May 25, 2010

25 05 2010

There is a large castle named Alcazar. It is located on the west side of Segovia. Until today I had not visited it, but after classs we went and walked through it. There were many interesting things there.

We saw the armor of soilders that weighs roughly 55 kg.Because it is so heavy the soliders train from childhood by wearing the armor when they are very young.


Child´s armor

The castle was the summer home of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand. While in the castle we passed through there throne room. Here we saw the motto that was very important to the king and queen, “Tonta Monta,´´ which has the meaning that the king and the queen are equal.`


Throne Room

The castle, like many buildings in Segovia, are Mudéjar. This can be seen throughtout all of the castle, from the beautiful red and gold ceilings to the escoria walls.


View from the front of Alcazar

May 23, 2010

23 05 2010

Today the class went to Madrid for an excursion. Madrid was a drastic change in comparison to Segovia. In Segovia everything is pretty calm but once we arrived in Madrid I started to notice the stark contrast. Madrid is a fast paced and busy city. Although just like Segovia, Madrid has its beautiful aspects. The buildings there are large and tall with amazing stonework on top.  Just like Segovia there is a lot of culture and art to enjoy as well.

While in Madrid we learned about and saw many wonderful artworks. The first museum we went to was Museo Nacional Centro del Arte: Reina Sofia. This museum is home to many famous pieces the most famous being Picasso´s Guernica. While we looked at this piece we were told about the symbolism and the reasons about why Picasso choose to paint certain things. There are also many pieces at this museum by other famous artist such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Afterwards we went to Museo Nacional del Prado. This museum has older art than Reina Sofia with the collections ranging from 1100- 1910.

Going to Madrid was a wonderful expierence. It was very interesting to see how much cultural can change in only an hour bus ride.


Artwork outside of Reina Sofia


Front enterance of The Prado Museum

21 05 2010

Today was our first class excursion outside of Segovia. About fifteen minutes outside of the city is a large palace a gardens, La Granja, that is surrounded by beautiful mountains. The palace and gardens were built by King Phillip V, as a summer home for him.

We started the visit in the palace, however we were not allowed to take photos inside because it can affect the life of the art. We first saw several collections of tapestries, the oldest being from the 15th century. The tour guide described to us how they were made and even went into to detail about what they were used for.They had many uses ranging from religious purposes all the way to bed canopies.

While inside the palave we also learned about different paintings and the personal collections of the king and the queen. The flooring in most of the house and the paintingson the ceilingw were original, however there was a fire in 1918 that destroyed some of the original art.

After we finished inside we wandered around a portion of the 140 hectares that the garden resides on. There are many intricate fountains, the one pictured below was my favorite it is called The Baths of Diana. The excursion today was wonderful; full of Spanish history, art, and many beautiful fountains.



May 18, 2010

19 05 2010

Today was a fairly relaxed day. I went to class for a couple hours and then finished the rest of the class on a small excursion. We first walked to Monasterio de San Antonio el Real. This particularly monastery is a closed convent and the nuns here have taken a vow of silence.

Once we enter the Monastery we were at once surrounded by beautiful Mudéjar art. Mudéjar art is when an Arab works and build something for a Christian, there is a lot of this type of art and architecture in Segovia. If you look at the picture below there is a red curtain that runs along the wall, two times a week the curtains are pulled back to reveal a beautiful mural. I am hoping to see this before I leave.


May 16, 2010

18 05 2010

Today was a very special day for my host family. It was the first communion of Isabell’s granddaughter. There was much preparation that went into to the ceremony and celebration. At the first communion all the children that are participating in the ceremony wear white dresses or suits.

This communion was held at ,Iglesia Parroquial de Saint Eulalia de Merida, a church very close to where I am staying. After the ceremony a banquet was held at a restaurant outside of Segovia. At the banquet there were about forty people, friends and family, all there to offer their congratulations. The celebration lasted about three hours with food being the main form of entertainment.
It was wonderful for me to be there and be able to try lots of typical Spanish dishes, see some of the Spanish traditions, and experience this part of their culture.


Iglesia Parroquial de Saint Eulalia de Merida

May 15, 2010

17 05 2010

Segovia is a medieval city. Around it there is a wall that goes around the entire city. In some areas in is crumbling down but for the most part the wall is still intact. Up until today I hadn’t gone on any excursions outside the wall, but several people in my class wanted  to walk to see the surrounding area. This would later turn out to be a much longer walk than anticipated.
First we looked at a great view and decided that we wanted to go to these cliffs in the distance. They were beautiful and about half way up a hill in the distance. We started making our way that direction. At first it was a little hard to find what road to take to get outside the city wall.
Once outside the wall we walked thought a lot of beautiful scenery; parks with fountains, past a monastery, and beautiful churches. Although we couldn’t find a way to see the cliffs, after several miles we did find our way to the top of a mountain. The long walk was definitely worth it because the view was spectacular, and we were able to see much of Segovia with snowy mountains behind it.


May 14, 2010

17 05 2010
Today we walked through the city. But this time we were walking with a destination in mind, the open air market. Once a week vendors come to the plaza next to the cathedral. It is a beautiful setting. The Cathedral is very large and has intricate stonework with many spires. At this plaza people set up their stads and sell fruit, bread, pastries, flowers and even clothes. Below are some pictures of the separate stands as well as the Cathedral.

May 12, 2010

14 05 2010

   Today was my first full day in Segovia. I got to sleep in late and catch up from my full day of traveling yesterday. I started off the morning by going to school. At school we went over some vocabulary and customs that will arise often. After that we had a chance to buy temporary phones so we will have the opportunity to talk to our friends and family. We finished up class by walking around the city and practicing our Spanish by buying things in stores. It is amazing how much you can learn just by purchasing a few things. After walking around the city for an hour class ended and our host mother came to the school to pick us up. Although class officially ended for the day, I continue to learn a lot from my host family as I converse with them back home.

May 11, 2010

14 05 2010

   Today was my first day in Spain. The flight over was very long so now I am pretty tired, but all the anticipation about the coming weeks helps to hide the fact that I have been awake so long. The group met at the airport and took a bus to Segovia. When we arrived in Segovia our host families pick us up and took us back to there house.

   My host family is made up of a husband and wife, all of the kids are grown and have children of their own so I am the only other person at there house. However there daughters and their grandchildren come over often and I have met several of them already. They have a lot of experience hosting students; they have been doing so since 1995. Because of this they are very patient with me, even if they have to repeat the same thing five times. I can tell already that they are going to help me to learn the language and culture more than I ever thought was possible in three weeks.

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24 03 2010

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