Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! I hope that you all can track all of my travels in Spain, and live it with me (although sitting on your computer looking at the pictures won't be as cool as taking them myself) Let the journey begin!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hello Ronda!

So far, the city of Ronda has been my favorite school trip. Cordoba's beauty is in their incredible mosque and cathedral. Toledo's beauty can be summed up by its medieval town feel. Both have their own cons, but I think that Ronda definitely out weighs them all. Ronda's attractiveness comes from its nature. It’s beautiful views and bridges

The city got the name 'Ronda' back from when the Celts founded the city and called it 'Aronda', which means surrounded by mountains. Just like most cities in Andalucia (the southern regions of Spain) there is a strong and rich history between the Christians and Moors. The city sits in a very strategic location. It sits on the top of the ridge, and the views are phenomenal. You can see for what seems like a hundred miles. 

The city itself is not huge, but it is so compact. Most houses have balcony's that overlook the 100+ ft cliffs everywhere around the city. Possibly the reason why I enjoyed this trip so much was the fact that we had mainly free time. Most trips, the teachers take us into cathedrals and talk all about them. I enjoy that don't get me wrong, but the talks can get kind of winded. Also, I'd never thought I'd say this but I'm kind of sick of seeing cathedrals. 

When we first arrived, we headed over to the famous bullring in Ronda. Ronda is amongst the top 3 cities known for their bull fights in Spain, behind Madrid and Sevilla I believe.  The ring is built out of stone, which is very unique to Ronda. Also, apparently it was in Ronda where bullfighters we know now in day were born. Bullfighters used to fight on top of horse, but it was here that the bullfighter first fought on foot.

Following the bullring, we had about 3-4 hours to wander around. The professors specifically said not to cross the stone bridge into the other part of town because they wanted to do the honors with us. But being the rebel that I am, me and a group of hikers crossed the bridge. Shout out to Randy Troyer for telling me that there was a water fall below, because if I didn’t know, I would never had seen true Ronda. This is most likely why I liked Ronda so much, the hiking. There are paths that lead straight down to the bottom of the bridge. The path is pretty scary, and steep. You practically are hugging the wall on one side, and then on the other side you have a huge drop off. It was totally worth it though. We even found a cave that went into the mountain. Caves are always fun, until you can’t see anything and step in mud.  Paths led everywhere on the side of the cliffs. We just explored like little children, it was so fun. Tyler and I even hiked all the way down to the base of the waterfall, which was quite dangerous, but it’s ok, no one died.  All throughout the hike, you have this awesome view. Even at the foot of the waterfall, you are still high up in the mountains and can see for miles and miles into the distance.

I tried to take plenty of pictures of the view, but once again pictures just don’t do it justice. Feel free to look at the picture on facebook because I have more uploaded there. 

One of the many lookouts 

The bullring

The part of town where we were suppose to stay and not cross

On the hike down, you can see the waterfall below

This bridge never gets old

At the base of the bridge, almost to the waterfall

All of the water was crystal clear. 

La catarata (waterfall)

Taylor is in Spain?!!

So, as most of you already know, Taylor came to visit me in Spain. Originally Taylor was going to surprise me and just show up in Spain. But since I had no idea she was coming, I had already bought tickets to Majorca Island for that same weekend, and eventually Taylor had to tell me she was coming, or else I'd be gone while she was here. But if she would have just showed up on my front doorstep and I wouldn't had known, I probably would have had a heart attack. Swoshhhhh.

Taylor's visit came and went in the blink of the eye. It was such a short time that she was able to come, but it was so worth it. I'm a believer that while you are in Spain, time here goes twice as fast as it goes in the States. So the 5 days that she was here, seems like 2 or 3 days. It was ridiculous how fast.

Thankfully Taylor wasn't traveling alone. She was traveling with two friends from Asbury as well. After Taylor had arrived and we were sitting outside of her hostal that first day, I remember me saying out loud to Taylor "Is this really you? Are your really sitting here in Spain with me?" It just didn't hit me till then.

A lot was done in those 5 days that Taylor was here. Lots of exploring, lots of cooking good meal (my new recipe: pasta and chicken with garlic and mushrooms), and of course hair cutting. The last thing mentioned was something that I needed done badly. My hair was long, and since I didn't want to spend money to get it cut, why not have Taylor do it. I was more enthused about the haircut than Taylor was. She wasn't so sure about it. I kept saying "It's ok, you really can't make it that bad" And "If it looks bad we can just buzz it". So I practically gave her no pressure, but I was just as nervous as she was. After an hour or so, the hair was cut and it looks perfect! except for that one spot in the back that is missing hair, no jk, it looks great Taylor! Thanks!

AS for the explore and site seeing I felt like such an expert of the city when Taylor was here. Wherever we would be walking around I'd be telling her random facts about the architecture of the cathedral when it was built, art work, history behind a lot of things etc. It goes to show that I'm actually learning stuff in school, and that I'm not just here on vacation (although Taylor thinks otherwise) ha. We were able to go inside the cathedral, we visited the Plaza de Espana, got to feed the pigeons out of our hands at the Plaza de Americas, hung out down by the river and had a picnic, and for the highlight we even got to go into the oldest still in use royal palace of Europe, the Alcazar.

The royal palace in Sevilla

The duck in the Royal Palace that followed us around

Inside the gardens

She is quite the model

Don't go Taylor!!!
I enjoyed every second that Taylor was here. As she left she said "8 more weeks, no big deal". It is crazy to think that I'm half way done with the semester. Like I said earlier, times flies 2 or 3 times faster here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Trip to Toledo, Spain…not Ohio

Last week was definitely what school should be for everyone every week. I got back from my Italy trip on Wednesday, so I missed all of classes that day. I went to school on Thursday, and then Friday at 6 am was our school trip to Toledo. I had a 1 day week, and it was glorious.  I really shouldn’t be blogging right now because I have test tomorrow, but like a good student I’m procrastinating a little bit more.

We were on the bus by 6:15ish and off to Toledo. Toledo was one of the first cities conquered back by the Christian king Alonso II from the moors during the Spanish ‘reconquista’ (one bad thing about learning everything in Spanish is that I don’t know what the term is in English).  I was a very crucial city from then forth for the Spanish kings.

Toledo has a very medieval environment still. A very distinct fell to it than Seville. Toledo sits on a hill, still surrounded by walls. The alleyways are all tiny and mainly consists of cobblestone streets. 

On the way to Toledo it is a school tradition to stop at these windmills right outside of Toledo. The windmills are pretty old and are no longer used. This location is in Cervantes book Don Quijote where Don Quijote thinks that the windmills are giants and fights them. Pretty interesting, they look like windmills to me.

My sister and me

Toledo is very well known for their sword makings. All of the major swords from movies such as Lord of the Rings (which that is Aragorns sword that I'm holding), 300, Gladiator, Robin Hood, Nights of the Round Table, Sword in the Stone and many more swords from movies are made in Toledo. Also, random fact, Toledo makes all of the swords for the US Marines. 
One of Toledo's best building of course was their Gothic Cathedral. This cathedral was one of the  first built and is purely Gothic architecture. They were sticklers about not taking pictures inside of the cathedral for some reason so I didn't get many pictures. I only took a few sneaky ones.
One of my sneaky photos inside the cathedral. This stain glass was to good not to take a picture of
Most of the city wall still remains intact and standing. We had some free time after seeing the cathedral to explore a little bit. This just adds to the medieval feel to the city.
Before leaving Toledo, the bus took us to this incredible look out of the city. I tried to get a panorama of the city and it came out pretty good. That being said, pictures just don't do it justice.