La Adventura de Andalucia! July 30, 2011Posted by annasulimirski in Travel Log.
Tags: Granada, Madrid, Spain
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The third weekend I was in Spain we took a trip as a class all over the southern region of Spain, Andalucia. We visited the cities of Granada, Sevilla, and Cordoba which were all extremely beautiful! I loved how the entire region has so much Arabic influence. We left as a class on Thursday to travel around southern Spain. We started out in Granada, which was the last Spanish city to fall from the Arabs to the Christians. It’s architecture is to die for, and mountains with snow on them are in sight even though it’s boiling hot! We visited the Cathedral and the Alhambra there. The Alhambra is incredible. It was considered to be one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world at one point. It is like a palace/fortress building of the Arabs on the huge hill. It’s gardens and geometric designs were marvelous!
Next we went to Sevilla where we saw the 2nd largest Cathedral in the world and an old palace modeled after the Arab style. They were both incredible. I loved the feel of Sevilla on the riverside.
We then drove to Cordoba, which felt like we were in a desert. There we visited the Mezquita. It was my favorite building of the whole trip. The site originally had a cathedral that was then ruined for a mosque, and then the mosque was converted into a cathedral again. It’s mixtures of two cultures is fascinating!
I then traveled back to Cadiz for a week before leaving for Madrid. I finished up my finals in Cadiz and had to say good-bye to my home and Spanish mom, which was really hard!
Madrid was slightly overwhelming because of it’s huge size compared to the cities we had visited before then. I grew to love it, though, especially the huge parks that all the locals spent so much time at, especially at night. I visited the Royal Palace, the train station that practically has a rainforest inside, many monuments, and took a day trip to the little town of Segovia. Segovia had roman aqueducts from the first century A.D. and the castle that Walt Disney based the Sleeping Beauty castle on.
It was an incredible 2 weeks
Barcelona, tapas, and free hotels!!! July 19, 2011Posted by Andy Barrenechea in Travel Log.
Tags: Barcelona, Georgia Tech Lorraine, gtl, Spain
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Buenos dias, amigos!
It’s been a few weeks since we last talked, but just yesterday I came back from Barcelona for my last 4-day weekend and I have a few things I’d like to share, because to tell you the truth it was a fantastic trip!
So, the journey began with an early departure on Thursday morning via a TGV to Paris for Bastille Day, otherwise known as the French Independence Day. All GTL students had been informed that there would be much celebration in the nation’s capital, so we figured it would be a great experience to see how the French celebrated their “4th of July” on the 14th of July. We arrived in the morning and immediately started searching for a good spot to watch the parade down the Champs Elysees, and it was surprisingly difficult to find a good viewing spot, but thank goodness we didn’t need one to watch a magnificent display of French planes that flew over the crowd – check out some pictures:
We were not able to stay for the concert and the fireworks because we left early to Perpignon, where we would spend the night and depart to Barcelona early Friday morning. We arrived to Barcelona shortly after noon and went straight for the hostel, which turned out to be a very nice place (Sant Jordi Sagrada Familia) and then walked “5 manzanas”, which actually means 5 blocks, to Sagrada Familia, the famous Gaudi-designed church in Barcelona. Take a look:
From there we went to visit Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s giant soccer stadium (the best team in the world, in my humble opinion) and participated in the Camp Nou Experience where we got to see the FC Barcelona museum, the stands, the locker rooms, and even a chapel located in the players’ tunnel. Check it out:
On Friday night we went to a hilltop where we saw the sun set over all of Barcelona and it was beautiful – unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me! On Saturday we had planned on going on a bike tour, but were late to the meeting point, so we walked around the city instead and were able to explore the beach, the main port, Las Ramblas, and enjoy a fine Spanish lunch consisting of “paella” and “sangria”, a classic Barcelona combo! Here’s a picture:
In the afternoon we visited Gaudi’s park, where we saw some of his masterpieces, and then had dinner at an excellent “tapas” restaurant, and ended the night by listening to a street performer play his guitar who ended up being an American citizen himself! Here are some Gaudi pictures for ya:
Finally, on Sunday we went as a group to mass at Sagrada Familia, which was quite a moving experience, and took one last group picture in front of the Spanish “Arc de Triomphe” with our excellent tour guide, Mo Khosravanipour:
Finally, no story is worth telling unless it ends on a happy/funny note, so it turns out that we took a train back to Paris to then take a TGV back to Metz, but the train to Paris got delayed 50 minutes and made us miss the last train back to Metz. However, and thankfully, there is a man whose name is Andres Borda who negotiated with the conductor and amazingly managed to get the SNCF (French train company) to pay for a night at a free hotel and breakfast so that we could leave the next day on the earliest TGV back to Metz! Thus, although at first it seemed that 21 GTL students would be hopelessly stranded in Paris, the story turned out just fine and yet again we completed another week in Europe, all members accounted for. I will be writing my final post in about 2 weeks, so stay tuned to see how this crazy Euro trip ends…I promise it’s going to be an exciting finish to the “Tour de Europe”
Hasta la proxima,
The Women of Spain: Jills of all Trades? August 19, 2010Posted by kvrensburg in Travel Log.
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The book that we are reading for class talks a great deal about machismo and the effects of it. I was thinking about this when some of the girls and I were sitting in the Plaza de la Reina in Valencia waiting for the Corpus Christi parade to begin. I was looking for signs of men being very macho, but I never really noticed it. The men seemed normal to me. It started to rain at one point and some of the older men were holding umbrellas over their wives, but that was more of chivalrous act than anything else. So this got me thinking about how “machismo” the men in Spain really are. I was wondering this when I saw a women dressed in business clothes with apron on, hanging clothes outside of her apartment. This almost made me laugh because it seemed to be something out of a t.v show like Leave It to Beaver. This lady looked very Mrs. Cleaveresque.
But then I realized that this woman is not just dressing up nicely to work at home. She must have come from work (this was during siesta time) donned an apron to get some housework done, and then she will probably be off to work again. The women here in Spain seem to have taken on many roles. This is good in a way because they are able to experience all aspects of life. They choose to work and I’m sure many of them enjoy the freedom that work entails. But then on the other hand, working during the day leaves less time to do the chores that they would usually do during the day. So how do these women cope with this? Well, it appears that they are simply doing everything. It then occurred to me that there was still “machismo” in Sapin; it’s just not as blatantly obvious as I expected. I did not see any men coming home during siesta and working around the house. Instead they are off eating(or most likely drinking) with coworkers. So, indirectly, the women are still being held back by the men.
GOOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!! August 19, 2010Posted by kvrensburg in Travel Log.
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I have grown up with sports. Ever since I was little, there has never been a time when I was not playing some sort of sport. Needless to say, my dad was constantly playing sports with me and my mom was constantly taking me to all sorts of practices. However, no matter how long I have been playing, no sport affects me as much as soccer affects the people of Spain.
Sure, they are really into their soccer, you may think. It’s for them like baseball was for America at one point, the national pastime. But, no. Not quite. Soccer in Spain is in a whole different ballpark (excuse the pun).
In Spain, soccer defines who you are. Soccer has history. No, not the history of “team x” beating “team y” so many times since the 1900′s. Rather, the history that I am referring to is the history of the people. Spain has not always been a unified nation ( and many agree that today it still is not a unified nation). And one factor that still keeps many parts of Spain separate is soccer. It divides the nation because each region has its own team and cheers whole heartedly for just that team. Ok, so you say this is just like different conferences in the United States. For example people in the ACC don’t like people in the SEC. Maybe, but not really. The reason that the different regions in Spain each has their own team is rooted more in history than in location. So what is the history of Spain?
Spanish Family Dynamics August 19, 2010Posted by kvrensburg in Travel Log.
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On Sunday I attended the Corpus Christi Parade. Not only was this an interesting procession to see, but it was also a spectacular people watching opportunity. These are some of my observations…
From what I have seen (and read) so far about Spanish families, it seems as if they are a very cohesive bunch.
For example, the children are not afraid at all to hold hands with their parents in public. And I mean children ranging in ages from young to even teenage and twenty something years. This to me is not so strange, because in South Africa it is very common to ho
ld hands, but in comparison to the U.S. it is quite out of the ordinary for teenagers to still be holding their parents’ hands.
More Spain, and a taste of Morocco August 16, 2010Posted by wjewell3 in Uncategorized.
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For breakfast, my host family would offer Paul and me two slices of white bread, two crackers, a small cup of OJ, and a bit of tea for breakfast. It was more or less balanced, but it wasn’t much compared to the huge breakfasts I was accustomed to in Mexico (or in the States for that matter). I think the breakfasts and dinners were not as big in Spain because lunch was supposed to be the biggest meal. In the beginning of the trip, I would get hungry b/c all I was eating for lunch was a boccadillo. Midtrip, however, I discovered that eating a balanced, heavier lunch was worth the extra euro or two.
May 29-31: Spain August 10, 2010Posted by Stefanie Olivier in Travel Log.
Tags: Barcelona, Georgia Tech Lorraine, Spain
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Our second weekend in Europe included a trip to Barcelona, Spain. This trip was an adventure even from the very beginning, with our very first experience with the couchette, the train compartment designed for sleeping. Let me tell you, there is few things as comfortable as sleeping while listening to the periodic sounds train wheels make on train tracks, and thus, I was almost disappointed when our train reached its final destination at Portbou, Spain. Our temporary layover in this town couldn’t have been more pleasant, with the most extraordinary freshly squeezed orange juice I have ever tasted and a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. It was during this layover that most of the members in our travel group made their first contact with the body of water that separates Europe from Africa.
This contact was solidified during the rest of the day in Barcelona: our group decided to postpone sightseeing to the following day and to instead spend the rest of the day baking in the Spanish sun on a beach and splashing in the Mediterranean’s waters. (Believe me, it is true when they say the waters of the Mediterranean has a very pleasant temperature!) Afterwards, we bought Spanish paellas for dinner and walked past the numerous lighted cathedrals, one of which was the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, back to our hostel.
We saw the cathedral the next morning. This Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudi in 1883, is difficult to describe in words even in its unfinished form (it is predicted to be finished in 2015) and is what made the whole trip worthwhile for me. Afterwards, we continued to peruse Gaudi’s architecture in Park Guell. We had to mount several escalators to get to the park, and so we were able to enjoy a remarkable view of the entire city as well as the interesting Gaudi benches, tunnel, and sculptures. Only our craving for more Spanish food was able to drag us away from Park Guell.
After satisfying that craving, we visited the Maremagnum, which is a huge mall that was built on the water of the Mediterranean Sea, and we were surprised to see that such ordinary and familiar stores are to be found in such an unusual mall. We spent a couple of hours there until finally deciding that the prices the mall offered were a little too steep for us and settled instead for the free live Spanish music presented in a park very close to the mall. Needless to say, we stayed there until very late into the night and then walked along the La Rambla back to our hostel.
We decided that the La Rambla, with its many souvenir shops and moving statues, is to be experienced in the daylight as well, so we spent the majority of the next morning there. Next, we jumped on a train that was headed to a small town in southern France, where we were planning on catching our couchette back to campus. The sights in this town are undoubtedly some of the prettiest I have ever seen: the stormy harbor, the colorful houses, the landscapes… A picnic (consisting of Brie and baguettes again) in the middle of a screaming group of French kids was the perfect end to our weekend in southwestern Europe.
¡Bienvenidos a España: Primera Semana! July 13, 2010Posted by awheble in Travel Log.
Tags: Kilometro Cero, Madrid, Spain, Tetuan
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Monday at 5:00, I said my goodbyes to the US and boarded the huge, double decker Boeing 747 on our way to Paris, France. After having dinner and reading, I went to bed with a setting sun only to wake up 3 hours later to the morning sunshine and breakfast. After spending an hour in the Paris airport, we headed on our connecting flight to Madrid. Even as I exited the airport, I could already tell that I was going to love this country.
Granada, Sevilla, y Cordoba June 21, 2010Posted by Lisa Thornsberry in Travel Log.
Tags: andalucia, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, Spain, spanish
Just got back from a fabulous four-day weekend traveling throughout Andalucia!
¡Adiós, España! June 18, 2010Posted by Becky Byler in Travel Log.
Tags: Good-Byes, Spain, valencia-lisbon program
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I’m feeling a little nostalgic… I can’t believe that my time in Spain is finally over! Seriously, these past few weeks have been so amazing, which makes it difficult for me to say adiós. I guess I am feeling a little bittersweet though, since, although I am sad to leave Spain, I will be in Honduras tomorrow, which is also going to be a lot of fun!
From days at the beach to debates about current issues to biology research, it has truly been a summer of non-stop excitement and cultural exchange. I’ll never forget watching World Cup games in bars, talking to locals during economic protests, buying fresh fruit in the market, and, of course, hanging out with all of my new friends.
Escribo esto con un nudo en la garganta, pero sé que regresaré pronto… Valencia is too much fun to not come back and explore!