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March Break Abroad: Obrigado, Lisboa! Bienvenido a Seville!

March Break Abroad: Obrigado, Lisboa! Bienvenido a Seville!

Day Highlights

It was a great few days getting to see so many of the sights around Lisbon and Sintra, and having our city guides introduce us to the diverse histories that came together to create what we now know as Portugal. We had the chance to eat delicious food, appreciate the beautiful artwork that were posted throughout the streets and on building facades, and wander through the historical corridors throughout both Lisbon and Sintra. But as much as Portugal was able to offer us, there is so much to explore in Europe that it was time for us to depart.

Off to Spain! We packed our bags back on the bus, met our new transport captain, Luis, and hit the road ready for our next destination. The road to Spain was smooth and dreamlike as the fog settled in over the farmland and offered us an interesting view of the green pastures and farming communities along the way.

Day 4

We arrived in Seville safe and sound, and ready to hit the streets. We met our local city guide, Reme, who gave us a lovely introduction to the history of Spain and Seville.

Spain is considered to be the 2nd most visited country in the world, with many significant heritage sites, and extensive supports from UNESCO to protect and preserve many sites throughout the country including Spain.

We also learned that Seville is the capital of bullfighting in Spain, and all throughout the city there are statues commemorating the bullfighters.

It was also fascinating to see the statues of flamenco dancers (and performers in the streets and plazas!). Flamenco is a deep expression of emotion, with two types of dances: one that expresses loss, and one that expresses and intense attraction. But more on that tomorrow!

After walking through one of the major streets on the east side of the Guadalquivir River, it was a treat to cross the river and become introduced to the working class history and its connection to water transportation throughout the historic river. The neighbourhood is now a bustling area thriving with restaurants, markets, and cafes, but was also once home to some very well-known pottery and ceramic factories. Our students got to visit one of these factories and see the giant ovens that were once used to seal the clay.

After looking at the colourful facades of the buildings lining Triana, and seeing some of the beautiful tiles that were used to create artwork, it was time to cross once again to the other side of the river for the River Boat Cruise.

The River Boat Cruise was a relaxing way to view the city of Seville without having the move very far. The breeze from the boat was also a welcome respite from the heat. Here we got to see many sites along the river, including the Oro Clock Tower, the site of the 1992 World Expo, the bullring, and the Royal Alcazar (which you’ll hear more about tomorrow!).

The showstopper for many of our students was certainly the Plaza de España. Our guide mentioned that this was named the most beautiful plazas in all of Europe, and it was hard to disagree with that statement.

Once you walk in and cross through the stairs, we were flooded with the beauty of the plaza. The expanse of the grounds created such a grandness, and the large structure that lined the open plaza created a visual reference that was stunning to view from every angle. A moat complete with paddle boats, and a fountain in the centre of the plaza added a romance to the entire experience that it was impossible not to get swept away.

The students also had fun recreating the scenes from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, which was partially filmed here in the plaza.

We boarded the bus and off to the hotel to unpack, unwind, and feed our hungry bellies! It was a busy day, but many of the students enjoyed the extended nap time during the morning commute from Lisbon to our new home away from home, Seville.

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