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5 posts from September 2011


¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡NOS GUSTA COMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CIEE ALCALÁ.



We like to eat

Spain can be a Paradise, if you like to eat. But, don’t limit your ideas of Spanish food to just tapas, sangria, or paella. In addition to tapas or small plates of food, there are very good Spanish dishes that have nothing to do with tapas. Each region has its own typical dish and there are large differences between the north and the south, the interior and the coastal regions.


Do Spaniards eat a lot of “tortilla” (potato and egg omelet)? Well yes, at home and you can get it in 85% of the bars, as long as it’s a bar with Spanish food (not a Chinese or Italian restaurant, or a cocktail bar). Sometimes it’s made with onion in addition to potatoes. “Tortilla” is one of the basic dishes in any Spanish mother’s kitchen, and the best tortilla is always your mom’s. It’s very tasty and you should try a lot of them to compare them. Tortilla isn’t something that you eat every day or with every meal, but pretty often.

Tortilla y ensalada








Tortilla de patata









Does everyone in Spain eat paella? Of course not. But, almost all Spaniards like it. It’s very hard to prepare a good paella. A foreigner may think of many different things when they think of paella, but in reality, it’s another of the many rice dishes.









Do all Spaniards drink sangria? No, Spaniards sometimes drink sangria, mainly in the summer, but not everyone. The most popular drinks during mealtimes are wine, beer, and water.

  Limonada de león











Is Spanish food the same as tapas? No, of course not. The idea of free tapas depends on the bar: In some bars you can order a drink or another drink and basically eat for free. There are hundreds of different tapas.

    Huevos fritos La casera, vino y tapas

Are Spanish beers very small in the traditional bars? The “cañas” are small, if you compare them with English pints, for example. But it’s the best way to drink them in the summer when it’s very hot out. Imagine enjoying a few pints of strong beer when it’s 110º or mixing Guinness with seafood…bad idea. We have beers that mix well with our foods and that are served in moderate proportions.


  Tesis Ernesto y CLub lectura Fall 08 009

I’ve given the most well-known products for foreigners, but take a look at these pictures and you’ll see some of the other foods that we eat here.

Thank you for reading! I threaten to put up easy cooking recipes.



Rachel Soule (Brandeis University- Massachusetts) P1180868

Ciee Alcalá FALL 2011


La Plaza de Cervantes


Un niño de tres años corre para recoger su pelota, uno de nueve años escala la columna de una farola, dos amantes jóvenes se abrazan bajo la sombra de los árboles, un padre de treinta años empuja un carrito de bebé mientras charla con sus amigos, dos mujeres mayores caminan hombro a hombro, y un conjunto de ancianos sociables se alinean en un banco de piedra.


 Esto es una tarde en la Plaza de Cervantes, el centro de la vida en la pequeña y bonita ciudad de Alcalá de Henares. Es uno de mis lugares favoritos, porque aquí sale una diversidad de gente, congregada bajo la radiante luz del fuerte sol español, pasando unos entre otros, cada clase de persona gozando con la cosa de la que disfruta más. Aquí, se toman la vida lenta y relajadamente.

 La Plaza está rodeada por un largo y bajo banco de piedra, asombrado por las hojas de una hilera de árboles. El suelo es de piedra. Hay dos jardines de rosas en la parte central de la plaza, uno blanco y otro rojo y rosado. En un lado de la plaza destaca una gran kiosco de música con el techo de decoraciones en metal.


 Y en otro lado, la pieza central: la estatua de Miguel de Cervantes, la figura histórica de Alcalá, con la ropa antigua de su época y lleva una pluma en la mano, pensando en su próxima palabra. Aunque no he estado aquí mucho tiempo, me atrevo a adivinar que no hay persona en Alcalá que no sepa que el escritor de Don Quixote era de esta ciudad. No solo se le puede encontrar en el centro de la plaza, sino que también aparece como estatuita de bronce en las ventanas de muchas de las tiendas que rodean la plaza.


 La plaza no está siempre igual, sino que se convierte en muchas cosas diferentes dependiente de la hora y del día. Una tarde, es el teatro para la actuación de bailadores de flamenco. Otro día, es el sitio de una acción apasionada de los profesores de Enseñanza Secundaria haciendo huelga. Y muy tarde por la noche, claro, es el lugar en que se reúnen los jóvenes de fiesta, vestidos con su ropa mejor. Pero para mí, lo que me gusta ver más es la gente zigzagueando por la plaza disfrutando durante el día.




Plaza Cervantes 


A three-year-old chases after his ball, a nine-year-old girl climbs a lamppost, a young couple embrace under the shade of the trees, a father of 30 years pushes a baby carriage while he chats with his friends, two older women walk side-by-side, and a group of sociable old men sit lining a stone bench.

 This is an afternoon in the Plaza Cervantes, a center of life in the small and beautiful city of Alcalá de Henares. It is a favorite place of mine because here you see a diversity of people, congregating under the strong Spanish sun and weaving around each other, every class of person enjoying life in the way that makes them happy. Here in the plaza, they take life slowly and calmly.

 The plaza is surrounded by a long and low bench of stone, half shaded by the leaves of the line of trees that lies just beyond the bench. The ground is stone as well. There are two rose gardens in the central area of the plaza, one of white roses and the other of red and pink. One end of the plaza is home to a lovely, grand gazebo decorated with an ornately designed metal ceiling.

 And on the other end, the central piece: a statue of Miguel de Cervantes, historic figure of Alcalá, wearing the old garb of his time and holding a quill in his hand, trying to think of his next word. Although I haven't been here in Alcalá for very long, I will dare to guess that there is not a person in Alcalá who doesn't know the writer of Don Quixote is from this city. Not only do you find Cervantes in the center of the plaza, but he also appears as a small bronze statue in the windows of many of the shops the line the plaza.

 The plaza is not always the same but it changes into many different things depending on the time and the day. One afternoon, it is a stage for a flamenco dancer performance. Another, it is the site of the impassioned protest of the teachers who are on strike. And very late at night, of course, it is the place where young men and women meet before "going out" dressed in their most flattering outfits. But to me, what I most love seeing are people zigzagging through the plaza relishing the day.




Alcalá’s Saint: SAN DIEGO


San diego

Brother Diego of Saint Nicholas was born in San Nicolás del Puerto (Seville) on November 14, 1400 and died in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) on November 13, 1463. He was a Spanish Franciscan Monk, a saint for the Catholic Church.

Born right in the Sierra Morena Mountains, he joined the Order of Friars Minor in the convent of Arruzafa (Cordoba). In 1441 he was sent as a missionary to the Canary Islands and lived in Fuerteventura until he returned to the peninsula in 1449.

The following year he made a pilgrimage to Rome to attend the canonization of Bernardino of Sienna. He stayed in Aracoeli and then, due to an epidemic, he was forced to stay in Rome caring for the sick. Upon returning to Spain, he continued working as a doorman and cook in several convents, the last one being Santa María de Jesús, in Alcalá de Henares, where he died.

His remains can be found in the Cathedral in Alcalá de Henares in a silver urn from the 17th Century, and his untouched body shown every year on November 13.

San Diego’s body was initially kept in the Franciscan chapel that had already adopted his name, and then moved to the Cathedral due to the demolition of the building in the middle of the last century. (It was to be substituted by the current Prince’s quarters in the Plaza of the University, currently being restored.)

The saint’s hardships don’t end here, however. After an attempt to desecrate his urn at the start of the Spanish Civil War, the urn was moved and hidden in the cemetery until the war was over. This was when his remains were moved to the Jesuit Church, as the Cathedral had been destroyed by a fire. As the restoration of the Cathedral progressed, San Diego’s body was returned to the High Altar and afterwards to one of the lateral chapels, where it remains today. Something interesting to note is that the table that is currently on the High Altar of the Cathedral, which for years was kept in the Church of San Felipe, is the same table on which Pope Sixto V canonized San Diego.

He was the only saint that was canonized in the 16th century by Pope Sixto V, on July 10, 1588.





Between the six miracles proven by the Sacred Congregation of Rites for his canonization, the most famous is the curing of Prince Charles, son of King Phillip II of Spain. When he was studying in Alcalá de Henares in 1562, he had a bad fall from the stairs in the Archbishop’s Palace, hitting his head very hard. Once San Diego ordered to have his body taken to his bedroom, he had a surprising recovery

Palacio arzobispal


Keeping fit in Alcalá

Although the University of Alcalá doesn’t have a University Recreation Center, there are many options for students to stay fit and have fun in Alcalá. We've got gyms, fitness centers, dance studios, etc. all over town—in both the city center and the smaller neighborhoods. Prices vary depending on the size of the gym, the size of the class, the amount of classes attended, etc. Here are some of the most popular places:


1) Body Factory Alcalá: This is a large gym with exercise equipment, weights and a wide variety of group classes. Located close to center of town (Parque O’Donnell), it’s great for students who plan to work out several days a week.

Price: 50 € registration fee + 51 € per month. They do have good offers that are worth considering (6 months for 239 €). If four or more students sign up, they will receive 25% off of their monthly fee and the 50 € registration fee is not needed.

2) Wellness Center Fitness Club: This club is a bit smaller, but is right in the center of Alcalá (near the Continental bus station). It is great for using machines and lifting weights, and they also offer classes such as pilates, spinning, aerobics, bodyjump, etc. The prices are lower, as the center is smaller.

Price for Students: 16 € registration fee + 39.50 € per month. If students prefer to sign up for three months, there is a small discount.


3) Alcalá 2000: This fitness club has everything you could ever want—a wide variety of classes, weights, machines, and, unlike many other gyms, they are open on Sundays and Holidays. Students would most likely need to take the bus to get there (bus 6 or 8 to the Shopping Center in “El Val”). Because of its size and all it has to offer, prices go up a big.

Price: 57 € per month; Three months for 156 €; Six months for 300 €. One day pass: 8 €


Dance, yoga, pilates:

There are many options for group classes:

1) Alcalá Max Latino Studio: This dance studio offers Ballroom, salsa and Latin dances, Tango, Kizomba and Samba, Oriental Dance, and Pilates. It is centrally located (between Calle Mayor and Vía Complutense) and is a small studio for those who are serious about dance.

Price: 2 months/65 € (one class a week--approx. 8 classes total)

2) Taller de Danza Alcalá: This studio also offers a wide variety of classes, from GAP (Buns-Abs-Legs), Zumba, Belly dancing, Pilates, Hip Hop, Spanish Dance, Jazz, Ballet, Flamenco, Sevillanas, Yoga, Ballroom, and Latin Rhythms. There is a class for everyone’s level and everyone’s schedule. It is located in the “El Val” neighborhood.

Price: varies by type of class and number of hours taken (average 50-60 € for two months)


3) Aula de Danza at the University of Alcalá: The UAH also offers many classes, from ballroom, ballet and contemporary to jazz, pilates, Sevillans, yoga, and tango. Prices are reasonable, as many of the students are also University students.

Price: Varies by class and number of class hours. (Average 25-35 € per month or you may sign up for three months, receiving a discount.)

4) Luna Nueva Yoga Studio: offers strictly yoga and meditative fitness classes—Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Essential Yoga, Iyengar, Biodanza. It is a small, serious studio in the heart of Alcalá (Plaza de los Irlandeses, right off of Calle Mayor).

Price: 10 € per class or a 10-class pass for 70 €.