First Day of the Feria by Ewa Ryzewska ’15

After we came back from our field trip I ate rice and fish and then took a long nap. Then, when it was time, I got ready and went to the Roman bridge, our meeting spot. After the girls from my group met up, we got some ice cream and went on our way to the fair. As we walked, we eventually saw shops on both sides of the bridge and then a marabunta or a crowd of people all waiting for the midnight fireworks. The bridge was a spectacular sight as all of the lights were put together to mimic a star filled sky. The fireworks went off and after they were done, the crowds moved in the general direction of the feria.

The lit up monument guided our way to more food and parties.

There were shops of food, baked goods covered in chocolate, bars, and toys. We went to two clubs in tents and had a great time dancing to both club and flamenco music. It was a cool mix of people dressed in the usual club wear and people wearing traditional flamenco outfits. We left late and tired, got a taxi and went home.

Madinat al-Zahra by Lindsay Bartolini ’14

On Friday we went to Madinat Al-Zahra!  It was awesome, except for the part where I almost got lost.  I am writing my paper on this site because I love history and archaeology.  The artifacts found at Al-Zahra were gorgeous and were very well preserved.  I was especially interested in seeing the storage room where they hold even more artifacts from the site that are not on display and instead are being worked on for analysis.  The portion of the city that we saw was huge and it only made up 5% of the entire city that was actually there.  The ruins of walls and even places where a door hing used to be on the floor was impressive.  Then we saw the reconstruction of the arches that would make up part of one of the grand halls and also part of the entrance to the city.  They were amazing to see even though I knew they were reconstructed.  However most of them were reconstructed with the materials that had been used before and were exactly the way that they should be.  The archaeologists wanted to give people a taste of what it would have looked like in its historical time because otherwise, it might just look like a pile of rubble.

It is obvious that archaeologists are still working in the area and that was very interesting to me and I was happy I got to see it.  There was a portion that was restricted because archaeologists were working and I was really excited about that because that means that they could uncover new information about the site.  

I love archaeology!

Swing of Things by Dana Sibley ’15

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It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Spain for over a week now!

All of the days blend together, but last week I was able to have several very successful conversations with my house mother and her son.  My speaking in Spanish still isn’t fluent, but I’m getting better.  I’m so glad to have such a wonderful house mom who has taken me in as one of her own.  I think she is part of the reason I haven’t felt home sick.  Going out in the town is really an excellent way to experience new things; drinks, tapas, getting lost, exploring, and meeting new people are all wonderful experiences that I’ve had.  We go out to experience the different culture and see the different people that Cordoba has to offer.

In the last week I’ve also decided that the European lifestyle is for me and I probably won’t be returning to Chicago.  Sorry Mom and Dad (just kidding, but I really do love it here!)

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos by Stacey Thomas ’15

Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos was a site that started with the Romans, then the Visigoths, then the Muslims, and then the Christians. Some theories say that the different groups built their edifices in the same location because it was a divine decision from the Gods. Other say it was simply a more practical decision because it is easier to build over something than create something new. Also it was a good location because it is next to the river. And finally, using the same building shows an assertion of power, almost as if conquering a group of people.

Alhambra by Quanisha Jackson ’15

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The trip to Granada today was unreal!!! It was beautiful!!!

I cannot believe that we stood in the same room that Christopher Columbus asked Queen Isabella for funds to finds a shortcut to India!! I am really excited to be here Cordoba still. It’s like every day that wake up here, I am still surprised lol! This trip to Granada was just awesome. I took sooo many pictures of the beautiful scenery there; the mountains and the valleys and the view of the houses below us and the gorgeous gardens…I can’t even describe it accurately it was SO beautiful. My favorite part was the garden that the Sultan built for his Sultana, it was really peaceful and romantic looking; I hope to have someone build me one someday (I’m just kidding!)

The buffet was also my favorite part (LOL)!  I think I may have tried everything, except the seafood, and liked it all!

Mezquita by Stacey Thomas ’15

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Visiting the Mezquita was surreal. After all the books, documents, and videos we’ve read and seen, it was a sort of out of body experience. To start off, it was beautiful. The architecture, the famous striped arches, and high ceiling were all breath-taking. The tour guide added to my knowledge about the mezquita such as the different parts that were added on.  Each time the mezquita was advanced, the architects preserved the theme buy continuing to use arches and attempted to keep the colors the same.  The cathedral in the center of the mosque is very interesting. It is definitely a very pronounced physical assertion of Christianity at the time of its construction. The mezquita as a whole reveals the two cultures “living” together.

La Vida en Europa by Brenda Ruiz ’13

May 11, 2013 has definitely been the highlight of this year. I was on the plane flying over to a whole different country, Europe. The plane ride did not feel as bad as I expected it to be; We receive a dinner and breakfast. I slept most of the trip, perhaps that’s why it did not feel as long of a travel. The first day in Cordoba, Spain will forever be one of the best memories I’ll have. When we arrived, my heart was beating very rapidly. It all felt surreal, the idea of being in Spain had yet to sync in, but the moment I realized I had no cellphone to text my friends I had arrived, I knew it wasn’t just a dream. As we walked toward our host mothers, I was definitely experiencing tachycardia. My mom was there, waiting for me with a my name on her name tag. She greeted me and made me feel welcome. As we drove to her home, she was asking me where I was from, I guess she was probably expecting a student whom she would struggle communicating with; Lucky for her, she had me.  The home I have been staying in was definitely not the home I envisioned, it is beautiful. Her house is small in width but has very high ceilings. It is not like the house I live in back in Chicago. I imagine staying in a different setting, but the location is just perfect. There are so many beautifully structured homes around me with balconies covered in colorful flowers, and pebbles on the ground. It is absolutely beautiful. The first night in Cordoba, my host mom wanted to take me everywhere. She told me about all the beautiful places there are to visit. I met up with my classmates to tour around as a group, after “dinner” (10pm), my host mother took me to visit the Roman Bridge. It is absolutely gorgeous over here. The only thing I have yet to adapt to is the cultural differences between the Europeans and my typical lifestyle. Few things I view as being “rude” they see as being normal. For instance, when we talk to an adult, it is formal and polite to refer to them as “usted” in the Mexican culture. Here, they take “usted” offensive because it makes them feel old. It is this and more things, like the food, way of expressing thoughts, etc., that I want to adapt to and bring back with me to Chicago. So far, I am having and amazing experience and wish to enjoy it to the fullest.