On Monday, I had my first two classes at the International College of Seville, and I absolutely loved them! My International Relations professor John Boyle was hilarious in his explanations of Spain’s early history and the history of the UN, and my Spanish professor Señor Luis immediately had us speaking in Spanish with one another and learning new things that I had never learned before! After my classes ended, the ICS students took a guided tour of downtown Seville and we learned some very interesting history about the city in a guided tour of “Seville’s Legends & Curiosities”. On Wednesday after school, my friends Sabba, Devin, and Eli came with me to walk along the entirety of the Rio Guadalquivir for sunset, and it was astoundingly beautiful when the light lingered in the sky for almost an hour.
On Thursday, in our last event of Welcome Week, we went on a free sunset river cruise (with tapas from Lisa included!). There were tons of people rowing on the river, both solo and with teams, and other boats with tourists and locals alike enjoying the beautiful sparkling water and colorful city on both sides of the river. We saw a River Fair from the water and after the river cruise my friend Ryan and I went to it and spent two hours there! I jumped on this bungee trampoline machine for over 20 minutes and then we watched an amazing free concert for about an hour and a half with local music. Ryan and I ended up back at Tetería Bagdad that we had visited on Friday to get more of the delicious Pakistani tea, and then we ran in to the rest of our group from ICS and went dancing at the club Chile past 4 am!
On Friday, Professor John gave us a tour of the Alcázar, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and also a gorgeous filming spot for Game of Thrones. The Arab architecture combined with the Christian influence that followed makes for the most intricate and impressive tile work and architecture that I have ever seen, and every single one of the giant rooms, gardens, and courtyards was beautifully designed. The rooms were significantly cooler than the outside temperature because of the fountain in the middle of each room and the planned architectural designs to allow the breeze in and to keep the sun out, and while some rooms had intricate fans and geometric ceramic plates from as early as the 1500s, my favorite room was the tapestry room. The colors in the tapestries´ design intentionally fade and blend in certain places and the artwork is incredibly life-like, capturing each moment in history forever in time.
On Saturday, we went on an ICS trip to the city of Jerez de la Frontera where we were given a private tour of the Sandeman sherry factory. There we learned about the full process of making wine and after, we had a tasting of three different types of sherry. Next, we drove to the Roman ruins of the ancient town of Baleo Claudio which overlooks the gorgeous beach of Bolonia, and we saw the incredible architecture of the Romans in their stadium and statues that still remain standing today. This town is actually considered to be the most complete Roman town ruins yet discovered in Spain! After visiting the town, we went down to the Playa de Bolonia, and we could see Africa in the distance across the water! Some friends and I walked along the beach to the giant sand dunes on the Western end of the beach, where we spent about three hours up on the sand dunes taking in the breathtaking views of the beach and Africa, and doing acroyoga, jumping off the dunes to see who could fly the farthest, and sliding down them like penguins. This day was one of my favorite days so far, even though my abs hurt from laughing so much with my friends and my legs were sore from climbing the sand dunes over and over to jump!
On Sunday, I was on my way to the Isla Magica theme park in Seville when I passed the Festival of the Nations. I decided to take a look inside and ended up spending the rest of the day there! Vendors from all around the world filled stall after stall with beautiful jewelry, paintings, costumes, sculptures, and food, and I bought food from multiple vendors as well as purchased gifts for my family back home. To my surprise, at 10:00 p.m. live music began, and I stayed to watch an amazing mariachi band for an hour! What an amazing end to another fantastic week in Spain—it seems like I’m never going to be able to catch up on sleep because there is always something awesome going on in the city!