Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear parents and families,

This week we embarked on our biggest adventure yet: an overnight trip to Córdoba and Granada!
Early Thursday morning, students and professors boarded a bus bound for Andalucía, driving past olive trees and whitewashed pueblos, to finally arrive less than three hours later in Córdoba. Here Kaydee, Erica, Julia and Lindsey send their greetings from the bus.

Tommy surprises Mikaela and Amy...

...and the camera surprises Anna and Claire.

  We were thankful for relatively cooler temperatures (for southern Spain...) and bright sunny skies.  Here the group gathers in front of the river, Guadalquivir.


Behind Mary Kate we can see a bridge from the Roman Empire, which we are about to cross into the city.  

Moses gives a little historic background while we traverse the river.

Zin smiles with the Guadalquivir behind.

Our first visit was to the Alcázar de los Reyes Católicos, or a royal palace constructed by King Alfonso XI in 1328.  Eric leaps with enthusiasm.

Nathalie explores within the palace...

As you can see, the palace also served as a military defense. 

Tommy, Bridget and John pose before the imposing walls.

Just behind Hope, we catch a glimpse of one of the lush interior courtyards.

Anna and Hannah repose in the shade.

Here the ladies stand in front of the gurgling fountains.

Students (and here instructor, Moses) refreshed themselves in one of the fountains, to combat the...relatively cooler temperatures.

John and Dylan enthusiastically partook in the impromptu festivities, along with many others.

Later, we entered into Córdoba´s most unique cultural treasure: la Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. Originally constructed in the Muslim empire as a mosque in 786, in 1238 it was converted into a cathedral where, in 1588, a renaissance basilica was constructed within the mosque.  The two structures coexist today as one.
Here Rebecca smiles in front of some of the 365 arches.  

    Jackie and Katie pose in front of one of the 1300 pillars of jasper, marble and granite.

Behind Joe, Kaydee and Tommy we see one of the many golden riches that the basilica boasts.

 Joe and Guillermo smile in front of some of the basilica´s many rosy adornments.

After visiting the mosque, students had time to relax and shop for souvenirs (look out! you just might be the proud new owner of a hand fan, or Andalusian magnet!).  Here Megan and Mary Kate enjoy café con leche.

Thursday afternoon, students boarded the bus once more to head eastward toward Granada.  Once in the city, students relaxed and freshened up in hotel rooms before enjoying a buffet replete with Spanish staples: Spanish tortilla, chorizo, Serrano ham, and a wealth of fruits, vegetables and yogurts.

Dylan and Andrew toast to a day well spent,

 while some of the ladies pillage for dessert in the freezer.

Tori comes out victorious with a tiny ice cream!

Friday morning, students dined once more in the hotel before their morning visit to the Alhambra.  Here Savannah, John, Mary Kate and Joe approach one of the finalists of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Angel and Hope are ready to go!

Allyson and Zin appreciate the abundance of flora.

Caroline surveys the many white walls of Granada, here nestled in the foothills of the snow peaked Sierra Nevada.

A sneak shot of Erica, Bridget and Ana...

The  Alhambra is an entire immured city, originally constructed in 899 as a fort.  Here Lindsey and Julia descend the steps alongside one of its sturdy walls.  The word "Alhambra" comes from the Arabic for "red fort".

 In 1333 it was converted into a royal palace.  Here we observe one of the ponds on the interior with a facade exemplifying the height of Andalusian architecture.

Students also visited the famous Genaralife gardens, originally designed for Muslim royalty to relax and refresh.  Later in the day, with time for lunching and shopping, students made a stop at the Capilla Real de Granada, in which are sepulchred the famous Isabel and Fernando.  The day ended in the Renaissance Catedral de Granada, constructed in 1529, with baroque renovations in the 17th century.  Alexis gives a big smile for the camera!

Here Rebecca, Megan and Mikaela pose before the somber columns and the ornate details that pervade the Cathedral.

Happy and tired, the group navigated its way back to Ciudad Real Friday evening, arriving at a dusky 9:30.  Once more, this weekend students are free to enjoy time with their host families, relax, (study!), and get ready for a new week of exploration.   Until next time!


  1. WHS lookin' good! Anxious to hear stories, Tommy's sweet new accent/vocab and overall mad Spanish skills when he comes back. Way to go on the scavenger hunt! Represent! Sending love!!!

    Sra HT de Westfield <3

  2. Thank you, Hannah, for your entertaining and informative weekly blog and photos. It looks like the kids are having a truly memorable experience and that brings smiles to our faces. Thanks to all the intructors and families. The Van Duyns