Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares

Monday, March 8, 2010

Córdoba y Sevilla

This past weekend was spent traveling to southern Spain to the wonderful cities of Córdoba and Sevilla with my program CIEE.  Of course, the rain followed me to southern Spain so all of my pictures include the yellow rain jacket (one of the best investments of my life).

We had to catch the bus at about 8:15 A.M. on Friday morning, a little early for my liking.  But once on the bus, I fell asleep for practically the entire 4/5 hour ride to Córdoba.  I will include a picture of the food that my host mom sent with me because I had so much food for the weekend.  We were giving $40 Euro for food, but I don't think I spent much of that money on actual food (I don't consider helado food).

We arrived in Córdoba and it was rainy off and on, but at least it was a little bit warmer than in Alcalá.  We had to cross a bridge to get into the city, and the river was so flooded and brown.  Not a pretty river.  We walked around some of the different neighborhoods and I got some pictures of the cool little courtyards that Córdoba is known for.  The main attraction in Sevilla the mosque/La Mezquita.  To be honest, I don't remember much of what Fausto (the tour guide for our trips) said about the mosque because I was too busy taking pictures.  I brought my nice camera, and I am so glad that I did!  My pictures turned out sooo much better and it made time pass faster because I was busy playing with it the whole time.  In Córdoba, we mainly visited the Mezquita and I treated myself to some Carmel helado afterwards, and then we headed off to Sevilla later in the afternoon.

Arrived in Sevilla when it was dark and it was surprise surprise, rainy.  Like really rainy.  But our hotel was super nice and warm, so I was glad for that.  For nighttime festivities, my friends and I went to a Flamenco bar.  It was interesting and I'm glad to say that I've seen a Flamenco show but I don't think I would have to go again?  I also got a helado for a night time snack because it was Philadelphia Cream Cheese cheesecake with strawberries and graham crackers aka the closest to getting something like Coldstone.  Gotta take these opportunities when they arise!

When we woke up the following morning, it was still rainy, but I had my trusty umbrella and raincoat, so I guess I don't mind too much.  We walked around the Jewish neighborhood a bit and learned about some of the history.  Then we went to the Alcazar Real, where the royal family stays when they come to visit Sevilla.  The actual castle was not that cool, not going to lie, but the gardens outside were stunning.  Sooo many orange trees!  I asked my professor if we could eat the oranges and she just kind of looked at me like I was crazy.  What a waste of fruit.  She said that animals don't even eat them.  Regardless, they give off that wonderful orange aroma and they are so tempting to eat (but I must remind myself that not even animals want to eat them.  Darn).  After the cathedral, we had a little bit of free time in between, and my friends and I explored a bit and went to get something to eat.  I also found a little market and bought a few rings and scarfs because the scarfs were beautiful and the rings were a good deal too.
Ok I will admit I finally broke down.  I went to Starbucks for the first time since I've been in Spain.  My amazing friend, Sarah Lokers/Wixson, informed me that when visiting Sevilla, I should go to the Starbucks near the Cathedral because it is a good place to people watch.  Of course, I couldn't resist this temptation!  Sooo worth it!  Thanks for the good advice Sarah!

After our free time, we went to the Cathedral, which is the third largest in the world (#1 in Rome and #2 in England).  It was impressive!  I can't believe that these places are churches!  They are enormous, huge, gargantuam, monstrous, any other adjectives that describe the simple word "big."  I took so many pictures but a lot of them turned out blurry because we can't take pictures with flash.  Highlights of the visit:  1.  Maybe seeing where Christopher Columbus is buried (I say maybe because they're not sure if part of him is in there or not.  They think there is 100 grams worth of him here.  Or maybe I got lost in translation on this one because that's just weird if that's true)  2.  Climbing up the tower to see the city of Sevilla  3.  All of the cool architecture  4.  The shiny things  5.  The bathroom because I drank my grande Starbucks in about a 5 minute time period.  Never a good idea.

So after the Cathedral, we walked around a bit more with the group and then we had the rest of the time for free time.  Wonderful.  I went shoe shopping, thanks again Sarah, with friends and sadly did not find any good shoes.  That's probably a good thing.  After that I went back to the hotel and took a short little nap before going out to tapas.  A weird thing happened at tapas though.  The waitress asked for our ids!  What is this?! None of us had our ids on us, but I planned on ordering a coke anyway but still, it was a little weird.  Guess we know for next time?  The night was pretty relaxing because we were all super tired, and we went to bed a little early which I was fine with.

The next morning we had yet another walking tour, in the rain, around Sevilla.  We visited some fancy building, I don't remember the name, but Stars War 2 or something was filmed there?  Or something?  Since I don't follow Star Wars, I wouldn't know.  I forgot to mention that my friends and I are obsessed with jumping pictures.  I included only one of many taken this weekend, mainly because I look ridiculous in this one because I'm the only one still on the ground.  Props to Nina for getting the highest.  After our walking tour, we headed back to the hotel to get on the bus.  It was a looong ride home and it's funny how I can refer to my Spanish house as my "home."  Guess I kind of view it that way since it's the place to return to after a long weekend of travels.  Well that's all for now!  Sorry for the super long blog!  Hasta luego!

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