Sunday, December 5, 2010

Some videos

First off, a couple quick videos of one of the little white pueblos in the country... it's so hard to capture the vibe of these little villages in just a couple of shots, but at least I got the kid at the fountain and the donkeys which are more prevalent in the street than cars.  here goes:

EDIT: I should add, on the fountain here how it says ano 1974, everything here was renamed in 74/75 because of the death of Franco.

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I also made a couple videos of the kids this morning because they were being really cute and because I'm going to miss them a lot...
Erica and Javierito hiding under the covers:

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I was trying to get Javi to speak, but he knew I was filming him and got really shy....he is actually an excellent talker, and usually when he sees the cat he gets really excited and goes "MAO MAO MEOWW"



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 Some random shots of the area:




Roof of my building




I am going to make posts of France and England at some point, I promise.  Maybe.  Hopefully.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ronda

:) :) :) ronda was the most beautiful city i've ever seen.  ronda rondaaaaa i love you.  i spent most of my time there in the gorge being a monkey and swimming in the river, but the city too was enchanting. 
at the biggest plaza de toros in the world in ronda, their baby

the best part of the gorge was we kept finding these random arabic looking ruins everywhere--spaniards are just so desensitized to this stuff.

Italica

2500 year old city of Roman ruins...

Ampitheater, near the pit where they would throw the dead bodies-- people and animals.  this theater is actually much bigger than it looks, because 1- it's sunken into itself over the years and 2-  franco's regime stripped all the marble off of it in the 30s.  



italica really was an incredible experience but to be honest i wrote a paper about it already and don't have an ounce more will to write more about it. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

sierras, extremadura

this past week i went with javier and his family to his mountain refuge that he just finished building up in the mountains of extremadura.  the land of the refuge sat over a tiny spanish pueblo that sandra and javier described as representative of the "spain of their childhoods"... i was confused about what this meant until i actually visited.  the fact is that spain changed and westernized so quickly after it was made into a democracy in 1975 that anyone 35 years or older can remember a much different country.  these tiny mountain pueblos have simply not americanized like the cities of spain have at all.  needless to say, in this tiny, red roofed old village i was stared at endlessly.  an old man asked where i was from and when i said i was american he replied, "latin america?"  i laughed a little and said "no no, soy de los estados unidos," and he thought a second and said "veo...entonces, porque hablas espanol?"  he didn't understand why an american would learn spanish.  that is how different these two worlds are, and just getting a glimpse of this culture was certainly unlike anything i'd seen before.

further up the mountain, the green land goes on forever and you find yourself lost in the landscape, the animals both tame and wild, and the expansive blue sky.  the only sound i could hear was the constant low mumble of cow and goat bells. we ate figs from wild fig trees and collected mushrooms that we took home and fried up for dinner. 

some photos:



Monday, October 4, 2010

Cordoba, La Mezquita

dinosaur vs muhammad ;)
Cordoba is considered the historical capital of Spain.  The area was an established commercial center for the ancient Spanish Jews, the Pagan Romans, and the Catholic Visigoths.  When the Muslims conquered al-Andaluz in 711, they took made Cordoba their capital city, and built a grand Mosque to show the supreme power of God and the expanding religion.  What can I say about this mosque...it was unlike anything I've ever seen.  It didn't have the height of a Gothic European cathedral, but its size was pretty incredible. It was filled with high post-Roman arches and all the walls were inscripted with tiny detailed Arabic poetry, much of which was torn down during the Spanish inquisition.  In the center of the mosque there is a small cathedral actually built within the building.  There is one part where they had dug out a hole in the center of the floor in which you can see about 10 feet down ancient roman tiling about 2000 years old followed by Visigothic pillars 1500 years old followed by the ground beneath your feet 1200 years old surrounding the Catholic cathedral 500 years old-- literally sandwiched civilizations. I was falling in love all over the place. 






Tuesday, September 28, 2010

jerez y cadiz

friday i went to wine country with some friends, to jerez, or "sherry" in english, where they grow and produce the original sherry wine which is about 60% alcohol and tastes somewhat similar to what i imagine paint stripper might. 

my favorite part of this city though, wasn't the wine.  it was the amazing museum we went to that had all these centuries-old artifacts like these 19th century wine-corking contraptions:






 afterwards, we ran over to cadiz, a beach town with stoic roman ruins crumbling into the sea.  we spent the day swimming and playing against the ocean, the night skinny dipping, and the next day adventuring around the old buildings.  since we're poor, we slept on the beach, and were ruff silly by the morning (also, freezing cold).  our campsite in the morning:



a couple more shots of the most visually delicious beach i've ever seen:



Monday, September 20, 2010

dentro del acazar, y varias cosas....

outside la catedral a noche


the alcazar is this ancient palace in the middle of sevilla built originally by the romans, enhanced by the catholics, and topped off by the muslims building for their own empire and then building for themselves.  because of this, there are all difference kinds of art and architecture that you can find in the palace and the surrounding gardens.  gothic arches, baroque maps and tapestries, ceilings engraved in arabic...it's all spanish.  but this is also one of those situations where i feel like i'm committing a crime posting pictures of it.  what i can say is this-- i feel altered when i leave.  my breath is taken time and time again wandering around this place.  so, here are just a few attempts at reproductions:


A chunk of a roman wall well older than jesus...you can actually find bits of this "city wall" all over this town.








arabic dome ceiling