• Language and Culture in the Spanish-Speaking World

A Trip to the San Esteban Convent

Weather

The weather here has continued to be in the 40s and 50s and sunny, but this week that is going to change. Later this week the temperatures will be dropping to the low 30s with plenty of rain and a slight chance snow.

Classes

As the second week of classes begins, we have settled into a routine and have really bonded with our professors and other students from different countries, such as Germany, China and France. It is even easier to speak Spanish than last week but we are still making mistakes or forgetting certain words. The classes are a great time for us to improve our skills and we learn new words every day. We are just over a third of the way through our trip here but it feels like we have been here for so much longer because we are having so much fun!

 San Esteban Convent

Yesterday we visited the San Esteban Convent. Of all the magnificent rooms and views inside, the Cloister of the Kings, Chapter-houses and the Soto Staircase caught my eye most. The Cloister of the Kings is the main garden area in the center of the Convent with both Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Monks used to grow their food in the garden when they were not allowed to ever leave the Convent but now they just meditate in its splendor. There are two Chapter-houses located on the lower level which illustrate the changes within the convent. The “Ancient Chapter” is dark and simple with many graves of the deceased Dominican monks from the 14th century while the “New Chapter” is well lit and bigger with amazing ceiling decorations from the 17th century. As we continued our tour to the second level of the convent, we walked up the Soto Staircase. All of the stairs are cantilevered out from the walls and each other so there is no need for the typical supports.

 

¡Hasta luego! 

Elizabeth Larget

San Esteban Convent
Overview of the central garden (Cloister of the Kings)
Main altar space, including six large foliage-decorated columns