Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Winding Down

So our program is coming to an end so I have spent most of my time lately trying to finish up work I have put off all semester while traveling around. I am definately getting read to live in my own apartment again, going from living on your own to living with a "family" (in my case a senora) again is not easy. She has gotten upset with us a few times recently for things that were accidents or out of our control completely and I am about ready to leave. It is interesting because in one of her rants about how immature we are she bragged about the fact that her daughter moved out of the house at 28! My roommate and I didn't tell her that we lived alone at home already. It is actually completely normal here to live with your parents until you are at least 30. All of the people at our university that are Spanish are living with their parents and if they're not (a very small percentage) they are living with other students because they actually left their home city to go to school (like I said, very rare).
Well I will try to keep you updated as I travel around after my program, I am leaving Sevilla on May 23rd to go to Greece, Italy, and Switzerland where I will be skydiving!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quick Updates

So I just got back from a weekend in Lagos, Portugal which is basically just a small beach town that fills with tourists during the summer months. The beaches were really nice with cliffs and lots of places to explore or just relax.
However, the big news is that Feria was last week. Feria is a festival in Sevilla where people come from all over to basically just hang out with friends and family and eat and drink for a week. Huge tents are set up in a large open space and companies or families can rent a tent for the week (it's not cheap). With the tent comes a bartender and a cook and they basically spend the week there eating and hanging out with their friends. It is quite an affair seen as no one works and everyone basically just takes the week off to party. Women wear their colorful flamenco dresses and dance the Sevillano which is a local dance and everyone just basically relaxes for a week. There is even a fair on the grounds for the kids, including rides and two ferris wheels.
I have to go now though because I am using my short time on the internet to reserach for a project. More updates soon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Barcelona was a lot of fun but I am definitely glad that I decided that study in Sevilla. Although there was a lot to do in Barcelona seen as it was a bigger city, more like Madrid, I think that after a weekend or a week it could get old. We did get the opportunity to see some really nice museums and architecture but the city itself was a lot like other big cities around the world. On the first day we took a bus tour through the city and got to see the different areas, including a park designed by Gaudi which was really interesting. We also went on the first day to the Picasso museum which was different than you would expect. The collection on display was not his usual work but a lot of his earlier work (starting from when he was 15!!). The museum went from room to room with different periods of his life explaining how learned and became the type of artist that he was. It was really interesting to see the progression of his work and to see how he started out mostly copying other famous artists.
On the second day we walked around a lot and visited some of the Gaudi houses. Although we only got to go in one because they were somewhat expensive to get into it was really awesome to get to see his work. We went in the Casa Mila which is probably one of his most famous buildings and was actually designed as an apartment building and is still used partially as apartments today. It was amazing how he had designed the building so that there were no supports in the walls so people could move the walls freely to design the space to their liking. My favorite part of the apartment building was definitely the roof. There were a ton of chimneys but they were all designed so differently that I did not even know they were chimneys until they told us.
That’s all for now, I am currently trying to catch up on all of my work that I have put off. This coming weekend I will be in Valencia, the third biggest city in Spain and then the following weekend will be in Lagos Portugal! Hopefully I can get rid of the cough that I am getting before I continue traveling!

Morocco and Semana Santa.. (a little late)

I wrote this a little over a week ago but have been unable to post it but here is a little bit about my trip to Morocco and Semana Santa...

So I am finally back and starting to recover from a long week of traveling and then acting as tour guide for my family! Morocco was really nice although a completely different experience from Spain and of course from home. Although we stayed mainly in the big cities we did get to go to the desert and ride camels to an oasis where we spent the night. The cities we went to were Robot (the capital), Fez, and them some small towns just as stops along the way. We thought we were going to be disappointed since women really don’t go out of their homes past 8 at night but we got into our hotels (very night hotels) every night and just wanted to eat and go to sleep after long days of traveling. Speaking of food, it was probably one of the highlights of the trip. After being in Spain where vegetables ware rare we go to spend a whole week eating endless buffets of mostly vegetables! Some people had a little trouble with the change in diet but luckily I was not one of them.
As far as the cities go, Fez was definitely the most interesting. The main part of the city is filled with narrow winding streets that if you got lost in you would never find your way out. There are shops everywhere and as soon as the word spreads that there is a tourist group you are flocked with people trying to sell you anything from clothes to tiny leather camels (of course I had to buy some). Luckily we had a really good tour guide to keep us from getting lost and get us from shop to shop where we got to see the leather being dyed, carpets being woven, spices, and silk. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures of these places because they were really interesting. Probably one of the best parts of the whole shopping experience was trying to pay. Something that started out as twenty euros could be talked down to five or less. Unfortunately for some people they didn’t realize this until the end of the day and ended up paying the original price. Haha.
Although Fez was really nice and full of interesting sites and experiences, like almost being run over by a donkey loaded with things in the narrow streets, my favorite part of the trip was definitely riding the camels and the night in the desert. We got in to the desert on jeeps that raced through the desert at night with their lights off!! After spending the night in a really nice hotel in the middle of nowhere we got up in the morning and rode camels for about two hours to an oasis that was even more isolated. We actually got to the oasis campsite kind of area just in time to climb a huge dune and watch the sunset. We then spent the night in tents under more stars than I have ever seen in my life. We also go to hang out with some Berbers and got to talk to them about living in the desert. Most of them spend their whole life working taking tours into the desert and back (walking the whole time we ride the camels).
After a week of adventures and a lot of time on the bus I returned late Wednesday night only to rise early in the morning and meet up with my parents. I got to spend the next few days showing them around the city and after the first few days trying to avoid the processions for Semana Santa.
Semana Santa was basically what I expected with a lot more people than I had ever imagined. There were multiple floats with parades going through the city at all times and each float had hundreds of people walking with it causing backups all around the city and blocking streets everywhere you went. Although it was interesting to get to the see the huge floats made of gold and portraying a scene from the bible or with a virgin on it they kind of get repetitive after a while. One of the most interesting things was seeing the people that walk with the floats that are dressed in costumes that inspired the costumes of the KKK.
That’s all I have time for now but I am going to Barcelona this coming weekend so I will update again next week and let you know how it went!
Jennifer Olney