Let me begin by saying that I love Palencia. For many reasons.
The weather is wonderful—when I was in Barcelona there was no season change because of the Mediterranean climate. But here, the leaves are changing, the temperature is autumn-like, and for the most part, it is sunny and beautiful.
The people are fantastic. Sure, you have the rude shoppers at the grocery store who bump into you and continue on like you aren’t even standing there, but for the most part, the people are wonderfully kind. I have quite a few examples of this, but I think this one will suffice. The first weekend in my new apartment, my uncle was out in the stairwell using some unlocked wifi. We had dinner cooking on the stove, and I went out to see if the wifi was working for him. The door slammed shut after me. I had no passport, no money, no key, no phone, nothing. Nada. Nil. I frantically began knocking on doors, and finally one of my upstairs neighbors answered. It was a couple in their early 40s, and they welcomed me in their home without even knowing who I was, tried to call the landlord, and when he didn’t answer, offered for me to stay on their couch until my roommates returned the following day! Of course, I couldn’t accept, as I had my uncle and dinner on the stove, so they proceeded to call a locksmith to come unlock the door. After the locksmith opened the door, I realized I had no cash and neither did my uncle, and the locksmith didn’t take credit cards. The couple quickly offered to pay for it, telling me I could pay them back whenever I got the money, and that they would want someone to do this for their child if he ever needed it. It was 45€, roughly $60. And everyone I have met is like that—willing to help someone else out even if it is inconveniencing to themselves.
The food. Fresh produce is significantly cheaper than processed foods, which is opposite to the U.S. Less than a euro for tomatoes, for lettuce, for vegetables? Sure, I’ll take it. Not only that, but probably because of that, everyone eats fresh food more and when you eat a restaurant, the food is prepared fresh. No frozen food or premade dishes.
Everything is in walking distance, and the grand majority of the places I have to go daily—my school, the grocery store, my bank—are within ten minutes walking, and some are right down the street. The families I tutor for are close by for the most part, and the main shopping street is only a few blocks away.
Finally, (and I’m sure there are many more reasons that I am just not thinking of right now) the pace of life is slower. Less harried. You don’t see anyone running around busy all the time. Sure, that means everything is closed on Sundays and during fiesta every day, but life here is enjoyable, and the people here make sure they take the time to enjoy it. That is something that people just don’t do in the U.S. I know I didn’t. But it is very refreshing, and makes me appreciate my life and my blessings so much more.
Below are a few pictures, including: the main plaza, the main street/shopping area, the street I jog on in the mornings, the bridge I cross everyday to go to my school, the church that is closest to my apartment (there are over a dozen in Palencia, all huge and gothic-looking), and some neighbors showing their pride with the Spanish flag.
Tagged as: palencia.