Monday, April 30, 2007

The European Amazing Race: Father and Daughter Team

April 29th Friday
Picked up Dad at the airport and headed to his hostal in Seville, Lis II.
There was a bit of confusion and the employee thought we would have to move to their other hostal, but thankfully he mistook me for someone else!
We took an extensive tour of the city and I was surprised Dad was up for all of it, but with expresso, anything is possible.
For lunch, Dad had Paella for the first time, a rice dish with sea food, meat, and vegetables. It was definitely enough for both of us!
We went to the Alcazar, Plaza de España, the River, the Feria grounds as they were setting up, Barrio Santa Cruz (the Jewish Quarter), and my Casa.

By the end of the day, Dad had drank three espressos and the Sevillian beer, CruzCampo which he enjoyed very much!

At night we walked by the well-lit Cathedral, called Mom, and stopped in at a baroque chapel for Perpetual Adoration.

April 21st Saturday
Breakfast was chocolate y churros and a tea for Dad at a bar across from his hostal.
We toured some more of the city seeing the neighborhood, la Macarena where we stopped at the Basilica de la Macarena and also the Parliament building.

Then we headed in the opposite direction to go through the Cathedral and up 34 ramps to the top of La Giralda.

For lunch Dad tried a Bocadillo (sandwich) of the Jamón Serrano (Cured Ham), while I enjoyed the Tortilla Española.
We went for ice cream at a well known ice cream shop, Rayas and then for coffee at the Lourve Café.

It was raining a bit as we headed towards Hospital de los Venerables, a place that was used for retired priests.

That night, Dad met some of my friends, Amanda and Liz and we ate Italian in Spain!

April 22nd Sunday
I went to get Dad in the morning to head off to Mass at the Cathedral, only to find that he was still sleeping!
He got ready very quickly and we were on our way.
We ate breakfast at La Campana, a well known pastry shop, and enjoyed some fresh orange juice.

Then we headed to Museo de Bellas Artes. Outside, like every Sunday, were artists selling their paintings.

Then we headed to Casa de Pilatos, where we found out some interesting information on a tour.

The building happened to be the first of the fourteen stations and we decided to make the trek to the end where we came to a stone cross, which, years back was located in a field...thus called Cruz del Campo. (Also the name of the beer of Seville).

After that, we went on a wild goose chase to find the Opus Dei center here in Seville in order to find a Latin Mass. A friend of mine had pointed it out to me in passing once, but I couldn´t find it again!

We ate dinner at Dos de Mayo, a new bar near my place and stood outside eating some great tapas consisting of bacalao, shrimp, and a few other items. Of course, there was bread as always!

April 23rd Monday
Dad really had a desire to see the Mesquita in Cordoba and I was happy to revisit the city, so we took an EARLY 7:30 bus to Cordoba.

We visited the Mesquita and walked around the beautiful winding streets of the city.
We bought food to make sandwiches and ate in the gardens in front of Cordoba´s Alcazar.

We caught the bus back to Seville and ate at a tapas bar near my school, La Gitana.
Afterwards we walked to the Feria to see the turning on of the lights at midnight. We tried the rebujitos, a drink of a mixture of Manzanilla and Sprite.

April 24th Tuesday
We had a few errands to run before heading off to Lisbon at three.
Dad met Susan, who took care of me while I was sick.
Dad also met Paqui, which was a fun experience as I was able to act as the translator.

We then bought food for sandwiches and headed off on a six hour bus ride to Lisbon.
The scenery was very pretty and we got into Lisbon late.
After taking a wrong turn, we found our hotel and dropped off our things.
We walked around a bit and Dad found a great restaurant that gave you a large plate of food for a great price. The waitress luckily spoke a little English as we didn´t speak any Portuguese and she taught us how to say thank you.

April 25th Wednesday
Woke up early and took Lisbon´s confusing metro to the bus station and from there we headed off to Fatima, about an hour and a half away.
We went to Confessions, which they were doing in many languages and we attend a large Mass outside.
It was very beautiful and interesting to see so many different types of Catholics from all over the world.

We went to Lisbon´s Cathedral, which had some really neat excavations, and St. George´s Castle, which gave us a great view of the whole city. We ran into some people from Minnesota there also!

That night, Dad brought me to a very nice restaurant where the food was excellent! It was a pretty fancy place and the waiters were all very friendly.

April 26th Thursday
We got up early in the morning and ate a great breakfast that Dom Sancho provided and then took a taxi to the airport to catch our flight to Barcelona.
Once there, we found our hotel, Ronda Lesseps.
That day we visited la Sagrada Familia, an amazing church being built according to the style of Gaudi. We went inside and even went up an elevator to get an even closer look at the unique design.
Dad called Mom from nearby and then we bought lunch to eat in a park behind the church by a pond and some older Spanish men playing bocce ball.
While walking around we passed their bullring and entered into the Gothic Quarter and found a beautiful park with a waterfall and a mammoth, on which I climbed up upon for a picture!

We came across Barcelona´s Arc de Triumph a bit later and walked around the city some more.

Then at night we checked out Park Güell and realized it was quite a hike up. Luckily we found the side that had about five outdoor escalators! We only went up and back down as it was late and the park was closed, but it was pretty high up and we got a great view of part of the city!

April 27th Friday

We took a day to sleep in a bit and enjoyed a good breakfast at a café nearby called IncaBurger, where we enjoyed cafe con leche quite a few times before.

We headed back to Park Güell and walked around. The park was beautiful with sculptures that blended in and made the park look very artsy. We went into the Gaudi Musuem which displayed items from his house and other items of interest. He was far ahead of his time in his style!
The park also had some neat craft markets going on and also people selling their paintings.

We then checked out of the hotel and went to another one closer to the center of the city. We took the metro quite often as the city is huge!

We went down Las Ramblas, a lengthy street filled with tents selling animals, paintings, jewlery, and anything else imaginable.

We went to the Christopher Colombus Monument, which we were able to go up to the top of. There was another great view of the city, 360 degrees.

Nearby, we walked by the Marina, where Dad touched the Mediterranean and we sat on some lawn chairs on the beach. Then we realized that they charged five euros for them and promptly got off!

Dad found a great place for lunch where it seemed the locals liked to go and we got to sit in a backroom and watch about five older Spanish men play dominos in the room next door while sending our way plenty of smoke!

Then we went to the Cathedral where nearby was an Archives museum. I realized how skillfull people´s penmanship was in the past.

We took a little rest at the hostal and then got our dinner and brought it to watch the Magic Fountain. It was a fun water show and we sat on the steps of the Art Museum of Barcelona watching the colorful display of colors, music, and water.

Afterwards we decided to climb up all the stairs and we realized how high up we really were! I had heard about something called Poble Español and thought it was a Spanish town. We found it but it was different than what I had thought. It was actually built for a World Exposition and was a life size imitation of a Spanish town with all different elements from different cities in Spain. We got there around 10 pm and went in as it didn´t close until 3am. During the day there are craft shops. It was nice to walk around it at night when everything was closed and there weren´t too many people.

Then we hiked back down and took the metro to la Sagrada Familia to see it lit up at night. You could see even more of the details on the outside of the building.

April 28th Saturday

We ate breakfast at the café, IncaBurger and then headed to Park Güell again to find a sculpture of a lizard I thought was supposed to be there.
Once we found it, I took a picture of course and then we took the Metro to the sea to walk around some more.
We went down La Rambla again and encountered more tents and more street performers: a magician, statues, and some guys that looked like they were going to do something acrobatic but they took too long to warm up so lots of people left. Also by the sea we listened to a band that had a really unique sound. We ended up seeing them later on the plane back to Seville too!

We walked back to the hostal to get our bags and then headed to the airport. We accidentally took the metro the wrong way. Luckily we weren´t in a rush!

Then we waited in a plaza for the bus to the airport and enjoyed some good old ice cream from McDonalds.

Once we got back to Seville, we stopped for a dinner to go at a place called 100 Montaditos, a shopped that sells a hundred different types of small sandwiches.

April 29th Sunday
We went to Mass at the Cathedral in the morning and had breakfast at Monaditos.
I packed up one of my suitcases for Dad to bring back and then we went down by the river where Dad took a nap and I did my homework for the next day.

Then we went to the Feria grounds and walked around some until it was time to head over to the bullfight.
I bought a hat before hand as we were sitting in the sunny section. The bullfight was VERY exciting. A torero was gored, there was a defect bull, and even a bull that received more applause than the torero because he was so strong.

For dinner we went to Montaditos and then we took a walk around the Cathedral.
Dad picked up some donuts for us a a shop nearby and then we stopped in at the Eucharistic Adoration which goes on at all hours.

Dad walked me home and we said our goodbyes. I had such a great time with him! Everything went by at light speed and I´m so glad he helped me with compiling these memories!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Semana Santa

More Semana Santa Photos:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


I´ve taken a few short videos while here in Spain with my camera. To view them go to:
Hope you enjoy them!

Semana Santa


Semana Santa has begun full swing here in Seville and I must say, I’m enjoying it immensely. It began on Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos. On Sunday, I went to 12pm Mass with my Senora at la iglesia de San Lorenzo. We sat towards the back as there were hardly any seats. The church was packed and it was hard to concentrate as people kept coming into the church to look at the floats, in Spanish, pasos, and then they left. It was frustrating because while such an important event as the Mass was happening, it became secondary to the floats with statues. It was so crowded in the church that I wasn’t even able to get to Communion in time.
My Senora gave me the traditional blessed olive branch, as she said palms would be too expensive to give to everyone. On the main alter however, there were some beautiful palms that were made into detailed designs. The two floats in the church were exquisite with statues that are quite realistic and life size. The bases are covered in flowers, gold, candles, and miniature statues.
Afterwards, my senora and her sister invited me to take a walk with them. We stopped into a café, Dos D Mayo, and had a small bite and drinks. They ordered a plate of croquetas, which are small fried balls filled with a thick, creamy blend of meat and cheese. I had peach juice, which is something I found that’s very good here in Seville after they offered it to me in the hospital.
After strolling around a bit, Paqui showed me where her seats are for Semana Santa and then we headed back to the casa. We stopped at the panaderia, bread shop, and she bought her bread for the day and I bought this pastry that was delicious. It was a long powdered donut filled with a thick custard. Reminded me a lot of long johns from home.
I went out to try and watch some of the pasos, but as I didn’t yet buy a booklet, I had no clue which ones were where and what time. The streets were packed and it’s quite a puzzle to figure out the best way to get to your destination. I would go down one street, just to turn back around because it was packed or there were police that restricted access.
I got a hold of my friend Maria, who lives in Seville and loves Semana Santa. When I met up with her, she and her friends were all dressed up. They were in dresses and dangerously high heels. Semana Santa is the time when everyone brings out their spring clothes and dress up to watch the floats.
We walked around for a bit, catching a couple floats passing by and then we headed to the shoe store of Maria’s friend. Her friend’s family owns this shoe store with balconies that face the Cathedral. An amazing and perfect location.
I had such a good time meeting Maria’s friends and watching the floats enter the Cathedral. It was interesting being around a group of people close to my age, and only hearing spanish. I'm quite a talker as most of you know, but I felt so silent around everyone. I could understand most of what was being said, but formulating anything to add to the conversations was difficult because it takes me a bit to figure out in my head what I want to say. I think the problem is I'm thinking of too complicated of things to say, that I would readily say in English. But trying to translate them into spanish is another thing. Her friend, Pilar, was extremely nice and served us tons of good food.
Maria pointed out that a lot of people like to touch the floats, which she doesn’t like, because it ruins them, taking off the gold coating. Also, I could see children taking balls and holding them under the candles of the Nazarenos, the people who wear the outfits we recognize as being similar to the KKK, although they are definitely NOT! Maria said that the children collect wax over the years to remember Semana Santa. Also, some of the Nazerenos hand out candy to children. It depends on how strict the Hermandad is and what they allow. A Hermandad is a brotherhood, group of people that belong to a certain church and each Hermandad has approximately two floats, one of the Virgen Mary and one of Jesus Christ. For example la Hermandad de los Estudiantes belongs to el Rectorado de la Universidad. They have two pasos, El Cristo de la Buena Muerte (Christ of the Good Death) and la Virgen de la Angustia (Virgen of Anguish). They also have about 1,500 Nazarenos.
Alter watching the pasos for a time at Maria’s friend’s, we left to save a good spot to watch La Virgen de la Amargura which was to pass at one o’clock. Maria really wanted to see this one because they bring the Virgen past a convent, where it stops. The doors of the convent open, and the nuns sing to the Virgin. It was a really beautiful sight and gave me goosebumps. Maria even cried and said she always gets emotional for this one.
Watching statues of Blessed Virgin and Jesus pass to the sounds of the bands give you a feeling of devotion that’s contagious. All the floats are carried by men called costaleros. There are about fifty under the float and carry them for approximately eight hours. Also, at certain points, everyone becomes silent and you can hear what they call a Saeta. It is a flamenco style of singing and is very expressive, unlike any style of music I heard before.
I arrived home at around three in the morning. I must say, Semana Santa in Seville is a wonder. The amount of people, the traditions, and the spirit will remain forever as cherished memories.