Cosas de Sevilla #5, Spring 2018
14 February 2018 Feliz día de San Valentín
Dear Friends and Family of The Texas Tech University Center in Sevilla,
¡Hola de nuevo de Sevilla! It was a busy week which included a visit to the beautiful city of Granada, a truly memorable experience.
Early last Friday the group boarded the bus to head east towards Granada, a city about two and a half hours away from Seville, nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We went straight to the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a Moorish fortified city situated on a strategic hill top, but today is a massive tourist attraction.
First, we visited the Alcazaba, the original fortress area. From the overlooks we had a panoramic view of the city, and could see why this place was chosen for the fortress which developed into an entire city complex, the Alhambra. With the lush gardens and plentiful water coming from the mountains, the Alhambra was totally self-sufficient.
Some students were able to see the Spanish renaissance palace, ordered built by Carlos V, a few years after the final conquest of Granada in 1492. It is situated in the heart of the Alhambra and creates a stark contrast with surrounding Moorish Nazarí architecture.
We then visited the show place of the Alhambra, the Palacios Nazaríes and walked through the numerous courtyards and rooms making up the palace. We especially enjoyed the beautifully elaborate geometrical designs and floral patterns decorating the walls and ceilings. Notice the beauty, symmetry and harmony of the architecture in this magnificent palace. We also saw the newly restored lions in the famous Patio of the Lions.
We finished with a tour climbing up into the beautiful Generalife home and gardens, replete with shrubbery and fountains. The Generalife was the summer home of the sultan.
After checking into our hotel, we all scattered for lunch and then met for our tour of the special Royal Chapel and the Cathedral. After the fall of Granada, Queen Isabella turned the city into the capital of Spain and built impressive monuments such as the Royal Chapel; the final resting place for her and her husband Ferdinand. The Cathedral of Granada is attached to the Royal Chapel, and has very unique white painted walls that give a more open feel than other cathedrals.
(For a brief moment, please excuse a personal note of reflection and gratitude. This may be the last time or one of my last times to be in Spain with the Texas Tech group so I want to take a brief moment to reminisce. As we visit Palos de la Frontera from where Columbus sailed, and Granada, especially the Royal Chapel [places I have now visited at least 15 times], I am almost overwhelmed by the opportunity to visit the sites and feel the influence of Columbus, and Ferdinand and Isabella. The events that were planned and carried out by these people initiated further developments that radically changed the whole course of world and human history. Thanks to them and to my early ancestors, who followed the call to find a new life in a new world, I am humbled by the privilege it is to be a citizen of the United States of America, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit other countries of the world to appreciate their history and culture. I could go on, but won´t. However, I do take the opportunity to remind our students how lucky they are to have this fantastic unique study abroad opportunity.)
Back to the visit. The panoramic sunset view of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background is absolutely wonderful.
On Saturday morning, after breakfast in the hotel, we boarded the bus for the small
town of Valderrubio to visit the childhood home of one of the most famous poets and
dramatists of the 20th century, Federico García Lorca. Our guide, Eduardo, was an
expert on Lorca's early life in this small town. The family later moved to Granada,
but it was in Valderrubio that García Lorca found much of the inspiration for his
literary creations. The home was very modest because, although Lorca's father was
wealthy, he was tight with his money! Lorca importance as a writer is well-established
but the students learned that he was also important as a martyr, one of the first
victims of the Fascist regime that overthrew Spain's short-lived democracy of the
The coming week (the current week as you read this) is a week of reckoning as numerous exams are planned as well as attendance at a theatre production. There are no organized group excursions so students will be traveling on their own or simply enjoying the city of Sevilla.
¡Hasta la próxima!