• Language and Culture in the Spanish-Speaking World

Madrigal de las Altas Torres

Yesterday was quite the day between taking our exams and traveling to Madrigal de las Altas Torres for the rest of the day. We took our exams first thing in the morning during our grammar class and then attended our conversation classes as usual. We were all relieved to be done with the exams.

Madrigal de las Altas Torres

After class we returned to our homes to eat a quick lunch before our departure to Madrigal de las Altas Torres, which is a small town in the province of Ávila where Queen Isabel la Católica was born. The town is about an hour away from Salamanca. When we first arrived we toured a convent which previously was the palace where Isabel was born. We were actually able to see the actual room in which she was born among other important rooms such as the chapel.

Following the visit to the convent Carlos led us on a walk along the wall of the city. Like Ávila, the town has a wall that was used for defensive purposes. However, the wall here was in much worse condition than the one in Ávila and out of 80 towers only 20 remain today. Our walk then continued through the town and Carlos pointed out some interesting sights including the two churches and where the doctor of the royal family resided. We were actually able to go into one of the churches which happened to be the one in which Isabel was baptized.

At this point we were all cold, tired, and hungry so Carlos led us to where we would be eating supper. All we knew was that we would be having a “typical dinner in a cellar”. Carlos finally found the door and we descended a couple flights of stairs before we entered a cave-like tunnel and then we ascended three steps through a small opening in the wall and entered another tunnel. None of us expected what we saw next. In this tunnel flags had been hung and a large banquet table had been set to accommodate not only our group from Luther, but other students from Mester as well. At the head of the table was a man dressed as a king with three guards. We soon found out that he was “King Fernando” (Isabel’s husband). There was also music from the time period playing in the background. After being addressed by the king we were all instructed to enjoy our meal which consisted of cheese, anchovies, pickled white asparagus, tortilla española (traditional and with artichokes), bread, shaved pork with red peppers, and strangely out of place potato chips.

During the meal the king and his guards stayed in character and it was very entertaining. Following the meal the music switched to modern American, Spanish, and Russian music and a dance party quickly formed. Around 10:00 PM we finally headed back to Salamanca.



The courtyard of the convent.
One of the churches of the town.
Our "typical dinner in a cellar" with a little entertainment provided by the guards when they "arrested" Jordan for allegedly stealing a special mirror (cell phone).