Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sevilla

Ah Seville.... The capital of Andalusia and the most populated city in the region as well. It's a wonderful place, it's just too big for a visit that only a couple of days long.




Ok... that's me in my red underwear proving to the world that I was wearing red underwear on the last day of the year which is tradition in Spain and signifies good luck.






The plaza de España

Flamenco






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Mezquita

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezquita





Córdoba

Hello one and all... Well, the second stop on our tour of Andalusia was Córdoba. This was also a Moorish stronghold during their reign in the Iberian Peninsula. Here are a few pics...
Here's my mom in her "Club Shmitz," T-shirt...






The Alahmbra

So... my mom and I were fortunate enough to obtain tickets to go to the Alahmbra. I'm sure I could tell you all about it but I'd rather copy and paste from another website... so here it is, all from http://www.alhambra.org:

The History of the Alhambra is linked with the geographical place where it is located: Granada. On a rocky hill that is difficult to access, on the banks of the River Darro, protected by mountains and surrounded by woods, among the oldest quarters in the city, the Alhambra rises up like an imposing castle with reddish tones in its ramparts that prevent the outside world from seeing the delicate beauty they enclose.

Originally designed as a military area, the Alhambra became the residence of royalty and of the court of Granada in the middle of the thirteenth century, after the establishment of the Nasrid kingdom and the construction of the first palace, by the founder king Mohammed ibn Yusuf ben Nasr, better known as Alhamar.

Throughout the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the fortress became a citadel with high ramparts and defensive towers, which house two main areas: the military area, or Alcazaba, the barracks of the royal guard, and the medina or court city, the location of the famous Nasrid Palaces and the remains of the houses of noblemen and plebeians who lived there. The Charles V Palace (which was built after the city was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492) is also in the medina.

The complex of monuments also has an independent palace opposite the Alhambra, surrounded by orchards and gardens, which was where the Granadine kings relaxed: the Generalife.




More of Granada

The first stop on our whirlwind Andalusian tour was Granada. Here are a few photos of the town from atop the many hills that overlook this beautiful mountain city.



More of Almeria

Here are a couple more photos of Almería with my mom and aunt.

Two sisters by the sea...


El paseo marítimo


Shopping at the rambla...

Noche Buena

Noche Buena in Spanish basically means Christmas Eve and the most important place to be is with family. Fortunately my mother and aunt had just arrived to spend Christmas and New Years with me and we were invited to my boss' home to have the traditional dinner with his family. Here are a couple of pictures. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sanchez family for all of their hospitality that they offered my mom, my aunt and myself. We all had a wonderful time and felt as if we were back home sharing this moment with our own family.

Teacher's End of the Year Party

Hello people. Here in Spain it's obligatory to attend the end of the year party with your co-workers. Teachers, dock workers, lawyers whatever... they all do it. At our celebration there were about 20 of us... and it was a blast.


My colleagues....


That's me eating something....


The after-party...


OK... so during the dinner we played this game, and at the end everyone was supposed to pass around an ice-cube from one person to the next.

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Last Day of School Before the Christmas Break

Hello all... The following pictures are of the 20th of December which was the last day of school before the Christmas break.


Above we have papa noel (Santa Claus) and the Reyes Magos (three wise men). The kids in Spain actually have two days when they receive presents. The first, like in the U.S., where kids open their presents on Christmas Eve. However, the big "pay-day" is Reyes Magos, which is actually the celebration of the Epiphany on the 6th of January, on this day the kids usually get their most prized gifts... like a bike, or a playstation, etc... So it's kind-of like this: Christmas Eve you get socks, clothes, a book, you know, cheesy stuff like that, but then Reyes Magos is the real day when you get a bike or an action figure, you know, something that you really want.

Parents and Grandparents are making Buñuelos, they're kind-of like fried pastry served with a hot chocolate... what I would term as a poor man's churro.



Everyone's excited because it's the last day of school until 2008...

Skating

Hi everybody. Here are a few pictures of when the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders went to the skating rink. It was interesting because many of them had never skated before and they were falling around all over the place. Plus they were surprised to learn that I already knew how to skate. Skating is not as popular with the youth here as it is in the United States. Nevertheless, we all had a good time and we got to miss a whole day school... now that's a universal feeling shared by kids everywhere.

Me and some kids from the 5th grade...

Most of the kids that went that day...



"Help me!"...


It was easier for some....


Wave to the americano with the camera.