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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Being tested in Córdoba Day - 466

We both haven’t done any tests for years, apart from daft ones on Facebook such as “What kind of old person will you be?” So imagine our surprise being given 3 pages of exercises to complete? And what was worse I hardly understood a word!

Tim and I have booked onto Intensive Spanish lessons for the next 5 days. Tim has been using Duolingo to learn Spanish for six months; however, I don’t like the App, I want to learn useful phrases, not ones like “The University needs new computers”. If you know of any free great language Apps, please let me know.

Here we are at #COINEDSpanishschool in #Córdoba, and we start off with a test. It’s funny, a few years ago, I would have been getting nervous, feeling stupid or worrying that I will get everything wrong. Now, I just have a laugh about it. Yes, I want to learn; however, I just go with the flow.

Our teacher entered the room and introduced himself as Santiago. I must admit I was somewhat amused by his name. This morning I’d been thinking about my French teacher from 42 years ago who, in front of the whole class, announced that I had the worst French accent of all. His name was also of a place - Mr Hampshire.

The time flew by with us completing lots of fun little exercises. It was very cleverly designed; a list of words such as “Teléfono” “Música” “Plaza” that we ticked when recognising them, building our confidence. If we didn’t understand we would ask “Yo no entiendo ‘Aula’. ¿Qué significa?” I now know that Aula means Classroom. Hurrah!

We listened to a game of “Veo, Veo” (I-Spy to you and me), circling the words when we heard them. Also, Santiago asked us what famous people who spoke Spanish we knew. Oh dear. You know when suddenly your brain stops? Well, that happened to us both. Embarrassing! He kept mentioning Shakira. “Who?” We both replied. He must think we’re two dinosaurs!

Our lesson time was up for today. We thought we were going to have longer, but Santiago explained that because it is just two of us, it is more like a private lesson, so less time. Fair enough and we did enjoy it.

We discovered that the college had ordered lunch for us and we were being taken for a walk around the city. How nice! We weren’t expecting that. We sat down with Gabriella, the Director, for some Empanadas (They are like Cornish pasties) and she pointed out the meat and the veggie ones, I’d mentioned that I didn’t eat meat. My first one was delicious, spinach and cheese. The second one, not so good. It had ham in it. It turns out that Argentineans don’t think of ham being meat!

We did have a laugh with her and with our tiny amount of Spanish vocabulary and my acting ability, which she was mighty impressed with, we talked about many subjects. Gonzalo, our tour guide arrived. A lovely young chap who is studying English at University and has his final exam next week. Tim explained that we went for a walking tour yesterday, so he very kindly took us to different places.

Our first building Gonzalo pointed out was a small modern building with a glass pyramid on the top in the middle of a large plaza. It’s the office for Traffic control. How bizarre is that? Next was the Theatre, which is closed for refurbishment ready for The International Congresses of the Spanish Language (#CILE). The King of Spain will open this with the Argentine President Macri next month. This is the most prestigious gathering relating to language and culture in Spanish and is organised every 3 years, held in various locations in Latin America. Around 250 writers and important cultural people will be attending from around the Spanish speaking countries. (I must admit, I’ve never heard of any of the guests – no surprise there after our failed attempt of thinking of famous Spanish speaking people!)

We carried on our private tour. Next door to the theatre used to be a private boarding school for boys, now a shopping mall, and opposite was a Monastery, all beautiful buildings and all in a prime location. A school and monastery in the centre of a city? We’ve never seen that before.

Further along, was the #ChurchofLosCapuchinos. Did you know that the name Cappuccino originated from Friary Marco D’Aviono who was part of the Capuchin order of Monks? In 1683, he led a prayer to aid the Christian troops to victory against the vast Ottoman Army in Vienna. The Christians succeeded, and the Turks fled, leaving behind sacks of coffee.

This Gothic revival church took over 50 years until 1980 to complete. Another slow build. And it’s undergone restoration recently! It was created by Augusto Ferrari, brought here from Rome to oversee the project. The design aimed to represent diversity, through the colours of the stone and various sculptures of animals, insects and humans (which all looked Caucasian!) Gonzalo pointed out the towers. One had a tall spire, the other hadn’t. This signifies “perfection of God and imperfection of Man.” Sadly the gates were locked, so we didn’t have a chance to enter or see all the little figures of animals. ¿Otro día?

#COINEDSpanishschool #Córdoba #CILE #ChurchofLosCapuchinos #LearningSpanish #GrownUpTravellers

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