Palencia is a small city, located nearly equal distances from Burgos and Valladolid, two other cities of the region.
I have been assigned to an elementary school on the southern side of the city as an English language assistant. I'll talk more about this job in another post. For now, we'll talk about the city.
It is a beautiful place with a lot of gardens that are full of trees and grass, despite the low humidity.
The Spanish in general are a very friendly people. They are open and good listeners, despite being VERY good talkers. And shouters. They are also good lookers. Not necessarily in the sense that they are pleasing to the eye (they are not displeasing, however they certainly don't look Hollywood), but certainly in the sense that they like to look. Spanish men, especially those of older generations, stare. Passing glances for a Spaniard feel like a long, awkward moment of checking-out a stranger to Americans. There is also a serious lack of personal space and boundaries, as compared to what an American is used to. Greetings and conversations with strangers and acquaintances are more intimate than those I have with my closest friends and family back home. My first day at the school, upon meeting one of the teachers, I was grabbed by the hand and pulled along like a child as she showed me around the school. Although it is just briefly on either cheek, I am kissed by more people in one day in Spain than in an entire year in the US.
Later in the week, I went to the train station but arrived too early, and found myself sitting and enjoying a park nearby. I sat down on a bench to read and was approached by an older gentleman who asked if I was passing the time by myself. I told him I was waiting on my train, and he said that I should wait for him on the bench, and he'd find out exactly when my train would leave. He came back to tell me I had an hour to wait. Then elected to sit beside me and tell me all kinds of things. I cannot say that Palencians are unkind in anyway, but they are more forward, perhaps, than other Spaniards that I know. He spent the better part of our talk flirting with me. He caressed my arm and recited a poem, and then confessed his undying love for me. Something that would paint him an audacious and disgusting old man in the US. In Spain, they might call him a 'viejo verde' or 'old green guy.' In all seriousness, I now feel the need to avoid the park side of the train station just to avoid him. Rana of course says that it is a simple fact of life in Spain, and I either need to get used to it, or be bold enough to tell off creepy old men.
Although it is a charming city, Palencia is not meant for heavy tourism. It would not be advisable for a tourist to go out of their way to stop in Palencia. But if one was taking a trip through the region, and needed a place to stop and stretch their legs, it is a good place for taking walks or having a refreshing drink. It has all of the basic living essentials, and even sports a bowling alley (a true rarity in Spain, and something I missed dearly last year).
I'm looking forward to sharing more experiences and photos with you all.