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Granada – Flamenco

15 Feb



“The flamenco show was flat out amazing. At first I was confused by the dance as it was more aggressive than I thought it was supposed to be. However, as the show progressed, I became entranced by the performance. The way their clapping, singing, guitar, and feet-stomping came together culminated into something that I want to see again.”


“Tonight we went to a flamenco show in Granada near the Alhambra. I went to one in Spain with my family when I was little but I didn’t really remember much so it was great to see it again while I am older and can remember! It was UNREAL! My jaw was dropped the whole performance and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them! First, the band came out and these men started singing. It’s not you’re typical Spanish singing, but more powerful and intense yelling/singing. Then, the three performers came out and danced like you’ve never seen dancing before! The way they clap and dance to the music is insane! They have perfect beat and it is so precise. When you thought it couldn’t get better then that, a 7 year old girl came out and started dancing the flamenco perfectly! She was so focused and she was like a professional! I was very impressed! Overall the night was amazing and I and so glad I got to experience it!”


“Today, we went to a Flamenco show which was absolutely breath taking. There were two older ladies, a young girl, and a man. It definitely must’ve taken a lot of practice and some preparation. It’s known as a typical Spanish dance. The girls dress in nice Spanish skirts and dance to Spanish music while tap dancing. It was really nice and enjoyable and something I recommend for people to see when they come to Spain.”


“Today we went to a flamenco show in Granada. The four dancers, three adults and one little girl, were amazing and so fierce. They wore red, black, and white costumes and they women wore fluffy skirts that were thrown around to add drama. I had never seen a flamenco show before, so seeing a live band and watching people dance was so fun and entertaining. After the show, we went to see the city and the Alhambra at night. The views were beautiful and as pretty as it is during the day. ¡Olé!”


“Tonight we went to a Flamenco show. It was absolutely amazing. This girl was like 7 and she is my life goal. The dancing was very different but the beats they made, were incredible. Definitely want to see a show like that again.”


“Tonight we went to a flamenco show. They had four dancers, two singers and one guitarist. They tap around and stomp their feet to the beat of each others clapping and guitar. The style of dance wasn’t what I expected but it was fun/interesting to watch. ”


“Tonight we went to a flamenco show at a tapas restaurant. The food, music and atmosphere was awesome. When I entered the restaurant, I was amazed by the location; the restaurant was in a cave. After the delicious tapas were served, a flamenco group performed. It started with music followed by dancers stomping their feet in an unusual rhythmic pattern. It was incredible how one person can make such strong sounds with their hands and feet. After the adult performers finished, a 9 year old girl started to perform. She was as good, if not better, than the adult performers! Her speed, technique and facial expressions were very entertaining to watch. In addition, the view outside was beautifully overlooking the Alhambra we were at earlier that day! ”


“Today was a packed day! After the Alhambra tour and a couple hours to catch some Z’s, we were on our way to see the Flamenco dancers!

But wait!
It wouldn’t be a fun trip unless we had reckless driving in cramped and narrow Granada streets, right?After nearly dying, we got to a cute restaurant in the hills of GRANADA and had some good dinner. Then…BAM! WHOOSH. SMASH.

Loud guitar music blasted and suddenly these people were on stage. There were singers and guitar players and beautiful people in black, ready to dance.

Their performance was great. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen. You don’t know live music and dancing until you see one of these dances/songs.

but nothing compared to the little girl, who was around 9, that danced as well as the adult Flamenco dancers. IT WAS SPECTACULAR.

Then to end everything on a good note, we walked to catch a beautiful night view of the city and the lit up Alhambra.”

“The flamenco show started with a meal consisting of tortilla, thinly sliced ham, and croqueta, a little breaded ball of cheesy goodness. Shortly after our meal, the show began. Flamenco is much like tap dancing, but it is more violent and loud. Rather than tapping, the dancers stomp. They were incredible–while dancing, they had to move their feet really fast while also keeping the beat to the song. Additionally, each dancer had about a ten minute solo, where they danced for about ten minutes straight without break. It unlike anything I had ever seen before.”
“I have been looking forward to he Flamenco show since I first applied for the Spanish exchange. I sat right up front and the dancers feet were so close to my face. It was incredible how fast they moved their feet. I loved how intense their faces were when they danced and flipped their hair and stomped. The guitar player was incredible because he plucked the strings so quickly and it was such beautiful music. My favorite part of the show was when a young girl danced. She was incredible and you could see her emotion when she danced. The flamenco show was my favorite part of the trip so far. It was so interesting to see the different culture.”

Granada – La Alhambra

15 Feb

This weekend we took our students to Granada on a mini-excursion.  Here is what they had to say about it:

La Alhambra 


“Today we went to the Alhambra which was soooo cool! Its huge and gorgeous! There is so much detail in every little thing that pictures don’t even do it justice! The ground everywhere had an intricate design of different colored pebbles showing pictures of so many different things like flowers, birds and more! The walls were extremely intricate with carves of diamonds and different small shapes all over. There were many gardens and fountains! We learn something new every day and we learned a cool fun fact today that oranges are tart and bitter if it hangs from a double leaf! Check your oranges! Tonight we went back to a part of Granada where we could see the Alhambra lit up from a far and it was a gorgeous sight! Great for Valentine’s Day!
Happy V-Day!”


“Today we visited the Alhambra. It is this huge city from ancient times. It was the last city of the Muslim dynasty before king Ferdinand and queen Isabella took it over. Once it was taken over by the Christian rule they added more to the city. They added a sanctuary for the summer time where they could spend the days. Alhambra means red castle because a night when they were building it at night it would be lit up by touches and glow a red color.”


“Tonight we visited the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Alhambra is the last city that represents the muslim dynasty before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella took it over. They destroyed the muslim mosk and turned this city into a space for them to live and turn it into a Christian sanction. There were many interesting parts of the castles. There were many many fountains and detailed walls with designs that are hundreds of years old. The Alhambra was very interesting and cool to see.”


“Today (2/14/15), we visited the Alhambra. The Alhambra is an ancient Muslim/Christian city with palaces located in the walls of the monument. It is one of the most visited sites in Spain. Alhambra in Arabic translates to “Red Walls”. It was named the Alhambra because during construction, torches were used to light up the building, and it had a reddish tint to it. Inside the city walls, there are palaces, an aqueduct, and a village-type space called “Generalife”. There are three main palaces, used by Sultans and Kings. The construction of the Alhambra began in the 9th century. It was originally a Muslim city, but taken over by Catholic monarchs. When the city was seized by the Catholics, the mother of the Sultan at the time said the famous quote “Weep like a woman for what you could not defend as a man”. Charles V spent six months at the Alhambra for his honeymoon, and fell in love with the main palace. During the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte in France, he destroyed most of the city. The main palaces remain standing, but are unfinished. This is because the construction of the Alhambra was funded by taxes, and when the Muslims were forced out of Granada, the population decreased greatly. The Alhambra is one of the most beautiful monuments we have seen so far. The details and art of these palaces were amazing. It was a great trip!”


“The Alhambra redefined beauty with the intricacies of the palace walls and gardens. Previously used as both a palace and fortress, the architecture is enclosing, and the decorations are elaborate. This effect establishes an essence of protection and invitation to remain within the confines of the walls forever- as though protecting visitors from the outside world, whose beauty cannot compare to that of the king’s halls. The palace’s beauty is defined by the combination of Christian and Muslim architecture. Originally constructed under Muslim rule, the Alhambra depicts religious value and scripture. The walls, engraved with praise, stretch high, connecting with the heavens. It is only when they arrive at the ceilings that they disappear. These ceilings resemble the heavens, painted delicately to remind Muslims of the seven stages of heaven they must pass. And joining these rooms are alterations done by the Christian monarchs, who ruled in the Alhambra after conquering the Nasrid Dynasty. These prayer rooms contained many windows, to connect worshipers with natural light. The ceilings were modest, usually constructed from wood. This design kept worshipers humble, recognizing beauty only found in scripture. The mix of Christian and Muslim architecture is inspiring and captivating, because it offers a satirical understanding. It reveals the passions behind individual religion while speaking to the beauty behind harmonious practice. Although won over war, the palace illuminates the cohesive potential between religions through the fluidity in the palace’s composition. The communication between the building styles depicts the beauty in a society in which distinct cultures harmonize and communicate, rather than instigate hostility. Ultimately, walking into the Alhambra was encountering a dream for what we as a community should hope to one day be.”


“Today we went to the Alhambra. It is up in the mountains in Granada. We woke up this morning and had breakfast and then left for the Alhambra. Once we got there we went on a tour through all of the old building that were there. There were 3 Muslim palaces and 1 Christian palace. A stone wall was built to surround the city and most of it still stands today. “


“Today, in Granada, we went to see the Alhambra. We took a bus up the windy mountain road in order to reach the mountain fortress city. We toured with our guide, Fernando. He showed us the military buildings, the three Muslim palaces and the Christian palace by Charles V. We also saw the summer palace that the sultan went to to relax. The Alhambra was massive and beautiful. The intricate architecture was amazing and I was impressed that it has stood for so long. I loved visiting the Alhambra.”


“On the 14th of February we went and toured the Alhambra, it was a city with with 2 gorgeous castles. One was a Christian castle and the other was a Muslim. Everywhere we went there was running water and fountains. I learned that the running water was a natural air conditioner and because it was constant cold water it kept the rooms cool in the summer.”


“Today we visited Alhambra which is a city in Granada. It was the last city Muslim dynasty ruled before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella took over. When they took over, they destroyed the mosque and added a summer home. There was a lot of water fountains and marble used for the flooring. The windows were Roman styled. It was very beautiful and really interesting to learn about the history behind it.”


“Today was, by far, was my favorite day during the trip! We are in Granada, and the city is, to put it simply, GORGEOUS!!!! This morning, we went to the Alhambra and had a tour guide take us around. The tour was for 2 hours approximately, but every minute was extremely interesting! We saw the Muslim and Catholic influence on the area, especially the impact on the architecture. The differences are very significant, and it was very interesting to see how different societies can have such different ideas.”


11 Feb

Today we visited the beautiful city of Segovia.  Here are some posts from our students!


“Today, we went to Segovia, the town I stay in, along with my Spanish exchange family, and it was absolutely beautiful! There was so much history and architecture there that I could not figure where to look. Any amount of time felt too short. The intricacies, and the reasons behind the designs and statues really made me stand back in awe! We saw the famous aqueduct and the palace of Isabella, along with some other tourist sites. We had heard about both of them in class, however, actually seeing the structures, and stand on/next to them, brought it to a whole other level. Ramón told us many facts as we went around Segovia, one of them being that Walt Disney got his inspiration for Cinderella’s castle from the palace of Isabella! Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable day, and even though we climbed close to a 100 steps up and down, I would definitely say that it was well worth it. I was so reluctant to leave today, but I guess all things have to come to an end, and I can’t wait for all the adventures that await us tomorrow!”


“Today we went to Segovia. Learning about the different architectural styles was very interesting. Segovia is absolutely beautiful. The castle was particularly my favorite, not only because of its unique style and beauty, but because it Cinderella’s castle in Disney Land was modeled after that! There was never a boring sight. Every step I took I saw a new scenery which never failed to amaze me. I am so happy that I am able to go on this trip with some of my close friends and make new friendships that will last a lifetime.”


“Segovia, like the rest of Spain, was beautiful. When we pulled up to our stop, we saw the ancient aqueducts dating back to the Roman Empire. It was long, so long that I could not see the end, or even where it continued. It was tall, too, and had those large, Roman arches that I had only seen on calendars and in pictures. From the aqueducts, we walked along the roads to a castle. One thing I really love about these ancient cities are the roads. They are literally stone roads, narrow, with tall buildings stretching above you into the skyline. If you have ever been to Harry Potter World in Florida, recall the streets of England they had mimicked, and you’ll have a pretty good sense of what the streets felt like. Additionally, the streets are packed with little shops and quaint little cafés where tourists can find interesting curios and yummy treats. I had ordered hot chocolate and porras, which was a very similar meal to one I had had before, in the heart of New Orleans. Porras are a type of bread, made crispy and topped with sugar, that is usually eaten with hot chocolate. Beignets, most famously made in Cafe Du Monde, is also bread that is fried, topped with sugar, and eaten with chocolate. I was thoroughly surprised by this similarity! The castle that we saw later was on the edge of a cliff and looked like the Hogwarts castle from the outside. It was breathtaking!”


“Segovia was both beautiful and painful. About an hour away, the bus ride wasn’t bad though it reeked something fierce. The aqueduct was impressive and Ramón was ever the great tour guide. We also saw the cathedral which was massive. During our break, a group of us decided to find a café rather than going shopping. We all got churros con chocolate which may be the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. We walked through the Alcazar and saw the magnificent architecture. The most difficult part, besides the cold, was climbing the tower. Though the view was worth it, 152 skinny, twisty stone steps was rough. From below, the castle was even more impressive, but again, too many stairs. Every single one of us was gasping for breath at the top. Segovia is a beautiful and old city, and I had a lot of fun there today.Segovia was both beautiful and painful.”


10 Feb


“This is Toledo, the place where we went today. It is a gorgeous area filled with small towns and cobble roads and side shops. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been too. If I could I would love to live there. It seems so secluded from the modern world, and is so antique. In it we visited the house of Greco, saw his paintings, and visited the most important cathedral in Spain, and a synagogues and learned so much about them thanks to Ramon. It was an overall amazing experience. I also learned how to bargain. 🙂

This is a picture of part of the church in Toledo. It was beautiful, and the art inside and outside was amazing. It took about 300 years to make, and it is the most important church in Spain. Christianity was the main religion in Spain for a while. Other religions, such as the Jews, were kicked out of Spain and not allowed to practice. Now however, the synagogue and the church live peacefully together.”


“On Tuesday, the Americans and many of the Spaniards travelled to Toledo for the day. The picture depicts how large the city is, but it doesn’t do the city justice for its beauty! We walked through El Zocodover and shopped during our free time, but most of the time was spent touring various famous sites like La Catedral y La Sinogoga. These sites were so unique and the architecture was beautifully done. Both places had their own character based on their religion, but they were similar in many ways. We also sung the National Anthem for fun on stairs that were near the cathedral and people took pictures of us as we did so. It was so fun and we had many laughs as well!”


“Today, we visited Toledo. Toledo is an ancient city in Spain, and a beautiful one might I add. This painting is “El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz” by El Greco (aka Domenikos Theotokopoulos). “El Greco” translates to “the Greek” in Spanish. El Greco was an artist from Greece who studied and painted in Spain. El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz is one of his most famous paintings of the death of the Count of Orgaz. In his paintings, he liked to show a distinct line between the real world and the spiritual world. He also liked to paint himself into pictures. He in the man in all black to the left of the painting. His son is painted in the front, kneeling down next to the Count. I was lucky enough to sneak a picture of the painting because photographs were not allowed. Oops. Another famous painting of El Greco is “Vista de Toledo”. Our first stop was at this view that Greco saw when he created this painting. It was breathtaking. Toledo is a very beautiful place. We all had a wonderful time.”





El viaje

9 Feb

Hola!  We’ve made it safely to Collado Villalba.  The students all spent the weekend exploring with their new “families.”  We are super excited to share some posts from the students later on today.

For now, we will share some posts from our travels here.

This morning we had the typical breakfast of “churros y chocolate.”