So it’s been an extremely long time since I last updated, but I’m continuing to love Seville and everything it has to offer! With only a week left here though, I figured I better fill you in on all of my adventures!
So to start off, my classes have been going pretty well. I am taking Spanish, ethics, and continuing my semester-long online politics of the European Union class. Out of about 15 students in my Spanish class, I am one of three who had never taken the language before (I took French in high school). Needless to say, I was a little thrown off the first day of class when our professor spoke solely in Spanish. I have surprised myself though, with how quickly I’ve caught onto the language. It’s actually very similar to French in terms of structure and some vocabulary. There’s not much to say about my ethics class other than that it is run by a very nice old Spanish professor who speaks English, but with a very heavy and sometimes difficult to understand accent. In the class we had to choose an ethical topic to do a presentation on and my group and I chose to talk about the ethics of factory farming. Factory farming is a huge issue in the United States that most directly affects the animals, the people who eat factory farmed food, and the environment. It is one of the main reasons I am vegetarian. In the European Union, probably not surprisingly, there are strict guidelines on the production of animal products. For the most part, factory farming does not exist in Europe in the way that it does in the United States. For my online politics of the EU class I actually chose to do a blog entry on the guidelines set by the EU in terms of agricultural practices. Other than weekly blog entries for our politics of the EU class, we are required to do weekly journal entries, weekly textbook chapter assignments, and most recently we’ve been assigned a paper on EU youth and unemployment. We also took our midterm exam on Monday which I’m almost certain I did well on. While I enjoy the content of the course, I miss the classroom aspect of learning. In addition, the professor is somewhat difficult to communicate with and is very slow to grade assignments. Enough with classes though, moving on to my adventures!
The university has paid for two trips for us to go to Portugal, both of which were nice, but I definitely preferred our first trip to Monte Gordo.
Monte Gordo, Portugal
Monte Gordo, Portugal
In Monte Gordo, we had the beach on one side of the street and a small beach town on the other. Everything was close together and fun to explore. On the other hand, Tavira, the other city we visited in Portugal had a beach and a town but they were separated by at least a mile walk. In general, I just felt like the second trip wasn’t as fun as there wasn’t as much to do. But I can’t complain about a free trip to Portugal!
On our own, Danielle, Kim, Gina, and I took a day trip to Cadiz, Spain for “carnaval.” We took an early train down south and explored the city and the beach while observing a classic Spanish holiday, similar to Halloween, where all the children and even adults get dressed up in costumes.
After a long day of walking around, we sat on the beach to watch the sun set.
Eventually we made it back to the train station and headed back up to Seville.
Chris’s girlfriend Mia, who is also me and Danielle’s former roommate and great friend, came to visit for a week. That weekend our friend Giuseppe also came to visit from Rome, where he is in the St. John’s University semester-long program. While they were here, Chris and I showed them some of the most interesting parts of Seville which included feeding the pigeons in the Plaza de America, renting a 4-person bike to ride through the Parque Maria Luisa, rowing a boat around Plaza de España, sightseeing, and enjoying true Spanish cuisine.
Plaza de America
Parque Maria Luisa
Plaza de España
Tapas & Sangria
While Giuseppe was here we also visited the inside of the Cathedral Sevilla, and the Real Alcazar, which were things we hadn’t done before.
The Cathedral Sevilla houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and is the largest gothic church in the world. It is, in addition, incredibly beautiful.
The Real Alcazar is a royal palace in Seville which was originally a Moorish fort. From the outside, the palace doesn’t seem too impressive, but once inside it seems like it goes on forever. The inside is beautiful, but the gardens outside are expansive and breathtaking. There are fountains, flowers, pools of fish, mazes through shrubbery, and peacocks to feed. We were only there for about an hour and a half, but could have stayed all day.
English Gardens of Real Alcazar
English Gardens of Real Alcazar
Now, onto probably my most interesting trip since being abroad: Morocco, Africa! Our short trip included riding camels, experiencing Moroccan cuisine, getting unmercifully nagged to buy carpets, toy camels, magic lamps, and any other souvenirs, and touring Tangier.
Camel-Riding in Tangier, Morocco
Moroccan Carpet & Home Shop
The View From Our Hotel Room Balcony
Where the Mediterranean Meets the Atlantic Ocean
Caves of Hercules Tanger, Morocco
The trip was very interesting and Tanger is so unlike any other city I’ve visited. I didn’t spend a lot of money, but I constantly felt like people were trying to rip us off, including our tour guide who brought us only to specific shops and apparently made commission off of anything that we bought. The constant nagging made walking through Chinatown in New York seem like a joke. The vendors in Morocco would follow us for blocks with sunglasses, bags, hats, t-shirts, and random souvenirs and even followed us to our tour van and knocked on the windows still trying persistently to sell us things as our driver was driving away. Overall, I enjoyed the trip as it was beautiful, fun, cultural, and inexpensive for everything that we saw and did, but I think we were all happy to come back to Seville.
Since this is our last weekend in Spain, we’ve decided to stay put to enjoy our last few days. I’m definitely going to miss this when we go to Paris!