Saturday, November 10, 2007

Orientation trips- Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, and Cordoba- January through beginning of February

The next three weekends were even more incredible because of the traveling we did. First we visited Madrid, where we saw the Prado and Reina Sofia museums and saw GUERNICA up close. Unfortunately we were on a tight schedule so I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time looking around the Reina Sofia as I wanted, but I plan on returning this summer and visiting that among many other things. It was about a two hour train ride back to Valencia, and most of us wrote our papers on the way home
Next we were off to Barcelona to admire Modernism, most notably the Parque Guell and La Sagrada Familia de Antonio Gaudi, as well as a house called La Pedrera that he designed for a wealthy family. We also visited a Picasso museum. Our last day we were allowed to do whatever we wanted, and we went back to a free sculpture exhibition. Barcelona is a little further from Valencia than Madrid, about a 3 hour train ride.
Our final trip was to Southern Spain, where we visited Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada. In Granada we saw the famous Alhambra, the last Moorish stronghold which was taken over by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel in 1492. It was bigger than I had imagined, and the first time I’d seen Arabic architecture up close. But the most memorable part of this weekend was the Flamenco dancing we saw in Sevilla. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos of the dancers so I don’t have any to post, but they were mesmerizing. After the Flamenco show we went on a brief tour and the streets looked beautiful. It had snowed during the show, and we trekked up a small mountain through pure undisturbed whiteness glittering under the streetlamps. While everything we saw was amazing, the aesthetic image of that night is most vivid in my memory.

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