Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Roman ruins


This past week has been nice and steady here in Sevilla. The weather has been on and off nice with occasional clouds and rain. On Ash Wednesday I went to la Iglesia de San Lorenzo and was able to see the church decorated in beautiful splendor. The Virgin was on the alter and surrounded by many beautifully lit candles. There was some sort of special occasion going on for the members of the church or some sort of brotherhood they call a hermandad. On Friday they had initiations into this organization and for a few days had a guest priest whose sermons were excellent. I was happy I could actually understand most of what he was saying! Sometimes it depends on the manner in which people talk whether I can understand their spanish or not as some slur their words more than others.

On Saturday, we visited the Roman ruins of Itálica which is located about 25 minutes away from the center of Seville by bus. They were really interesting with the stone structures and foundations of houses and columns. With a good enough imagination, you could almost see the Roman people bustling about their daily lives. We saw the Ampitheater there which was huge. However you could see the wearing away of the bleachers where people would sit. But for being dated around 206 B.C. I´d say the city was pretty intact. Before being preserved, many of the artifacts were stolen in earlier years and then resold in markets.
A woman in Seville actually turned her house into a museum to preserve some of these Roman artifacts. It´s called la Palacia de Lebrija.

On Sunday we had a picnic by the river with some Spanish girls that we had met a few nights before and talked with them quite a bit, going to a Cafeteria to get coffee after it started getting chillier outside. We talked about the differences and similarities between here and the U.S. Some of them had actually visited the U.S. in an exchange program and hope to go back. Hopefully we´ll all meet up again!

This weekend my roommate and I are looking into Valencia, which is known for Paella, a sea food, meat dish with rice. Or we may look into Jerez de la Frontera which has Wine tastings and is close to some nice beaches.

Next month we have plans for Morrocco and England.

The beginning of Holy Week we are going to Ireland and then I hope to return to Sevilla for the end of Holy week as it is known to be spectacular.

Then my Dad comes! We´ll stay in Sevilla for a few days and I´ll get to show him the town. Then we´ll go to Fatima and possibly Barcelona.

Times going by quite fast here, which is ironic because the Spanish lifestyle can be quite slowpaced.
Fact del día : People in Spain wear their wedding rings on their right hand!
Best wishes, besos, & abrazos...

Monday, February 19, 2007

More little things about Spain.

There are no Walmarts here. Only Corte Ingles, which is much more expensive.

People are out and about here in Seville at all hours of the day and nite and the streets are really well lit.

Some homeless men stand around on the streets waiting for cars to parallel park and then charge the drivers if they help them get into a spot.

There seems to be homeless people in every entrance of every church.

The weather is very tempermental and changes on a dime.

Scarves are in style. People wear them all the time and with every outfit.

Service at restaurantes can be quite horrible, probably from the fact that people don´t really tip. It can take forever to get the bill.

My señora said that everyone in Spain has back problems. I must say that I believe it to be the shoes here. No one wears tennis shoes and there are so many cheap shoe shops with good looking shoes.

All the churches are gorgeous and each has their own elaborate alter and statues that are gold adorned. I´m enjoying them very much.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sevilla, Spain, and Sopa

First off, I´d like to say that I got my haircut. Although I must say it was mostly a haircut style because I still have about the same length of hair. It´s actually quite intimidating getting your hair cut in a foreign country. I didn´t know how to explain myself very well with hair salon lingo. All I knew is that I wanted layers and so I found that word in spanish, acapas. So I basically left myself up to the stylist´s hands and said a few Hail Mary´s. One of my fears was that they´d give me a mullet, as that is the modern look for a lot of people in Spain, girls and guys. The way the stylist cut my hair, I had NEVER seen anyone do before. He just grabbed huge chunks of my hair and chopped away. He must have made three or four chunked cuts and then he was done. During the process I averted my eyes quite a bit just in case it was going to turn out badly and my roommate who came with me for moral support kept glancing over. It turned out well and all in all I´m quite happy with the results.
Enough about hair though, I thought I´d post a blog about random things I´ve noticed or seen in Spain.

Olive oil is so abundant here. My señora uses it to cook almost everything. It adds such a wonderful flavor, especially with garlic, which is also as abundant.

As I said above mullets are everywhere and it reminds me of the eightys.

White bread is served with every single meal, and it´s hard to refuse as it is perfect to scoop up the soups that our señora prepares for us. But I think I may have to take up running some more.

All over Sevilla there are people playing their instruments and it reminds me a lot of Chicago. There are also those people that dress up in all metalic and face paint and only move if you give them money.

Smart cars, the little itty bitty ones are everywhere.

The oranges are delicious and in abundance and we get them twice a day from our señora.

I´ll write more when I think of them. Adios for now!

Monday, February 12, 2007


This past weekend, a group of us traveled to the quaint city of Córdoba. The city itself was very beautiful and the weather couldn´t have been better. I didn´t think streets could get any narrower until we got to this city. We traveled there by a scenic bus ride and once we arrived we headed toward our hostal. We stopped off at a very pretty park where we ate our lunched and goofed around on the fun gym equiptment. I shall always remember this city for it´s crazy birds. One of the girls I was with, Amanda, took out her sandwich and all of a sudden a rush of white feathers swarmed around her. About three or four birds flew on to her arm and started pecking at her bread. It was utterly hilarious. At our hostal, which was supposedly an old mental institution, we found painted walls and doors which were creaky beyond all believe. I guess a kind of built in alarm system. We ate some tapas that were very tasty and then three of us girls decided to go to some Arab baths. I must say it was worth every euro. It consisted of an hour and a half of three different baths. First you went into a moderately warm bath, about the size of a pool. You could stay in there as long as you wanted and then you move to the very hot water in pools that were about the size of jacuzzis. Those you could only stay in for a short amount of time because it was sooo hot. Then you would take a milisecond dip in the freezing ice cold tub and head back to the moderately warm bath. We would just rotate until the time was up. The smell was very relaxing and there was little talk as the people that were doing massages, which you could buy for seven euro more, kept shouting: Silencio por favor! After the baths, we went out for paella. The next day we headed to La Mesquita, the Cathedral of Cordoba. Here´s what part of the pamphlet says:

Beneath every cathedral is alway a bed of hidden cathedrals. In the case of Córdoba, tradition traces back to its Visigoth origins. This fact is confirmed by archeological excavations whose remains can be found at the Museum of San Vicente and in the pits where the remains of mosaics from the ancient Christian temple can be observed on site.

It is a historical fact that the basilica of San Vicente was expropriated and destroyed in order to build what would later be the Mosque, a reality that questions the theme of tolerance that was supposedly cultivated in the Córdoba of the moment. This was the main church of the city, a martyry basilica from the 6th century, that would be remembered and venerated by Christians, centuries after its destruction.

A Reflection
It is the Church, through its Cathedral Chapter, that has made it possible to keep the former mosque of the Western Caliphate, the oldest cathedral in Spain, and a World Heritage Site, from becoming a heap of ruins. In fact this has always been one of the missions of the Church; to safeguard and inspire culture and art.

The visit to the Cathedral of Córdoba may awaken the demand for a greater Beauty that will not wither with time. Because beauty, as truth and righteousness, are an antidote for pessimism, and an invitation to take pleasure in life, an impact that stirs the nostalgia of God.

That was kind of a long description, but these pamphelts describe these monumnets so much better than I ever could.

Well...thats all for now as I have run out of my time limit.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Plain!

It´s raining cats and dogs today in Sevilla. I can´t wait for better weather to go about the city. This weekend a group of us are planning on visiting the city of Córdoba, where there is a large Muslim mosque. We met Paqui´s other grandchildren last night and it was so much fun playing with them. One of the girls, Inmaculada, or Inma, for short, played some drawing games with me. It´s hard to understand her Spanish at first but once she slowed down it was much easier. She´s only five years old. She know some words in English, but she says her boy cousin, who´s seven, knows a lot more. I´ll write more on Monday.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Granada era nada como Sevilla, pero me gusta

Here´s the link for the pictures of Granada


This past weekend we went to Granada which is right by the Sierra Mountains. The view was fantastic and the background looked like a backdrop from a hollywood movie. It was refreshing to have a hotel room where the hot water was unlimited and I took advantage of this and took two showers in one day. I had good reason though because I went for a run there. The streets were like indoor floors and they were somewhat difficult to run on because it was sprinkling which made them slippery, but all the more fun to keep me on my toes! The day we arrived we went to the Alhambra, one of the seven wonders of the world. It was very large but we toured the main buildings. We saw the room in which Colombus met Queen Isabella. There were actually many cats roaming around the building for mice control. Another great thing about Granada was that for every drink you bought, you would get a free tapa, or small portion of food. This is great for college kids! I saw the Cathedral and actually went to Mass there on Sunday. It was nice to see such a bright church compared to the gothics styles that are so popular. On the busride home we were stuck in traffic for an unknown reason, but we all got home safe and sound.

In March, three other girls and myself will be traveling to London, which should be a good time.

Overall, Granada was a nice place to visit, but it was so nice to get back to Sevilla. On our way walking home we passed a string quartet and Clara said I was three feet away from Prince William?

Paqui gave us a large dinner as usual and I got a good nite´s sleep.

I´ll post pictures tomorrow!

Hasta Luego!