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Schlagermove – Hamburg, Germany July 2, 2011

Posted by Marnie Williams in Travel Log.
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Bienvenidos a Alemania!

After the Cadiz program finished in Madrid, I traveled to Germany to visit a girl who studied abroad at my high school my senior year.  I had messaged her when I found out I was going to Cadiz and asked if I could come visit her for a couple days, and it turned into me being in Hamburg for a week (and Berlin with her aunt for 3 days!)  It’s crazy how we have the ability to make connections with people halfway across the world.  It’s been absolutely incredible seeing the city from a native’s perspective, especially since she’s my age.  I had the opportunity to go to 2 different birthday parties and I got to spend the day touring the city with Nina (my friend) and her two friends.  It was awesome because one of them had spent a year studying in England and the other one was fluent in Spanish because she had studied in Costa Rica, so together we could all communicate pretty well.

Today we went to Schlagermove – a huge festival in Hamburg that celebrates German music from the 70s.  Everyone dresses up super crazy hippy style and goes into the streets and dances and drinks and it’s pretty much just one huge day party.  The coolest part was that it was raining and cold (at the beginning of summer?  Lame) but thousands of people still came out to celebrate.  Shlagermove is kind of like a parade in that people crowd the streets, but instead of floats there are these big trucks that BLAST music.  The trucks have trailers that people pay to ride around the city and the rest of the people just walk all around the streets and follow them through.

Even though the only words I understood from the music were “Viva Espana” and “Let’s Dance”, the language barrier couldn’t keep me from jumping up and down with the crowds and pretending like I knew what was going on.  It’s weird being in a country where you literally can’t understand ANYTHING but it’s also really humbling and something I think everyone needs to do.  My advice: pick Germany, because have yet to meet a German that doesn’t understand basic English.

Me, Nina and Christina

Leaving the Metro station

The streets

Snow White! It's German tradition that a bride-to-be and her fiance go out the day before the wedding, and she sells drinks to men on the street. The men buy the drinks and give her a kiss, right in front of her fiance!

A Lisbon Adventure! June 7, 2011

Posted by annasulimirski in Travel Log.
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Lisboa was craziness! What an adventure. en serio. I had no idea what i was getting myself into!

It began with a sprint to the bus station after class to get to Sevilla. We then bought our midnight train tickets to Lisbon and spent the afternoon wandering around the city. I’m giving a shout-out to my mom for the southern Spain travel book she gave me in my stocking for Christmas. We used it to navigate around the city and see some really neat things :) It is an absolutely beautiful city next to a river and has a lot of history. We met some neat people, and then headed to the bus station at midnight.

All I can say about a 7 hour bus ride that starts at midnight is that at least we didn’t have to pay for a hostel…. One of the pictures is of me, Ariana, and Allie (2 other PS’s) sleeping in the bus station.

We arrived in Lisbon at 6am their time and set out to find our hostel. We got terribly lost most likely because we were totally overconfident in the similarity of Spanish in Portuguese. It felt like we had the whole city to ourselves, though. Most tourists don’t come out before 8am…. 3 hours later we made it to our comfortable, beautiful, and friendly hostel :) it was 3 blocks away from the metro station we had started at.

We spent some time exploring and then went on a super interesting walking tour of the city. We learned a lot about the history and the culture, and I felt stupid for hopping on a bus towards a city that I literally knew nothing about. The highlights of the tour were some amazing views, cool monuments, and seeing tons of Norwegians wearing viking helmets cheering at the soccer game on TV. Then we got lost again, but we won’t talk about that.

Later we ate some amazing Portuguese dinner and even more incredible Portuguese dessert and headed back to our hostel for the night tour. The nightlife in Lisbon is complete craziness. The streets were packed with people for an entire neighborhood. I have never seen anything like it.

It was so good to come back “home” to Cadiz with our Moms and a language we can understand. It’s amazing how this place does feel like home already!

Yesterday we had a class excursion to a market and then to a tower in the city with a camera oscura. It was super neat, and I’m glad I’m getting to fully explore at least my home city in Europe. Today I went to class and then hung out on the beach doing homework. We’re going to a flamenco show tonight! I’m so excited!

Adios, Cadiz. July 3, 2010

Posted by Lisa Thornsberry in Travel Log.
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My last week of classes in Cadiz was a blur of trying to fit in some last-minute sightseeing and say my good-byes while also finishing projects and studying for finals. I finally visited the Catedral in the historic part of Cadiz after seeing it every day. Though I didn’t have time to go inside, I did get to climb to the top of bell tower and see a breath-taking view of the whole city and the ocean. It was definitely my favorite “touristy” thing I did in Cadiz.
On our last Wednesday in Cadiz, we went to the festival of Juanillos. The activities of the festival are similar to those of Guy Fawkes’ day in England- the gaditanos build paper mache effigies, and they are all burned throughout the evening. It was a ton of fun to experience such a different holiday and see that aspect of the Spanish culture. It was also much more satisfying than I would have expected to see a life-size Sponge (Esponja) Bob go up in flames. After the burnings were over, everyone packed in to the beach for an impressive fireworks display. While we were waiting, a lot of the local students who had just finished school the day before started their own fires with their school notes. All in all it made for a fun night. (more…)

Granada, Sevilla, y Cordoba June 21, 2010

Posted by Lisa Thornsberry in Travel Log.
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Just got back from a fabulous four-day weekend traveling throughout Andalucia!

We left Thursday morning for Granada. We had all of the afternoon free to wander the city, which was a wonderful experience. I spent the time making my way to both of the rivers in the city. The first was surrounded by imposing buildings and wide streets with many plazas and gardens, a stark contrast to the second river, which was covered in wild greenery and flanked by centuries-old buildings. I made my way back through the Albaicín, the historically Moorish part of town famous for its tiny cobblestone streets. The whole group then visited the Cathedral, which was impressive to say the least. The towering gray stones housed countless relics of centuries of Catholicism. After the Cathedral we went back to the Albaicín, this time to the gypsy part of the neighborhood. There we saw a flamenco show. It was very different from the flamenco we saw in Cadiz; though there was less movement and technicality to the dancing, the overall impression was much prettier. It was a very enjoyable evening.
The next morning we visited La Alhambra, which was my favorite site of the whole weekend trip. La Alhambra was a fortress and a palace, the oldest parts of which date back to the ninth century. We started at the fortress part, the Alcazaba, where we climbed up an ancient tower to see a great view of Granada far below. Then we hustled over to the Palacios de los Nazaries, where we spent the majority of our time. Every inch of the palace is elaborately decorated in the traditional Moorish style, and the impression is overwhelmingly beautiful. The size of the palace is unbelievable as well; whenever I thought we were coming to the end, we would turn the corner and see four or five more rooms. The beauty of the building was accentuated by the courtyards full of vibrant plants and fountains. I was completely in awe. And if that weren’t enough, we finished the visit at the Generalife section of La Alhambra, which is composed of wandering pathways through humongous gardens.
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Morocco and Flamenco June 15, 2010

Posted by Lisa Thornsberry in Travel Log.
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Hola todos!

The past few days have been unbelievable!

On Thursday, the class went to a flamenco show at a local restaurant. I’ve never seen anything like it before! The dancing was fast, exciting, and LOUD! The flamenco dancers were really more of percussionists considering the way they would slam their heels into the ground. They were all dressed in the traditional flamenco garb, and they were accompanied by a live guitarist and vocalist. It was a very fun and memorable night.

On Friday, I left with nine of my classmates directly after class to go on a weekend excursion to Morocco. The trip was quite an adventure! We took a ferry from the southern-most tip of Spain to the city of Tangier, Morocco. We had a few hours to kill, so we decided to explore the old city a little bit and try to find the Kasbah citadel. (more…)

Week 2 in Spain June 9, 2010

Posted by Lisa Thornsberry in Travel Log.
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Spain is still treating me right! I’ve seen and done so much since the last time I posted.

On Friday afternoon, the class took a field trip to the historic part of town to see two awesome sights. The first was the Torre (tower) Tavera, which has the best view of the city. Aside from getting to see all of Cadiz from above, the cool thing about the Torre Tavera is that it has a camera obscura, a system of mirrors and lenses that project an image of the city on to a blank surface.

After the Torre, we went to the most western side of the peninsula where there is a beach situated between two small castles, Castilla de Santa Catalina and Castilla de San Sebastian. We spent a few hours wandering around the castles and just enjoying the seaside and the incredible weather.

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First Week in Cadiz June 4, 2010

Posted by Lisa Thornsberry in Travel Log.
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Hola from Cadiz, Espana!

The first few days here have been amazing! We arrived Monday afternoon and spent the rest of the day meeting our host families. Mine is very nice- an older couple whose extended family comes over several times a day. It was very hard to understand them at first, but it’s already getting easier as our hosts and my roommate and I start to learn how to best communicate with one another.

Our classes started the next morning- one in culture and one in healthcare. We’re learning a lot both in and out of the classroom- today we took two field trips, one to the market and one to a local clinic. The market was enormous- there were almost 200 booths! About half of the booths sold fresh fruit (I had my first taste of fig). The other half had sea food of all shapes and sizes. I saw eel, octopus, shark, and sting ray for sale! The clinic excursion was interesting as well. The whole clinic is dedicated to accident prevention in the work place, so we learned about the safety regulations that they suggest and implement.

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¡Saludos de España! June 1, 2010

Posted by Maziar Adloo in Travel Log.
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Hello world!

As you can tell from the title of this post, I am now in Cadiz, Spain for the “Healthcare Industry in Spain” study abroad program. Even though I haven’t been out of the US for more than 48 hours, it’s already been a blast! However, this post is going to be about what happened this summer before I left the country. (That means look for super exciting Spain stories in my next post!)

My summer started at 6pm on Friday, May 7th, right after my Organic final ended (which was way more difficult than it needed to be, I might add). I had already moved out, so my family came to Tech, picked me up, and we roadtripped it all the way to Maryland – about 11 hours. We might be crazy to drive all night, but we had good reason; that Saturday was my grandparent’s 50th Anniversary, and we were going to surprise them. And surprise them we did. We managed to hide from them all day and then got to the restaurant to set-up some decorations before they arrived for dinner. The coolest decoration in my opinion was a banner that my uncle made; it was a picture from their wedding, and we got all of the guests to sign it so that my grandparents could have a great, tangible memory of their Golden Anniversary. This is a picture of myself, my brothers, and my cousins (the one in the middle and all the way to the left) with my grandparents in front of the banner. The whole thing was a lot of fun and went very well. Best of all, my grandparents couldn’t stop smiling. (more…)

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