Classes and Toledo, Not The One in Ohio

Today was my first day of class! I had art, literature, and comparative economics and political science. I really think I’m going to love all of them. Unfortunately, I’m not getting much transfer credit for my classes. The Spanish major is really the only program that accepts upper level transfer credits from Reunidas, so I’m only getting entry level credits from political science and a literature credit. On the bright side, all of my subjects are intertwined so it looks like I’m going to learn a lot about Spain– maybe more than I asked for. Comparative politics and economics is my favorite class so far. The professor speaks rapid Spanish, but his excitement about the subject makes up for what I can’t understand. I’m also excited for Prado, an art class with practical meetings at the Prado museum on Wednesdays.

The campus is huge, but university life feels comforting. Similar to UW-Madison, hoards of parents came to drop off their young freshman last week. Although their exchanges were in Spanish, it was cool to see students here go through the same experience I did as a freshman. Getting back into a class routine also feels good. Now that I have a purpose here in Madrid, I feel more at home.

Finally, travel! I went to Toledo last weekend with a few friends from my WIP program. Best. Idea. Ever. The bus ticket was free, thanks to Madrid’s state-of-the-art public transit system and the ride was only an hour. Toledo was stunning: terracotta roofs with a cloudless blue sky as the backdrop. We definitely didn’t see everything. I would go back in a heartbeat. I believe the whole city of Toledo is a declared national monument, so very few of its buildings are updated. Toledo is definitely touristy, but the museums there were stunning. We saw a Greco museum, a Synagogue, a Mosque, and a Cathedral.

Toledo is one of a handful of cities in the world that managed to exist with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities living in harmony. The Spanish inquisition ended this period of acceptance, but foreign influences in the architecture remain. It was really cool to see how craftsmen from different religious cultures clearly worked together. Toledo is on a massive hill (maybe I can call it a mountain?), so I got quite the workout running up and down its streets for the day. Although some cars braved the roads, the streets were clearly meant for foot traffic and were barely wide enough to fit a Prius or Smart car. It was cool to see a European city that predated modern transportation.

Overall, my second week has gone well. I am excited to move off campus this weekend and explore a more independent life in Madrid.