Bienvenidos a Sevilla
Trip Start Jan 03, 2007
33Trip End May 19, 2007
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Orientation began the next day with workshops explaining details of the program, getting around the city, and other helpful information to assist our assimilation. The hotel was very nice, with a fantastic location near all the hot spots in the city. Immediately we sought out the highlights of Sevilla;
The food in Sevilla is absolutely amazing. The three staples are oranges, olive oil, and ham. The Spaniards are absolutely loco for their jamon! Orange trees grow around the city in the hundreds, and everywhere you go the smell of citrus perfumes the air. Spain actually grows more olives than any other European country (even Italy) and thus much of the food is fried in olive oil. A popular pastime of Sevillanos is eating small appetizers with friends in small bars around the city. These dishes are called tapas and vary from thin pieces of delicious, cured ham, strong white cheeses, tortillas (which are actually omelets made with all sorts of things - onions, chorizo, cheese, potatoes), olives, and fried white fish. Portions are small with the intention of eating a little, going to another place, and eating some more. This process, named El Tapeo (the tapas crawl) is a blast - they really love to eat!
My senora is named Cuca, and she is an absolute delight. Her job is to host international students, from whom she receives a monthly stipend for washing their clothes, making them meals, and cleaning. Thus, it is akin to having a maid - it is hard not to enjoy having someone doing so much for you! Really though, if you try to help you are scolded, she takes her responsibilities very seriously. The accommodation is an apartment with 2 living rooms, kitchen, 3 bedrooms, and two bathrooms. It is fairly large (not by American standards, but their is ample room) and very, very nice. No carpet or central heating here, just tile and space heaters, so the casas get very cold. This is because although now the temperature during the day is in the low 50's during the summer it soars above 110 degrees! She is an INCREDIBLE cook! Breakfast is small, eaten at 8 each morning, and consists of toast with olive oil and salt and a cup of coffee. A snack is eaten on our own around 11 and we return home for lunch between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. Lunch is the largest meal of the day, and consists of a small first course (salad, soup, or pasta) followed by a meat dish (ham, fried white fish, baked pastas, and paella) followed by a small desert (local candies, fruit, small cakes). The first day we enjoyed a fantastic salad with tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and a fish similar to tuna with a light olive oil dressing, paella with beef, and oranges from our senora's boyfriend’s orange tree.
I will let the photos speak for themselves with regard to the cathedral and other sights around Sevilla.
They don't waste any time with school either - we started an intensive language course Monday this week that runs everyday this week and next and finishes next Friday. With 40+ contact hours, it is literally a semester of Spanish condensed into 2 weeks. The quality of instruction is excellent - my class has 7 students and I have already learned so much. After this intensive session I will have regular university sessions through May. I haven't chosen my schedule yet, but hopefully I'll only have class twice a week, from about 8 to 4. I am sticking in Sevilla for at least a month to get a feel for the culture and to spend time with local Sevillanos. I am planning on taking 3 weekend trips: one to Amsterdam, one to Cairo, and one to Italy. Included in the program is a 4-day trip to Morocco, and we are also taking group trips to Granada and another city in Andalusia. I am sure that I will also take a weekend to visit my roommate David who is studying in Alicante (on the Mediterranean coast of Spain), Barcelona, Madrid, and Cadiz (only in the spring, when it is warm enough to swim in the ocean, Cadiz is on the Costa del Sol, on the Atlantic coast, and has some of the best beaches in Europe).
I hope all is well with everyone - I'm connected so feel free to comment here or send me an email. Hasta luego!