Been a couple weeks since I last posted but I have been very busy!
Since March 1st I have been to Cordoba and the Mezquita, Alcazar in Sevilla, Barrio Santa Cruz, La Caridad Hospital, Italica and this last weekend I went Madrid!
Cordoba was a very cool visit but was tainted by perpetual pouring rain while we were there. Our main visit there was the Mezquita of Cordoba which is the largest Muslim Mosque in all of Spain. It was a very cool visit.
Alcazar was next up in our monument class. It is a tremendous palace that seems endless. It has a huge garden as well but unfortunately we were unable to tour it as it was raining. I intend to visit again as the gardens are very much a highlight.
Barrio Santa Cruz and La Caridad Hospital were next in our monuments class. Barrio Santa Cruz was the old Jewish part of the city and do to this the architectural style is very different than much of the rest of the city. It has very narrow roads with white buildings which makes for a beautiful sight. Unfortuneately it was raining so we had to move through the tour rapidly. You may be beginning to notice a common theme. It rained almost everyday for about 2.5 weeks. Luckily the weather seems to have improved. La Caridad was later that week. It is a building in very baroque style which is why we were studying it. Currently it is an active charity hospital which was cool to see in action.
Finally this last weekend we went on a program trip to Italica which is a Roman city just outside of Sevilla. It has the third largest roman ampitheter and also has a small neighborhood where the Roman elites lived. There ruins are in surprisingly good condition and it was awesome to see things that were built around 2000 years ago.
That Friday night a few friends and I made our way to Madrid. Saturday morning we first tried to go to Museo el Prado and yet again it was raining. We saw a line and waited in it but it turned out to be a line for people with tickets already. So unfortuneately we were unable to see the Prado. We then made our way to the Reina Sofia which is the modern art museum. We thankfully were able to make it into that museum. Later we toured around the city a little bit. We saw some of the major plazas and parks. That night was Saint Patrick’s day so we made our way to an Irish Pub and had a great time. The next day we got brunch and headed back to Sevilla.
This next week is Semana Santa or Holy Week. I have off from school and my parents are coming! I’m very excited to show them around Sevilla. We’re visiting a couple towns a near by a little later. Very exciting stuff!
I got a notification that I started this blog a month ago which is crazy to me as it seems like I’ve only been here about a week. Time definitely flies when you’re having fun!
Last Thursday I toured the Catedral de Sevilla which was incredible. It is a very large Gothic church that has aspects of mosque that was originally in it’s position. It still has the minaret which is named the Giralda. We were able to climb up to the top and saw some incredible views. It is a fantastically beautiful place.
Also on Thursday I was able to kayak on the Rio Guadalquivir which was a great time but I was too afraid to take any pictures as I felt like I might drop my phone. We had tandem kayaks so with both of paddling we were able zip around the river. It was definitely very cool. I may do it again when it’s a little warmer.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Ronda. We left early in the morning on Friday to take a bus. It was only about 1 hour and 30 min ride. When we got there we had a guided tour around the city. As part of the tour we saw the bull ring there which is apparently the oldest in Spain. We also saw the famous bridge which is enormous and situated between two cliffs. We then had an afternoon to explore where I hiked down and under the bridge which was very cool. After that we headed back to Seville. That night I went to a flamenco bar where they had free flamenco show but unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any pictures.
Later that weekend I went to futbol game between FC Sevilla and Atletico Madrid at the stadium Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. It was an amazing experience despite the fact that Sevilla lost 2-5. The traditions within the stadium were very fun to watch. Almost the entire game there is some form of song or chant being sung. Another interesting thing I noticed was that the fans never booed but instead whistled. There was one point where Atletico Madrid subbed in a player that apparently the Sevilla fans were not happy with. They whistled collectively louder than I’ve ever heard. It was awesome overall.
This week I’ve had a little less fun because I’ve had exams in school but yesterday we had off because it was Andalusia day. We decided to go to see a movie which was pretty fun. The weather has also taken a turn for the worse as it’s been rainy, cloudy and very windy the last 5 or 6 days in a row. According to my senora this is a very typical kind of weather during this time of year.
Tomorrow I’m headed for Cordoba to see the Mezquita and explore the city which I’m very excited for!
I’ve had couple eventful weekends in row here along with my classes continuing to be fun and interesting. Saturday the 10th, 8 of the students in our program ventured to Cadiz to experience their Carnival festivities. We left at around 8 pm and got into Cadiz just before 10. When we got there we found thousands of people partying in the streets all dressed up in a massive variety of costumes. We had great time socializing with the people there and spent the entire night there. We got back to Sevilla at just before 8 am. It was quite the night!
For class the following week we had a few fun visits as part of our monuments class. One of them was more a general tour discussing the variety of columns that exist as part of architecture in Sevilla. The other visit was to Casa de Lebrija which was beautiful visit. The home was traditional in style which is part of the reason we were studying it but it also contained a lot of Roman artifacts as the Countess and original owner of the house started collecting artifacts. There were all sorts of things to look at there.
This past weekend our program went to Granada. We left Friday very early in the morning and arrived around 11 am. When we got there we dropped off our stuff at a hotel then went to visit the Alhambra. The Alhambra is one of Spain’s most visited monuments and rightfully so as it is spectacularly beautiful. The Alhambra was one of the places that I had already been as part of my high school trip but I was very excited to see it again. We toured there for a few hours there and after that we went back to the hotel and checked in. That night we were on our own so we made our towards the center of town and looked for places to get tapas.
One of my favorite parts of Granada is that within the city whenever you order a drink at any tapa bar you get a free tapa. We definitely took advantage of this the first and second nights we were in Granada. The first night we went to about a half dozen different places trying to find tables big enough for our group of 10. We made it into a number of places and had some delicious food and drink. The bar we ended at was definitely my favorite. It was called Bar Poe and not only gave a free tapa with a drink but also let you pick from a menu of tapas for every drink you got. It was fantastic.
Our second day in Granada we went to el Mirador de San Nicolas. It was plaza of sorts on a hill that gave a fantastic view of the Alhambra, Sierra Nevadas and Granada below. After that we were on our own again so we did some shopping and exploring the got some lunch. Later that day we returned to Bar Poe for tapas and drinks. Later we made our way to a couple different clubs where we had quite the night. One was a club only offering shots but they had nearly 200 different varieties to choose from. The other club was a very large discoteca that had many different rooms and floors. It was an excellent time and we were there until almost 4 am. We left back for Sevilla at noon that Sunday.
There is a lot of going on here in Spain but I am enjoying it all!
Just finished my first week of class! While on Monday and Wednesday I only had the one 20th century Spanish history class Tuesday and Thursday were much busier. Starting at 8:30 am (!!!) I have a Spanish Civilization class followed Monuments of Seville and ending with Spanish Feminine Literature. I’ve really been enjoy my classes so far. All of them are unique and very interesting.
For activities this week we’ve done some pretty cool stuff. Tuesday evening we went for a visit to the famous Sevilla Setas or more officially know as Metropol Parasol. We ventured to the top of the Setas for a fantastic view of Sevilla from above. Wednesday evening we had the opportunity to see a flamenco show which was awesome. The show took place in a guitar museum which had guitars from the 1800s! The show began with a few guitar solos followed by a flamenco dance, then a few songs with guitar and singing and ended with another dance. I already have an idea of what flamenco looks and sounds like from my previous visit to Spain but I was quite amused by the reaction from the other students in the program who had never seen anything like it. The singing part of flamenco has quite a bit of passion! Today we ventured to Bar El Comercio for some churros y chocolate. Churros and chocolate is one of my favorite treats in Spain so I was very happy to have some of the best I’ve ever had. Delisioso!
View from the top of the Setas
Setas GroupFlamenco in action
Some fantastic guitar in action
The Flamenco crew
CHURROS Y CHOCOLATE!!!
My first weekend here was fantastic! Thursday and Friday we had a number of activities planned by the program to give us an overview of Seville. We visited La Plaza de España, Plaza de America and took a bus tour of Seville. Friday night we had some excellent tapas provided by our program. Saturday we were on our own so our whole group met up and had some lunch followed by some shopping. Later that night we got some tapas then made our way to the discoteca. Had a fantastic night but one that ended very late which is very normal here. I got home from the discoteca at around 5 am! Sunday I met up with my friend Julia and we went to the Seville Museum of Fine Art where we saw the works of Murillo, Velazquez and many more.
I had my first day of class today which was the history of 20th century Spain. For this class it was just me and one other girl with the professor. I have a feeling that I will be learning a lot in this class as the professor really seems to know his stuff and I get practically one on one attention.
Looking forward to see how the rest of my classes will go tomorrow!
Program group at the Plaza de España. (Back left to right: Ben[My Roommate], Kaylie, Abby, Haylee, Bethany, Mariah, Me. Front row: Anna, Alyssa, Mariah)
Sevilla Tower as viewed from the tour bus
Plaza de America
Food made by host mom. Some stew, queso, salad, and in the center these deep fried pop tart looking things that had cheese and jamon in them. We have delicious meals like this two times per day!
I have arrived to the Madrid airport! The connecting flight I had from Miami to Madrid was delayed a couple different times but I’m finally here. First the flight was delayed due to an extensive internal and external inspection that is apparently necessary when the plane comes from South America and will be flying over water for an extensive period. The second delay was after we had boarded there was mandatory maintenance that tacked on another hour. I was supposed to board at 7 and leave at 7:45 but ended up boarding at 8 and leaving at 9:09.
Due to these delays my connecting flight was changed to be later in the day so right now I’m waiting in the Madrid airport for my connecting flight.
I’m exceptionally excited to get to Seville!
I will be leaving tomorrow morning for Seville, Spain! I have a lot of packing to do yet but figured I should set up this so I can keep track of what I do in Spain.
I’m hoping I can update this a couple times a week with what I’ve been up to.
Much more to come!