Primera Semana: Madrid/Toledo/Sevilla

¿Qué pasa estudiantes? This past week has been undoubtedly one of the most hectic, and rewarding weeks de me vida (of my life). We first got into
Madrid Monday the 1st. The flight into Spain was rather long and tiresome, but quite rewarding. Shortly after arriving in Madrid, I began meeting students from ISA, which as you all know, is the program I am studying through here in Spain. ISA’s program contains a wide range of students from all over the nation. I am proud to say I am one of the few students from Pennsylvania, and one of two students from Grove City. After meeting our group leaders in the airport in Madrid, we loaded onto tour buses, and embarked for Husa Paseo Del Arte. The hotel is one of the nicest hotels within the Metropolitan city of Madrid, and is located close to the train station, as well as Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, Museo del Prado, and many other fabulous sights.

Plaza Mayor (medieval Madrid), is lined with beautiful buildings, and various old, and impressively ornamented churches. Palacio Real is the palace of the royal family, and the official home of the king of Spain, Juan Carlos I. The Palacio Real was constructed in 1738, according to the architectural plans of Filippo Juvara, and it was truly a breathtaking experience. Lastly, our group traveled to Museo del Prado, which was close to ten minutes walking distance from our house. Museo del Prado is one of the most famous art galleries in the world, and is home to world renowned painters, such as Jan van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, Van der Weyden, Robert Campin, Dirck Bouts, Hans Memling, Hieronymous Bosch, Joachim Patinir, Pieter Bruegel and Anthonis Mor. Personally, the most gratifying experience was seeing Las Meninas, which was painted by Diego Velázquez. Unfortunately, I was unable to take pictures, but I was able to obtain some great shots of the city. After two great days in Madrid, our ISA group departed for the historical town of Toledo.

The trip to Toledo took a little over an hour, and the sights, and sounds on our trip were phenomenal. As we arrived in Toledo, we began our daylong tour by bus, and finished by foot. The narrow cobble streets of Toledo were difficult to walk on, as it is very common for cars to drive within inches from pedestrians, but the views alone, including seeing Toledo Cathedral, made it quite worth it. After touring Toledo, our group headed off to Hotel Beatrice, where we stayed for the evening. The next morning, our group was up early, and we were all very eager to get onto the bus for Sevilla, where we were about to meet our host families.

Our arrival into Sevilla truly was a life changing experience. Palm trees and orange trees line the streets, and the climate is absolutely perfect. My senses were heightened, and I began to feel a bit apprehensive about meeting my host family. We unloaded off the bus, and waited in an intersection as various families came, and picked up their students. My roommate and I were the last students waiting for our host family, but we could not have asked for a more perfect living situation. Our host mother Marisa is originally from Morocco, and has been living in Sevilla for the past nineteen years. She speaks no English, but is fluent in Spanish, and French. Her cooking is out of this world, and we have been able to try a few of the local dishes like paella. She has a daughter Paloma, a son Ramon, and a dog named Biat. Our first few days have been exceptional, as we have been able to walk around the city to get acclimated with our surroundings, and the culture. Class begins tomorrow, and I am eager to start this semester. After this week, I will be a little more accustomed to the Universidad de Sevilla, and I will be sure to capture every detail.

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