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March Break Abroad: Passion, Romance, Flamenco!

March Break Abroad: Passion, Romance, Flamenco!

Day Highlights

With our first introduction to Seville over, it was time to dive right in. It’s been quite a whirlwind few days, so the group got to sleep in a little bit later this morning to get ready for the day ahead. Once we were all up and ready to start, it was off to Centro Histórico!

We all put on our comfortable shoes and made our way towards Real Alcázar de Sevilla, the Royal Alcázar of Saville. Our city guide, Reme, met us to provide us background on the Alcázar and some of the histories of Seville.

We learned that the Alcázar is an Islamic-era citadel that began its construction in the 10th century, but then continued into the 14th century as various powers-that- be influenced the architecture and style of the palace complex. Most notably is the Mudéjar-style palace that was built by Pedro I in the 14th century, and included influences from both Islamic and Christian ornamentation and decoration. The collaborative designs tell a fascinating story of the palace as you walk through the corridors.

Day 5

One of the other facts that we learned about the palace complex is that Game of Thrones was filmed in parts of the palace complex during its fifth season, representing the Water Gardens of Dorne.

Walking through Seville has been like walking through a film set as we’ve seen some of the fantastic architecture, UNESCO sites, and parts of the landscape become new worlds in film and television.

Just like the Plaza de España, our students had a blast recreating one of the images from Game of Thrones. We also got the chance to stare into the stars in some of the domed rooms.

Once we walked through the Palaces, it was time to visit the gardens. The expansive garden, complete with a maze, a Seville orange orchard, and peacocks, gave us a great opportunity to explore how nature and architecture could come together in this location.

Next we were off to visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede, or as the locals like to refer to it...The Cathedral of Seville (I appreciate the simplicity!). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the Cathedral (in particular La Giralda) stands as a beacon in the city, which can be seen throughout the city landscape, often framed within statues, doorways, or arches. Did you catch this in yesterday’s daily update.

Originally a minaret for the Great Mosque of Seville, La Giralda was later reconstructed by the Catholics after the expulsion of Muslims within Seville at the time. This tower stretches into the city skyline, acting like the North Star to orient you throughout your travels. We braved the 35 ramps to climb the tower, and once we got to the top we were able to take in the spectacular panorama of the city landscape. It was great to all the monuments that we saw on the river cruise stretched out across the city.

Walking through the Cathedral once we made our way down from La Giralda, we were able to take in the ornamentation of various statues and tombs, including that of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Columbus, and Pedro I of Castille. The Cathedral contains Catholic influences, as well as preserved elements of the Great Mosque prior to the Catholics arriving.

After our visit to the Cathedral, it was time to re-energize with lunch in the streets of the historic centre. Our Tour Director, Dani, gave us some great suggestions (as did some of our students from their past trips to Seville). The city streets did not disappoint, and we were all able to take in some great meals (although the black squid ink rice was a very controversial topic after lunch as it was very much a love-it-or-hate-it meal, even with the teacher chaperones!).

We finished off the day with dinner nearby the historic centre, and then were graced by the beauty of a flamenco performance hosted at the Teatro Pathé. It was an intimate setting, and students were able to see the passion of a flamenco performance come to life on the stage. We were able to see the different types of flamenco performances, including those representing love and passion, and those representing loss and grief for the loves we’ve lost.

Even without many words being expressed, students were able to piece together the story based on the interactions of the dancers, singers, and musicians on the stage. Many students walked away feeling really struck by the fantastic lighting which helped to demonstrate the feelings of each type of flamenco performance that we were able to see. This was a great way to end our stay in Seville, and absorb the traditions of the area. Next stop: Granada.

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