Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Rain In Spain

     This week was our first week of exams :( We spent the majority of the week studying indoors. Luckily this was made much easier by the rain! Tuesday we did have a small break from studying and visited the Casa de Pilatos in Arts and Monuments class. Once again I was amazed that another expansive palace hides among the modern shops in the city. The palace has some of the most beautiful gardens I've seen yet. The gardens also  are a museum of Roman busts, Spanish emperors, and stunning sculptures gathered from Roman Italica. The palace is a perfect representation of the beginning of the beautiful Andalusian architecture.
Gardens at Casa de Pilatos

     Thursday night we celebrated the end of exams as well as Kyle's 21st birthday by getting tapas at a restaurant called Las Coloniales, which was delicious. I ordered a plate of their famous chicken in almond sauce as well as two croquettes filled with cheese and spinach and topped with a red sauce. By far the best tapas I've had yet. And of course the birthday celebrations would not have been complete without a visit to Las Rayas for gelato. Las Rayas is just around the corner from our school and has about 24 different flavors of rich gelato, it's a good thing I have two months left to try them all :)
     Friday morning we were up early and on the bus to Ronda! It was another breathtaking drive through the countryside and up a steep hillside. When we arrived in Ronda, however, the rain was relentless. We took cover in a Chocolate shop and all had cups of steaming hot chocolate caliente. I ordered a cup of white chocolate and it was literally so thick I finished it off with a spoon! After we warmed up slightly we started our tour in the rain. The city itself is located on a cliff. The old part of the city (only 800 rich inhabitants) is located on one cliff and the new part of the city is connected by  a beautiful bridge. The view from the bridge was absolutely amazing, especially with the river raging below. We trooped all around the city in the rain and even made it to the bull ring. Our tour guide explained to us a lot of the culture that is behind bull fighting, such as the respect for the bull. This ring in particular only has three days of fights a year and the tickets are extremely pricey. The bull ring is also one where the bull fighters do not fight on horseback, but rather on foot making it dangerous not only for the bull but for the fighter as well. Although I am still on the fence about whether or not I want to witness the slaughter of an animal our guide really opened my eyes to the significance the fighting has for the Spaniards, both historical and cultural. At the end of the tour I was completely soaked and freezing and made my way to a coffee shop for some sandwiches and cafe con leche. Although it was one of the coldest rainiest days yet, we still were able to have fun in the city of Ronda.
 Only a little delirious from the rain...
 The bridge connecting the old and new city
 The cliffs
      The rest of the weekend was spent recovering from the long week of exams. Today we visited the Archivo de Indios which houses all of the documents and archives related to the "Nuevo Mundo" or the modern day Americas. I am actually taking history of Latin America and we have been studying the conquest of the new world so it was a little unreal to be able to see this documents and artifacts in the flesh after learning about their significance in class. I don't think I will ever get used to the history in this city.
The archives!

This week we only have three days of class! I will be sure to share the adventures I have when I get back :)
Love from Sevilla!

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