I've lived in Logrono for two full weeks now and I just finished my first week of classes. Logrono is a really nice city and I am slowly getting accustomed to the culture. Some of the stuff that is harder to get used to is the pace of life, grocery shopping, walking down the street and of course the language barrier. By pace of life I mean the daily schedule. Stores seem to always be closed unless its really late at night on the weekend (then most of them are open), sometimes I have to return to a place more than a few times before catching them during business hours. The weekend schedule is very specific and it seems that everyone in the whole city has the same frame of mind. Around 930-10 its time for pinchos on the Calle Lauren. Pinchos are the basque version of tapas, and they are truly delicious. Common ingredients are mushrooms, any type of seafood, many varieties of ham, quail eggs, regular eggs, spanish tortilla and of course matched with your choice of drink. There are tons of different wines here ranging in price from 1 euro a bottle to 20-30. A glass of tinto (just regular "joven" red wine) is usually 60 cents a glass with your pinchos. The wines are classified as joven (young), semi-crianza (aged in oak for a few months), crianza (aged 2 years with 12 month minimum in oak), reserva (aged at least 3 years, 12 months minimum in oak, and 24 months in a bottle.) and gran reserva ( aged at least 5 years, 24 months oak and 36 months in a bottle). There are also lots of white wines and something called vino claro which looks like a white wine and it has no label. People may also choose to drink beer with their tapas or drink both beer and wine. Beer comes in at least 3 different sizes that I can see and most of the spanish people drink it in the smallest size which is about the size of a large shot glass. The way that pinchos work is that EVERYONE in the city goes to a small area in the city (the most popular place is called Calle Lauren) and starts shoving their way to the front of their favorite bar to place an order of food (small bite sized plates) and a glass of tinto and cerveza (or both). They take about 5 minutes to tilt back the glass of wine and eat the pinchos, then they light up a cigarette yell at their children that its time to move and they move on the the bar next do to do the same thing. This goes on every single night till about 12 AM. To give you an idea of how popular this is these streets and bars are litterally shoulder to shoulder packed for 3 hour each night.
On Friday and Saturday everyone moves to the next part of town (there are about 3 to choose from) to start their partying. From about 12 or 1 till 3-4 people drink in these louder foodless bars before either heading to the discoteca or home. During all these you will see all the children under 18 walking around playing games, drinking sodas and eating ice cream cones, it really is unlike anything I have ever seen before, and it sure is fun.
My first classes went pretty well with some better than others. Each teacher I work with has a different idea of the amount of work they expect from me. One teacher told me I was the teacher and basically left me with the class alone for the whole time with no instructions and 35 7 year olds. Another teacher just had me pronounce words for the class. Some of the classes the kids are so much more well behaved than others, which was also a surprise to me considering they were the same age group. This past week I worked with kids between ages 6-9. Next week I will have some classes with kids as young as 3-5 and as old as 11-13.
I am very pleased with the apartment I am living in, all of the roommates are very nice, there is plenty of stuff close by and the central (pincho) area is only a 10 minute walk. One of the roommates had her friend visiting from San Sabestian this weekend and her friend (who is also doing this program) lives in Portland. Last night when we were out eating pinchos and drinking wine me and here reminisced about Portland the entire time, and it really made me miss home despite how great it is over here.
Sorry I havent updated in so long just been very busy.
The pictures here are from a walk I took outside of the city in Logrono.