This weekend we went to Granada, which is located in the Andalucia Region of Spain. Granada which in English means Pomegranate, is located on the mountain tops. Granada is probably most well known for the Alhambra, which is to say the least a castle, but really it is so much more. The Alhambra is this huge citadel on the mountain tops, surrounded by tons of gardens, castles, and other buildings. It was really beautiful and covered a range of Spanish history from when the Moors ruled Spain (11th Century), the Catholic Kings (15th Century) through the 19th Century. There are many additions and various parts to the Alhambra. Also, it was snowing which made it very cold but beautiful. In addition to the Alhambra we went to a Flamenco show, which the word spectacular, really does not do it justice. As a fan of dance, it was quite possible the most entertaining and skilled performance I have ever seen, also it was in a cave! If all of these adventures were not fun enough, we also saw the tombs of the Catholic Kings. So maybe seeing dead people, isn't everyones thing, but the Catholic Kings played a vital role in the creation of the Spanish Empire, and are also to blame for the cause of the Two Spains (in my opinion), as well as many other things, which makes them very important for anyone studying Spain.
Overall, this weekend was jammed packed full of activities, but now I have to do some homework as I prepare for our final week of classes, and sadly my last week in Spain.
Surprisingly and oh too quickly one week of class and passed by! Que triste! This week we learned a lot about the 16-18 centuries of Spain, we also began to see the division that will eventually lead us to "Los dos Espanas." However, I wanted to take this time to talk about some of our fun excursions we've had during this week. Earlier we took a walking tour of the older part of downtown Alicante, which is full of gorgeous buildings and narrow walkways. During this excursion we visited two old churches, one of them is considered a concatedral, because it is almost like a cathedral. Both churches were filled with stunning art work, beautiful alters, and ornate statues Jesus, Mary, as well as some saints. In addition, we stopped by a new art museum fill with contemporary sculptures and paintings. As well as this tour, many of us went to the beach after class which was just amazing, something about laying on the beach, studying in the middle of winter, without being cold is very exciting.
Another important aspect of my trip I wanted to talk about is living with a host family. Unlike other trips, where everyone is in a hotel we are with the locals and it is great, this is such a rare opportunity to improve vocabulary and conversation skills. For example, I can go to the store or ask questions about my food allergy without any problems. Even if I am just listening to my family talk to each other, I am still learning more words and how to say them properly. I am so glad I am with a host family they are so loving, caring, and want you to be happy (and full!); but I am also glad I am staying with another girl too because together we can comprehend everything.
Our classes at la Universidad de Alicante began on Monday, so I wanted to take this time to explain more about my class and daily life in Alicante. First, it is amazing here the beach is gorgeous, the sun is warm, the people are friendly! On average, it is about 65 degrees during the day, but it is a little freezing in the morning. Days start with breakfast then hoping on the bus to the university where we have class from 9-12. We have the afternoons free to explore the city, but it is also a great time to do homework! The Spanish have a different schedule but it is for the best; there main meal is lunch which our host family serves around 2:00 then dinner is at 9:30 - 10:00 PM, the best part is the siesta (nap) after lunch.
Now that you know what my days are like, I want to explain more about my class. The title of my class is The Two Spains, it is a Civilization course for Spanish Majors and Minors. The course is almost like a history course where we exam the events in Spain and how it has led to a division between groups in society, which culminated in the events of the Spanish Civil War. A major focus in the class, is examining whether or not we believe the Two Spains still exist or if it is dated concept. Currently, we are still learning about the precursors to this division, so I cannot really answer the question.... yet. In addition, to this history we are bringing in components of culture through different excursions and medias.
Well that really is all I can say right now, but the more I learn, the more you will know.
It has been a very busy week in Spain but tonight we finally
arrived in Alicante to be with our host families. This past week we spent time
in Madrid, Segovia, and Toledo. Since my last blog we learned even more about
culture fromtraveling to two of the most
famous museums in Spain, and even the world: The Reina Sofia and El Museo del
Prado (Prado Museum). Personally, I liked the Reina Sofia because I am a huge
modern art fan; I found it interesting that while there was many breathtaking
works, in almost every room in the museum there was a piece related to the
Spanish Civil War. This museum helped show the many different ways the war
effected Spain, from collages, statues, paintings, and even film there were so
many depictions of the emotions and events from that time. El Museo de Prado
was just as impressive with its mammoth collection of classical art. The pieces
at the Prado were very old (some over 800 years old) and were truly breath
taking. Many of the pieces at the Prado depicted different events in the life
of Jesus as well as many portraits of famous leaders. Because my class this
January Term is a civilizations class this was a perfect way to introduce
aspects of both past and present art and culture. You could say that Friday was
art day since it was spent at two famous museums looking at hundreds of amazing
works, and then Saturday was Religion day. We spent the early part of Saturday
(before our 6 hour bus ride) in Toledo. Toledo used to be the capital of
Madrid, but was moved a couple hundred years ago, and it is almost like for
part of the city time just froze. I say that last statement because the
buildings in the old part of Toledo date back from the middle ages and make you
feel as though you have stepped back in time. The most iconic part of this tour
was our visit to the Catedral de Toledo, this Cathedral which was over 800
years old, was beyond breath taking. It was hard not to feel like an ant in
comparison to the size of the cathedral. It was very ornate and breathtaking
with so much attention to detail; it took over 200 years to be fully built. The
paintings by Greco in the sanctuary were some of the most famous aspects of the
cathedral. In addition we learned more of the Cathedral’s significance in
regards to Spain and the Catholic Church. Overall these past few days have been
amazing; I can’t wait to tell y’all more about Alicante.
Hola! My name is JoAnna Longo and I am spending this J-Term in Spain, which is perfect because I am a Spanish major. We flew out of Dulles Airport on Monday, January 3 and arrived in Spain on January 4 in the morning. Yesterday we explored the city for awhile then enjoyed a lovely "siesta" (nap) which helped us all recuperate from jet-lag. Today was jam-packed full of a very educational and exciting tour of both parts of Madrid. One of my favorite activities was watching the changing of the guard at the Palacio Real. During our tour we learned more about the history of the city, including what kings established which plazas. We also saw the remains of the "alacazar" or old city wall that was established by Muslim in the 8th Century, when Madrid was originally founded. Tomorrow we head to Segovia, to learn about the city's rich diverse culture.