We woke up to an absolutely gorgeous day here in Barcelona. We walked for about 30 minutes to see Casa Mila which is one of Gaudi’s civil architecture works. His buildings stand out so much from the street, and they are even more impressive on the inside. We climbed all the way to the top and had amazing views of the city (including La Sagrada Familia only a few blocks away). We also walked to Casa Batllo which is another civil work by Gaudi. The interior was just as impressive as the first building we saw, if not more so.
After we finished our sightseeing for the day, we had some free time and then class. We learned about Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Ratio, and columns and took a quiz. The rest of the day was free, and a group of us walked to the Cathedral for Mass. We all ate dinner at local restaurants in small groups, and the guys found an Irish pub that is playing the Vikings game!
An exterior view of Casa Mila
Our group on top of Casa Mila
This morning we got to sleep in (sort of – getting up at 7:45 still counts, right?). We boarded our bus after breakfast and met our guide for our tour. We ascended a large hill on the edge of the city and got out to see amazing panoramic views of the city of Barcelona from above. We also got to see where the 1992 Olympics were held and even walked around some of the stadiums and fields.
After we were finished seeing the Olympic area, we went to La Sagrada Familia. We were amazed at the beauty and incredible engineering of the massive Basilica right in the middle of the city. For a group of engineers (and some math majors), the unique architecture and designs were awe-inspiring. We spent plenty of time taking in our surroundings and enjoying La Sagrada Familia.
In the afternoon, we took the bus to Park Guell to tour around a little before we went to the FC Barcelona soccer game. The game was great – Barcelona won 4-0!
When we all got home from the game, we broke into small groups and went to dinner at local restaurants. We are all trying new foods and enjoying all the new experiences! We had a great day today and are looking forward to more sightseeing tomorrow!
Enjoying the Barcelona game
Our group on top of the hill overlooking the city
An exterior view of La Sagrada Familia
An interior view of La Sagrada Familia
Yet another great day in Spain! We had a very early start this morning and boarded our bus to go to the airport. We flew to Barcelona and were in the city and settled into our hotel in time for lunch. We broke off in small groups for lunch and ate at local restaurants. We met up in the afternoon for class. We listened to presentations, and then Dr. Hennessey taught us about arches. We learned about different types of arches, types of forces applied to arches, ideal arches, and looked at some examples of arches both here and from back home.
After class we had the whole afternoon free to explore the city. We are staying very near where the Olympics took place in 1992, so a group of us went to explore the Olympic buildings. Another group of us walked to a bullfighting ring that has recently been renovated into a shopping center and apartments. Some of us went shopping, some of us stayed back and napped or did homework, and overall we all had great afternoons.
We met up as a large group again for dinner and walked to a local restaurant. We had a variety of tapas and got to enjoy a whole plethora of different types of food. We are excited to go to the FC Barcelona soccer game tomorrow!
Today was a very relaxing day for us. We had class in the morning for a few hours which consisted of lecture and a quiz. After class, we had free time for the rest of the day, and we broke into small groups for the afternoon. Some of us went to lunch, some of us toured the cathedral, some of us went to the gym, and some of us stayed back at the hotel to study.
A large group of us met up for tapas (small meals or appetizers) in the evening. We had a great time taste-testing a bunch of different types of Spanish food!
Dr. Hennessey lecturing during class time
A group of us studying in the afternoon
This morning we got up bright and early and began walking to the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a massive fortress and city at the very top of a steep plateau in Granada. Some of us braved the walk all the way up the sloping cobblestone streets, and some of us chose to take the city bus up the steepest part. When we arrived at the Alhambra, we met our guide and began our walking tour. The architecture and decoration of the palaces were magnificent. We learned about many different types of symmetry in class, and we were able to see symmetry in use all around us in tile patterns, paintings, wood carvings, and many other types of decoration. Our guide was very knowledgeable and taught us a lot about the history of the Alhambra and the many different monarchs and sultans who lived there. The gardens and courtyards of the Alhambra were beautiful and held plenty of vegetation despite it being the middle of the winter.
When our tour was finished, we walked back down the hill to explore the city, get some lunch, and go back to our hotel to work on some homework. We had class in the afternoon and then set off to go to dinner and watch a Flamenco dance performance. Many of us had never seen Flamenco dancing before tonight, so it was very interesting to learn about this unique part of the Spanish culture.
The weather here is chilly but much more mild than Minnesota, so we are all very happy. We have been walking a lot (over 5 miles a day!) and eating tons of good food, so we couldn’t ask for better.
Our group at the Alhambra
One of the many beautiful views in the Alhambra
Some of our group at dinner right before the Flamenco dance performance
Hola from Spain! We woke up this morning and began our day with class. After two hours of learning about symmetry and listening to presentations from our classmates, we had a couple hours to spend on our own in the city. We broke into groups to walk around the city and eat lunch at local cafés. A group of us went to the edge of the city and were able to walk atop the city wall and look out over the river and valley below. After lunch we met up with our local guide and began our walking tour of the city. We visited two synagogues and got to see the main gate of Toledo. Our guide told us about the history of Toledo and the coexistence of the Muslims, Christians, and Jews that is evident in the buildings all around the city. For example, the first synagogue we visited was designed by Muslim architects and had Islamic inscriptions written on the walls but was never used as a mosque. The same building was later converted into a Catholic church and today is a museum.
When we finished our tour, we headed back to our hotel and boarded the bus for Granada. We had a four hour drive which most of us used to work on some homework. We arrived in Granada and settled in our rooms before heading out in small groups for dinner. We are now headed for bed to get some rest before our full day of sightseeing and class tomorrow!
Walking on the city wall in Toledo
The View from the city wall in Toledo
Listening to our guide during our walking tour of Toledo
Our European adventure has begun! After a very long but uneventful day of travel, we made it to Toledo. We settled in our hotel and walked a couple blocks to dinner at a local restaurant. We had a delicious Spanish meal and got to know each other a little better over dinner. A few of us walked around the city exploring while the rest of us went back to the hotel to get ready for bed and catch up on some much needed sleep. We are all looking forward to starting our trip in earnest tomorrow!