Monday, December 15, 2014

Activities 15.12.2014-21.12.2014

The last week of classes at Tía Tula are upon us and so is Christmas holiday. On Monday we’ll go ‘visit’ a shopping centre, on Tuesday we'll learn how to cook some Christmas tapas and on Wednesday we will go ice-skating. Also, there’s a new seafood bar/restaurant in town and we’ll go check it out. And last but not least, on Friday we are having our own Christmas party so come and join for the last Tía Tula blast of 2014! :)

Monday 15, 18:00: Shopping centre – Since Christmas is getting closer we’ll go to a shopping centre El Tormes in case you ‘still’ need to buy some presents. We’ll also see a nativity scene that has been put up in one of the rooms. Approximate duration: 2h.


Tuesday 16, 17:00: Cooking class – We will learn how to cook 3 tapas typical for Christmas. Approximate duration: 1h.


Wednesday 17, 18:15: Ice skating – We will go ice-skating on an artificial ice skating ring close to Plaza de la Concordia. Approximate duration: 1h 30min.


Thursday 18, 19:30: Seafood bar/restaurant –  A new seafood bar/restaurant, ‘El Club Náutico’, has opened in Salamanca and we are going to try some of their tapas. Approximate duration: 1h 30min.


Friday 19, 12:00: Christmas party – We finish our last day at Tía Tula in 2014 with our very own Christmas party! Approximate duration: 2h. 


Saturday 20: Excursion – Trip to Segovia and Ávila.  For more information please ask at the reception desk.


Sunday 21: Happy Holidays!


Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free.


And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

University New Year's Eve

Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
La Nochevieja Universitaria (something like a student’s New Year’s Eve) is one of the most ‘important’ events of the academic year although it doesn't have many things in common with studying and a lot more to do with enjoying the student life itself. It has a ‘long standing’ tradition (this year is its 10th anniversary) and became an event not only for the students in Salamanca but also for the students from the whole of Spain and even other countries.


Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
It started in 1999 when around a dozen of students gathered in Plaza Mayor to celebrate the end of the year with their classmates and flatmates before they all headed to their respective homes to spend the holidays with their families. The following year they did it again but with more people since the word spread and the ‘event’ kept growing. Since it was becoming a ‘large’ phenomenon, in 2004 an event management company took over the event and from then onwards it keeps gaining popularity. In 2013, almost 45,000 people attended the event and the whole show made it to the national news. This year La Nochevieja Universitaria takes place on December 11th and even more students are expected to arrive.

Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
The show (live music, visual show, etc.) at Plaza Mayor is open to everyone, however, people can buy tickets for ‘pub crawls’, VIP back stage access, special ‘La Nochevieja Universitaria package’ including ‘gominolas’ (gummies), Santa hats and other accessories needed to make it a special and unforgettable night. The ‘gominolas’ are tied to the Spanish NYE tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for good luck in the New Year. However, in 1999 the students didn't have grapes and thus they ate 12 gummy bears. Since then the tradition has evolved and now you can even buy gummies that look and taste like grapes but are in fact made out of jelly thus bridging the traditional NYE with the student one. 

What is definitely worth mentioning is the amazing 3D light show that took place last year. This visual spectacle raised certain questions since it was sponsored by a brand of rum and some people were asking whether it was appropriate. However, rum or no rum, it was seriously cool (as you will see for yourself in the video at the end of the post) and I would have definitely liked to see it live.

Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
Lot of students will also stay in Salamanca overnight or even for the weekend since accommodation can also be included in the 'package'. Therefore, it goes without saying that this event is also economically significant to the hospitality sector which is highly important for Salamanca as well as the municipality itself. In 2011 only the consumptions related directly to La Nochevieja Universitaria reached a revenue of 150,000 euros. To ensure that everything runs smoothly the municipality strengthens the police presence as well as the intensity of the cleaning services.

So, as you can see, if you are in Salamanca on December 11, 2014 it is almost obligatory to attend La Nochevieja Universitaria. It might even be a good idea to invite your friends over and let them experience this unique event and its atmosphere. After all, it’s not every day you will see something like this…

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Activities 9.12.2014-14.12.2014

We hope that you had some time to chill out this weekend because we are back with fun activities! To give you a relaxed start we will begin with a Spanish movie night and then we will get more active. On Tuesday we will go ice skating and on Wednesday we will go to a swimming pool. Also, to help those in need we will go to a charity market and maybe some of you will buy something that catches their eye. And if you would like to travel there’s a weekend trip to Granada!

Monday 08: Holiday. 

Tuesday 09, 17:00: Film – Spanish cinema evening to continue practicing your Spanish listening and comprehension skills.

Wednesday 10, 18:15: Ice skating – We'll go ice skating on an artificial ring close to Plaza de la Concordia. Approximate duration: 1h 30min. 

Thursday 11, 17:45: Swimming pool – We'll go to a swimming pool and have 45 minutes to swim as much as you want.  Approximate duration: 1h 30min. 

Friday 12, 19:00: Charity market – Support a good cause and come with us to a flea market at Calle Toro. All profits made will go to various charities and support those who need it the most. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Saturday 13: Excursion – Trip to Granada.  For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 14: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Being on a clock in Salamanca: 36 hours in the city

Some people think that being a tourist is a very relaxed activity and for some it actually may be. However, if you want to see ‘all there is to see’ and you only have a limited period of time, sightseeing might become a race and thus almost a sport in its own right. Do not be fooled, walking around and up and down the city (depends on what city you are visiting) is no easy task. A friend of mine came to visit me this weekend and unfortunately she could only stay a day and a half. Salamanca has a lot of things to offer, more than you can visit in 36 hours (unless you want to be sightseeing from 8am to 10pm without stopping for food).  The 2 things you simply must visit are the Cathedrals as well as Plaza Mayor. However, visiting these two doesn't mean that you've seen it all, it simply means that you won’t be chased by ghosts when leaving the city. 

I prepared a small ‘plan’ of basic things that in my opinion should be on anyone’s list. I didn't want her to feel overwhelmed, after all, she came here to relax and not to run around trying to do it all. The places I suggested were: Ieronimus, Scala Coeli and El Huerto de Calixto y Melibea (if you'd like more information about this garden have a look at our earlier article here).

Ieronimus is a permanent exhibition through the medieval towers of the Old and New Cathedrals where you can become familiar with their construction and history as well as with the interior of the cathedrals as seen from the inner platform. Also worth mentioning are the amazing views you can enjoy from the surrounding terraces and the towers themselves. 

Another exhibition, Scala Coeli, invites you to discover the two towers belonging to the ‘Clerecia’, a building directly opposite to ‘La Casa de las Conchas’ (The House of Shells). The view from the towers is breath-taking and you can see the New Cathedral from a slightly different perspective than you are used to. You will also get to see one side of Plaza Mayor which you are not accustomed to (you might not even realise it is Plaza Mayor at first). 

And as you might be a little bit exhausted after climbing all of the stairs (although it’s totally worth it), you might want to go have a look at Casa Lis, a Museum Art Nouveau and Art Déco, where you can see some interesting collections of glass and porcelain dolls and have a coffee at a quite unusual and charming café. And if you are only in town visiting there’s a well-stocked gift shop which has a different assortment than the rest of the tourist shops.


Although it is nice to explore the city by wandering around, sometimes it is just not possible and then you need to have a ‘plan’ or at least a doable list of things you would like to see and activities you’d like to do. I think that if you only have a limited time to spend in Salamanca then these things should be on your list. However, most importantly, do not forget to enjoy your time (relax) and feel Salamanca’s atmosphere. After all, that’s what travelling is about. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Activities 01.12.2014 - 07.12.2014

The last month of the year has arrived and with it the festive season typical for December. We will start off our week with a guided tour around Salamanca and if you would like to see it from above then you should definitely go with us to Scala Coeli where you will get a stunning view. There is also a poetry recital and a movie night and our very own language exchange between our students of Spanish and English. Also, do not forget that we are closed on Monday so we have a long weekend ahead of us, perfect for exploring Andalusia and/or Portugal. Don’t miss out and sign up for this week’s activities!

Monday 01, 18:45: Guided tour – One of our staff will give you a tour around Salamanca and show you the most important monuments. Approximate duration: 1h.

Tuesday 02, 20:15: Mini Poetry Recital – We’ll go to La Malhablada where the association Pentadrama will read some of their texts. Approximate duration: 1h.

Wednesday 03, 17:00: Visit to a Monument – We’ll go to Scala Coeli and climb up the two towers to see Salamanca from above. Approximate duration: 45min. 

Thursday 04, 17:00: Film – Spanish cinema evening to continue practicing your Spanish listening and comprehension skills.

Friday 05, 19:30: Language exchange – We are organising a language exchange between our students of Spanish and students of English. Do not miss out this unique opportunity! Approximate duration: 1h.

Saturday 06: Excursion – Trip to Cordoba – Granada – Sevilla & Portugal. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 07: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

5 reasons to learn a foreign language abroad


There are many ways of learning a language and some are more effective than others. One technique will not suit all (probably even 20 different techniques wouldn't suit all) since the ‘best’ way to learn something is very subjective. Before I came to Salamanca many of my friends asked me why I am going to Spain to study Spanish while I could ‘just as easily’ learn it from the comfort of my own home in Slovakia.  Although I understood where they were coming from (some of them have never studied abroad), I couldn't really agree and little by little I have ended up with a list of reasons why I think it is a good idea to study Spanish in Spain and I would like to share it with you now.
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1. Immersion is key. The main point I couldn't agree on with my friends that I could learn Spanish ‘just as easily’ in Slovakia as I could do it in Spain (or any other Spanish speaking country).  Since I have tried to learn a few languages before, I know how my mind works and I know that ‘full immersion into the language and culture’ works best for me. I find it easier to learn a language when I am surrounded by it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week rather than 2.5 hours once a week.  When you are in the country full of native speakers you listen to the language all the time, whether you are using public transport, walking on the street or doing groceries (I am not mentioning being in class because that’s a given when you decide to join a language school).

2. Personal growth. The second reason is that although it is nice to stay somewhere where you are already know the environment and the people, most of personal development occurs while you are out of your comfort zone. Being out of your comfort zone is not always the most pleasant of experiences (hence the term), however, once the things outside of your comfort zone become part of it you will feel better and there’s a big chance you will have changed as a person too (for the better, of course).

3. Meet new people. The third reason is that whenever you move into a new place you will meet new people, however, that doesn’t always mean you will also make new friends. On the other hand, when you go to study a foreign language abroad you are very likely to meet a lot of like-minded individuals who are also looking for new friends and are eager to get to know you.  And because you are more or less in the same situation it is likely that you will bond faster than in ‘normal’ circumstances and that your friendships will last longer.

4. Once you are there, travel around. The forth reason is maybe the strongest incentive for some and that is travelling. Especially if the person lives rather far from the country where the language is spoken, it is cheaper and more comfortable to travel around the country once you are in it than if you have fly there every time (not to mention that you will visit many interesting places that you would not otherwise). For example, I have visited places such as Segovia, Ávila, La Alberca and Ciudad Rodrigo that I would not have otherwise visited (or even known about).

5. Good for work. And last but not least, if you are thinking about your future, studying a language abroad may help you gain a competitive advantage whether you are considering applying for a university programme or looking for a job. University admissions and job hunting are becoming more and more competitive and the importance of being able to differentiate yourself is increasing. Being able to speak one or more foreign languages is always advantageous, however, studying the language in its country of origin is even more than that. It shows that you are independent, able to take care of yourself, that you like challenges and that you are not afraid of getting out of your comfort zone and personally develop.

As a person who has studied abroad a relatively long time, I dare to say that all of these things are true. If you feel that you are have lived in a bubble then learning a foreign language abroad is the right thing to do. It will broaden your horizons by getting to know a different culture and language and new people who are likely to be from all over the world, and by bringing some new challenges that you have not expected. And most importantly, when all is said and done you will feel like a new person who has accomplished a great lot of things since you left home. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Activities 24.11.2014 - 30.11.2014

We will start off this week by a Spanish cinema evening followed by some arts & crafts making on Tuesday. For those of you who like to cook and try new food we have prepared a paella cooking class on Wednesday and an international dinner on Friday. And if you like art we will go to an art exhibition of Salamanca’s very own Enrique Marty on Thursday. Don’t miss out and sign up for this week’s activities!

Monday 24, 17:30: Film – Spanish cinema evening to continue practicing your Spanish listening and comprehension skills.

Tuesday 25, 19:00: Arts & Crafts – Christmas is coming in 4 weeks and so each of us will prepare an advent calendar to await its arrival. . Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Wednesday 26, 18:45: Cooking class – This week we will learn how to cook a delicious paella. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Thursday 27, 18:30: Exposition – We’ll go to the museum of modern art DA2 to see the works of Enrique Marty, an artist from Salamanca. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Friday 28, 19:00: International Dinner – There are many international students at Tía Tula and we think it’s a good idea for each of you to try different cuisines. And so, everyone should bring one dish (salty or sweet) for others to try. Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Saturday 29: Excursion – Trip to Cáceres. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 30: Excursion – Trip to Toledo. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Veggies, veggies, veggies…

Fresh vegetable tempura at Aguaclara.
There always comes a time when people decide to visit you in Spain as did my German friend. I was looking forward to see her, however, I was facing a small difficulty as a ‘host’ – she is vegetarian and I am not. Of course there’s nothing wrong with either, but Spain is known for its chorizo and jamón and farinato and not for its spinach quiche. Spain has a very strong meat culture and I wasn't quite sure what to do with my friend. I decided to do some research and I have to say, it’s been very successful. Therefore, in this post I would like to share my results with you.

My all-time favourite is a bar called El Rastrel. It is a small vegan bar close to the city centre with great ambiance and cool staff. The tapas are delicious and once I tried them -the Galician beer they serve, too-, I knew I would be coming back. They also have a piano and some board games that anyone can play and, best part of all, dogs (with their owners) are allowed in so it is bound to be fun!

Another place to keep in mind is Café Mandala which is very conveniently just a few steps away from Tía Tula. Mandala is not a strictly vegetarian establishment, however, they have a lot of vegetarian tapas and 80% of their lunch and dinner menu is vegetarian. Moreover, they offer great smoothies and cakes which means that vegetarian or not, you will be going back.

At El Rastrel in an after-school activity organised by Tía Tula. 
In the course of my research I also came across with a vegetarian café/bar/restaurant called Café Atelier. It is located in the city centre, just round the corner from my flat which makes it a perfect place for dinner and/or tapas and some drinks. They also have some very nice fair trade coffee which you can sweeten with one of their cakes.

Also, there’s the restaurant El Laurel which offers vegetarian meals and also some vegan options. It is a nice place, quite small so you can enjoy its tranquility and relaxed atmosphere. The food is good and there’s quite a lot it so you won’t be going home hungry (and still have money left in your wallet). The staff is friendly so you can enjoy your vegetarian food while relaxing and talking to your friends.

There are other restaurants and tapas places that offer vegetarian or vegan options among their tapas and dishes range. That is the case of, for example, El Bardo and Aguaclara.

Last but not least, I as amazed when I found out that there even is a vegan eatery held in a self-managed social center. Aside from, of course, serving vegan food, their aim is to fight animal cruelty and raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

I hope this article showed you that although Spain is known for its meat products, it doesn't mean vegetarians and vegans are not welcome. In fact, based on my ‘research’, there are quite a few places in Salamanca worth visiting even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Activities 17.11.2014 - 22.11.2014

To keep you active outside of classes as well as inside of them, we have prepared some outdoorsy activities to enjoy this week! There’s a bike tour, an evening walk through the city as well as a tapas tour and some games of billiard. 

Monday 17, 17:00: Bike tour – We’ll take a bike tour along the bicycle path starting at Puente Romano. Approximate duration: 1 hour.

Tuesday 18, 18:45: Evening photo walk – Discover some of the most beautiful views of Salamanca at night. The best picture will be published on our Facebook page facebook.com/colegiotiatula. Approximate duration: 40 min. 

Wednesday 19, 18:30: Billiard – We’ll go and play a few games of billiard. Approximate duration: 1h.

Thursday 20, 17:30: Music contest – Students from several music academies will perform several pieces on the instruments of their choice. 

Friday 21, 19:30: Tapas Tour – We’ll go to several bars in the Van Dyck area and try their tapas. Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Saturday 22: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.
Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

From "sausage of the poor" to a gourmet experience

El farinato is one of the gastronomic symbols of the province of Salamanca, and in particular, Ciudad Rodrigo and its region. This sausage is made with breadcrumbs, lard, oil, salt, flour, onion, paprika and other spices. At first glance it may be confused with ‘chorizo’ (sausage) for its shape (the sausage is in a casing which is attached at the ends forming a horseshoe-shaped string, which facilitates storage) and colour (brick red). 

Because of its simple (and cheap) ingredients el farinato has been bearing the nickname ‘’the sausage of the poor’’ for a long time. Lately, many people started once again appreciating el farinato because of its distinctive taste (very different from that of a 'regular' sausage). It is admired across not just traditional but also modern and innovative kitchens that are now treating el farinato as a gourmet delicacy. In fact, the Council of Salamanca has just published an edited version of a cookbook including different recipes for more ‘innovative’ farinato created by the renowned chefs in the region. The book proposes a variety of recipes, from the traditional farinato with scrambled eggs to more unusual combinations such as farinato skewer with prawns, cheese curds, bacon and fried eggplant. Many people consider el farinato to be a delicacy but we need to remember that even though it is delicious, its high fat content makes it a real calorie bomb. 



The production of farinato is concentrated mainly in Ciudad Rodrigo, although it is also produced in the northern parts of Extremadura and Portugal. Ciudad Rodrigo has an important historical and artistic heritage and is well known for its carnival (el Carnaval del Toro). It is situated to the west of the province of Salamanca, 86 km from Salamanca and 25km from Portugal. Its approximately 14,000 inhabitants are so proud of their sausage that they are sometimes called ‘los farinatos’. They also include it in the names of their events such as Farinato Sound (music festival) and Farinato de Hierro (adventure ace). 

In this Spanish TV program you can watch how el farinato is made. 


And here's the recipe for scrambled eggs with farinato. Enjoy!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Activities 10.11.2014 - 16.11.2014

This week we have prepared activities that will warm you up in this autumn weather such as going for chocolate with churros, tapas tour or a wine tasting. And if you want to travel around Spain there’s a trip to Granada! 

Monday 10, 18:45: Chocolate with Churros – Have you ever tried hot chocolate with churros? It is a typical Spanish delicacy that will definitely warm you up in these cold days. Approximate duration: 1 hour.

Tuesday 11, 16:45: Visit to a convent – Come discover the Convent of Santa Clara. The view of Salamanca from one of its terraces is breath-taking! Approximate duration: 1h. 

Wednesday 12, 19:20: Tapas Tour – We’ll go to several bars in the centre and try their tapas. Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Thursday 13, 18:45: Wine tasting – with 3 different types of wine (Rueda, Rioja and Ribera). We’ll also sample some cheese, chorizo and jamón de bodega. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Friday 31, 17:00: Film – Spanish cinema session to continue practicing your Spanish.

Saturday 01 & Sunday 02: Excursion – Granada. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Lovers, your time has come!


For someone who enjoys reading and/or loves old books, there is nothing better than a book fair and right now, one is happening in Salamanca under the official name of ‘XXII Feria Municipal del Libro Antiguo y de Ocasión’, or, in English, ‘The 22nd Municipal Fair of Old and Used Books’. 



The feria takes place on Plaza Mayor from October 25th until November 9th and the ‘opening hours’ are as follows: Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 14:00 and then from 17:30 to 21:00; and on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 14:30 and then from 17:30 till 21:30. 24 bookstores from all over Spain come to Salamanca to sell their books and you can see stands all the way from Alicante, Granada and Santander as well as some from more nearby such as Burgos, León, Madrid, Salamanca, Segovia, Valladolid and Zamora. 


However, the feria isn’t ‘just’ about books, these 2 weeks are filled with 29 activities where the books are always in the centre of attention. Everybody can take their pick when it comes to the activities, there are lectures for the more serious among us as well as concerts for the ones who enjoy music and we cannot forget the little ones – for them there will be storytellers who can fly them from Salamanca to other wonderful places and spark their interest in stories and books. 

Whether you like old (I mean antique) books or simply want a new book and don’t mind it being second hand, then you definitely need to have a look at this fair. I love reading so naturally I had to visit the feria and I was very (pleasantly) surprised by the amount of choice, and the amount of languages – there were a lot of Spanish books, of course, but also books in English, German, Portuguese, Italian, French and other languages. 

I left the feria with a bag full of books for myself (in English and some children’s books in Spanish) and a few Christmas presents for my German friends. However, please beware, you should not go there if you are in a hurry because you will be late. As my friend said, getting lost in the feria of stories is not only possible, it is inevitable

Monday, November 3, 2014

Activities 03.11.2014 - 09.11.2014

After the weekend full of ghosts, the month of November starts and it seems like it is at last the arrival of cold weather as well. However, cold or not, our programme remains interesting, for example, we are going to have a Kizomba dance class as well as a language exchange so come join us and start November by learning something new! :)

Monday 03, 17:00: Film - Spanish cinema session to continue practicing your Spanish.

Tuesday 04, 18:50: Guided Tour – One of our staff will give you a tour around Salamanca and show you the most important monuments. Approximate duration: 1h.

Wednesday 05, 17:30: Dance Class – We are going to learn the first steps of Kizomba. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Thursday 06, 18:45: Language Exchange – We are organising a language exchange between our students of Spanish and students of English. Do not miss out this unique opportunity! Approximate duration: 1h. 

Friday 31, 19:30: Tapas Tour – We’ll go to several bars in the Van Dyck area to try their tapas. Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Saturday 01: Excursion – We will be going on a trip to Santiago de Compostela. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 02: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Activities 27.10.2014 - 02.11.2014


And so the scariest week of the year begins – Halloween is here! Prepare your homes, dust off your costumes and steel your nerves, it’s trick or treat time ;) However, because we are so nice we are going to skip the trick part and jump ahead to give you some treats including a legend surrounding the Cave of Salamanca as well as a special All Saints’ Day cooking class and Zombie Parade!

Monday 27: Cinema – We suggest that you take an advantage of the Film Festival being in town and go see a movie for the great price of €2,90. The festival takes place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. For more info click here: Film Festival 2014. If you need help with the online registration or with making a decision about which movie to see, we are here for you!

Tuesday 28, 16:45: Cave of Salamanca – We will discover the Cave of Salamanca and the legend that surrounds it. Approximate duration: 40 min. 

Wednesday 29, 19:15: Cooking class – Torrijas & Buñuelos. This Wednesday we will learn how to make traditional desserts for All Saints’ Day – torrijas and buñuelos. You will, of course, get to eat them afterwards ;) Approximate duration: 1h. 

Thursday 30, 16:45: Guided tour – We will begin our tour of Salamanca at the ancient church of San Millán which is an excellent starting point for a tour focusing on the urban and architectural aspects of Salamanca. Approximate duration: 45 min. 

Friday 31, 18:45: Zombie Parade – Zombies will invade Calle Azafranel to celebrate the terrifying Halloween night. Do not miss the show and do not forget to dress up in the scariest way you can imagine. Approximate duration: 30 min.

Saturday 01: Excursion – Lisboa-Fatima-Coimbra or Bilbao-Vitoria. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 02: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Film Festival is back!

If you like to the movies then this is good news for you! On October 27th, 28th and 29th (Monday-Wednesday) the tickets cost only €2,90 and one might ask: is there any good reason why you shouldn't go? You can watch a variety of films ranging from Spanish to Hollywood productions. And what's even better, all the movies are in Spanish which means that you can practice your listening and comprehension skills!


The film festival started in 2009 and is held biannually. The latest edition took place on March 31 - April 2 and was one of the most successful so far. Originally, the festival was proposed by various agencies related to the film industry to attract people back to the movie theaters. As we all know, this cultural activity has been severely affected by a large increase in piracy and ticket prices in Spain. Thus, in addition to having a good time at the movies, you can support the industry, which employs thousands of people in Spain.

To be able to attend the festival, you must register online at http://www.fiestadelcine.com/. Then, you will receive an email including a promotional code. Using the code you can buy your ticket either at the cinema or online.  When you go to see the movie do not forget to bring the promotional code together with your ID as you will need to show it before entering the theatre.

This is a list of theatres in Salamanca participating in the festival: 

Cinebox Vialia
Dirección: C.C. Vialia
Teléfono: +34 923 259 326
Web: cinebox.com

Cines Van Dyck 
Dirección: Paseo de Torres Villarroel, 40
Teléfono: +34 923 243 538 
Web: cinesvandyck.com

Cines Van Dyck Joven
Dirección: Paseo Torres Villarroel, 45 
Teléfono: +34 923 123 700
Web: cinesvandyck.com

Cines Van Dyck Tormes
Dirección: C.C, El Tormes, Santa Marta de Tormes
Teléfono: +34 923 131 329 
Web: cinesvandyck.com

And here are a few films we would like to bring to your attention:

EL NIÑO – thriller from the director Daniel Monzón (trailer here)

MAGICAL GIRL – tragicomedy from Carlos Vermut (trailer here)

LASA Y ZABALA – thriller from the director Pablo Malo (trailer here

TORRENTE 5 – comedy from the director Santiago Segura (trailer here)

LA ISLA MÍNIMA – drama, thriller from the director Alberto Rodríguez (trailer here)

RELATOS SALVAJES – Argentinian black comedy from Damián Szifrón (trailer here

Whether you want to see one movie or all, do not waste this opportunity to enjoy the Spanish and international cinema for a great price! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Living in a fairy tale

Alcázar in Segovia. Photo taken by Flick user 'Iapidim' on April 24,
2004. Taken from Flickr. Link: http://goo.gl/11FNyh. CC license.
For the past few weeks I've been living in a place some would consider as coming right out of a fairy tale. And yes, I am referring to Castilla y León, the autonomous community of which Salamanca is one of the provinces. In my opinion, the name of the region could be freely translated as ‘the land of castle and lion’ and it is exactly that (especially when it comes to castles and medieval fortresses, I haven’t seen a live lion running around yet). 






Castillo de Peñafiel. Photo by Flick user 'Ana Ramirez de Arellano' on
  August 9,2012. Taken from Flickr. Link:
 http://goo.gl/xqbYuB. CC license.
If you think your life needs a little bit of fairy tale all you need to do is come to Castilla y León and you won’t be disappointed. Whether you visit Ávila, Segovia or Toledo (Salamanca is a given must-see of course) you will feel that you just went hundreds of years back in time. However, if you like a bit more than that then you can always visit the beautiful castles scattered around the region. Since I would need to write a book to mention all of them I will focus on the ‘top’ 5 (although there are many others worth visiting). 


Alcázar de Segovia, Segovia
Alcázar de Segovia. Photo by Flick user 'Gerwin Filius' taken on October 10, 2014.
Taken from Flickr. Link: http://goo.gl/hu67Gt. CC license.

One of the most famous castles in the world is El Alcázar de Segovia, after all, it has been one of the inspirations for Disney’s Cinderella castle. The castle itself had many uses, it went from being one of main castles of the Castilian royalty to being a prison, then a military academy and now it is a museum showing how it looked in its prime. However, do not forget, this building served one main purpose – it was a military fortress and although it looks just lovely from the outside, the ambiance of a fortress meant to protect its inhabitants can still be felt. 



Castillo de Coca, Segovia 

Castillo de Coca. Photo by Flick user 'Jose Javier Martin Espartosa'
taken on  August 3, 2013. Taken from Flickr.
Link: http://goo.gl/gaJcli. CC license.
Only 50km from Alcázar de Segovia, still in the province of Segovia, you can find another treasure – Castillo de Coca. It was built in the end of the 15th century and served as a place for great fares and celebrations with many important people in attendance (such as Charles, duke of Berry, the brother of Louis XI of France). In the very beginning of the 16th century the castle was expanded and several defensive systems such as doors with ‘security’ bars were added. With a bit of imagination you can see yourself walking on its walls defending it against many of its attackers and enemies of its inhabitants. In the early 19th century the castle fell into disrepair and after being occupied by the French troops it was effectively a ruin. However, in the first half of the 20th century it was declared a national monument and the repair works had started transforming it into the castle you can see today. 


Castillo templario de Ponferrada, León

Castillo templario de Ponferrada. Photo by Flick user 'juantiagues'
taken  on June 28, 2012. Taken from Flickr.
Link: http://goo.gl/PlHXZI.
CC license.
As the name of this castle suggests, it is, or was, closely connected to the Knights Templar. However, it was not built by them. At first, this structure served as a simple fort and then as a citadel and only in 1178 was it given to the Order of the Temple. The knights made a lot of additions to the original structure, namely strengthening its defences and adding more living quarters. For many years this fortress has served as protection of the pilgrims travelling to the holy place of Santiago de Compostela.



Castillo de Peñafiel, Valladolid

Castillo de Peñafiel. Photo by Flickr user 'el perdido en el entierro del
hombre invisible' taken on September 15, 2013.
Taken from Flickr. Link: http://goo.gl/RysXUI. CC license.
By visiting this distinctively shaped fortress you can connect doing something interesting with something pleasurable since in one of the rooms there is a Provincial Wine Museum. The castle was commissioned in the 10th century although the shape and construction as we know it now is the work of the Infant Don Juan Manuel who has finished his alternations to the construction in the first half of the 14th century. The shape of the castle has been compared to that of a boat, it is 210m long and 35m wide. 




Castillo de la Mota, Valladolid

If you want to have the region of Valladolid in your palm then you need to visit Castillo de la Mota and climb up one of its towers (you can use stairs). This fortress has had a very turbulent history since the day it was built in the late 11th century. You can still see its interesting past on its walls which stand as witnesses to the many battles that were fought outside, inside and around it. In the late 15th century the keep has been turned into a rather prominent prison with many important figures 'staying' inside its walls, such as Hernando Pizarro and César Borgia. The latter is known for escaping the prison by climbing down the keep’s nearly 40m high tower using a rope. 

Castillo de la Mota. Photo by Flick user ' Dmitry Shakin' taken on December 25, 2008.
Taken from Flickr. Link: http://goo.gl/70jopC. CC license.

So you see, living in Castilla y León is (almost) like living in a fairy tale,you just need to know where to go to see those magical places where history took place and I really hope that this post has given you some ideas ;) Now, the weekend is soon upon us and I know where I am going to go next. Do you? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Activities 20.10.2014 - 26.10.2014


Welcome to the last full week in 'summer' time (we will be switching to winter time this weekend)! We hope you have enjoyed the weekend and are ready for all the activities we have prepared for you this week including (but not limited to) a basketball game, ‘micro theatre‘ performance and a treasure hunt through the historical centre of Salamanca! :)

Monday 20, 16:00: Yincana – treasure hunt. To prepare you for the week ahead we will start off with a game called Yincana. If you want to have fun while exploring Salamanca there's no better way to do it than with a treasure hunt! Come with us to work out the clues and let’s see which team wins and most importantly, let’s have a lot of fun! Approximate duration: 1-2h.

Tuesday 21, 19:00: Guided tour – Since everyone should know the city they live in we offer a guided tour around Salamanca during which you will see why it is the world’s heritage site.

Wednesday 22, 17:00: Basketball – We’ll play some basketball on one of the courts near the river Tormes. Approximate duration: 1h 30min. 

Thursday 23, 19:00: Microteatro – We will go to ‘La Malhablada’, a cultural centre and a ‘laboratory’ for performing arts where they, among other things, offer short 15-20 minutes long performances. Approximate duration: 30min. 

Friday 24, 18:30: Urban exhibition & Tapas – We’ll finish our week by visiting  Barrio del Oeste, a neighbourhood in Salamanca known for its paintings on the walls and creative spirit. After the visit we will go to ‘La Salchichería’ for some drinks and tapas. Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Saturday 25: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 26: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.