Albarracin, Spain is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Just when I thought Spain could not get anymore wonderful, I arrived at Albarracin and my breath was instantly taken away. As soon as I entered this small village I imagined being back in Spain during its ancient times. It has been beautifully restored back to its pre-Spanish Civil War era. The orange-red walls of the buildings give the village a nice contrast to the mountainous terrain. As soon as we arrived we trekked up the mountain to see the various components of the city. Now, for a girl with asthma the hike up the very steep stairs literally took my breath away so I am not kidding when I said this earlier. Even though there were many tourists, Albarracin seemed very peaceful. We took a tour of the village. We went into one of the historic homes and admired a different way of life. The ceilings were short and the rooms were small but the architecture and decor were simply amazing. The tour guide told us how the rich families imported their furniture from China. The tour was in Spanish and since I do not know any Spanish I mostly just nodded my head and smiled.
After the tour, we had free time to explore Albarracin for ourselves. Most of the group went to the castle that sits on top of the mountain but I stayed behind due to a fear of heights. So I passed the time wandering the village and snapping pictures of the beautiful scenery. It is hard to imagine that people live here because I did not see anyone in their homes. It almost seemed like I was frozen in time. After my exploration, I went to the park at the base of the village to relax for a bit before we left to go to our next destination.
Teruel is remote city in eastern Spain. It is regarded as the “town of mudejar” due to many of its buildings having Moorish-influenced architecture. We took a tour of San Pedro which is a notable church museum that houses the mummified remains of Isabel de Segura and Diego de Marcilla. These two individuals are the main characters of an infamous love story known throughout Spain. Their love story is similar to that of Romeo and Juliet. See, Diego was a man who came from a very poor family and he wanted to marry Isabel, a maiden who came from a wealthy family. You can probably figure out what happens next. Isabel’s father refused the marriage proposal due to a lack of funds from Diego and Isabel went to marry someone else. Through another series of events which I did not understand because the story was told in Spanish, the star-crossed lovers died and now are buried in this museum. We were able to see their remains but the interesting part of the display was that Isabel and Diego were facing each other! Talk about true love.
After the tour of San Pedro it was time to head back to Valencia but there was one issue. There was a bull run happening at the city center of Teruel. Now, I do not know about you but I was not about to be caught in the street with two bulls angrily running towards me. Some people in my group wanted to participate but our professors said otherwise. Since we could not go through the center of the city to get to our bus we have to take many detours. It was amazing to see so many people crowding the streets to watch the bull run. You can feel the sense of community these people have for one another and their city. It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the run. It was such a nice ending to a day filled with beauty and awe!