[USC|BCN] Barcelona Study Abroad Exhibition & Reception

The shape/pattern is a reproduction of the geometries of the masterplan for Barcelona’s modern expansion, designed by Ildefons Cerda in 1859. More on that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eixample

Images: http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&safe=off&q=l’eixample&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1280&bih=709

Michael’s photomosaic – made up of hundreds of small pictures (from the trip), arranged by a program to make the larger image:

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Travel Graphics, TRON style

So I wanted to make a map of my travels. Then I saw Tron. This is what happened:

Since I did bit of traveling a few summers ago, I thought I’d do another one for that trip:

Then I put them together, to see how much I’ve covered over the last 2.5 years:

Not too bad. If you ask me though, there is still a lot of uncharted territory. Thanks to everyone who made it all possible, especially my mom and dad.

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Our place in Barcelona

We returned to warm and sunny Barcelona for two days after our southern Spain excursion. We pretty much spent the whole time packing up our things, going out one last night, and saying goodbyes. As we were doing so, I realized I never took any pictures of our apartment or studio work space. So, here you go.

Our apartment was located near Plaza de Sants, in the Sants district of Barcelona. A 3 minute walk to the grocery store, 5 minute walk to the metro, 10 minute walk to the main train station, and a 20 minute walk to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home stadium. Pretty awesome location. Out apartment had 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, one entry foyer (mainly just a hallway), and a living room / kitchen.

When you walk in, this is what you see – the entry is to the right of the frame, and the door to Michael and my’s room is directly behind the camera. Ben and Yoav’s room is the door on the left, bathroom in the middle, and living room / kitchen on the right.

The tiny room that Michael and I shared:

The (much larger) room that Ben and Yoav shared:

Walking into the living room / kitchen area. That’s a futon (folded back) underneath the window:

The rest of the living room / kitchen area. We spent nearly all of our time sitting at that tiny glass table on our computers:

The apartments were very nice, but they also had a lot of problems:

1) You can’t tell in the pictures, but the kitchen sink is placed in the corner of the counter space – so you can’t ever stand directly in front of it. You had to wedge yourself in the corner of the kitchen to use it – so annoying.

2) The washer/dryer combo unit didn’t actually dry anything, hence the drying rack on the right from the euro store.

3) There was only enough hot water at any given time for about 1.25 quick showers. Nowhere near enough.

4) The front door had no operable knob, so you had to use the key to open it every single time. As a result, we left our doors ajar a lot, and subsequently got yelled at by the management for having our doors open and “talking too loud and letting our food smells out into the hallway”…

5) The beds were terribly uncomfortable.

6) The air conditioning broke during a heat wave, so the inside of the apartment was about 90F for a little while.

7) Bad lighting – not good for when we had to work a lot – which was pretty much all the time.

But despite all of that, we were grateful to just have all of those things in the first place.

We spent 99% of our time split between our apartment and our class space – studio. Located in the old town very near the historic Las Ramblas street, our studio was in a great place. On average, it would take about 30 minutes to get there from our apartments, with about a 5 minute walk to the metro station, 12 minute metro ride, and then another 12 minute walk to studio. I filmed the journey one day, and Michael processed it into a short time-lapse video, with real audio as well. It turned out super shaky, but you get the idea of our daily commute as we leave our apartment and head to studio for class one day:

Studio, from Yoav:

The room was twice as big as this picture shows – the other end  was a our lecture space, with a projector and rows of chairs. In between, on the side, was our printing room and the professors’ office. Here’s the view from the balcony, overlooking Portaferrissa, our street that connects to Las Ramblas down to the left:

That pretty much sums up our daily life in Barcelona. Lots of class, lots of work in the apartments. There was a little time for fun in between too, I guess.

We all went our own ways on December 8th, when the program officially ended. Some people flew out to Italy, others to France, and some stayed in Barcelona. Michael, Yoav and I didn’t have flights out until the 9th, so we booked a room in the new Toyo Ito hotel for the night:

It’s only 10 months old, so it’s pretty much empty. I think there may have been one other room booked in the entire hotel while we were there. It was super nice and fancy, but it was very reasonably priced because it’s so empty. Our room was up on the 17th floor, right by the gym and spa. Unfortunately we waited too long and they were closed when we tried to use them. But the room was great and modern, with very comfortable beds.

The bathroom was probably the coolest part. It was basically two fritted glass volumes (one for the shower and one for the toilet) on either side of the vanity in the middle. The doors to the shower and toilet swung 180 degrees, so you could either use them as separate rooms, or fold them all the way back and conceal the vanity, making the shower, toilet and vanity all part of the same private bathroom. Pretty cool.

The next morning, the three of us took a cab to the airport. We weren’t expecting it to be a ton of money, since we deliberately booked a hotel that was closer to the airport. However, we were a few minutes late down to the lobby, so the meter was already running when we got into the car. The fee had grown to around 22 euro by the time we reached the terminal. But then the driver added all of the charges for the extra bags that we had. The total? 35 euros. They charge for every bag that they have to put in their car. Considering we each had 3 bags, with everything we lived with for the past 4 months, we had a lot of stuff. Not cool. So we had to pull together all of our remaining money to pay the guy. And I mean all of it, down to the 20 cent pieces.

Anyways, we all made it to our flights, after being forced to pay for an extra checked bag (which somehow wasn’t a problem on the way over…).  And back to sunny Los Angeles I went.

Adios, Barcelona.

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Southern Spain: Merida & Sevilla

From Cordoba, we departed for Merida, a smaller city located a couple of hours northwest of Cordoba. It is mostly known for its abundance of Roman ruins, most notable of which being an old bridge and several miles of aqueducts. Unfortunately, the most notable thing while we were there was the terrible weather. Freezing rain was just about normal for the day and a half we spent in the city. But we did get to see a fair number of ruins and modern architecture so it wasn’t all bad.

We started off walking around parts of the old city, sort of stumbling upon the ruins of the Temple of Diana and later the Arch of Trajan. Both are part of the historical Roman Forum (1st century B.C.) that has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We then made our way to the ruins of the major aqueduct in city. The size of the structures was absolutely incredible.

We only had time to see the aqueduct at night, so here’s a link to some better pictures – http://bit.ly/fEGboR.

We stopped by one of Calatrava’s bridges on the way back to the hotel:

The next morning, before heading out to Sevilla, we visited the 1st century B.C. Roman Bridge as well as the new National Museum of Roman Art by none other than Rafael Moneo.

The museum was a very cool project. The super tall brick arches and traversing walkways seemed to combine the old and new styles in an interesting and effective way. It was free the day we went, but it would definitely be worth the entry fee any other day as well.

We sloshed back to the bus in the pouring rain and eventually made it to Sevilla a few hours later. The ride was just long enough for our socks to dry. However, the weather was no different in Sevilla so they just got soaked again as soon as we stepped off the bus.

Sevilla was a city that I think I need to go back and visit at a different time of year. It was a really nice city a diverse set of neighborhoods and mixture of old and new things. But it’s not a lot of fun when you’re wandering around for 45 minutes in the cold and pouring rain looking for a place to eat, only to find out that lots of places are closed because of a long holiday being observed that week. So, regardless of a lot of things, Sevilla seemed like it would be a pretty cool place to spend some time when the weather was better. Unfortunately for us, we had to do all of our visits in the pouring rain, huddled under umbrellas. But it let up every once in a while, allowing us to move from place to place and even get a little sketching in.

The first evening we spent in the city, we did a brief walking tour with Sophia, catching a glimpse of some of the things we would be visiting the next day. We saw the main cathedral, the outside of the Alcazar, some of the old government buildings, and town squares.  The weather cut our walk short, and we all scrambled to find food and warmth before calling it a night.

The next morning we went straight to the Alcazar of Sevilla (“Alcázares Reales de Sevilla). Like the palace and gardens of the Alcazar in Cordoba, only bigger and more extravagant. Fortunately, for once, the rain let up while we were exploring the gardens, so we spent several hours wandering about, with a little drawing in between:

Yoav and Van in the hedge maze:

After the alcazar, we then headed across the plaza to Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede). Wikipedia tells me it is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third largest cathedral in the world. I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but I have to say, it was pretty massive. So massive that I couldn’t even get the whole thing into one photograph:

Inside is Christopher Columbus’ tomb:

From the inside you can access the bell tower, which is a converted minaret from the times of the Moorish rule, when a mosque occupied the site of the existing church. Called the Giralda, the tower is over 100m tall and is the most visible icon of the city. The only way to get up to the top is to walk the ramp lining the inside of the structure. No stairs, no elevators. It’s a pretty long climb, but well worth the effort. The view from the top is spectacular.

One of the most interesting parts of the church is the roof. It’s made up of  a series of sloping concrete surfaces, mainly formed in that way for water drainage purposes:

View down into one of the adjacent plazas:

The orange grove on the side of the cathedral was a really cool space as well. It had an intricate network of channels designed into the brickwork on the ground, acting as irrigation channels for all of the orange trees:

We stopped by the Torre de Oro (Tower of Gold), the famous old military watchtower, on the way back to the hostel:

After dinner, everyone met up at a bar across town to watch some authentic Flamenco dancing. Since it was free, it probably wasn’t the best group of performers in the city, however, we all agreed that it was a pretty awesome thing to see. The singing, clapping, stomping, and spinning mesmerized the packed bar and were met with huge cheers at even the slightest pause. I didn’t bring my camera out that night, so I don’t have any pictures. If I get a hold of some from the others, I’ll post them at some point. But, I highly recommend seeing a show if you are ever find yourself in Sevilla. As it was our last night on the trip, we all hung around the bar long after the show was over, recounting good times and laughing a lot, trying to forget the fact that we would all be going separate ways in the next 2 days.

The following morning we caught our early morning flight back to Barcelona.

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Southern Spain: Cordoba

We arrived in Cordoba in time to grab a quick lunch before heading out to see the important sights of the city. We only had  one night in Cordoba so we only had time to see the big things. After passing by a few Roman ruins in the middle of the city, we ended up at La Mezquita, the huge mosque/church that is the main attraction of Cordoba. Construction started in the middle of the 7th century, under the Visigoth rule, but shortly after, the city was taken over by the Moors. This started the struggle for the building’s true identity. Subsequent Moorish rulers kept adding onto the mosque, growing it to more than double its original size. The traditional minaret and orange grove were added during this time as well.

After the Christians reconquered Cordoba in the 13th century, efforts started to convert the giant mosque back into a Christian church as the Visigoths had originally planned. So under the supervision of some of Europe’s most powerful monarchs (ie. Carlos Quinto), a church was plopped down right in the middle of the mosque, fitting into the existing geometry and protruding through the roof of the original building.

We studied this building in our architectural history classes, but nothing can prepare you for your first hand visit. It is so enormous and elaborately detailed – it blew me away. Outside of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, this was my favorite place that we visited.

Here are some pictures of the inside:

It was very hard to draw…:

The grid of columns seems to go on forever, only to be interrupted by the church that sits right in the middle:

Because it’s most recent function has been as a church, La Mezquita is actually referred to as a cathedral and not a mosque. However there has been a huge debate over how it should properly be named because of the significance both culturally and physically of it as a mosque.

After spending several hours at La Mezquita, we went do the street to the Alcazar of Cordoba. It’s the old Christian fortress that houses some amazing gardens:

The next morning we stopped by the old Roman bridge (1st century B.C.) before heading to the Azahara Medina Museum. We didn’t have enough time to make it up to the medina, but the museum was very new and informative so we enjoyed that instead:

After our brief visit here, we got back on the bus and set out for Merida.

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Field Studies: Southern Spain Edition

…and so continues my effort to finish blogging about my semester abroad as I sit in my warm room at home on Mercer Island.

Continuing from the last post, we arrived back in Barcelona from Lisbon at around midnight. The following morning we had to meet our professor back at the airport to catch our flight to Granada. Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep that night, with all the packing and cleaning that had to be done. By that point however, we were all pretty used to not getting much sleep, so it worked out just fine.

After settling into our hotel, Sophia took us on a walk around Granada, ultimately ending up in the Albaicin. The Albaicin is the old Moorish quarter of the city, which sits up on a hill, offering the best views of La Alhambra, the main attraction of the city.

The weather was pretty bad, mostly overcast and rainy. We got to an Alhambra lookout point and stopped to do a quick sketch. It was almost pitch black at this point so our sketches turned out to be, well, sketchy.

On our way back down through the medina, it started to rain so we stopped into a small coffee shop for some hot drinks and snacks. It was nice and warm inside so we ended up staying and chatting quite some time. Eventually we made our way back to the hotel for a fairly early evening by our Barcelona standards.

The next morning we got up early to go visit the inside of the Alhambra. We had a specific 2 or 3 hour window that we could visit, since they limit the number of people who can be inside at one time.

The paths leading up to the palaces:

Just to give you an idea of how steep those paths actually were… this is a flat bench:

The Alhambra is the main reason people come to Granada. Generally speaking, it is a collection of fortified buildings that sit atop a hill overlooking the rest of the city. Construction started in the 14th century, with the main goal being to create a palace for the Moorish rulers that held power in the region at that time. Eventually it grew into a small and contained, but fully self-supportive, city. A portion of the Darro River was diverted several miles upstream so that a new man-made canal would provide the top of the hill with a constant supply of water. This allowed farming and gardens to be maintained within the Alhambra walls in a portion called the Generalife.

As power shifted hands and the Catholics took over in the late 15th century, more buildings were built within the walls. Most noticeably, unfortunately, is a giant square palace building for Carlos Quinto. Anyways, here are some pictures from inside some of the many rooms/courtyards:

Unfortunately, one of the most impressive spaces was under heavy renovations. The Court of the Lions (Patio de los Leones) is probably the most iconic image of the Alhambra. In the center of the main courtyard is traditionally where the Fountain of Lions is supposed to sit. However in order to preserve them, the lions were moved indoors to a place where you can’t take pictures. So you’ll just have to go visit and see them for yourself. But here’s a link to more info about it all – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_of_the_Lions. This is what it looked like during our visit:

Still very impressive, but not quite the same.

Everything about the art and architecture behind the Alhambra has a meaning to it. The organization and proportioning is based on mathematics and geometry. Some of the more simple ideas:

And these showed up everywhere. Here’s some detailing from one of the doors:

I sat down on the opposite side of this pool, to the side, and did a quick sketch. Drawing in freezing temperatures isn’t the easiest thing, especially with the occasional spray from the heavy rain pounding the marble floors right next to where I was sitting.

 

The view out over the Albaicin:

We then headed out to the gardens and the Generalife (all still within the walls of the Alhambra):

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the city, through the old markets and squares. None of which seemed very picture worthy after spending the morning at the Alhambra though.

The next day we visited some of the new buildings on the edges of the city. One of them was the Centro Cultural: Memoria de Andalucia – basically the history and culture of the southern region of Spain.

It was hugely monolithic, both in form and material (it was almost all concrete with a little bit of glass). None-the-less it was an interesting building with a cool interior courtyard with double-spiraling walkways, that of course were closed due to weather. The museum part was incredibly modern and interactive (admission was something like 3.50). We only had about an hour so we had to rush through it.

That afternoon we had a private lecture (in Spanish!) by a Spanish architect, Antonio Gamiz Gordo, who specializes in research and analysis of historical buildings of Andalusia, such as the Alhambra. It was a very informative and interesting lecture, but I think that my favorite part was the view from the school/library back at the Alhambra…

The next morning we set out, by train, for Cordoba. It was about a 2.5 hour ride, most of which was spent sleeping.

More on Cordoba and La Mezquita in the next post. Merida and Sevilla coming soon.

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Portugal: Porto and Lisbon

The remainder of our open days were spent making the Thanksgiving feast, that I posted about before – https://dinneratmidnight.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/happy-thanksgivin/, as well as a side trip to Portugal with some of the group. It was a pretty quick trip since we had to be back in time to depart for southern Spain with Sophia and the rest of the group. We spent one night in Porto and one night Lisbon, but packed the days full of as much stuff as possible.

After arriving in Porto and checking into our hostel, we set out to explore the city. Porto is built up on the banks of the Douro River, making it a really interesting city topographically. The main part of the city sits up on a hill over the river, with switchback roads and trails leading down the river.

The passages lead down to the base of the Ponte Luiz I, the main bridge that crossed the Douro. The top roadbed is restricted to pedestrian and tram traffic while the bottom is open to cars.

Just past the bridge is the old part of town along the river, where we ate a later (delicious) lunch:

We then headed back to the hostel to get changed to go the show at the Casa da Musica. This was the main reason we wanted to come to Porto. The Casa da Musica is a new grand concert hall designed by none other than Mr. Koolhaas at OMA. We’ve seen it in school and heard rave reviews from friends who had been, so we decided to experience it for ourselves. We got tickets for the Gulbenkian Orchestra, a visiting symphony orchestra from Lisbon. It was a classical concert featuring soloist Christian Tetzlaff on violin. The concert itself was pretty good, but the real reason we wanted to go was to see the building. So here it is:

Inside the main performance hall:

The view from our seats:

Packed house:

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures or video during the show.

After the show we got dinner down the street from Casa – we didn’t want to walk too far because it was absolutely freezing out. Around 0° C. I have to say that the food in Portugal was some of the best we had during the entire semester.

The next morning we got up to explore the town some more. We walked back to the Ponte Luiz I, this time crossing to the other side. There was still a ton of fog hovering in the river valley that morning, so it made for some interesting pictures:

We stopped for some lunch at one of the small cafes on the river. We got some traditional Portuguese food, which was delicious and inexpensive. I got the Francesinhas, a sandwich packed with sausage, ham, beef and cheese, all covered in more cheese and some sort of mild tomato sauce:

Another popular dish was the chorizo, served over a flaming pot:

After lunch we visited two wineries to learn more about Port wines and have some free samples of the locally made product. Dalva and Croft both had free samplings, which subsequently turned into a few souvenir purchases because of how good they were. Pretty effective marketing I would say. Here are some pictures from Croft:

After the wineries we headed back to the hostel to collect our things and catch the bus to Lisbon. An express bus leaves from Porto every hour and takes 3.5 hours to get to Lisbon for €18. Not a bad deal, plus the bus had free Wifi.

We got into Lisbon in the evening, and really only had time to find a place for dinner and eat. Of course, we too our time because the food was so good, and it was pouring rain and cold outside.

The next morning we got up in the morning and set out to visit the great monastery on the edge of the city, the Jerónimos Monastery:

But is was Monday, so it was closed. So we went down the street to the famous pastry shop Casa Pastéis de Belém, where we got some of the famous Lisbon egg tarts called Pastel de Nata:

We passed by the Monumento aos Descobrimentos, a monument to Portuguese who contributed to the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries:

After heading back into town, we walked up the main hill to visit St. George’s Castle. It’s kind of a trek, but well worth it. The castle sits at the very top of the hill overlooking the whole city and its port.

After the castle, we had to head back to the hostel to get our bags and go to the airport to catch our flight. We decided to take public transportation because it would be cheaper. However, the buses took forever because of rush house traffic so we just barely made our flight. Anyways, it was a pretty short trip, but well worth it, considering the cheap flights as well.

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Tarragona

I arrived back in Los Angeles yesterday evening after nearly 24 hours of travel time. Everything went smoothly, it just took forever. And now I am severely jet-lagged, hence the early morning blogging. I still have some work to do to finish up the semester, but I am also going to try to finish up the rest of the posts about the trip.

After our finishing our design projects and final presentations, we had a few days off before departing on our last field studies trip to southern Spain. On one of our free days, Yoav, Van and I decided to take the train down the coast about an hour to Tarragona, a smaller coastal town most famous for its ancient-Roman influences and picturesque beaches. There are ruins scattered throughout the city, as well as an aqueduct a short bus ride away. The aqueduct was the main attraction for us, however our limited time didn’t allow us to go see it. But we were able to see a bunch of other things around the city that made the trip worthwhile in the end.

We sort of stumbled upon an old Roman amphitheater nestled into the hillside that had a spectacular view out over the Mediterranean as its backdrop:

It was built in the 2nd century A.D., and uses the exposed sheer rock face on the uphill side of the theater as part of the seating for 15,000 spectators.

We were able to go down inside the theater and walk around some of the ruins. Unfortunately, the below-grade passages and tunnels were gated off so we couldn’t explore the whole thing.

After the amphitheater we walked up to the old Roman Circus. Only a very small part of it remains intact today, as most of it has been built over by more modern housing buildings.

A model of the old Roman city:

The view from the top of one of the corner towers of the Circus:

We visited a few more ruin sites around the city, which weren’t quite as impressive as the first two, before heading home on the train as the sun set.

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Semester Highlight: Private tour of La Sagrada Familia

Our last full week in Barcelona, we finally were able to visit the city’s most iconic piece of architecture, La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudi’s largest and most famous project, and one that is still under construction. Construction commenced in 1883 and continued through Gaudi’s tragic death in 1926. Gaudi dedicated the last portion of his life solely to the Sagrada Familia, because he knew it would not be completed in his lifetime. So he built an endless amount of models and centenary form studies with the intention of them being the framework to complete the project in the coming decades. 127 years later, the church is still only about two-thirds complete, but because of an increase in tourism and private donations, the pace of construction has drastically accelerated. The estimated completion date is in the year 2026, the 100 year anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

Visiting the Sagrada Familia was one of our most anticipated events of the entire semester. The Pope visited Barcelona on November 7th in order to consecrate the church (making it a basilica), which caused our visit to be pushed to nearly the end of the semester. But it was worth the wait. As a result of the Pope’s visit, a major deadline was set to close up the main prayer space and the end of the nave, which had been open air previous to this year. The main floor was cleared of scaffolding and equipment. The entire building was in effect cleaned up for his arrival. We visited the basilica the week after the Pope, so we were some of the first people to see it in such condition.

In addition, our Barcelona architect-connection Cecilia, was able to arrange a private tour of the building with one of the current project architects on the job. So, not only were we some of the first visitors to see the cleaned up interior, but we also were given a tour up into the construction zones and onto the roof.

The tour started inside the main entrance at the end of the nave (the entrance isn’t constructed yet, but the interior wall is up to close off the space). Here are a few pictures looking down the nave and prayer space from a balcony over the main entry:

 

 

We then went down onto the main floor and explored around the nave, transept and chancel:

Some of the amazing stained glass:

And the reflection on the organ pipes:

We then went up a restricted-access elevator with our guide, and ended up here:

This is up on the roof above the nave, right next to where the giant crossing tower is being currently being constructed. We traversed up, down, and through an incredibly dense forest of scaffolding in order to get to different platforms and viewpoints around the church:

Looking down onto the floor of the church (where we started) at the crossing:

We then went down into the model shop located beneath the main floor of the basilica, where all of the analysis and reconstruction of Gaudi’s original models takes place:

An awesome in-progress floor plan model:

A small scale model of the whole building – the 4 towers on the right and the main crossing tower (along with another central tower) have yet to be constructed:

That concluded our tour, but of course none of us wanted to leave then. We spend some more time walking around the main floor and around the outside, observing the incredible detail and care involved in the design and construction. I visited La Sagrada Familia two years ago when I was last in Barcelona, but this visit blew me away even more. The amount of progress over the past two years was pretty incredible (thanks mostly to the Pope’s visit), but also getting the chance to go up into the heart of the construction was something I will never forget. The majority of us agreed that this visit was the highlight of our semester, and that we can’t wait to return once it is completed. And yes, it is amazing enough to make us plan 16 years into our future.

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On the road…

Checking in from Cordoba – we’re currently on our tour of southern Spain with Sophia, and I’m writing from the lobby of our hotel in the city of Cordoba. I didn’t bring my own computer, so I won’t be doing any full blogs until I get back. However, I’ll briefly fill you in on what we’ve been up to so far. The first three days of the trip were spent in Granada, a smaller city located in the very south of Spain. It’s right on the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains, so it’s pretty hilly and freezing cold. There, we visited La Alhambra, an old fortified hilltop city/fortress – a must see for anyone traveling to Spain. We saw a few old houses that incorporated traditional Islamic architectural features, a few contemporary buildings, and spent a lot of time meandering around the narrow streets of the city.

This morning we hopped on the early train from Granada to Cordoba. We are only spending one night here, so we packed in a bunch of stuff this afternoon from the Mezquita, La Synagoga de Cordoba, and the Alcazar. We’ve been doing a lot of sketching with Sophia, so once I return, I will upload some of them along with pictures and further descriptions of all of these places. Tomorrow we do some more sketching before taking the bus to Merida to see some old Roman ruins including some well preserved aqueducts. After one night in Merida, we then travel by bus to Sevilla, where we will stay the remaining two nights of the trip. Then it’s back to Barcelona for two more nights and then I’m back stateside. How quickly it is all coming to an end.

Sketches and photos coming soon.

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