Just Around the Riverbend

Avani Kolla
June 19, 2014

June 12 was Dia de San Juan de Sahagun, which meant most stores were closed and classes were cancelled.  The night before the holiday, I went to a stunning fireworks show near the Roman bridge.  The area around the bridge as well as the Plaza Mayor were extremely crowded.

Plaza Mayor on the night before Día de San Juan de Sahagun

Fireworks over the Roman bridge

Over the weekend, we had a field trip to Aveiro and Porto, Portugal through IES.  In Aveiro, we had a traditional Portuguese meal and watched Spain’s first game in the World Cup (all the bars have televisions set up here to watch the World Cup).  We also spent a few hours at the beach in Aveiro.

One of the canals in Aveiro; it is know as the “Venice of Portugal” because of its canals

The highlight of my trip, though, was the day in Porto.  We started with a bus tour of the city.  We then enjoyed lunch sitting near River Duoro, followed by a boat ride on the river.  We then toured the Offley winery and had the chance to see the wine cellars.  Porto really stood out to me because the contrasting atmospheres and vibes that exist there.  Much of the city is older and has a historical feel.  Yet, when you go to the other side of the river, there is a relaxing, waterfront feel.  There is also an area of Porto that is more urban with modernized stores and restaurants.  Overall, it was a wonderful city! Most people don’t have Portugal on their list of places to visit, however, it is definitely a place worth visiting.

A tower in Porto

A famous bookstore in Porto, where J.K. Rowling used to go and supposedly got inspiration for Harry Potter

Me with other IES students with the River Duoro in the background

It was also interesting to note the cultural differences and similarities between Spain and Portugal.  Many Spaniards will speak in Spanish and the Portuguese will respond in Portuguese.  It was interesting to see how well Spaniards and Portuguese people can understand each other.  It was quite difficult for me to understand Portuguese, however.  The houses were also a different style; many of the houses and buildings were decorated with tiles, often blue and white.  Other than these differences, though, the cultures are very similar; the people were just as friendly in Portugal as they are in Spain.

While the trip to Portugal was relaxing and fun, it was nice returning to Salamanca.  It is remarkable how familiar and “homelike” Salamanca felt when we returned even though I have only been here for 2 weeks!



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Avani Kolla

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Avani is a soon to be sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. She loves playing the piano, reading books, and learning new languages. During her summer in Spain, she hopes to immerse herself in the Spanish language and culture. She is excited to experience a new culture, try different foods, and explore a new piece of the world.</span></p>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
Behavioral Neuroscience
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