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Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
I recently earned my Masters in History at NWMSU and am now working as a language assistant in a Spanish elementary school.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Day in Guadalajara

My weeks are getting busy now as I have a tutoring class every day from Monday to Friday. Teaching at the school is going quite well. I've seen several of the kids around town who often shout out my name. I often don't remember their names as I teach around sixty different kids.

Today Cody and I took the train to the neighboring town of Guadalajara. I knew little about the town, but looked it up in a travel guide I bought and learned that it was originally a Roman town called Arriaca. There are some suggestions that the town pre-dated the Romans as a Celtiberian (the name of the ancient Iberian people in central Spain) settlement. The town (like most other Spanish locations) was subsequently ruled by the Visigoths, Muslims, and reconquered by Christian forces. Here is a picture of the Alcazar (or Muslim fortress) which was constructed in the 800s, conquered by the Christians in the 1300s, turned into a textile factory in 1778, then a military orphanage in 1898, only to be destroyed during the Civil War in 1936.
I then saw this church, built in 1578, which is now used as a branch of the University of Alcalá:
Near this church stands the Palacio del Infantado, a palace belonging to the powerful ducal Mendoza family. Its construction lasted three centuries from the 1300s to the 1600s and was remodeled following the bombings of the Civil War. It is an impressive building, constructed in the Mudéjar architectural style with a statue of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza nearby.
The courtyard of the palace was equally intriguing:
There was also a garden behind the palace:
The palace also held a museum concerning the history of Guadalajara. It contained everything from ancient Celtiberian coins to a Muslim oil lamp:
From Visigothic belt-buckles to the sarcophagus of a member of the Mendoza family:
A special exhibition hall displayed several Christmas-themed exhibits including a large and highly detailed miniature nativity scene:
We also found a building called the Convento de la Piedad. In the late 1300s, after a series of pogroms against the local Jewish community, the Mendoza family took the land owned by the synagogues and constructed a palace there. It was subsequently used as a convent and is a school today:
On the way back to the train, I caught this picture of the sky:
I also bought a jar of honey from this shop as Guadalajara is famous for this product. It is quite thicker than the honey I was used to, and a little sweeter. I tried it on toast this evening and it's great.
After we returned to Alcalá de Henares, I went to El Baserri and ate. I got a free tapa of fried potatoes with sausage and a main course of Pulpo de Gallego (Galician-style octopus).
Tomorrow, I'm going to Madrid to visit some of the museums, such as the Prado, as the museums in the city have free admission on Sundays.


  1. Looked like a nice day trip. I really enjoy looking at the buildings and towns in your posts.

  2. Sorry I missed your call on skype the other day. Sounds like you had another good trip, but that food looks disgusting! Are those tentacles I'm seeing? Hope we get to talk to you this week.

  3. Those courtyards are so pretty!!! We need to set up a time for you to call us the night before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving. We are going to stay the night at mom and dads. We miss you! It looks like you are getting to see some amazing things!! We are still planning on visiting in March. Love ya!