Spring Break in Spain, Part 3 – Huelva

9 Mar

For the third leg of my trip I returned to Huelva, where I lived for nine months last year. It was strange, but also really really great, to be back there.

I arrived in Sevilla Tuesday night and took the familiar walk through the city to the bus station and then the familiar one-hour bus ride to Huelva. My roommate from last year, Maria, greeted me at the bus station in Huelva. It was amazing to see her again. She is probably one of the warmest and most open people I have met in my life, and I was so incredibly lucky to randomly find her as my roommate last year.

That night Maria and just hung out at her flat (my bus didn’t get in to Huelva until 10:30) catching up on everything. Surprisingly my Spanish wasn’t so bad! (Although I had already been in Spain for four days I had been speaking still mostly English mixed with some Spanish, it was like a warm-up to being back to speaking all Spanish.) And in typical Maria fashion, she whipped up a great snack from the food in her fridge. God, I miss her cooking!

Maria in front of Huelva's new statue of Columbus

On Wednesday morning I visited Alto Conquero, the high school that I worked at last year. The first thing that struck me was how much my students had grown in eight months since I had last seen them. Some of my little ninos from last year (which don’t seem so little anymore now that I teach three-year-olds) had shot up as much as six or eight inches. They were so cute and little at the end of last year, and now they were already small adults, incredible!

All of the teachers I worked with last year are still teaching at Alto Conquero this year and I had a great time visiting with them. I also got to talk with a few of my private lesson students from last year (including one of my favs, Alvaro, who told me that if I came back next year he wants me to be his tutor again) and it was so so nice to catch up with them. And their English was really good, for which I gave myself a little pat on the back 🙂

After another tasty lunch at Maria’s (mmmm, lentils) we went shopping. I had already written earlier last year how Czech stores pale in comparison to Spanish stores so I was incredibly thankful to have an afternoon of shopping in Huelva. And to top it off, some of the stores were still have their post-New Years “rebajas” sales. I got a super cute dress from Zara for 12 euros (which I am already planning to wear, quite appropriately, to a wedding this summer of one of my American friends from Huelva, Katelyn). The only unfortunate part of my shopping experience is that I won’t be able to wear most of the clothes for probably another two months in the Czech Republic.

having a cervecita with Marcos

From shopping we went for a beer with Maria’s friend Marcos, whom I also had the pleasure of getting to know last year. Then we retreated to Maria’s flat where she cooked another amazing meal and some more friends came over. Some of my favorite memories from last year involved sitting around Maria’s big dining room table sharing food and wine and conversation so I was really glad to be enjoying another one of those nights.

It was only natural that later that night we went out to the Red Lion, my old haunt from last year. It was a Wednesday night so it was nothing crazy like when we used to go to Red Lion on a Friday or Saturday night and stay until 4am when we we go downstairs to Bagoa, the club below, until 6 or 7am.

Maria and I outside Red Lion

Thursday was another beautiful, sunny day. I’m pretty sure I won’t be in weather as warm and sunny again until May, sigh … but I digress. On Thursday afternoon Maria, Marcos, and I went for lunch in Punta Umbria, the beach town (where Maria is from) 15 minutes from Huelva. There is a culinary school in Punta Umbria where they serve lunch once a week to a small number of people. For 12 euros (apparently the magic number of the week) we got three small starters, a main course, a dessert, coffee, and a drink.

The food was AMAZING. But instead of describing the dishes in detail I’ll just include pics of them all:

artichoke with gambas topped with parmesean

morcillo (blood sausage stuffed with rice) lollipops served in a pumpkin puree

lentil salad and game hen

chicken with pecans (I think?)

and a brownie for dessert!

We had a great afternoon enjoying the wonderful food. And afterward we sat outside on a patio drinking coffee in the sunshine. A perfect day…

Like I mentioned in the beginning it was a little strange to be back in Huelva. Mostly it was strange because the people I associate most with the town (my American friends from last year: Brittany, Ashley, Katelyn, Amanda, and Alicia) weren’t there. It felt weird to be shopping in Blanco, Stradivarius, and Zara, eating montaditos, and drinking at the Red Lion without them. Luckily for me I have some other good friends who still live there that I could visit, and of course I have tons of great memories and photos from last year when I want to relive my time in Huelva with my “tias.”

I left Huelva late on Thursday night to go to Sevilla where I met up with my cousin Ally and her (and now my) long-time friend Amy for a weekend of more delicious food and glorious sunshine.


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