Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Adiós or Maybe Hasta Luego

I now have only two days left in Valencia.  I have finished my final exams, and I was assured that I got good grades.  Yesterday I did not have any finals so I decided to take the day off of studying in order to go to the aquarium, or it's official name, the Oceanogràfic. It is the largest aquarium of this type in Europe.  It took me about three hours (with going to two dolphin shows) to get through the whole thing.  

I found Dory!

Also found Nemo!

Beluga Whales

Yesterday was also my last day of dance classes.  I cannot be an happy to be given the opportunity to have danced at the studio, learning both Flamenco and attending a class of Ritmos Latinos (we learned salsa, bachata, and cha cha cha).  It was sad when I had to perform the choreography that I was learning in flamenco for the last time.  

Mar and Rocío

Pablo and Marta with "the crew"
 Today was also our end of the semester party with the school.  It was fun because we had tapas, paella, and a good dessert, but at the same time it was very sad because it is the last time that we will all be together, especially with the professors.  I now have two days until I have to fly home.  It was definitely a great experience and you'll hear from me again when I arrive home. It was sad saying good-bye to everyone that I have become so close to the past four months, but it isn't so sad knowing that I will becoming back to Spain/Valencia to visit on a spring break trip with the university. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Last Sunday in Valencia

This week is my last week in Valencia and today is my last Sunday here because at this time next I will be on my 8 hour flight coming home from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.  
On Sundays, museums are free, so I decided to hit up the Ceramic Museum and climb some towers today.  
First I went to the museum, which is housed in an old palace that started construction in the 18th century and was finished in the 19th.  The rooms inside are very beautiful and ornate and the pottery was also cool to see since there was pottery from the first century all the way up to the 20th.  
Façade of the Museum

Ballroom - my favorite room

My next adventure took me to the Plaza de Ayuntaminto where I found that there was a flamenca with a live guitarist and singer giving instructions to the passerby of how to dance flamenco.  I stayed for a little bit to watch. 
Then I headed up to the Plaza de la Reina to climb the Torre del Micalet, which is the bell tower attached to the cathedral.  To get to the top, there are 207 stairs.  (What a workout!)  Once I arrived to the top, there was a really nice view of the city of Valencia from the mountains to the sea.  I was also at the top of the tower for 12 o'clock so I got to hear it ring, and that was really cool.  I even took a video but the sound was so loud that my camera did not pick it up.  I also heard other church bells ringing, and I was going down the tower, there were some more bells ringing from somewhere in the tower.  
When I went back down, there was a demonstration of a kind of acrobatic act where people stand on top of each other, and that's why there are so many people in the Plaza de la Virgen.  It was really captivating to watch because the children were the ones on the top, and I would think it would be really scary for them.   
Plaza de Ayuntamiento

Cathedral and Torre del Micalet

View of mountains and las Torres de Serannos

Plaza de la Virgen

City of Arts & Sciences in the distance and the sea

Plaza de la Reina

 You would be wrong if you think that my journey of climbing towers for the day ended there, but I also went to climb up to the top of the Torres de Serranos.  I have come to the conclusion that it is human nature to find the highest point of the city to see the view from the top, because every city I went to, we found the highest place, whether it was a mountain or a tower.  
Torres de Serranos - I was up there!
Puente de Serannos from top of towers

Because this is my last week here, that also includes finals.  I have two on Monday (one of which is translation that I don't need to study for), one Tuesday, and one Thursday.  On Wednesday I plan to go to the City of Arts and Sciences and go to the aquarium! Friday and Saturday will be my last free days that I have in Valencia before catching a cab at 4:30am Sunday to go to the airport.  
I'll probably do another blog at the end of this week saying how finals went, talking about my trip to the Oceanogràfic, and anything else I do this week.  But if not, I will blog when I get home and reflect on my entire study abroad in Valencia, Spain. 
Now I have to study for my finals.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Albarracín and Teruel ~ Cities from the Middle Ages

Yesterday was my last excursion provided with the school.  We took a day trip to Albarracín and Teruel in the neighboring community of Aragón.  
Our first stop was Albarracín.  This is a city that still maintains its medieval look, which dates back to the twelfth/thirteenth century.  I had the opportunity to climb on the wall.  There still remains the wall which served as protection of the city.  The streets are all really small and narrow which made it really cool to wander through.  

The second stop on our itinerary was at Teruel.  This city is not too far from Albarracín also located in the community of Aragón.  This city dates back to the 12th century, and it was known for having the three main religions at that time all living together (Catholics, Jewish, and Muslims).  
This is also the city that is known for the los Amantes de Teruel (early 13th century).   See story here: Inside of the tombs are the mummies which are visible from the sides.  

San Pedro Church
After the lovers and the church, we got to see another important monument of the city, which is the tiny bull, or "torico," in a plaza. 
"Legend has it that when the Christians reconquered the territory of Teruel in 1171, they sent bulls with burning torches on their horns to force the Moors out. At the end of the battle, a single bull remained standing under a star. The Christians thought it was a good sign to build a city around where it stood." ~Huffington Post

Monument upon entering the city of bull and star

The city is also known for its "mudéjar" art.  This is a style of art created by the Moors, and can distinctly be seen in the towers in the city.