Route Of The Spanish Language

By SimonHoepfner

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The Thompson Education Foundation awarded a grant for a teacher in the district to travel over the summer and bring back resources and information that will enhance the learning of TSD students.
I am very honored to have been awarded that grant to go to Spain in the summer of 2017. I will travel along the Route of the Spanish Language for 24 days as I move north.
The trip starts in Madrid, and will include stops at Alcalá de Henares, Avila, Salamanca, Valladolid, Santo Domingo de Silos, San Millán de la Cogolla, and San Sebastian.
The purpose of this trip is to learn about the development of the Spanish language. I hope to see where and how the first words of Spanish were written, where Cervantes drew inspiration for his novel Don Quijote de La Mancha, and how Spanish developed into a popular world language.
I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I will!

Below are photos of Kim Akeley-Charron awarding the grant in my class at Berthoud High School.

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The very old university in Alcala de Henares. It was founded in the 1400's!

This is where they give the Miguel de Cervantes literary award every year for the written word in Spanish. There is a list of all the winners since the award was started in 1976. (notice how the winners are from Spanish-speaking countries, not necessarily Spain)

If you are a writer and you write in Spanish, coming to this place for an award is the crowning achievement of your career.

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Famous old city that is like stepping back in time to the medieval age. I'm actually ahead of schedule by a day or two.

I got a great hostel with a private room and private bathroom. It overlooks the main plaza. How great!

It is only €20 per night. And the guy gave me my first drink and tapa free!
I wish we had cheap places to stay like this in the U.S.

Tomorrow I will see all the sites.

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I finally feel like I'm fitting into the Spanish daily schedule. I am learning a lot of new Spanish words too! One lady thought I was from Sevilla because of the way I talked. I don't know why that would be, I have never been to Sevilla.

The walls or murallas here are very famous. They are possibly the best in Europe.

By pure luck, the city of Avila is having a tapas Contest while I'm here. I will try as many as I can, then vote for my favorite. Yesterday I tried tripe, and pig ear. They were not bad, but not my favorite.

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This city has one of most famous universities in the world. It's the oldest one in Spain. The first Spanish grammar was written here. How amazing.

That statue is of Columbus. He is pointing west. As if to say "that is the way to the New World."
Obviously Columbus had a huge influence on the widespread use of Spanish in the world.

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Unamuno was a famous professor at the University of Salamanca. His work and writings were very important in Spanish literature.

Here are also the most famous treasured books of the old Salamanca university library. They are amazing and absolutely look like treasures. Some are from the 1200s.

But of course photos are not allowed. They would ruin the old books.!

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The Museum of Salamanca houses many works of art. Some modern, and some very old. Some paintings and some sculptures.

The most impressive was the "Cielo de Salamanca." Or "sky of Salamanca." Is the last picture here, and used to be above the old library inside the University.
It is housed in a darker room, to accent the brilliant star constellations.

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After a very long day of traveling. I arrived in Santo Domingo de Silos. This place is so much different than the rest of my trip so far. It is a tiny little village, with very pretty surroundings. It's nice to see some hills again.

There are not many people in this village. The hotel owner seems very cool. He thought I was Italian because of my accent. Those are the situations that usually start a fun conversation.

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That was one crazy 18 hours. I never even got a hotel. I slept in the park, then got on the train and went all the way east across Spain later that day.

And the only thing I have to show for it is little scratch on my elbow. I got shoved into the wall by the bulls.

Somebody moved my backpack while I was running, and I had to recover it at the police station. Luckily nothing was stolen out of it.

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This wraps up my trip to Spain. Now I cross the border into France. My windows on the world travel grant is officially over.

But I will continue to put the rest of my personal trip on this journal. I still have a week and a half left.

I cannot express enough how great it was to have this opportunity.

Thank you Thompson education foundation windows on the world travel grant! Without you, this would have never been possible.

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The tiny country of Andorra right on the border of France and Spain is pretty sweet.

It looks like a cross between Vail and Switzerland. I did not have a reservation but I was super lucky to find a great place.

Of course that was after I forgot my passport on the bus and had to wait two hours to track it down and get it back. What was I thinking?

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One of the paragliding routes is the small lake tour (petit tour du lac). This one crosses the lake.

My longest flight was over an hour and a half, and I did cross the lake!

I crossed the lake, and saw that I was still 1000 feet above the landing zone. So I got to float around over the water for a long time. Then I came in and landed. That was the most memorable flight I have ever had.