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Segovia: Pase lo que Pase, Amor y Luz

Welcome to Andalucía

Whatever happens happens ..... LOVE and LIGHT

We arrive in Granada and first explore its Albaicín (Old Arab quarter). (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)



We first explore an ethnographic museum which shows the way Roma (Gypsies) have traditionally lived in the hills and caves of the Sacromonte district of Granada.



Gazing inside a mosque located in the Albaicín.
 
Spectacular views of the Alhambra

As we stepped off the train in Granada, there was a very distinct feeling in the air that can only described as Andalusian. Having visited Andalusia, including Granada, before, I recognized this feeling. Andalusia is vastly varied in its landscape: the very desert-like landscape of Almería, which we had already visited on our Valencia excursion; the Moorish architecture of Granada with the Sierra Nevada’s towering peaks as a backdrop; the sunny city of Cádiz, seemingly about to float away into the deep blue of the Atlantic; the white, sun-backed hill towns away from the coast; the lush, rugged landscape near Granada; the endless fields of olive trees north of Cádiz; the beautiful, windmill-filled sunny paradise of the Costa de la Luz, with Morocco hovering in the background. Yet despite the enormous variety of settings in Andalusia, Spain’s most populous and second largest region has a distinct feel and cohesiveness that inexplicably seems to tie the region together. Despite its strong sense of identity, the vast majority of Andalusians have no desire to separate from Spain, and many of the things that come to one’s mind when one thinks of Spain originated or are most prevalent in Andalusia -- flamenco, bullfighting, siestas, olive oil. (Not paella, though, which comes from Valencia). Andalusia is so different from the rest of Spain and so varied within itself, and yet so quintessentially Spanish, that it is an excellent example of the vast diversity that Spain possesses.

~ Liam McNiff

Where Europe and North Africa blend
 
 
We hike up to the Alhambra to explore this incredible complex of palaces, gardens, and fortifications, perhaps the single most famous tourist destination in Spain.  Michael's brother joins us for this leg of our journey!
 

The Alhambra's gardens are incredible at this time of year.

Gorgeous views in every direction (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

Running water was extremely important to the Moors because of their roots in hot, dry North Africa and for its religious importance. (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

Fountains and pools in the Generalife Palace (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

We are in still in Spain after all, and even the Alhambra has a Christian palace, the renacentista Palace of Charles V (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

Intricately carved stucco in the Palacio Nazaríes (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

(Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

 
Faith's sweet group photo idea in the Alhambra gardens...but Ethan's head disappeared somehow!

Views of of the city of Granada from above
 
We leave Granada and continue southwest toward Cádiz.  We stop for lunch in the tiny white hill town of Olvera.

Views from Olvera

Liam presents on olive oil.  We learn that Spain produces more olive oil than any other country in the world and 75% of Spain's olive oil comes from this region, Andalucía.  In the United States most of the olive oil available is labeled Italian.  In fact, a great deal of olive oil is sent from Spain to Italy and then labeled and marketed as Italian olive oil which has a more prestigious international reputation. 
 
We have made it to Cádiz, a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic ocean and perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)

View from Cádiz's Torre Tavira, one of its many watch towers, constructed by merchants to monitor the comings and goings of commercial ships conducting trade with the Americas. (Photo credit: Patrick Bauer-Blank)


History discussion in Cádiz's old quarter

Michael presents on the Constitution of 1812

Due to budget cuts Cádiz may decide to close the city's history museum during the afternoons.  The CCOO and UGT, two of the Spain's largest trade unions, protest against doing so.

Ethan climbs one of Cádiz's gigantic ficus trees.

We visit the oldest covered market in Spain and Tristan gets supplies for the meal he plans to prepare.

"If City Hall won't listen, we'll paint the wall."

Incredible Flamenco performance in Cádiz (Photo credit: Faith Kenyon)
 
We are off again, traveling along the Atlantic toward Barbate.  We stop in this gorgeous white hill town, Vejer de la Frontera.

White walls contrast blue sky.
 
The photographer captures this white hill town, countryside filled with windmills, and ocean views.

White town, white dog, phew hace calor (it is hot out)


A much appreciated water fountain on this hot day

Ethan's new look

Enjoying Tristan's delicious beef stew with rice.

Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light)

We can't resist trying out the beachside public exercise park.

We continue on to the southernmost point in Spain, Tarifa.
Castillo de Tarifa

On Tuesday May 13th, we traveled to a very windy city on the southernmost coast of Spain.  From the car we could see kites flying high in the sky, attached to kitesurfers and windsurfers below them.  There were miles and miles of wind turbines, spinning so fast you might think they’d spin right off the base.  Upon arriving we walked to the Castillo de Tarifa, built by a Muslim leader in 960 AD.  When the Christian kingdom of Castile’s King Sancho IV took over Tarifa in 1292 defense of this castle was given to Guzmán el Bueno.  Guzmán El Bueno’s real name was Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, but he earned the title of “el bueno” (the good) when he refused to hand over the castle to attacking forces from North Africa (Marinid dynasty).  According to legend, after his son was captured by the invading forces, Guzmán kept the castle in exchange for the life of his son.  It is even said that he threw down his own dagger to be used to kill his son.

~ Faith Kenyon

Morocco is just 14 kilometers from Tarifa.

Can you see the mountains in Morocco on the horizon?
 
Reviewing for upcoming Spanish final exams at a cafe in Tarifa. (Photo credit: Faith Kenyon)

Wind turbines everywhere as strong winds blow year round in Tarifa and nearby towns.

Beautiful countryside

Massive sand dunes at Punto Paloma

Sand, sand, and more sand



Photo credit: Liam McNiff

Enjoying one last evening in Barbate

Photo credit: Faith Kenyon


Evening soccer and volleyball on the beach. (Photo credit: Ethan Johnson)

Gorgeous sunset as the sun is setting on our term in Spain.
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Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
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