Just a quick FYI to let ou know that I will be adding/trying to add more pictures to the blogs I recently added so keep checking back . The internet in Spain seems slower and in internet cafe's even slower so it takes some patience
Food in Sevilla /Spain in general is the same that you would find in America the same ingredients are used but served differently. Gina de los Santos the housing coordinator sent an email saying so in the beginning but I have found that for the most part there are few dishes that I have been served that I didn’t like.
For breakfast the norm at Carmina’s house is café for me and tea for my sister with toast the spread for the toast could be butter, jam, or a tomato spread that my house mom already taught me how to make.
Lunch without a doubt starts with bread and a small salad or sometimes soup and a protein of some sort. The heaviest meal of the day it is usually eaten around 2-3 pm and with luck followed by a short siesta. The third meal of the day Dinner is usually around 9pm, is lighter than lunch, and could range from omelets and rice to tortilla de patatas and a filet of grilled meat. Water is drunk with every meal and desert is usually a fruit of some kind.
In my opinion some dishes that are to me synonymous with Spanish cuisine include pan tomate, jamon iberico, tortilla de patatas, paella and gazpacho. I have convinced my house mother to show me how to make gazpacho, gambas fritas and pan tomate and before I leave I want to learn how to make the tortilla and paella.
So I have to admit that in my 5th week in the program I felt homesick. I think that it was because I had hit that one month. Facebook wasn’t and didn’t help because I was seeing pics of my friends doing things without me. I emailed and called my dad saying that I wanted to come home, I had seen enough of Sevilla and I had travelled to Portugal and I was good and ready to come home. I missed my puppy and my family and the noise that is part and parcel of it all. My dad ever practical said you only have 2 months more to go just stick it through and by the next day I was back in love with Spain. But I have to admit that yes on my third study abroad experience, after 5weeks in Spain, I was homesick, I never thought that it would be something to happen to me.
My puppy Tiger . He is a malte-huahua . Half Maltese , half Chihuahua. No joke
This last weekend there was an ICS sponsored trip to Italica in Santiponce on Friday and Cordoba on the Saturday.
Friday was a perfect day in Sevilla. There were no clouds in the sky, it wasn’t scorching hot but warm with a fresh breeze. Everyone caught the bus in Plaza de Armas and got to Santiponce without a hitch.
The Roman Ruins of Italica in Santiponce date back to 206 BC and was the birthplace of the emperors Trajano and Hadrian. As a prosperous municipality of Rome, this city housed an ampitheater, bath houses, as well as several larger homes. Excavations of the site began in the 1700s and continue to this day. Many of the mosaic floors are still intact and show the high level of engineering that the Romans cultivated. The sewer system for example still works and is in great condition. The interesting thing is that they only used gravity for it to function. Some points of interest within the Italica are the Casa de Pajaros, the Public baths and the Amphitheatre. The Amphitheatre has a space in the middle where it can be filled with water and water battles could be reenacted. There is also the Greek version of you must be this tall to get on the ride. On a piece of marble they drew feet / shoes and it is believed that you had to have feel larger than the drawing in order to be allowed inside the amphitheatre which I am such had some brutal and gruesome sights in its heyday. After Italica the whole group stopped off for lunch and had “patatas arrugas” or crinkled potatoes with roasted meat and a salsa native to Santiponce that consisted mainly of olive oil, paprika and garlic.
Santiponce was having the last feria or fair of the season so we walked over to it to explore it. Santiponce is a small town and when we walked in typical Spanish fashion, they just stopped and stared at us. I still haven’t gotten used to that reaction. In the tents they had people dancing Sevillanas a style of Flamenco and me being well me imitated them… and I wasn’t half bad if I do say so myself – lol - . Many ladies in the feria were dressed in typical feria wear – i.e. a flamenco type dress or skirt and top combo and I have every intention of bringing one back with me.
The next day was Cordoba. When my sis and I reached at the designated spot at 8.30 something a.m. we were greeted by other members of the program with ‘the bus already left’, naturally we thought that they were kidding but we quickly realized that they were not. Between the time that we arrived and 8.45 about half the program arrived , they like the rest of us waiting all thought that the bus would be leaving for 9am at the latest. Around 20 people, almost half the program missed the bus to Cordoba. Que barbaridad !! . After hemming and hawing as a group, we decided to get to Cordoba on our own.
In order to save time we decided to share taxi’s to Plaza de Armas which someone assured us would have buses to Cordoba. When we reached Plaza de Armas I asked information for the bus to Cordoba the time schedule etc. that is when I found out that we were at the wrong station. We were supposed to be at the Prado San Sebastian which was walking distance from where we were standing before getting the taxi’s that meant another taxi ride to the Prado cause as we stepped outside the station we saw the bus that would take us over there going round the corner.
So we finally got the ticket to Cordoba on our own and then we almost miss the bus. Our ticket said platform one but the bus was actually at platform 19.
HINT OF THE DAY don’t trust what’s written on your bus ticket – ask people. Always!!!
When we reached Cordoba, we met up with the other half of the program and took the tour with them to Alcazar of Cordoba. After the tour of the Alcazar we toured the Mezquita on our own. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world. After the Spanish reconquista it was transformed into a church and honestly they did a pretty bad job of it which I am grateful for. The best way to describe it would be a mosque where they inserted Christian imagery to the sides of the walls. A muslim girl who was with me agreed and said that all that was missing for it to be more like a mosque was the carpets on the floor.
Around 3pm my sis and I started getting snippy with each other couldn’t decide on where to eat it , so in the end said – eff it and got burger king. When we came out of Burger King, I was accosted by gypsy women. After giving my fries to one with a young child another woman came up to me and looked into my bag saying “give me, you have more” Val a girl who was with me gave her an extra sandwich and the cheeky lady went across the street picked out the meat and threw away the rest of the sandwich. I guess beggars CAN be choosers. After lunch we all walked around the Juderia – the old jewish sector of Cordoba and went to a couple of flea markets. I had 2 Moroccan guys that day introduce themselves while others just watched/stared at me. It could be easy to get a complex here. All in all I returned home tired but happy that I went.
Hi All. As promised, this is one of the blog entries after a bit of an absence. I finally put aside some time today to write because I know that it would be almost impossible to update you on everything that has happened to date. I started writing this blog on 9/26/08. I think it prudent to mention that I don’t have internet where I live in Spain so I need to go to internet cafés to upload my blogs. I usually write my blog entries as word documents and upload them at a later date.
On 9/26 I went to the University of Sevilla orientation. Before Orientation, the other students who were going to be taking classes at the U de S and I met Marisa the student Liaison who showed us where our classes would be. This was a great help because the US was a tobacco factory in a previous life and is huge. To give a comparison one wing of the University is comparison to the whole science block ( SC wing) at Sacred Heart and I have personally counted at least 8 of these sections. Once she showed us our class room locations we went to a board room within US and we welcomed into the program and then invited to have breakfast. I took some pics and if I can find them, I will put up of the Board Room. After the orientation, I returned home to pack for another weekend in Portugal this time Lagos. As soon as I reached home, I got a call from Discover Sevilla, a great company that works with study abroad schools to organize trips. They found flights to Paris for my sister and myself at a price that was lower than what we were finding on our own. So we rushed down to the centro to book the flights. While there we were looking for another location to go during the long weekend that we have in October and we were lucky enough to get the last 2 seats on their trip to Venice, Italy.
We were home in time for lunch and finished packing. Our house mom Carmina stocked us up on sandwiches, fruit for our journey. We were running late for our bus to Lagos so we took a bus, tram and taxi to get to Plaza de Armas in time for the bus with 7 minutes to spare.
The trip to Largos was long about 6/7 hrs and I felt that once we crossed over into Portugal I felt like they stopped at every town between Huelva and Lagos. When we got off the bus in Lagos it was dark out we walked until got a taxi that dropped us off to the hostel. I was just so exhausted cause of the early and full day, lack of siesta and long journey. Once settled in I just took a shower and went into bed to relax.
My roommates at the hostel were two cool women Nadja ( Nadia) and Devon. Devon is from Canada living in England. She has been travelling between Spain and Portugal for the last 2 months and was leaving that weekend to return to England in order to prepare for her new job in Korea as an ESL teacher. As the Spaniards say Que Guay !!!
Nadja is super duper cool and I was really awed by her. In her early forties from Lichtenstein and She was on her second world pilgrimage. She is also fluent in French, German, Italian, English and the dialect from her country that is a mix of French and German that she suggested that I don’t even bother to try to learn. She is also comfortable speaking Portuguese and Spanish and she never went higher than high school. In the 1990’s she spent 3.5 years walking around Aisa,Africa and Europe and yes I said WALKING !!! and when we met up she had ended her second pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and Fatima. She started from outside her door in Lichtenstein to the Swiss border, took a bus through Switzerland and started walking through Italy, France and Spain. In Spain, she did the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and then continued down to coastline to the second place of pilgrimage to Fatima. After Fatima she walked the coast to Lagos where our lives intersected for a few brief days.
She later emailed my sis letting her know that she planned to walk through Andalucía to take a ferry to Morocco to pass the winter in warmer climes. She has a trunk full of diaries at home and I encouraged her to write a book. Hell I was even ready to offer to write it for her after hearing what little I did of her travels.
Lagos itself is such a cute town, small and tourist orientated you don’t need to speak Portuguese to be understood here. The beaches are gorgeous and are filled with caves that are amazing to explore. Again pictures will be attached!!
After the weekend in Lagos school started bright and early Monday. Monday was a relatively easy day for me although I had class until 9pm. The second day of school was harder. I was in 3 classes one after the other with hardly time to breathe between classes. One class would end at 1pm and another start at 1pm ..It was awful I walked out of the 2nd class half way through I was just feeling so overwhelmed and tired and hungry. I went to the school bar got food and tried to relax a bit. Then I went to the next class. Instead of going to my last class of the day, I went to ICS to talk to the director of academic affairs and dropped 3 classes so that from the next week I would not have this experience again.
PICTURE TIME !!!!!!
1. / 2. - Pictures I took when I was in the Orientation. 3. Sis and I in Lagos, Portugal. 4. Me on a cliff in Portugal sporting moda style ( style that's 'in') in Europe . 5./6.7. Are of the Grutas of Lagos 8. Is on this cool statue that was in a park and 9. Is a pic I had a friend take of my first day of School. Just carrying on a tradition that started from Kindergarten .
This is a quick post letting you know that yes I am still alive and to apologize for the lack of posts recently. I am blogging without internet at home here in Spain and with all that I have been doing just haven’t had the time to write any entries. I will be putting up more posts soon.
I am going to continue to add pictures for the previous blog entry here.
1. Plaza de Espana map of Sevilla 2. half of the arch of Plaza de Espana, its really big 3.The bridge over the little moat 4. The horse and buggies that give tours around plaza de Espana 5. A crowd that had gathered cause MADONNA was checking out of a hotel in Sevilla. 6. Alcazar 7. Alcazar
Hola a todos, Since my last blog entry I have been having cycles of activity with periods of doing nothing more than waking up , watching TV or reading. I am getting tired of being a tourist a little bit and am ready to start classes. When I am in the states, I am used to being in school full time with a couple of jobs and all my other activities with the different clubs that I am in so this has been something that I am not used to.
At ICS they have an intercambio program where they link you to someone who wants to practice their English while giving you the opportunity to practice your Spanish. My intercambio’s name is Ana and last week we met in a Ceverceria. We talked in Spanish only as we got to know each other for I don’t know over an hour.
We had some things that mirrored each other. She wants to live over in the states, I want to live here in Spain. She lives with her mom, I live with my dad, She thinks American guys are all that and a bag of chips while I melt for Spaniards especially Andalucíans . She is a cool chick and the next time we meet, we will be talking in English only.
On my sisters insistence one day we went walking and found the public library of Sevilla. There was not an easy venture because there is no way that you would know that it was the library because the one sign that says library is covered by a big tree and from the outside it looks like any other building in Sevilla. Directions given by random Sevillanos on the street only became clearer the closer we got to the building but we did find it. After figuring out the locker and bike rack system we finally entered the building. 45 minutes later we walked out card-carrying members of the bibliotecas públicas de Andalucía .
During the week I visited three main places, the Parque de Maria Luisa, Plaza de España y Alcazar. To explain a bit the Parque de Maria Luisa, I took a quote from an article online.
In the 1920's, while they were redirecting the Gudalquivir and building the new port and factories that are the foundation of the city's growth today, the Sevillenos decided to put on an exposition. In a tremendous burst of energy, they turned the entire southern end of the city into an expanse of gardens and grand boulevards. The centre of it is Parque de Maria Luisa, a paradisical half mile of palms and orange trees, elms and Mediterranean pines, covered with flower beds and dotted with hidden bowers, ponds and pavilions. Now that the trees and shrubs have reached maturity, the genius of the landscapers can be appreciated - this is one of the loveliest parks in Europe . (Quintero,J. The Maria Luisa Park in Seville) http://www.andalucia.com/cities/seville/marialuisapark.htm
After walking through the park, I emerged close to the Plaza de España and decided to walk around it and not just pass by on my way to another location. The Plaza de España was laid out in 1929 for an abortive 'Fair of the Americas'. There is a tiled alcove named after each of the provinces of Spain and each tile displays an important aspect of that province’s history. I would definitely recommend that anyone coming to Spain visit it. A cool thing to do is to take a picture by each province that you have visited within Spain.
The coolest place that I visited this week was by far Alcazar. I used up my whole camera memory and changed batteries twice just on that once visit.
The Alcázar of Seville (Spanish "Alcázares Reales de Sevilla" or "Royal Alcazars of Seville") is a royal palace in Seville, Spain. Originally a Moorish fort, the Alcázar (from the Arabic القصر, al-qasr, meaning "palace") has been expanded several times. The Almohades were the first to build a palace, called Al-Muwarak, on the site. Most of the modern Alcázar was built over Moorish ruins for King Pedro of Castile (also known as Pedro the Cruel) with construction beginning in 1364. Pedro used Moorish workers to build his palace giving it a distinctly Islamic design. The palace is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture, a style under Christian rule in Spain but using Islamic architectural influence. Subsequent monarchs have added their own additions to the Alcázar. Charles V's addition of gothic elements contrasts with the dominant Islamic style. The upper apartments of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence and are administered by the Patrimonio Nacional.
On Sunday my sis and I got up early and took the bus to Aracena in Huelva which was about an hour away from Sevilla. In Aracena our main goal was to go to la Gruta de las Maravillas. Afterwards we went to the Museum of Ham and to the Caste.
La gruta de las Maravillas or Cave of wonders in English is an underground cave that has gorgeous stalagmites and stalactites. The formations are also in different colors because of minerals and algae in the water. There are about 12 different chambers with names like, the Cathedral or Room of Bottoms and six lakes and smaller streams and pools of water. It is a truly beautiful site. We were told in both English and in Spanish that there are absolutely no picture taking which of course meant that my sis and I sneaked in a couple whenever the guide wasn’t looking but without the flash in a cave the results were interesting. A random fact in relation to la gruta , it was used as a set during the making of – Journey to the Center of the Earth.
After La gruta my sis and I meandered along to the Museo del Jamón. Spain has a type of ham that is made only in Spain and I think Portugal. It is the one of the most delicious things and something that I would miss when I’m back in the states. Within the museum we learnt about the different types of Jamon Iberico and why the ham tastes so good. The answer is cause they eat mainly acorns and roam the countryside that helps keeps the levels of fat low. The pigs here exercise – LOL - . We also learnt about the differences between the old way of slaughtering and curing them vs. how they do it now.
By the time we finished these two activities it was lunch time and in Spain and everything closes so we decided to walk back to the bus stop which took us an hour. When we reached the bus stop we found out that it was 2 hours till the next bus back to Sevilla so we decided to venture to the Castillo that dominates the top of the main hill in Aracena. It took us 30/40 minutes uphill to get there but it was worth it. It’s a beautiful building and the ruins give a glimpse of how it used to be. I was also reminded of all the historical romance books I used to read. The next time I read one my mental picture of the castles would be influenced I think by the castles of Spain.
It is a thirteenth century Medieval-style Christian castle built over an Arab castle built over an Arab castle. It was destroyed in 1812 by the French army. The Church of our Lady of Los Dolores, which is from the thirteenth century, but has later additions, stands on the site of a former mosque. The twelfth century Almohad tower is its outstanding feature.
Last Friday ICS ( International College of Sevilla), the host facilitators of this study abroad adventure organized a field trip to Jerez and Cadiz. From day one they warned us that if we are late of the scheduled departure time that they were gonna leave so with that in mind as hard as it was to open my eyes my butt was in that bus on time.
The city of Jerez was founded by the Greeks under the name Xera and was shipping highly prized wine to distant Rome in clay amphoras two millennia ago. The Muslins introduced distillation for medical purposes and under the 500 yr rule by the Moors the wine industry prospered.
Bodegas in Jerez created the Solera system to produce a distinct style of wine. Jerez de a Frontera is the home and heartland of sherry. It is in fact one of the three towns along with Sanlúcar de barrameda and Puerto Santa Marìa, that make up the famous ‘Sherry Triangle’. Within this triangle, a combination of soil, climate and grape variety come together to create the only authentic sherry in the world.
In Jerez we toured the famous bodega of González Byass. This winery was founded in the 1800’s and today is run by fourth and fifth generation members of the original owner. We also toured the bodegas or caves where they store the vast barrels of sherry. A random thing that I remembered from the tour is that they do not sweep away the cobwebs because they use spiders as a natural form of insect repellant.
Another random fun fact is that they have a special bodega called bodega ratón where they have rats living. They even lay out a small glass of sherry with a ladder and some food for them to eat. I didn’t get close to the Mr. Rat that was there or the food/drink, but I did take pictures of former Mr.Rat’s drinking.
After that fun experience, we were then invited to a wine tasting. Although I haven’t had it before I instantly loved the three wines that I sampled. I had a sample of TIO PEPE, a pale-gold, very shiny dry Fino. This has an aroma reminiscent of its long aging under “flor” yeast with almond notes of dried fruits. Croft Original, pale cream, pallid and shiny. A clean subtle and well –balanced nose, delicately sweet on the palate. Solera, A sweet Oloroso, a very deep mahogany in color. (descriptions of wine provided by brochure)
After Jerez we all went to Cadiz. We had a choice between beach and a tour of the city and the vote was unanimous beach. The water was cold and the sun strong. After three hours I had tanned and burned but it was worth it.
One would think that after a day visiting two towns I would call it a night. Instead after a quick 30 minute power nap and a shower I met up with a couple of girls and went to an Irish Pub in the Center of Seville in the shadows of the Cathedral. There we met an American who decided to move to Spain after a study abroad to teach English. I met a Japanese guy here to learn Spanish and the Flamenco style of guitar playing and also an Italian also here to learn Spanish who was with a couple of locals. After inviting them to our table and chatting for a bit. We all decided to go to a club Elefunk that was close by. Clubbing in Spain is a totally different experience from anything that Connecticut has to offer.
Smoking is allowed so the area is a smoke
filled and the lights bounce and reflect differently through the smoke. The
main and favorite type of music is techno and throughout the night I just had
to stop look and laugh because Spaniards just dance differently. They hear a
different beat to what’s playing. I was thoroughly entertained. I There was
also more socializing in general. During the night, I met a guy from Colombia,
a German and a Sevillano. I would offer a word to the wise by dancing with the
same guy twice , well three times ( he was funny) , I had the same effect as if
I was in America and someone had bought me a drink. So I had a tail on me and
dehydrated Que bararidad !! Throughout the night the group dwindled and Lynair
and I ( the last ones standing) didn’t reach home till around 6.30 am the next day ….all I can say is -
can Party !!!!
1. Me and TIo Pepe 2. Our tour guide. 3. Where they fix the American Oak Drums for the Sherry 4. the First set of Oak Barrels that they still use. 5. Foto del Bodega Raton con un raton bebiendo Sherry 6. The winetasting table 7. Cadiz 8. My italian amigo Luigi and I in Elefunk