Wednesday night, Fatima and I went out for a drink with her friend Sara because one of the bars had a special: big mugs of beer and a mini sandwich for 1 euro! We ended up at one of Fatima's favorite discotecas (pretty much a bar/club with dancing), which is called Sion Abbey Pub and it was a lot of fun! https://twitter.com/SionAbbeyPub
Then on Thursday we went out for tapas with a few more of Fatima's friends at a bar in the main square of Ciudad Real. Her friend is pregnant and due in a few weeks so that was very exciting!
After that Fatima, Sara, and I met up with a few more people at Prestige, another discoteca. We knew someone who got us in for cheap and with some free drinks and my new pal Alvaro was there too! We ended up going back to Sion afterwards too. The nights here last much longer than what I'm used to going out in the US; getting home at 3:00 a.m. is an early night and 5:00 a.m. has been the average for Thursday - Saturday. Luckily I don't have to work on Fridays and can catch up on some sleep.
On Friday we went to a birthday dinner for Fatima's friend Pilar. There were 12 of us in her apartment and she and her boyfriend had prepared quite the spread for us. Pinchos (meat skewers), tortilla, empanada, chorizo, crab pouf things, etc. After that we went back to Sion! It's apparently the best bar in C.R.
On Saturday we went back to Calzada for another birthday party. This one was out in the country - like drive on a dirt road for 20 minutes kind of country. We got there at around 6 and the girls were playing a game they had invented for the birthday girl. She had to find words in a giant word search and then do tasks that had to do with those words. For example, for one she had to line all the guests up in age order, and and then another was to take a selfie with the whole party! Then some of the girls had prepared a choreographed dance for the birthday girl and so they performed that for us; it was super cute and well done. We then had TWO kinds of birthday cake and everyone started dancing on the porch. I feel like everyone in Spain knows how to instinctively dance incredibly well; even the goofiest guys had some moves. And this group of people love Flamenco music and so they were all singing it too! I have some videos on my YouTube channel of them if you want to check them out.
View from the porch at the birthday party
The dancing and singing went on for a while and I did my best, but then they wanted me to sing American songs for them! 1. I can't sing. 2. Singing in public in front of strangers is like my worst nightmare. 3. I was still pretty sick from what I think was a sinus infection. So all of this made me very sweaty and red in the face, but I busted out a few stanzas of Thrift Shop which I think they appreciated. Then when they wanted me to sing I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston, I screeched out a few lines with some of the other girls and then took my seat. How embarrassing. Oh well. After that we had meat from the grill and more dancing. We ended up staying until around 1:30 a.m. and then went to the disco back in town for a little while. Another late night. I'm shocked that I recovered from whatever sickness I had.
Birthday party guests!
The next day Fatima, and her friends Carmelo and another Fatima, and I went to El Sacro Convento Castillo de Calatrava la Nueva which is a castle and convent near Calzada! It's a 13th century construction and was like a small town. There are streets where artisans and vendors would work and sell their goods, a few fields for livestock, a church, a cemetery, and various levels for living spaces. The higher up in the fortification you go, the nicer the accommodations; for instance peasants lived in the lowest, then the priests and knights, and then the royalty. The fortress sits on top of a huge hill, I think it's about half a mile straight up, and the narrow, spiral, rocky road that leads up to it is about 1.5 miles. The view of the surrounding county is incredible and it didn't look real to me, more like a panoramic painting. There's not much that compares to it, that I have ever seen. We don't have very much in the United States that is as old as the castles and monuments here and it's hard to wrap my mind around how long ago things were actually built. I'm amazed at the 200-250 year old monuments we have in Washington D.C. and so being here is just mind-boggling sometimes. One of the teachers in my school was saying that there are so many castles in Spain that many of them fall into disrepair because the government can't afford to maintain them, especially because of the crisis/recession. Crazy.
After the castle, we went to a nearby restaurant where Fatima and her family go once a week during the summer. She knows the owner and several people who work there, so we stopped in to have a coffee! The owner was very nice and gave me my coffee for free! It was a beautiful day at a beautiful restaurant. Here's the website for it: http://www.villaisabelica.com/
Finally this post is finished, over a week later! I'll be posting about my trip to Barcelona next so stay tuned!