The GIF below is an accurate representation of me discussing with myself whether or not I should address my absence. You know, my little break that turned into a 3 month hiatus… About a month was due to exam season, the rest was pretty much just pure laziness and me being semi-depressed.
Today’s post is not about that though, it’s about something way more exciting.
Back in November I wrote a post about me having to host an exchange student from Spain for a week. Since I didn’t follow up on it, I’ll just say real quick that it went really well, way better than expected, and that it left me excited to visit him a couple of months later in April.
I’d never been to Spain before and I knew next to nothing about Pamplona, so I was just open-minded and didn’t really have any expectations for the trip.
We flew from Copenhagen airport on April 12th, to the airport of Frankfurt, where we waited a couple of hours before boarding our second plane heading to Bilbao. “We” consisted of the other Danish students, who were also doing the exchange, our two teachers and myself. It took around two hours in a bus going from Bilbao to Pamplona and I remember just looking out the window the entire time, watching the hilly and green landscape. Coming from Denmark where one of our tallest “mountains” reaches only 147 meters in height, I found the view to be absolutely breathtaking!
I was picked up at their school by Sergio, his mother and his 15-year-old sister. His mother and sister barely spoke any English, which was fine by me since I wanted to be able to practice speaking Spanish as much as possible. If everything failed I would always have Sergio to help me out though.
Thursday afternoon after going straight home and letting me settle in for a bit, we had to hang out with his friends. Lucky for me, some of his friends were also hosting a Danish student, so it wasn’t just me and eight Spanish guys walking around the city. They showed me and the two other Danish guys around Pamplona and we didn’t get home until 9 pm. By that time I remember being ready to just pass out since I’d been up since 3.45 in the morning and it’d been a day full of new impressions. But I couldn’t because they eat late as hell in Spain and his mother was making dinner for us. It was something called Tortillas de Patatas, and it was really really good, so it was definitely worth waiting till 10 pm for.
On Friday we had to go to the school and have some classes by ourselves while the Spanish students went on with their regular routines. After that we went sightseeing with a guide that showed us all the important attractions in the city such as their City Hall, Plaza del Castillo (Castle Square), Café Iruña, St Mary’s Cathedral and more. We had also booked a tour at la Plaza de Toros (their bull fighting arena), which was both interesting and very horrible. I’m okay with the bull running, since it’s more the people getting hurt and less the bulls, whereas I don’t support the bull fighting at all because the power and advantage is solely in the hands of the fighter.
Later that same day we went to a club with most of the other Danish and Spanish students and though I’m used to partying and I love dancing, it was rough. I’m used to going to most parties at 10 pm and maybe leaving at 3 am. In Pamplona their pre-party started at 10 pm, we went to the club at 12 am and then we didn’t leave until 6 am. When we finally got home I was so exhausted and so happy that I’d get to sleep 😛
Saturday was a pretty chill day. Because we’d been out so late we didn’t get up until 3 pm, where we ate lunch with his mother. Later we walked around the city with his friends again and went to a cachimba bar. We went home at around 2 am, which to them was “early”. I kind of wished we’d done more that day, but at the same time I didn’t really have any things I wanted to see in particular, so I guess I didn’t know what I was missing out on.
On Sunday we had to celebrate his birthday with his family, so I got to meet a bunch of his relatives and eat a lot of food. Most of his family didn’t really know that much English, so they tried talking to me in Spanish and I did my best to hold a conversation with them. It actually went surprisingly well. He also had an uncle who really wanted to practice his English so we conversed a bit in English too. They were all very friendly and always tried to include me in the conversation or ask me questions, so being around so many people wasn’t nearly as daunting as I’d feared.
On Monday we had more classes at the school and then later we went to Olite, a very small town around 50 km away from Pamplona. We had booked a guided tour of the Royal Palace and when it was done we just walked around the town and took a lot of photos of their beautiful trees 😛
Tuesday we went to San Sebastián, both the Danish and the Spanish students. Most of the other days it had been very cloudy and chilly and I had been freezing my ass off, because it had been cold as hell in Sergio’s apartment and I hadn’t been prepared for it. So of course today, when I was wearing black jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, the weather completely changed and it was really sunny and very hot. Just my luck. It was a really great day though and San Sebastián is a lovely city! I’m definitely going back one day.
Wednesday we had more classes and then a tour of the parliament of Navarra.
At night all the students ate dinner together at a restaurant, since we would be leaving the next day. But again, since Sergio was a really social person, it didn’t end there for us. We went with some of the others to their Bajeta, (an apartment they were renting they used to hang out and party in), and we stayed there for a couple of hours playing beer pong and such.
Thursday was our last day. We said goodbye to everyone at the school and took a bunch of pictures before getting on the bus that would take us back to the airport in Bilbao. It was kind of sad to say goodbye. It wasn’t like we had become best friends, but we had been living and hanging out together for a week, so it was kind of strange to part ways.
The whole experience was overall very great and I really enjoyed it. Both hosting him and getting to be part of his everyday life. Language-wise I do also think I learned a lot, so though I’m still far from being able to hold longer conversations in Spanish, I’d say I definitely got something out of it.
I might also add that Northern Spain is really beautiful and that Pamplona is a city with a lot of interesting history and things to see, so I’d definitely recommend paying it a visit!
To those of you still here 1000+ words later, thank you so much for reading 😀 I hoped you enjoyed it and if you have any questions whatsoever, don’t be afraid to hit me up! I’m done with my exams and my summer break has begun so I have lots of time to chat with you guys ❤
Hasta luego chicos 🙂