¡Hola a todos! So far, I have been in Sevilla for three weeks, and I cannot even begin to imagine where to start. There are so many minute details I would love to share with each of you, but for now, I will stick with the best stuff. La Universidad de Sevilla, has won me over. Everything about the campus is breathtaking, from the innumerous orange trees, the large fountains inside the campus, and the beautiful architecture. As we began our first few days of classes, I became acclimated with the fifteen minute walk to and from school each day. The university sits in a relatively convenient spot within the city, and provides quick access for Sevillanos from all areas of the city. This semester, I will be taking five classes, all related either to International Business, or Spanish. Fortunately for university students, we have Fridays off for class, which provides a great way for travel, or any other fun endeavors.
As I familiarized myself with the campus and my classes, I began to adjust my ear to fully understand my professors. All of the classes are in Spanish, and some of our professors speak extremely fast, but I am glad to say I have finally trained my ears to understand the Spanish language. Originally, I was under the influence that my classes were with other Spaniards, but that is not the case. My classes are held with a wide range of American students all seeking the same experience as me. My class schedule is rather draining mentally, and physically, on Mondays and Wednesdays. I have class from nine to eleven in the morning, and then classes from three until nine at night. Fortunately, I only have one morning class Tuesdays and Thursdays, which gives me the ability to travel on Thursdays, as opposed to Fridays.
Speaking of travel, the city of Sevilla has some wonderful historic sites. The Catedral and The Giralda Tower are astonishing. The Cathedral is the third largest cathedral in the world, behind only St. Peters in Rome and St. Paul‘s in England. The Cathedral also holds the record as the largest gothic building in the world. This is the most visited site in Seville and it was constructed in 1401. Following the Cathedral, the Reales Alcazares, which is located between the Jardines de Murillo and the Cathedral, the Alcazar or RoyalPalace in Sevilla, is still a vacation spot for the King and Queen. Construction first began under Abd Al Ramán III in the early 10th century, and it is one of the best examples of mudéjar architecture in all of Spain. Another breathtaking site is El Torre del Oro. The tower is located on the GuadalquivirRiver and dates all the way back to the 13th century. Originally, the top of the Torre del Oro was covered in gold tiles which reflected in the sunlight, making the tower a visible fixture in Seville. Lastly, La Plaza de Toros is quite a spectacle. This is Sevilla’s bullring, which was constructed over several decades during the 18th century and is one of the most famous venues in all of Spain, to watch a bullfight. The season typically begins with the Feria de Abril, which is Sevilla’s fair. Patrons are able to take their choice of sol (cheaper), sombra (expensive) and sol y sombra (middle range) seats. While there are many historical sites within Sevilla, I am still exploring, and these are undoubtedly the most world renowned. This past weekend, our ISA group had the wonderful opportunity to stay in the city of Lisboa(Lisbon) Portugal.
The city of Lisbon is absolutely beautiful, and is only a six hour bus ride away from Sevilla. Our group departed from Sevilla this past Friday, and arrived mid-afternoon. We unpacked in our hotel, and quickly boarded back on the bus for a short tour around the city. The city of Lisbon is home to 564,477 people, while the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in total has around 2.8 million inhabitants. The city of Lisbon is full of history. It was captured by Moors in the 8th century, and in 1147, the Crusaders recaptured the city for the Christians, and it has since been a political and economical center for Portugal. Known for its past tumultuous earthquake and tsunami of 1775, which was one of the deadliest earthquakes in history, we were fortunate to experience relatively calm rains and winds this past weekend. On Saturday, we took the train to the small town of Cascais, which is located a half hour from the city. Cascais, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Portgual, and was once a small fishing port. We headed down to the beach for a while, and afterwards, we made for Boca del Infierno. This was one of the most gratifying sites for me in my time spent in Lisbon. At the Boca del Infierno, the ocean water crushes up against the cliffs, and those who dare are able to walk close to the unforgiving ends. After Cascais, we headed back towards Lisbon, and enjoyed a great local dish of bacalao, which is a type of fish sometimes prepared with eggs, and potatoes. In closing, our trip to Lisbon was quite rewarding, and I am continuing to discover new things every day in Sevilla. Keep posted for some more blogs.