight bus on the way there. This is probably a rare occurrence for me since I am a planner and do not sleep well on moving vehicles, but when in Spain, right? More great pictures to come!