Blog Entry #4
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
I never expected to have trouble with classes, but unfortunately the most discouraging thing about my trip to Sevilla so far has been my grades. I thought that I would be fine, having just taken Spanish 3303 this past semester, but unfortunately conversation, rather than grammar, was the focus of that classes. Consequently, I’ve been having a really hard time squeezing preterit, present perfect, and other grammatical information into my head.
What hasn’t faltered is the beauty of this country. Yesterday we got up early and travelled to Granada, a stunning city about two and a half hours to the east of Sevilla. While I tried doing homework on the bus ride, I took a few moments to look out the window and take in the changing landscape. Rolling plains of green turned to fields of sunflowers, and in the distance towering mountains rose up past the clouds. All the readings about Alfonso Suárez and the media could wait; the view outside was too breathtaking to ignore. Not since my trip to New Mexico as a kid had I seen mountains. Those of the Sierra Nevada easily rivaled any I had seen in the states.
Granada as a whole was simply stunning. The city itself rests at the base of the mountain range, and the snow-capped peaks were a pleasant reminder that brisk air would be the first thing to greet us as soon as we had stepped off the bus.
Our first stop was the cathedral, a gorgeous church with a mixture of golden and gothic aesthetics. Inside, white walls dominated, and the Baroque style was one of the most overarching. In the central chamber, huge portraits of saints rested behind ornate railing high above us. Two towering organs and the great white pillar added more so to the purity of the whole place.
Next, we went to the much more humble Royal Chapel. After a brief review of the chapel’s history, we were led into the interior of the Capilla Real. I was in awe of the high altar, and the paintings of Christ and the saints were especially moving. In the mausoleum there was a tomb in which Isabel and Fernando, as well as there daughter Juana I and their oldest grandson Miguel de Paz, rest. From there, we walked to a single room which houses various paintings, as well as the crown of Isabel and the sword of her husband.
With so many sights, I knew almost from the start that Granada would be my favorite destination in all of Sevilla. One of my teammates and a close friend of mine, who had been a part of this very same program two years ago, told me, “Granada is by far the prettiest city you’ll go to.” With less than three weeks left, I still believe him completely.